I almost died four years ago this week, and tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of my younger brother Landon saving my life.
After a 16 year battle with drugs and alcohol I was taken over completely in 2007 and it nearly killed me. I locked myself in my house and began to smoke rock cocaine and drink vodka around the clock. I rarely left. This went on for months and I spent $67,000.00 on my addiction during that final year. I overdosed on two occasions, and I was headed for death. I wish I could say I was so messed up that it didn’t register, but it did. I knew what I was doing this time; I just didn’t care. No one could stop me.
On March 22nd, 2008 someone did manage to stop me, though. My little brother Landon burst into my living room with his wife Ashley unannounced to “get me help”. I had passed my lowest point weeks before and was spiraling toward the end by the time they got there. My entire junky setup was on display in front of me and there it was; the truth. ALL of it. There was a thick layer of cocaine smoke in the air and I remember yelling out something like “Don’t come in here if you’re pregnant” to my sister-in-law. I was in a state.
I looked like a dying man because I was a dying man. Ashley looked afraid when she saw me. My brother did, too. This made me feel afraid, and in that moment, my sweet brother’s fear and love and hopes for my future somehow reached me. He took me by the arm and put me in the car and we went to the hospital. When we got there he had to use force to get me to go in but he managed to get me into the building, admitted, and the rest is history.
The past four years have been the most wonderful gift. I have come back to myself, back to this world, back to my family; and I’ve found love and joy that I would have never found had I not made it through. There are still moments when who I was before shows up in my present day, but I am not afraid of that person. He was a person, too. A very sick, sad person who needed help.
The truth of my story is hard sometimes. I certainly wish I hadn’t done many of the things I did during my addicted years, but I am empowered by that same, scary truth. I am not ashamed of having overcome the circumstances of my life, and I am proud to be here today as a result of hard work and the goodness of others who have given me the opportunity to start over.
I saved my little brother’s life when we were young boys, and he returned the favor when we were grown men. Now, years later, I am still moved by his bravery. To stand up to me like that in my darkest hour; to come find me when I had shut him out; to physically maneuver me toward safety; that must have all been so scary…but he did it, and I am here today as a result.
Thank you, little brother, for showing up when I needed you. You got there just in time.
…and thank you to everyone who loved me then, who loves and cares about me now, and who keeps reminding me of just how lucky I am to be here. This world is beautiful because of you.