Alcohol, it would seem, has always figured as the drug of choice in my family system. I was just never really aware of patterns until I became more conscious of my growing and enabling use of booze.
My grandfather died young, and I now seem to be old enough to be told that no, it wasn’t a mystery illness in which he mysteriously died in hospital. I learned that it was from a tragedy; from heartbreak and cirrhosis. A tragedy that happened in the Great Depression – and to many people. When the stock market crashed, my grandfather lost everything he had worked so hard to get, a family home, a roof over his young family’s heads, his job – and there were no jobs to be found during that time. The despair must have overwhelmed. Alcohol had been the choice to numb. And at a tender age, my parent lost a parent. It is such a sad story to me.
Over the last couple of years, I have seen a sibling choose the path of numbing unhappiness and stress with alcohol. Just yesterday, I noticed a morning eye opener was taken, in the form of a discreet pour of whisky into a 9AM cup of Joe. Followed by many beers.
I feel sad, compassionate and so desiring to help. But I know this would mean I am not in my own business. I am meddling in someone else’s business. They happen to be someone I love and am related to – but still not my business.
Instead, I have to be thankful that I recognized myself crying for help – and I decided to listen, and help myself by choosing sobriety. And that maybe, just maybe, it will be a case of the oldest sibling in the family – me – can lead by example.