My Turn: A sisters lonely view on alcoholism
I found out today that my little sister is dying. I know she is dying; I have known that for a long, long time. I have, in fact, mourned her already, or, at least I thought I had. It doesnt appear to be imminent. It may take a couple of months or she may linger a year or two. Only God knows for sure. The damage done through decades of drug and alcohol abuse have taken a toll on her small body. It has been a long, slow, agonizing slide. Not a day goes by that I dont think of her as I walk and admire the Tahoe Basin with the sky as blue as a Stellar blue jay, and the scent of pine that permeates the air. Not a day goes by that I dont miss her and wish that she could be here with me. The artist in her would drop her to her knees. I know however, that she will never come. Drug and alcohol abuse creates a chasm where once there was none. She and I were so close all of our lives. Maybe that is why I was reluctant to talk to her about her escalating alcohol abuse. She didnt want to hear about it; I lacked the courage. However, about four years ago my husband, sister and I went to see her unannounced on a Saturday morning. We tried in vain to get her into rehab. Needless to say she never went. She said she would, but never did. Fast forward three years later. Her drug use has escalated to methamphetamine. Again, we try to persuade her to go to rehab. She says she will, but she never did.That is the thing about drug addicts and alcoholics; they tell you what you want to hear, but have no intention on following through. They think if they stall long enough, sooner or later you will give up and leave them to continue their self-destructive behaviors. At this time she is also a full-blown diabetic. It doesnt run in the family. It is self-inflicted. Today she has open wounds on her feet that wont heal, so she may lose her feet before she dies.There are families around the country that have stories similar to mine. The only difference is that this is my story, someone who feels the loss of a beloved sister who hasnt died yet. The loneliness and despair I feel in my heart is indescribable. Drug and alcohol abuse creates a veil of secrecy, where truth and integrity are distorted. The very people who want to help get caught up in a love and loyalty that is misplaced. Drug and alcohol abuse have changed the fabric of my family. We are a family splintered, tattered and hanging by a thread. Real lives have been altered forever for generations to come because of the lack of courage and love to tell someone no. No, I will not support/finance your drug and alcohol abuse. No, I will not look sideways when I know your children are not being cared for properly. No, I will not tell you that you have done the best you could when clearly you have not. No, I love you too much to let you kill yourself and destroy our family. Our story could have been a story of victory and survival instead of bewilderment and despair. Maybe the outcome would have been the same, but at least we would have the comfort of knowing we did everything we could to save her life. She deserved that.Sometimes, we as family members have an obligation to the people we love most in our lives to stand up and say no enough, enough, enough. For my family it appears to be too late. How sad that someone as talented, bright and beautiful as my little sister did not have people in her life that loved her enough to say no. I will regret that for the rest of my life.Stacey Bennett is a Meeks Bay resident.