6 Months Later | Losing A Sibling To Drugs

6 months ago I got a message from my sister and then had it confirmed by my little brother that our older brother had passed away after a heroin overdose. In the moment I completely fell to the floor and just didn’t know where to go or crawl to…and I was devastated, because in that moment I thought only of the good memories I had of him. Being young with him and the one time I would never forget him telling me I was his favorite sibling and it was probably one of my favorite life moments when I was younger, to finally get his approval because he wasn’t an emotional guy. I only thought about the good and wanted to remember him that way.

We had an outpouring of support and a lot of it had to do with the fact that TWO days prior to his death, I posted one of the biggest blogs of my life announcing my reuniting with God relationship publicly after years of fighting with personal struggles that kept me away. It was a HUGE moment to share nitty gritty personal details but it also effected so many people’s lives who contacted me immediately after thanking me for sharing and encouraging me on my new journey.

For your brother to die two days after that, it hits you way freaking hard. I was like, is this a sick joke? Did that really just happen, I put my faith back out there and here I am getting HEAVILY tested immediately? It didn’t shake my faith, it strengthened it– and I am SO thankful for that. My friend Katelyn was such a blessing and source of strength for me during that time and I have her to thank for so many other things in life but the fact that she hugged me, cried with me and had a good ol Come To Jesus with me at Creative at Heart right before all this happened and was the first to call when she heard the news..it really kept me going strong and knowing that He is not against me, He’s walking beside me this whole time. And even carrying me. And the proof was in the seashells that I found just hours after he passed away..and then the week after, and the week after. They were my signs.

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The most valuable relationship during this time was with my friend Misty who understood the situation so clearly and could empathize, and that is something that is completely necessary when a death occurs in such a tragic manner. Being able to talk to someone like her and let her know I was pissed off and bitter was such an outlet for me and I will never be able to thank her enough for not only listening but empathizing and not judging one darn bit. I think it’s important when drugs, alcohol or suicide is involved to find someone to talk to who knows what it’s like to have a person in their life like that because it’s a different kind of grief to deal with.

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But in the spirit of rawness and honestly…6 months later I have to say I am avoiding thinking of him at all costs. I go days and days without thinking of him most of the time but when I do, I just get so angry because really, my brother could have been a good guy with a successful life but he went down another path. I get SICK of people saying “it’s the disease! it’s not him!” — because you know what, he had so many chances and had so many rehab experiences and he was great at criticizing everyone else. And even if it was the disease and it was too strong for him to control, I still get to be angry about it. Hearing grown adults try to blame other people for his death, the same ones who consequently ruined my life in so many different ways…it’s all just a crazy mess and part of why I don’t consider myself related to that side of the family at all.

He was good looking, strong and great with trade work and his life could have looked so different. I’m not gonna say he was the brightest crayon in the box but he really was a hard worker and that got him far a lot of the time. I know addiction is just the realness of the situation but he hardly contributed dimes to his son (you can imagine where all his money went) and he was no kind of father figure to him and that makes me so bitter. It’s so funny to hear family say “he loved him! he loved him so much!” because he never did anything for him. Smiling in a couple pictures on your seldom visits doesn’t make you a great father and I am so let down by how all of this ended, and I won’t pretend to honor him as a father at all, even though I do know he loved his son deep down..I will try to remember the best of him but I also feel at 6 months later really angry and I feel SO much better when connecting with others who have been through similar with their loved ones/siblings on this level of honesty, something lacking when it comes to talking about the unexpected and tragic deaths in circumstances including drugs or alcohol or other addictions. The fluff is not what’s real, and it doesn’t heal to pretend things were all sunshine and rainbows (and you KNOW I usually love some sunshine and rainbows hahaha!) — but I want to thank those who have reached out and lost someone (or fear losing someone with an addiction) — we are so not alone when we open up and get it all out!

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7 thoughts on “6 Months Later | Losing A Sibling To Drugs

  1. Oh my! Thank you! Thank you for being so honest and showing others that God is NOT against us, but FOR US! I’ve had these struggles many times. And although our stories are not fully the same. I understand not associating myself with one side of my family. I understand some of your struggles you have shared. Thank you! I will be continuing to pray for you. And I love how you see those shells as a symbol you are not alone. I’ve always believed God shows us signs that only we can understand, and that some may find silly, or just a ‘happen to be there’ moments and things. What a beautiful relationship you are building with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ! *many blessings*

  2. “And even if it was the disease and it was too strong for him to control, I still get to be angry about it”……I get this SO MUCH! Angry that they had that addiction, angry for the things that weren’t said and done, angry for what could have been….it’s hard for others to understand unless you’ve lived and loved someone with an addiction. We remember the person they were before and it hurts.
    I was angry at God too, I felt abandoned forgetting that HE was with me. I started finding dimes everywhere….it’s crazy how many we’ve found in the last few years in the oddest places and at the oddest times and usually when we’re going through an especially hard time. Someone told me…it’s a sign because doesn’t it say on the front of dimes “In God We Trust” ? Trust Him that HE is with you and will guide you. My Faith has grown and gotten me through the trying times, I seriously would have fallen apart without it.

