Monday, April 6, 2015

This I Believe...

I never thought my uncle who I looked up to could possibly let me down in such an enormous way. 21 years passed and nothing had changed. I went from playing baseball with him, to him taking me to see R-rated movies, to me standing up in his wedding. My uncle is only 12 years older than me, and splits the difference between my dad and I. All that basically means is that he and I are more like brothers than uncle and nephew.

This bond we had was always something I could rely on. If I needed advice I could always go to my uncle. But in October of last year, he came to me for the advice. I received a phone call in which my uncle confessed to me that he had developed a drinking problem. He spent about half an hour on the phone with me in tears referencing the complications that had already occurred due to his addiction. I hung up the phone after professing my support for him, but I felt odd. I couldn't help but feel mad at him for faltering. I had always looked upon him with the utmost respect and that had now been tainted.

Regardless of my feelings I continued to show my support in him getting help. He ended up entering rehab about a week after the initial phone call and spent 30 days there where he went through a detox program as well as intensive personal and group therapy.After the end of the program , things were seemingly back to normal. However, three months later the slip up happened. My uncle took a drastic turn back to booze and wound up getting kicked out of his house by his wife and moving back in with his mom (my grandmother).

My anger after his relapse was much greater than before. I had finally lost my role model. I spent many weeks ignoring phone calls and avoiding conversations even after he went through rehab again. But one day I decided to give a conversation a chance. After a long talk I began to understand that addiction is by no means a choice. The person loses all semblance of rational thinking and the choice by many loved ones to distance themselves from the situation is anything but helpful. My uncle explained how alone he felt and how not having people to talk to made it that much harder to stay sober.

I think as a society we still think of addiction as a taboo topic. The problem with that is the lack of conversation and knowledge we have and acquire. People suffering from addiction need unconditional love and support regardless of your personal feelings. Without it successful rehab is much more difficult.  

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