This I Believe

Ashley - Danvers, Massachusetts
Entered on January 2, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction

My brother was addicted to OxyContin. I was stuck in a world of confusion when the words that my brother was addicted to a drug came out of my Father’s mouth and approached my adolescent ears. I came home to my older, role model brother crying, something I never thought I would see, alongside my parents at the kitchen table. I was often instructed to leave the room at moments such as these, left uninformed and baffled.

Later, I would find out time after time that my Christmas and birthday money that had been taken from me was used by my brother to buy the eighty dollar pill that he was addicted to. My family and I were constantly upset that our money was always missing and that we had to hide our money from our own family member. Yet, the reason my brother confessed to his illegal activities was in spite of me. He hated to see his younger sister, whom he had such a close relationship with, saddened; all his emotions caught up to him to the point where he knew he had to do something to help himself.

I would often just lie in my bed crying, left with no one to talk to; afraid to talk to my Mother, knowing she would cry as well. I wrote a letter to my brother expressing all my feelings about how I was upset and disappointed, but that I would always love him no matter what. My Father brought him my letter, since I was not allowed to see him. The nurse later told my Father that my brother was up all night crying about my letter, which also brought tears to my eyes.

This process happened over and over again for about 3 years with my brother stealing and confessing and then going to rehab, always emotionally unstable. Eventually, my other brother and I were overwhelmed and our brother seemed as though he wasn’t even a brother any longer. We could not believe that our brother could hurt our parents and us so much even after all the help my parents had provided for him.

After my brother finally progressed into a normal life again, he got into a huge accident. A water heater blew up in his face, burning his lungs and other parts of his body, where he had to be med-flighted to Mass General Hospital and put in a medically induced coma. Visiting him was one of the worst scenarios that I have experienced. He did not look like my brother; he was in a bubble hooked up to many machines and could barely open his eyes or talk. I remember sticking my hand in the bubble to hold my brothers hand and feeling a squeeze with tears rolling down my eyes, remembering all the amazing times we had spent together.

He survived, but all the medicine he was put on during the accident got him addicted to drugs one last time. It finally hit me that my brother was a great kid who just made one awful mistake. Addiction is so strong that it can force you to do anything, including hurting your family. My brother had gone through a lot and I respect him for accepting he had a problem and actually wanting to fix his life. It is truly a miracle where he is today and I believe this was a learning experience in my life that I will never forget.

My brother educated young children about the consequences of drugs and how they can ruin your life. He is also now living happily with his girlfriend in their own house, having the occupation of a plumber, and acting like my old humorous brother once again.

I love and have faith in my brother. And this I believe… one can overcome any problem with the guidance of a family and one persons struggle in life can send a powerful message not only to the struggler but others who see the strugglers difficulties and their ultimate success.