Michaela’s Story – My brother is a drug addict

I’m Michaela. My brother is a drug addict and I’d like to share my story.

Last year when my brother completed his 30 days in rehab we had no idea how to handle the stressful situation and on top of that my brother had moved in with me after us not having had any contact for over 5 years.

Amongst trying to juggle work and other life commitments, my mum and I were completely stressed out and despite seeing doctors, addiction doctors, various specialists and counsellors nothing gave us practical advice that actually helped us.

The Family First Step Program and counselling at Arrow Health SAVED us and our family! You gave us an environment of support, with practical advice that we could put to use.

So often my mum and I would find ourselves taking notes, in particular, sentences that you would say and then we would use them with my brother and get a positive response and we managed to communicate better as a family.

Your course also taught us how to no longer be manipulated anymore or at least not as easily as before and the video really made me realise what the disease of addiction really is. Previously, I always thought that it was mind-over-matter, not realising that there was actual science involved when thinking about addiction and a drug addict.

What also helped was once my brother completed rehab, you took our family into a room and made us aware of what his triggers were. Often, down the track, we would see the triggers before he would. My mum and I now have a better understanding of how to deal with this and could deal with it with more ease when it arose.

I used to be so black and white but I’ve certainly learnt to see things a lot more grey now. It’s not easy having a drug addict in the family but it can be easier! Had it not been for your course, I would previously have looked upon a lapse as a sign of rehab not having not worked, but now I understand that this is not the case and it can happen on the road to true sobriety.

Coming to your sessions, my mum and I felt great comfort in meeting others that were going through the same or similar situations and yes, the sessions were exhausting mentally but the benefits outweighed the brain drain. The meetings offered us, as a group made up of other people with a drug addict in their family, a discreet sounding board, lots of advice and at times in the depths of despair, we would have moments of laughter too.

Participating in the Family Support program helped me feel like I was getting a little control back (and everyone who knows me, knows that I like control and being able to keep on top of things…lol) but it also helped me to detach with love. I learnt that in the end sometimes you can’t control everything, that actions have to have their own natural consequences and that it is ok for that to happen.

The “Recovery Champion” in your sessions was of great help and inspiration. Not only did we hear where they came from, and how hard their struggle was but we also got to see how they have blossomed and taken their own lives back. They told us about the reality of being a drug addict and dealing with addiction, the good, the bad and the ugly. They gave every single one of us in that room the hope that our loved ones can also get there one day.

Despite some lapses that my brother has had, we have seen that rehab has taught him skills, we have seen him improve and most importantly we see him still wanting to improve and not to give up on his road to sobriety. I truly believe that he will achieve his end goal.

The biggest compliment I can give you is that at the beginning my brother hated the thought of us coming to your training, he didn’t like it one bit but now he regularly thanks my mother and I for having gone. We are constantly recommending your course and Arrow Health to others.

Our whole family is a lot closer and we have a much better relationship with each other now. We are all on the same page. My brother has said that the change in us, in our reactions and the way we communicate now is helping him and our whole family. It’s like you said, we can get through this with love and support and on both sides with lots of tools and skills acquired along the way.