We have a problem in our family.
We are no different than many other families.
A few weeks ago, I lost a cousin because of it. He was my age.
I didn’t know him well, especially in his adult years. I remember him as a child, playing together when he and his family came up from PA for a visit.
More reserved and more cerebral, Seth was quiet, compared to the rest of us.
Even at a young age, I could feel his sensitivity to the world around him. He had a current laced with sadness that ran slightly different from my own.
And yet, that same current, I have felt in other members of my family also. Quieted at family cocktail hours, it was there. Ever present, a big elephant in the room lurked silently, consuming those who were consumable.
As I got older, I realized that some of my family members had cocktail “hours” that started at 10 in the morning, and spanned the rest of the day. Then I became even more astute and aware, I listened to the stories that were told and realized how many of them revolved around the golden amber drink.
In my 30’s I started to find out that some of them had gone to rehab a few times, in fact. However, they still managed to have a cocktail at family functions or the shakes.
Why can some of us have just 1 or 2, while others can only go 1 or 2 hours without?
What I remember about my cousin was that he was a handsome, hardworking, kind soul. He was never married, always solo, in and out of jobs, and at one point, even owned his own trucking company. A lifelong dream. But even the dream didn’t have the power to pull him out of it. So very hard to understand.
I wonder…what was missing for my cousin? Why did he always turn to the drink?
How could we have helped?
Today, running through my mind: Will this terrible disease affect any of my children? Is that current lurking?
God, I pray not.
God, I pray that today, someone will choose sobriety for the rest of their lives.
…that a family member will reach out and help another family member get sober.
…that someone who feels disconnected will connect with a human instead of a drink.
…that all of those who don’t feel love will feel love, and allow it to help them.
…that one of my family members will step away from the ledge, avoiding the same awful fate that found my cousin, Seth, just a few short weeks ago.
God, I pray that my cousin has now found peace, and comfort, far away from the demons he so desperately ran from his entire life.
With love, your cousin,