Yeah, I know, that's stinkin' thinkin'. I can't control him. I can't fix him. Nor can I save him, and that's the thing. All these years, I've been using my brother's rut to obscure my own. Wrapped up in his almost-certain doom, feeling so alone down here, I've denied myself any real chance to climb up and out into the fresh air.
But I'm tired of carrying this around all by myself. How many millions of sisters, brothers, parents, and kids all over America are just like me -- watching a loved one self-destruct right before their eyes? And what are they doing to rescue themselves?
Another new year, time for another resolution: It might be time to go looking for some help, somewhere.
There's much more help out there for addicts than for those hapless loved ones whom addicts make suffer. Even so, you're not alone.
Nar-Anon, a 12-Step group for people whose lives have been affected by a relative or friend's drug abuse, offers one weekly support meeting in the Phoenix metro area. It's at 11 a.m. each Saturday at the North Scottsdale Fellowship Club (7119 East Shea Boulevard; 602-222-6229; www.naranon.com).
Al-Anon, not to be confused with Alcoholics Anonymous, offers help to the family members of addicts in general, alcoholics in particular. There are dozens of weekly Al-Anon meetings around metro Phoenix. Go to www.al-anon-az.org to download a copy of the schedule, or call 602-249-1257 for meetings in Phoenix, 480-969-6144 for meetings in Mesa.
Narcotics Anonymous, which sprang several decades ago from Alcoholics Anonymous, works on the premise that addicts are best at helping other addicts recover -- by admitting there's a problem, engaging in serious self-examination, and making amends for harm done. NA doesn't offer any specific programs for family members, but visitors are welcome to come and gain insight into their loved ones' struggles from recovering addicts who are more than happy to talk. There are around a dozen NA meetings a day, seven days a week, in the Valley area. For the full schedule, call 480-897-4636 or go to www.arizona-na.org.
Center for Recovering Families (4325 North 75th Street, Scottsdale) offers one-on-one, private counseling. Call Richard Smith at 480-945-3115.