Growing up, I always wondered why Steve was never around. He was my older brother. Wasn’t he supposed to be a part of our family? It was one thing that always puzzled me until I got older.
He was an alcoholic. He distanced himself from everyone, landed in jail, and eventually hit rock bottom. After eight years of being a habitual drinker, he got real and entered rehab. He now is married and has a child on the way.
I used to think to myself, ‘I never want to be like him’. Now I retract that statement. He has overcome a difficult battle, become a new person and the older brother I always wanted. Watching him mature has made me more aware of how my actions affect the people I love.
Rewind a few years to when I started high school. My other brother Eric had just graduated from NAU and was constantly moving in and out of our house. Whenever he was here, he was glued to his laptop playing poker. I hated watching him waste away his college degree on a game of luck. His mood was depicted on whether he had won or lost that day. Unfortunately, I saw the losing side of him more often.
He too is an addict.
His addiction is not drugs, nor alcohol. It is gambling. Every night my parents and him would sit down at the table. As I sat in my room listening, I could hear them arguing and fighting over his problem, begging him to get help. He would come to them in desperation, asking for rent money or saying he needed his car repaired. It was impossible to know where the money was actually going. At times, even I felt like an enabler. He would ask me for five dollars, claiming he just wanted to get some lunch.
As if I was stupid.
Now, thanks to my brothers, I seem to be under a microscope now that I am nearing adulthood. My mother always refers to me as her “Last Hope”. Last hope for a ‘normal’ child. They want me to get straight A’s. A scholarship. A job I love. And have the perfect life.
I believe that by observing my brothers deal with their addictions, I am able to learn from their mistakes. I know that I cannot allow anything to take over my life as it has to them. I cannot go down that path.
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