Around a week ago my sister called me to inform me about my younger brother who lives in Indiana. She told me that he had had a recent relapse, starting hanging out with his old friends, his girlfriend broke up with him, and his child was due to be born within the week. She asked me to reach out to him.
Me being a young adult in recovery with experience working with others as a result of going through a sober living and sponsoring other young adults in Alcoholics Anonymous, decided that I should reach out to him and see if I could be of service. I talked to him and he was in complete denial of the relapse, he told me that he is coming up on 8 months sober in the next few days, informed me that everything was going well with him and his girlfriend and that he is super excited for his soon to arrive son. This was all completely contrary to what my sister had told me.
I knew from my own experience being an addict that it was not my place to confront him and tell him what I had heard because all that would lead up to is him becoming resentful and angry and would cause drama throughout the family. Also because of my own experience, I knew that situations like this were difficult until the person getting high was in a position where they were willing to accept help. For me, this had to happen when I was totally out of options. Parents can go a long way towards setting up a scenario like this, and that helps, but I ultimately had to gain enough willingness to try something different.
Basically this situation taught me to practice acceptance. I never realized what it felt like to be a parent and how it felt to see their son throwing their life away and slowly deteriorating until I experienced this in sobriety. Of course it wasn’t quite the same thing, but I got a better sense of what it was like to care for someone and not be able to get through to them. Before I only thought that I was harming myself. It truly is a difficult process to walk through, I know, and have made him aware that I will always be there for him whenever he needs me. Besides that the only thing I can do is pray for him and have faith that one day he will re-commit himself to this way of life. What I was able to gain from this experience is that as much as I wanted to jump in and control the situation there was nothing that I could do until he is willing to reach out for help. Al Anon can be helpful for anyone with an addicted love one, not just parents!
It is a painful experience, but by me being able to instill my trust and faith in a higher power, I am able to walk through this with my head held high. My brother has reached out to me for help getting sober in the past and I know that he looks up to me as a role model which helps to bring me confidence that one day he will once again reach out to me again and ask for help. This is one of the true benefits that I have been able to gain as a result of going through a sober living. I gained the experience in working with other alcoholics because I was surrounded by quite a few during my addiction treatment. This has become a blessing for me in my ability to work with others and comprehend the way that the mind of a young adult struggling in recovery works, and how I can work with that young adults mind.
Keeping my focus on my own recovery, doing the next right thing, and making myself an example of what recovery has to offer are some of the biggest things that I can do in order to offer help to my brother. I have seen many cases where one family member is struggling and as a result of a loved on getting sober and changing themselves, the family member in active addiction makes a decision to change as well. I will continue to keep up hope while knowing that I don’t have control over his actions. In this way, I am able to keep my serenity and stay open for when the day arrives that he wants help!