What do YOU need?
It was the question that hadn’t crossed my mind at all in the passing weeks. I had been thinking about my brother Paul, my parents, my nieces and nephews. What do they need?
Paul had begun to drink more and more over the recent year, to abandon his responsibilities, his family, and so many other things he used to love. By his own admission, it was time to get help. He needed the structure and support that in-patient rehab provided for his recovery. But what did that mean for me? I had always been close to my brother. We had shared so many experiences together, and there was always this sense of understanding and connection. But we didn’t understand each other on this. I couldn’t understand because I had never experienced the disease of addiction for myself. He couldn’t understand because he had never watched a sibling he loved ravaged by that disease.
During Paul’s stay in rehab, I was providing information on a peer group of family members of those suffering from addiction. I did not want to participate. In my mind, I needed to focus on supporting those around me-not getting support for myself. At the encouragement of my brother, I went to the first meeting. After sharing a little about my family and all I was doing to help and support them, the group leader asked me the simple question above. What did I need? I was speechless. If I needed something-if I was allowed to need it- then it was okay to admit that I was struggling. I needed understanding. I needed space. I needed listening ears from people who had experienced similar challenges and who wouldn’t try to solve my problems for me.
As a sibling of someone in the early stages of recovery, my peer support group provided the space, the understanding, the listening ears that I needed. Loving and supporting my brother over his 6-year journey of sobriety has been the most challenging thing I have ever done. It has also been the most rewarding.
Recovery is difficult. Recovery is rewarding. Recovery is a journey. Recovery is POSSIBLE.
If support is what you need (as someone desiring recovery, in the midst of recovery, or supporting others in recovery), don’t hesitate to reach out today. For these and other groups search here.