Friday, June 8, 2012

A Sister's Pain

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,



  1. Thank you for your post. As I wrote before, I know that I let my two sober kids down during the peak of my son's addiction. I have apologized to them both and I make a conscience effort not to let the conversation come around to my son every time I talk to one of them. Lately I spend a lot more time listening to them than talking myself.
    It is always good to be reminded. :-)

  2. Thank you for the reminder. I still find myself putting my addict first above all, even his sister. Its one of the things I am working on for my recovery.

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  4. Thank you for your blog, and this post in particular. I too am the oldest sister (35) of an addict brother (29) and it is taking a tremendous toll on my younger sister (32) and I. Our parents have reacted similarly; our mom is beyond sad and numb, and our dad goes between wildly furious and acting like nothing happened. We have always been a very close-knit family, and the 3 of us share an amazing bond. We've lost our brother and our parents as we know them, and gained an addict that we don't know or love plus an awkward re-working of our family dynamic that may never be repaired. I miss my brother so much, and reading this I realize that I miss my parents as well.

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  6. This post has helped me. Just like a parent who has lost a child to death, we parents must not let our grief keep us away from our other children. You explained it beautifully.

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  8. Heidi - You have explained the "roller-coaster" that is my life - and my families life - right now. My Brother is currently 62 days sober and doing well. We are all extremely happy for him and his current success, but there is always that horrible feeling (and I even feel like an a** saying it because he is doing well now...) that tomorrow it could all crumble - becuase it has before. It's like a ticking time bomb and the thought just pops into your brain at the most random of times. I have had that talk with my mom - about not being able to take one more conversation about him or the situation. I thought I might burst. It's a balancing act between support, guilt, anxiety, love, anger, etc... I am the oldest sibling of 5 - my brother is the middle child. We are all very close in age (31, 29, 28, 25, & 23) and as you stated most of our childhood, and current stories, start with "my siblings and I, or my family and I..." It's so hard not to have the trust that we once had before. We are working on rebuilding our bonds and are always there to support him in his fight to stay clean/sober. I will be sending lots of positive thoughts your way. Love and happiness to you as well!! -AnnaMarie