Post # 1
Sorry, just need to vent. I just did something incredlble terrible to my little brother–completely unintentionally, but it was thoughtless and cruel nonetheless–and I can’t stop crying when I think about how horrible I must have made him feel.
I have two younger brothers, neither of whom I’m very close with, but my youngest brother and I are comfortable and respect each other. He’s also been through some really rough times in the last few years, coping with drug addiction and learning to live in the world without narcotics. He relapsed about a year ago, but has been going to a lot of meetings recently, especially every since our grandmother passed away. From what I understand from what my parents say when they talk about him, he’s learned to replace drug use with NA meetings as a coping strategy, which is amazing and incredible and I’m so proud of him. That being said, he doesn’t discuss his recovery or any of his issues with me–I mostly hear about them from my mom.
So how, how on God’s green earth did I think it was okay to call and ask him about whether a video game themed wedding social would be something he’d be cool with attending? To be honest, I hadn’t realized until that very moment that he’d also stopped drinking (because when he started attending NA, he was still drinking, and alcohol had never really been his problem… but I’m probably just rationalizing) so I didn’t realize what I was asking until he said, “well, I mean… I don’t know if how… I would feel… about that right now.” And then I suddenly realized what I was asking of him and felt so incredible terrible that I apologized quickly and ended the conversation. After an hour I called back and asked my dad to apologize to my brother for me, and he said “she’s calling to apologize,” which I know means that my brother was talking to my dad about how it hurt him, and I feel so increbly shitty. My brother’s trying so hard on his way to recovery, regardless of what kind of recovery it is, and I just go selfishly asking him something so personal and cruel without a thought in my head.
I’ve just been crying for the last hour thinking about how he must feel, and knowing that he’s struggling so hard and that I just stupidly asked him about partying at my wedding social. 🙁 I apologized pretty profusely and told him how thoughtless and rude of me it was, and how proud I was to have a brother working so hard to recovery, but I also know how empty those words could feel to him…
I don’t know if there’s even any advice I can ask for. I just feel terrible 🙁
Post # 3
As someone in recovery, I have learned through my program that life goes on even though I don’t drink or use. I put my recovery before anything else in life. I do not hang out in bars, I don’t hang out on street corners, and the majority of the most important people in my life are in recovery.
that being said, your brother is doing well In his recovery, one day at a time.
People get married. you are having a social. He most certainly can attend if he wants. He does not have to drink. Maybe you can tell him to invite his Sponser to tag along so he has someone close to him who offers unconditional support.
life is in session. Your brother will make his decision. You should not feel bad for doing something special in your life that includes your family and friends and drinking.
I choose everyday not to drink and I have a god in my life, and meetings for support. I haven’t had a drink in many years. I can go anywhere I want in life today and I do not have to drink.
me and your brother are free TODAY.
GO ON WITH YOUR PLANS. Have the time of your life.
Post # 4
The issue with going to the social is that there would be alcohol there, right?
You were thinking about him being there and spending time with him, not the substances at the social that may cause temptations and other problems. It’s his responsibility to think about where he can and can’t go and what he can and can’t do, not you. You were just inviting your brother to an event.
Don’t beat yourself up. It’s a simple mistake, if it can even be called that. You’ve done nothing wrong.
Post # 5
@MrsRevolutionize: That’s awesome that your brother is doing so well in coping with his addictions. I don’t think you did anything malicious- you were completely well-intentioned and just wanted to include him. Just like he is learning to live in a world without alcohol and narcotics, you are also adjusting to his needs and lifestyle (I don’t know that that is the right word, but I can’t think of a better one).
I think you should have called him back, rather than using your dad as a messenger and say “Hey, I’m so sorry that I put you in that position on the phone. I really wasn’t thinking about what I was saying. I’m so proud of you for all that you have accomplished and I’d hate to put you into any uncomfortable situations. How would you feel if my FI and I took you to dinner next week as a pre-wedding celebration?” [obviously said dinner wouldn’t include alcohol]
Try not to beat yourself up too bad over this. Do your own independent celebration maybe with your super immediate family and that way you don’t have to worry about your brother feeling excluded when you do your big social event.
Post # 6
I think you are being really hard on yourself. It was a simple mistake and you did not mean it in a malicious or hurtful way.
