My Story

My Story

My Story

My sister’s addiction started in high school. Her friends called 911 at a hot tub party and she ended up in the hospital for alcohol poisoning.    I didn’t think enough of it at the time. I was drinking way too much too. I drank with her when I was in town.

When she left for college, I didn’t talk to her much. She was a walk-on for the soccer team but quit within the first few weeks.  She seemed to be partying hard, but I still didn’t recognize the compulsion that was going on in her head. It wasn’t until she transferred to my university that the issue became more and more obvious.

I picked her up from jail when she got her first D.W.I. She was really upset, but still smoking weed and drinking. I still did both with her at this point.

Our grandpa was dying in a hospital two hours away. My sister and I planned to make the trip together.  When she didn’t show up in the morning, I called and texted 100 times. Hours later, she called saying she was on her way and she would drive.  I thought about her D.W.I. but figured if she offered, then she was allowed to drive.  She was smoking weed on the drive there.

Our grandpa ended up making it through the evening. I wanted to stay at our aunt’s house nearby, but my sister insisted she was going home.  She had peed herself after drinking the night before and didn’t have time to shower.

It was night when we left. She smoked some weed in her car before driving away. As we turned onto the highway, a police car pulled us over.  They just intended to tell her that her taillight was out, which she did in a parking lot driving drunk days after her D.W.I.  The police smelled the weed and she was taken to jail again for both driving without a license and drug possession.  I drove her car to the ATM and bailed her out of jail (again).

Pretty clearly, there was a problem, but it still wasn’t obvious that it was addiction. Instead, I lectured her about her reckless attitude and not driving.  Part of this denial was selfish. We were friends. We drank together.  In fact, we were both at the same bar with our friends when she got her second D.W.I.  I had taken her keys from her. She was pushing me and trying to get them back.  We were both too drunk to drive.  I ended up giving the keys to her friend to hold and deal with, who gave them back to her.  She managed to pop two tires and get arrested, but it could have been so much worse.  She called her friend from jail this time.

I graduated and lived in a different city.  She lived with her best friend from kindergarten. Her friend texted me that she saw my sister drive home the night before completely wasted with another tire popped and asked me for help. I ended up telling my mom that my sister needed to come home. My mom got in her car that day and drove to her college apartment.  I’m told they talked and cried and my sister willingly went with my mom to finish at a nearby college while living at home.

It didn’t help too much though, because she got her third D.W.I. a few months later.  All three were before she even turned 21.   She had to go to prison for a weekend, complete a mandated treatment program and lost her license for five years.  At this point, I moved to Florida.  It wasn’t to get away from her, although I felt relieved and also guilty to leave her and leave my mom to deal with it.

My mom drove her to university, then to job interviews, then to her job at a Fortune 1000 company every day.  (Today, my mom debates whether that was the right thing).  I was away for Christmas for the first time when my sister when to the hospital for the second time.  It seems she tried to be sober for the holiday, but her body was addicted. She was going through serious withdrawal.  She fell and busted her lip and was out of it when our little brother found her.

With pushing from my mom, she went to an outpatient treatment facility for six months after the incident. My mom drove her to the appointments, of course.  She played the game and seemed better.  Eventually, she moved out and got her license back.

Living alone was not a good idea.  Her apartment smelled like cigarettes and I can picture her drinking ever night.  The family didn’t see her much.  Then, she had an incident at work.  My mom was down in Florida visiting with me when she got the call as her emergency contact.

My dad went to see my sister in the hospital.  Apparently, they sedated her because she was acting irrational and they didn’t know what was wrong. She was strapped to the bed and hooked to a breathing machine.  That image weighs heavily on my dad.  After that, my dad made her move in with him.  I think the company was nice for them both, but you can’t “watch” someone out of addiction.

When she went back after visiting me in Florida for Christmas, my dad found her passed out when she was supposed to be at work.  He found alcohol in her room and he said she needed to do something.

About a year earlier, I started working at an addiction treatment facility motivated by what was clearly addiction in my personal life. I told her to come here for 30 days.  She fought it a little but ended up calling in, buying her plane ticket and heading down.

I went to the family weekend at the facility, which was intense.  She wanted to stay with me after she was done, but I insisted she follow the recommendation to go to sober living.

She decided to stay in Florida long-term. I saw here a lot. It took months, but she eventually landed a good job. She was going to meetings.  She tried moving in with random roommates, but came back to sober living and got herself back on track in a matter of days. We played on a woman’s soccer team together. She was my son’s best friend.  She was sober and doing well for a year.

Then, she relapsed hard. She went back to treatment for two weeks and asked me desperately at the last minute to move into my house after she left. I was suspicious the whole time she was here.  I confronted her a few weeks later. She moved to an apartment by herself and struggled again for a year, despite a week-long stay at detox and an attempt at outpatient.  In that time, she lost her job and boyfriend.

She eventually paid for herself to go back to treatment for a full 30 days. I’m happy to say it’s been about four months and everything feels good. She stayed sober even after totaling her new car. We’re not as close as we used to be, but I’m happy to see her sober and actually happy again.  I hope to rebuild with time.

My Best Advice

It’s normal to feel worried and angry as a family member, but focus on how you can feel better even if they choose never to get better. Get educated, get support and listen to the professionals.

My Relation

My Sibling/Friend's Addiction

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Elizabeth S.

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My loved one is in recovery.



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