A Sister’s Story: My Brother Is An Alcoholic

A Sister’s Story: My Brother Is An Alcoholic

Thank you TWC – A Sister’s Story

I would like to send a huge thank you to TWC for all they have done, and keep doing, for my brother.  He has just reached his 1-year sober date in April, and we couldn’t be more proud.

Mind you, it hasn’t been an easy road.  This is not the first time that he has gone through treatment, but it is the first time with TWC.  He was at a treatment centre on the Island a few times. One of the problems was that they didn’t have an after-care program and as soon as he left, he pretty much had nowhere to go and found his way to the bottle again.

My brother is an alcoholic. Our father was an alcoholic and our grandfather as well. This disease is actually on both sides of our family, so he comes by it honestly. 

I have been a part of putting my brother in treatment 3 times. The last time he relapsed I said I wouldn’t help him again – ever. Well, that wasn’t, and will never be the case. I said those words out of anger and hurt. I felt like I had failed, and I didn’t want to go through those feelings again. Now I know, it’s not my fault. 

But what I won’t be is a sister that enables him, nor will I watch any of my family members enable him either. 

My heart breaks to think of him being homeless and alone.

He had no money, no job and nowhere to go. My family was kind enough to allow him to stay with them under the strict conditions that he didn’t drink, and if he did, he would be thrown out and never be allowed back in. Well, that only lasted so long, and he started drinking again.  My brother can fool some, but he can’t fool me. I would ask how he was and if they thought he was drinking, and the answer was always the same, no. They were sheltering him from the consequences of his drinking and that was not going to help him realize he needed help. I would call and ask to talk to him and he was never available to come to the phone. The first sign that something isn’t right is always when he starts avoiding me. 

I was driving home from work one day and who do I see walking, or should I say staggering down the road, my brother. My heart hurt. It hurt for him, my Mom and brother.  I knew at that point my family was in denial and I had to put a plan in place to stop this immediately and get him help.

The next day, I came home from work and called and yet again my brother was not home. I asked my family to let me know when he came back. No word came, so I decided to just go unannounced and see what was really happening. Well, this is where it all started. I have a key and quietly let myself in and walked straight to the room where he was staying. He was sitting on the bed in a slouched over inebriated state. I asked him if he was drinking and of course, the answer was no. I picked up his backpack and opened it up and pulled out a plastic vodka bottle. By this time my other brother was standing at the door, so he couldn’t deny what I found either. Finally, I had the truth that I needed to show them that he was drinking again.

My dear friend posted a recommendation for a good treatment centre on her social media page. She is part of the circuit as she has been in treatment and has celebrated her clean bday for many years. 

TWC was highly recommended.  I called TWC and I spoke with an intake worker and he gave me some excellent advice and explained how the program worked. He shared a bit of his story with me as well which made me feel a bit more at ease. I knew we were doing the right thing.  We told my brother we had a place for him and that we would be taking him there the next day. Well, the next day he said he was too sick to go. So, we gave him one more day. The next morning, my other brother took him to TWC and as soon as they were parking the car, my brother got out of the car and disappeared. He had $20 in the envelope that was given to him with the paperwork, so we knew where he went. 

Straight to the liquor store. When my phone rang at work, I was so excited to hear that he was signed in and in a safe place. Well obviously, that wasn’t the case.

No word from him until the next morning when he called my brother from TWC and said he was there and knew this was where he should be. Sleeping in a graveyard that night before must have got him thinking that it was either TWC or death.

He was not happy with me of course. Not happy at all. I knew it would take a couple of days for him to get his head and feelings straight, but I knew he would eventually come around. And he did. He finally called me and has called me almost every day since.

It wasn’t always easy of course, but he didn’t runaway and he didn’t complain much. There are rules and they must be followed, and he knew that.  He would say how wonderful the food was and how much he was learning about his disease and himself. He was doing things that I would never have thought possible 3 months prior. He was playing baseball, helping others, cleaning up garbage in the neighbourhood, doing gardening at the park and most of all he was sober, healthy and smiling. 

He had a purpose again. 

As well, he participated in a step group. This was so good for him. It consisted of full, long days and he really had to be committed. He completed it and has an awesome sponsor as a result. I was proud. Very, very proud.

He completed 3 months of treatment and moved on to the next stage, which is a supported recovery house. This is where he is now. He’s been working for 7 months at a job he loves, pays his rent on time, paid some of his debts, goes to church every Sunday and is taking a course to get his drivers license back. 

So many accomplishments in 1 year and so much to look forward to. A new lease on life. 

TWC also offered a family program to us. Two of us attended and gained some helpful information. We were able to share feelings with other family members that have gone through similar experiences. I’m very thankful to TWC for being offered this. Addiction is a family illness. The addiction of your family member can spread throughout the family like a virus and it takes lots of emotional work to clean it up. We know this first hand and I still do as much therapy and reading as I can. The hurt that comes from this addiction goes deep and doesn’t just disappear overnight.

I believe what my brother has accomplished is possible for anyone to achieve, you only need to be willing to change one thing; the one thing being everything! 

Without TWC, this would not have been possible. They made him accountable and he took it seriously and it has changed his life around. The staff there are heavily invested in the welling being of their clients and are always available to the family if you have questions or need direction.

Thank you, Stacy Wilson and all of the TWC staff. Yes, Together we can!


A Loving Sister

Read about TWC’s Family Program.