My name is Clair. Recently, Know the Truth came and visited my school to talk about their stories and their struggles. I listened closely, playing with a ring on my pinkie finger occasionally because it was hard to look the speaker in the eye. That same ring in a way represents my sister to me.
So yes, this is a story about her and my point of view. My sister and I are ten years and four days apart. As she went through high school, I went through elementary school. So, we were not the closest sisters. Of course we loved each other but we never truly knew anything deep about each other. She was a great girl at school with the “right” group of friends. There was nothing expected to go wrong.
As she went to college, I watched from a distance. However, she slowly started to experience depression and anxiety. She had suicidal thoughts, an idea I then only thought was just something said quickly in commercials. I remember when she came home for Christmas one year, she had an anxiety attack and I watched from a far. I did not know how to help, and not knowing what to do is a horrible feeling.
Well life went on. She graduated college and she lived at home for awhile and then moved to a very small house on her own. My mother thought she was doing great. Everyone did! She had a great job and when you talked to her on the phone she sounded like she was taking her anti-depressant.
It is very unfortunate that her anti-depressant was a drug called Xanax, a highly addictive drug that makes me flinch every time I hear it.
It was not long after that my mother got a call from a hospital about my sister taking her prescription with a lot of alcohol. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that she had almost died. That I had almost been left without a sister. But my mother understood it, and she cried. She never cried in front of me, because she had to be strong for my sister and I. But I overheard her talking on the phone one day to someone about how she felt like she was a horrible mother.
My sister moved in with her dad, having to quit her job. Her dad lives an hour from where my mom lives which means I spent less time with her. This whole thing progressed, her overdosing, alcohol, surviving somehow, outpatient, and repeat. It was a constant cycle that could not last much longer. One day, my mother found out my sister took about 60 pills in a span of three days. It was a miracle that my sister didn’t die on the spot. However, I was not as naïve as I was before. That day my mother and I cried together. That is all we could do at that point. Cry.
The next day I was pulled out of school so we could have an intervention for her and make sure she would go into impatient. The room felt heavy, and everyone was crying, but me. I had to stay strong. The only way I was able to do that was by not looking her in the eye and playing with the ring on my pinkie finger. She told us she hated us all, that she was not going to let us visit her. I knew and hoped she didn’t mean anything about it. So she kicked and screamed her way to impatient.
There is a happy ending. That intervention was a wake up call for her. She realized that her misuse of prescription drugs did not only hurt her, but damaged her family. She has remained sober ever since the intervention. She has a good job and a good boyfriend whom she will move in with very soon. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I did something for her instead of watched her from a distance. Even if that was to try and be strong in a place where you could be crushed by the tension.
My sister did not use illegal drugs, but the prescription drugs were just as bad. My sister still has to pay for some of the things she did while she was high. My point is, someone has a story of how they have abused substances but there are many of us who have a story of knowing and caring for a person that abused substances. And if that’s you, you can do something. Even if it is the slightest thing like a hug, it is always worth a shot. It might seem impossible, but you can do something to help.
My sisters story has become my own, something we must both live with together. But I would rather be together then separated because of drugs.
Share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.