My Brother, the Alcoholic

Taylor - Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
Entered on March 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction

My Brother, the Alcoholic

All but one of my five other siblings are grown, married, and some have children of their own. When one of my sisters was married the second time, I openly accepted her new husband into the family. From the outside, he was a perfect brother-in-law. After a couple years of marriage and overwhelming fighting – which I, of course, didn’t know about – the two decided to have a baby. This, to me, was a seemingly reasonable next step in life and the two were very excited. About a year after the beautiful baby was born, the fighting returned.

Only through my expertise in eavesdropping and putting the pieces together did I found out that these spats were a much, much bigger problem than I could have ever imagined. My brother-in-law, the man who I had accepted as close as a brother next of kin to myself, was an alcoholic. I could not imagine how someone who had everything — a wife, a beautiful new child, a great job, a great apartment in New York City, and a supportive family could be so selfish. How could he do this to everyone? There was no apparent reason for it: no work-related stress, no family tribulations, and to my knowledge, no previous substance abuse issues.

In my dealing with this devastating problem, I found acceptance. Through months and months of tribulations, I went through my very own three stages of acceptance. Because of the need to be strong for my sister, I was able to tolerate this man. Through tolerance, I began to want to understand, to try to understand. There had to be a reason to it…there was no way such a loving man would want to throw away his life, losing everything dear to him. After many nights of research, I found my answers. And finally, I reached acceptance. I was able to accept this “selfish monster” as my brother once again. My brother is an alcoholic.

Through numerous efforts, I’ve attempted to spread this belief of acceptance- not just tolerance. I wouldn’t think such a simple and morally-acceptable idea would meet such challenges, but I am wrong. Instead, the perils I go through in trying to spread this idea, very much parallels those frustrations as Sisyphus; however, knowing that it will roll back down, I keep pushing my rock up the hill.

I understand this, and in no way am I exasperated with my inability to make more than a temporary change because I have realized that through my efforts, my rock has taken on an unimaginable weight. However, it encompasses something I hold in such a high regard, so dear to me that even though I realize I may never succeed in being able to stop after reaching the top, but instead, the reward I receive is in the effort I put forward. I am able to disregard all skepticisms and reinforce my belief, even if it is only helping me.