- Friends & Family
- Mental Health
Submitted by: Jamie Thompson
In some ways, it seems like my brother has been on his recovery journey for a lifetime, but it has only been about 16 years.
I first realized that my brother was in trouble when he lived in Johnson City. I went to visit and his place was a wreck, which was out of the ordinary for him and his partner. I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but I soon went up to visit again after that. I replaced a broken window, cleaned his apartment, bought groceries and began my worries. Our mom was with me and I remember telling her he was fine, not to worry, because I didn’t want to stress her out. I don’t know if she believed me or not.
Fast forward a few years to when I remember going to his place in Knoxville and stopping on the way there to throw up because I just knew I was going to find him dead. Thankfully, I found him barricaded in his place with electricity turned off. He was sitting in the dark, but alive. He wouldn’t let me in, but he was alive. This a familiar type of experience several times over the next few years: clean-not clean, worry-worry.
I’m not in recovery, but I think in some ways I am. When an addict in your life is in recovery, so are you. I don’t do drugs… and what a relief it is when they aren’t using, either.
I am glad that I have been able to offer my brother a place to live and to be here for him while he is in recovery and making life decisions. We get along well and he is a great role model for both of my kids.
My brother is now two years clean and he is happy with himself and seems to be happy by himself. He is able to love himself, which I think was a big step in his life. I’ve always been proud of my brother! He has amazing talent but add to that, the fact that he has kicked his addiction, which makes him one outstanding person!
From this experience and from watching my brother, I have learned to always be true to yourself and be willing to take a chance on life, set goals and do what it takes to reach those goals.
The most important truth I’ve learned through this process is the person or persons in the addict’s life cannot make them become clean and sober. Only the addict can make that choice. All the books and therapists tell us that, but until you experience it, you don’t really know it’s true. I now worry about my son. I want to make him get clean, but I know I can’t. I can only hope that he finds his way before I find him dead.