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A Family Affair

I’m not in recovery personally. It’s ironic that I’ve actually never tried a single
drug and never been drunk, but I feel like I’ve been through addiction — in
some ways I feel like I’m still in it. 

My grandfather was an alcoholic, and
that disease colored my mother’s childhood in ways I’ll never full understand.
It continues to affect her and her siblings, and that dysfunction trickled down
into my childhood, too, coating it like a syrup that stuck to everything.

My grandpa never got help for his addiction. In the small Montana town where they
lived, my grandma would call the local bar and tell them to send her husband
home for dinner. One of my aunts then married an alcoholic who drank until the
day he died as well. I guess it’s true that sometimes, no matter how much you
swear you’ll do things differently, you fall into patterns that feel most

Addiction continues to wreak havoc on the next generation of my
family … and the next.

As I type this, I don’t know where my brother is. I literally don’t know. His cell phone was
turned off a month or two ago and we don’t know where he’s living, so once
again he’s off the grid. He’s 47 and has struggled with addiction for most of his
life. There have been clean periods where we’ve been really hopeful, and then
there have been really bad periods. I used to be bitter that the mood of every
holiday was contingent on whether or not he showed up. Now I’m just sad that so
many of my calls home to my parents include the question, “You haven’t
heard from your brother, have you?” I wish I could make him understand
that while he can’t change the past, it’s a tragedy to let it rob him of a
future. I wish he’d see that our family isn’t whole without him. That his kids
miss him. That he’s worth saving. 

It’s heartbreaking, but it gives me hope to
know that great treatment options exist and that there are people at companies
like Foundations, so that one day, if he’s ready, when he’s ready, there will
be someone there to help.

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