I Can’t Save Him // And that’s ok.

My brother’s struggle began last spring. But that’s not my story to tell.

My story is just an aftershock.


When I first found out about my brother’s problems, I ran to the edge, didn’t look back, and dove in. I knew, together, we would beat this.

It didn’t take long for it to be clear that no matter how many support groups, helping hands, and long tirades and tears I threw together, nothing would happen until he decided he wanted those things too. It was obvious, but I was blind. Even with his own troubles getting worse, and my constant failures to get him help continued to pile up, I could not take no for an answer. I had an empathetic ear, an open heart, a broken spirit; there must have been something I could have done.

Seasons passed and too many tears were shed. Too many late night calls were made. Too many game plans and sympathetic talks with loved ones were held. Too many grievous secrets were kept. Too much pleading and begging took place. Too many nightmares were had. Too many trips to the hospital were made. Too much fear and anger was swelling.

It took ten months for my heart to dry up. And once it withered, it couldn’t take too much more.

My love was turning to anger. My empathy was turning to anger. My hope was turning into anger.

I knew I had had enough. The decision was made out of rage. It was made for my own protection. It was made for my own sanity. It was made out of defeat. I had to let my brother go.

So. I cut him out of my life.

It was only a defeat in my own powers, though. My own will, and strength. It was a glorious defeat and once I waved the white flag, I knew I should have raised it long ago. I tried my best, I gave all I had, and I failed. But it was not my battle to win.

This whole debacle was too big for my little hands.

Now it’s time for me to heal. I’ve lost a lot of traits I prided myself in. I don’t have an sympathetic bone in my body any more. I’m a little straight edge. I’m a little less empathetic. I’m a little more untrusting. But I’m working on it.


I knew it was okay to let him go. Give my heart a rest, let my soul quiet. I am not a bad person for taking a step back. I am not a bad daughter for protecting my own little family. I am not a bad sister for giving up.

But when he’s ready, my arms are open. Until then, my door is closed.

Thanks for listening,
— Brey


60 thoughts on “I Can’t Save Him // And that’s ok.

  1. You are such a strong person. It’s so true that you can’t help a person who doesn’t want help, especially with substance abuse. I do hope someday soon your brother is able to seek the help he needs and you’re able to be close again.

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  2. I watch my husband endure this same struggle with his older sister. He is a former addict, and she is a functioning alcoholic. His steps to sobriety and faith were marked with significant struggle, but he has overcome and is really just a testament to God’s grip and grace. His own experience with addiction causes him to want, all the more, to reach her but also seems to keep him at arms length. He speaks to her as often as he can, and has chosen to love on her right where she is. Never pushing- only loving and always praying.

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  3. I’ve been that person that had to finally make that decision for themselves. Pain and heartache eventually wore me down to the point where I realized something had to go. Afterwards I sought out treatment myself. It was well worth it.

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  4. Now that took courage, strength, and honesty. We can want to help others so bad (especially loved ones). But until they are willing to help themselves, then our hands are tied. Your heart, mind, and energy was in the right place. Time will tell what occurs. Thanks for sharing, and being sooo open.

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  5. I too had to let my sister go. It was what was best for my family and for her. By being around to always help it stopped her from taking responsibility for her actions. Was the hardest thing to do but for the best.

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  6. I hope your brother can eventually ask for help and be ready to accept it, but in the meantime I think that you did the right thing. I haven’t ever had to close the door on anyone before, but I can imagine just how hard it was for you. Remember Brey, you are strong! You love your brother and you tried. But what’s most important is that you love yourself and you knew you couldn’t do it anymore so you shut the door; that took a strength that not everyone possesses. You are not a bad person, you are a strong person – don’t forget that!

    ❤ and harp strings,
    Kate

    Liked by 1 person

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