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A Three Year Journey and the 40+ Angels Who Helped Us

It was a perfect July day when my brother phoned with a jarring warning that things were going to change. His speech was difficult to understand and his state of mind was a scramble of confusion, agitation, paranoia and desperation. 40 years of drug and alcohol dependency has unleashed a nightmare for him.

Hearing his distress, our decision to help cam easily. We packed out bags and headed north to the historic little mountain town in Colorado he called home. In six hours we arrived at T’s doorstep. Inside we saw the sink and stove piled high with dirty dishes. Every surface in his little studio we covered with papers, bills and well-check cards from the police. His normally tidy place was like his mental state – a mess.

In amidst of this chaos we hatched a plan to begin to help him. I called his doctor and the receptionist hearing my concern over T’s suicidal state immediately connected me to a nurse and we saw his doctor that day. So began my brother’s journey to recovery.

The doctor ordered numerous tests.  The tests revealed a diagnosis of chronic depression, high suicidal tendencies, COPD and dietary imbalances. NOT ADDICTION.

My brother wanted to detox. The counselor at the doctors office told us about A Way Out.  We knew rehab was the next step and called A Way Out for help locating an addiction treatment center that would take a 60 year old. T was still in a confused state and unable to fill out the scholarship application. He had to dictate it to me. It was accepted and we knew his higher power was at work.

My husband and I were also connected with an A Way Out family counselor who helped us learn to take steps to take care of ourselves and also learn appropriate boundaries of what is OK with us. We also connected with Alanon on her advice.

We learned from his treatment facility that A Way Out fought to get him into that T’s brain has been significantly altered from drinking and drugs and he now had dementia. It was recommended that he be placed in an assisted living home. We were very sad to hear this.

Post his rehab T has been a regular to his AA meetings 4-5 times per week. My husband and I are regulars at Alanon. Our AA and Alanon family groups are lifesavers.

Knowing that people in recovery are aided by having other family members attending Alanon meetings was another key to our success.

It’s been a few years now and T has new friends in his new town nearby. He is content with his assisted living arrangement and is now looking for more independent living. He has been clean and sober for over three years. He is healthy and his brain has shown definite signs of healing. Family members that distanced themselves from him have drawn closer.

We understand the FAMILY DISEASE better now. T and our family now speak the language of the 12 steps. It was the key to our recovery as a family.

Family member of a client.

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