A brother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: I worked at a restaurant with my older brother and, after a few weeks, I started seeing clearly his actions, who he was hanging out with and what he was doing. I realized that he was an addict. I watched his life spiral out of control and I warned him that I would tell our parents what was happening. After months of threatening him and praying that he’d stop, I told my parents. Through my own tears, I told them that I was losing my brother to drugs. They sat in disbelief…it was too hard for them to grasp. At that moment, I hated my brother: I hated him and I loved him. It was all so confusing.
My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: The Big Book of AA calls addiction a “confounding illness.” The boundaries of hate and love collide, family loyalties are threatened, brothers fight against brothers, and parents don’t know what to do. We parents try to save our families, but how do we protect everyone, including ourselves? Somehow we have to find a place where we are able to stay close to our addicted child while keeping ourselves and our other children out of the chaos.
Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I will talk with my non-addicted children about what is happening in our family. I will listen to them and try to understand their confusion and fears. I might even share mine. I will offer them help in An-Anon, Alateen or another counseling program.361