Often, the most important person in an addict’s turn to recovery is his or her family member, but it’s a perspective that we don’t often hear. In our Infinite Recovery Family Stories series, family members of people in recovery have the opportunity to speak firsthand about the pain of having a loved one struggling with addiction, the love that drives them to seek help for their loved one and the transformative power of the recovery process. Rebekah shares her story: Recovery Saved My Brother.
When Zach first started using, I had no real grasp on what actually was going on. I knew from the fights he had with my parents and the numerous amounts of meetings at his school that he wasn’t the most behaved kid. Nevertheless, I still loved him and would do almost anything to gain his approval. I remained ignorant and wanted to be as oblivious to the situation as possible because I didn’t want to face the fact that my brother was no longer acting like my brother.
My system of blissful ignorance started to fail me when Zach started to look outside his own capital and into the piggy banks of mine, literally. I started to realize the depth and seriousness of his addiction when I noticed that all the silver coins had been taken from my piggy bank. He stole anything that could get him his fix. He took my Nintendo DS, my parents jewelry, and any cash that was left around the house. It was then that I understood why my dad had put a lock on every bedroom door except his.
Throughout middle school and high school, I lived in Zach’s world filled with drug addiction. My sister and I had to lock our bedroom door anytime we were planning on leaving the house. My parents were always preoccupied with him. I would leave for school thinking, “what has Zach done today?”, and would come home to another screaming match between him and my parents. This was routine. Everything was about him. I didn’t want to end up like Zach, so I dedicated my time to school and athletics. I made sure that in everything I did, I did perfectly. I was the star athlete and excelled in every sport I tried. I made straight As. I never had any disciplinary issues. In doing all of these things, I had still not gotten half the attention that my parents gave Zach.
Throughout all of this, I never directed my anger to Zach. Instead I started to resent my parents. Anything little accomplish Zach made, he got praised for it by my parents. He was like some sort of god to them. There was a double standard between my brothers and my sister and me. They expected so much from my sister and me, yet so little from Zach. I had every right to be pissed at Zach for all the crap he’s done, but I couldn’t. The moment he’d say his manipulative apology, all was forgiven and everything was back to normal for me. I could never stay angry at him; I don’t know why. This unconditional love I had for him played with my self-esteem. I would try any way to get close to him, but the love wasn’t reciprocated. I exhausted all my energy into trying to get attention from Zach that I had nothing left in me. I felt that there must be something wrong with me if my own brother doesn’t want to come to my game or to my track meet.
I wanted him to be proud of me more than I wanted my own parents to be proud of me. All of my self-confidence was gone because of this. His addiction got in the way of our relationship and I hated it. I realized that I lost my brother. I didn’t have my brother. This devastated me. I was so hurt that I refused to let anyone outside of my family get close to me. I never made real friends or ever had a boyfriend in high school. My job was to be smart and athletic to make my family look good and to balance out my brothers’ mistakes.
After Zach’s recovery, I got my brother back. I’m so proud of the man that I always knew he was. It feels unbelievable to have a healthy Zach back in my life again. Not having to worry about if he’s dead or alive is a great relief. I thank God for everyday that my brothers are sober and alive. For me personally, my brothers’ addiction didn’t just make my brothers sick, it made me sick as well. I have worked and am still actively working on getting myself healthy. I don’t blame my brothers for the anxiety and depression I struggle with because I know that I can only grow stronger from it. I wouldn’t be who I am today had it not been for my brothers. They have made me strong and have helped me realize what’s really important in life. I look up to Zach more than ever after I’ve witnessed the faith and dedication he has put forth in his recovery.
– Rebekah Pogue, sister of Infinite Recovery’s own Zach Pogue
Your family can experience the same freedom and happiness that Rebekah and Zach have. Call Infinite Recovery today at (844) 206-9063 or submit your information online for a free 30-minute consultation with a licensed heroin and opioid specialist.