    I am in tears right now because it hits me hard. My ex walked out on our family (25yrs of marriage and 3 kids) a little over 4 years ago (he’s an alcoholic) and I go day by day doing okay without thinking of him and then in a split second I think of him and I fall apart again. It takes time to grieve and it’s okay to be angry. People don’t understand that though, they say “well at least you don’t have to deal with that anymore”…what?? Just because they’re physically gone doesn’t mean they aren’t still with you. We share memories and he’s still the father of my children (who he hasn’t seen or spoken to since he cheated and walked out to marry the other woman…that’s another long story). One thing that truly helped me was al-anon and I read LOTS of stories and blogs online….it helped me so much to know others understand what it’s like to love an addict.

    Thank you for your honesty. I’ve shared this with you before on Instagram (smore311) but after my ex left we were all embarrassed…oh no, now everybody was going to find out about our imperfect life and addict father. But they already knew. Slowly we shared our story with others, it was very healing. My 18 yo daughter got a tattoo on her side that says “We all have a story to tell”. True, So True!! We all experience pain and heartache and we shouldn’t be embarrassed and we shouldn’t judge but instead lift each other up and just love.

    I love following your IG and your beautiful family!

  3. Wow, this is so touching. While I have never had to deal with a family member and addiction, I do have 3 younger brothers, and I can relate to the “not always rainbows and butterflies” idea. You are an inspiration.

  4. We are so sorry for your loss. We will be praying for God’s peace to begin to flow over, around, and through you to heal the deep hurts that this has caused you. We have two sons that we have walked a similar valley with although they made it through,hopefully to the other side, although addiction is a lifetime battle. No one knows what it’s like, unless you have been through it, to get an early morning call that your precious child is in the emergency room or icu. I pray that others will come along besides you and lift you til you are strong and sunshine and rainbows begin to fill your life again. You know, rainbows are God’s promise that he loves us and that the world will be okay. We love you Amanda.

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for being real. My heart breaks for your loss, which is a loss on so many levels. Addiction and the carnage it leaves behind is heart wrenching and life altering. I grew up with an alcoholic mother, and my earliest memories as a small child up until the time I moved out as a young adult were mostly awful, so I know all too well the intense shame, embarrassment, anger and even sometimes borderline hatred that loved ones experience. When I got serious with God and dedicated my life to Him (a few years after she died), I was finally freed from the lingering shame and embarrassment and I could finally openly talk about her and what it was like growing up with an alcoholic mother. Overnight God took that shame away from me. However, even 23 years after her death, I still have “seasons” where I identify some residual “effects” of growing up with addiction, and I have to give it all to God (again) and have even had to make an intentional effort to forgive her for robbing me of so much in my childhood. Praise God for your relationship with God — He will use this test/trial and turn it into your testimony to help others who may be dealing with the same thing. Keep your eyes on God — continue to seek Him and the peace that only He can give in the weeks, months and years to come. I know that if I hadn’t experienced all that I did with my mom, I wouldn’t be where I am today spiritually. Satan meant it for evil, but God has used it for good. He is my peace, and He has proven Himself faithful to me over and over through the years, regardless of my circumstances. Thank you again for sharing your story and not sugar coating it. It’s time we all take off our masks — especially as Christian women – we all have “stuff” and some type of dysfunction whether we admit or not. So many people need to know they are not alone in their struggles with addicted loved ones! God bless you!!

  6. What I love most about this is there’s no fluff just like you said. Raw honest emotion. Love you for this! Your allowed to be angry. I haven’t lost anyone due to addiction but I have dealt with it in my family as well and have seen it tear apart a family. Fortunately my father has overcome his struggles and is now two years sober. Finding God was a huge part for him as well. I am currently going through that myself I have days where I feel like I want that relationship and days I don’t. This blog as well as the one about you finding that relationship gives me hope that it will happen for me as well. Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs! 🙂

  7. I know we’ve briefly talked about all of this, but thank you for being so honest. Having been in your shoes 7 years ago, I remember that roller coaster of emotions all too well, and if I’m being honest, they never go away. Depending on the time of year and what’s going on in my life, I rotate between sadness and anger, and sometimes also try not to think. I remember thinking how there were ZERO articles, books, blogs on this topic, and I’m so thankful that you’re putting this out there for others to read. Losing a sibling to drugs is so unlike any other loss, and finding others to relate to is crucial. Thinking of you!

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