I’ve worked in the field of addiction science throughout my career. I suppose I thought if I couldn’t ‘fix’ the people in my family I loved, then at least I could learn to understand them, to understand addiction, to rationalize, to help, or even control the chaos.

When the ‘addicts’ in my family were doing well, I was doing well. When they were struggling, I was struggling. I became preoccupied with making sure my brother and father were OK – even though I knew better. This cycle began to impact my family. My husband and I had been trying to have a baby and were having trouble. I knew something had to change. I started to make changes in several areas of my life – reducing stress and focusing my energy inward. Part of what I needed to let go of was the continuous ties I had to my brother’s and father’s well-being. I’ve spent plenty of time in therapy, reading, and attending other 12-step style support groups. I was in a place where I was looking for something different. That is when I decided to join the Siblings Group with WakeUp Carolina.

At my first meeting, I was the only attendee. I immediately connected with Hope and felt the welcoming, judgment-free atmosphere I still appreciate. I poured my heart out to Hope, told my story, and explained the changes I was looking to make. Hope provided tons of resources, encouraged me to come back, and assured me there would be others in attendance at the next meeting. I left my first Siblings Group meeting feeling lighter, hopeful, and reminded there were others out there like me.

As I continued to come back (and I did, religiously), I was reminded of healthy boundaries; and I was able to connect and share with others like me. It has been so refreshing to explore addiction, recovery, and relapse and their impact from a sibling’s perspective. As siblings, we often get lost in the chaos, but we are very much impacted by the cycle of addiction. The Siblings Support Group through WakeUp Carolina has been an invaluable resource to me and has allowed me to let go of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. I have been able to grow and heal, and most importantly show up for my husband and our son.

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