Post # 7
Don’t beat yourself up about this. Really. Yes, you probably could have approached things a bit more gently, but I think it would have been worse to not invite him. That would be telling him that you don’t think he can handle it. By inviting him you let him make that decision. Which is appropriate. Honestly, I bet he’s glad that you still think of him primarily as your brother and not as a recovering addict. Yeah, it was awkward for a minute, but that’s not the end of the world.
I’d take some time to calm down. Then call him and tell him that he’s definitley welcome, but that completely understand if he isn’t ready for a sitation like that. Same for the wedding. Give him the opportunity to decide what he can handle and then support whatever decision he comes to. You’re clearly a very caring sister, and I’m sure your brother knows that.
Post # 8
@Mammy: Thanks so much–I appreciate the perspective of someone who is living through something similar to my brother, and I wish you all the best 🙂
@Rhopalocera: I guess I just feel so bad about how clearly uncomfortable I made him, both when I initially called and when I called back to apologize–I hadn’t heard him that… down in a long time. But you’re right, it was an honest mistake (though a dumb one for me to make). Thanks.
Post # 9
I am not sure what you did wrong here. You don’t have to have a dry wedding on his account.
Post # 10
Thanks everyone for the kind words. I know it sounds like I’m just being dramatic, but he was so sad when I apologized… I guess that’s the hard part, knowing I made him feel that way.
@DuckEBee: You saying that i should have spoken to him actually makes me feel a bit better, because when I called initially I told my dad “tell brother I’m sorry that I made him uncomfortable–unless he wants to talk to me?” He’s the type to shut down when he’s upset, so I didn’t want to force him to talk, but my dad passed me off to him and I apologized to him directly then. I’m glad that I did.
@JenGirl: That’s a really good idea. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought right now about whether or not he’d be comfortable attending the wedding, thought I know no matter what he’ll make it to the ceremony. I definitely need to clarify that with him so he knows that I’ll support him no matter what.
Post # 11
@canarydiamond: Sorry, I definitely wasn’t writing clearly when I posted–I’m more upset with the fact that I upset him, because when I spoke to him initially he got so uncomfortable, and because of how uncomfortable and sad he sounded when I called back to apologize. I don’t plan on doing a dry wedding because of him, because I know that he’s an adult and is able to make his own decisions… I guess I’m just really upset about hurting his feelings or dragging those memories up. I can only imagine how difficult his recovery is from everything that I’ve seen and been through with him and my family, and I know it’s not an easy road… and I feel like I inadvertantly tripped him up, I guess? Not that his recovery is at all dependent on me, but I just feel bad for hurting him.
Post # 12
@MrsRevolutionize: You sound like a good sister. It’ll be ok. He’s lucky to have someone as concerned as you.
Post # 13
@MrsRevolutionize: Make the wedding optional to your brother. Tell him if he wants to just come for the ceremony, you’re happy to have him. If he wants to come to the ceremony and dinner, you’re happy to have him. If he wants to come for the ceremony and back at the end of the night to see you and your new husband off, you’re happy to have him.
My brother has mental health issues, so I’ve really been trying to emphasize that if he is not up for the wedding that day, I won’t be upset if he feels that he can’t make it. Just emphasize that you’re happy to have him in whatever capacity he is comfortable with.
Post # 14
I’m sorry you feel so badly. I also think you’re a wonderful sister for being so considerate. With that said, people in recovery need to learn to cope in a world with temptations; it’s the world we all live in. I am speaking as a person in recovery.
Post # 15
@Mammy: +1, and I wouldn’t assume that he was offended he could have just said, “guess what MrsRevolutionize just told me…” though it’s probably given him something to think about. next time you talk to him, I’d also tell him he can bring a sober friend and leave early (really early, if necessary) if he’s feeling uncomfortable. He’s probably more concerned about still being included in your celebrations and doesn’t want to let you down. As a sober/clean member of society, he’ll have to face these situations at some point.
A lot of non-alcoholics/addicts don’t automatically see the link between substances. Even if your brother isn’t an alcoholic, if he starts drinking it’s SUPER likely that he’ll go back to drugs. Or wind up drinking a lot to replace the drugs. Just don’t suggest that he just have one drink. EVER.
I will say that, if he’s connected with other program people, he’s probably having a great (though challenging) time and shouldn’t be pitied. My life started when I got sober, and sobriety is awesome. A slogan from one of the 12 step programs is, “don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” 🙂
sorry for any typos – sent fom my iPad.