Last night we had our weekly meeting and in our group there is only one other sibling besides myself and Ashley and I think we really made a connection. I know that our pain as a sibling is different than our parents however, we too hurt very deeply. I am the oldest(35) and Ashley(23) is the youngest our addict is the middle child(31). I feel as if our pain is sometimes overshadowed by our parents. This is our brother. We were so close when we were younger. We had the same friends we did everything together. I don't have a single memory from when I was a child that doesn't start with "this one time me and my brother". It is heartbreaking to watch him self destruct and not be able to save him. That pain i believe we share with our parents.
HOWEVER, not only do we as siblings lose our addict to this disease but we lose our parents also. I don't want to talk about him every second of the day but I don't want to not be there for my mom. My dad doesn't talk about it at all its like my brother doesn't exist and that's fine that is his way of dealing with it. My mother on the other hand is sad and miserable. I feel like I have lost her as much as we lost him. I can't tell her it will be OK. I can't fix this for her. So not only do we feel the pain and shame this disease causes the family but now we feel the guilt of not being able to help her with it. Then there is the anger of " HEY HELLO I AM YOUR CHILD TOO ASK ME HOW I AM DOING" then you feel guilty because your asking her to ignore her pain to ask you a question about you when you know she is relieved she doesn't have to worry about you.
The meetings have helped my mother tremendously. She is smiling again and is strong when she talks. Its nice to see.
Then we have the anger of I am going to kill him when I find him for doing this to our mother. Of course that would never happen but boy do I feel like I could just punch him sometimes. Its an inner struggle with us as siblings. We love him, we hate him, we hate what he is doing... We love our parents, we hate talking about this all the time, we hate what this is doing to them....
So parents take time and ask you other children how they are doing. Involve them in your recovery from your addicts addiction. Going to meetings with my mom and sister has helped us all be able to speak openly and without the guilt of hurting any feelings. We know that if we need to say I hate him today we can and no one will be angry. We know that how we feel is important to our mom. We also know that we are going to be OK regardless the path my brother decides to take in his addiction. We will always have each other. So take this time and fix you because it is the only person you can fix. If we could fix our addicts addiction would not be an issue ever. Work on your relationships outside of your addict because if there ever is a time they decide to get clean you will need to be strong and have a good support system around you so you will have the strength to be able to set boundaries and understand that just because they are clean today tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Lots of love and healing,