mmmmmmmmmmlli mmmmmmmmmmlli mmmmmmmmmmlli mmmmmmmmmmlli

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My brother was decesed through drugs and alcohol

Posted by VicKie D on 5 September 2015.

My name is Victoria I thought it appropriate to give a true life reflection on the way in which my brother’s addiction affected my family.  This is our story.
My brother Nicholas died of a heroin and alcohol overdose on March the 6th 2001. Nicholas was my only sibling and the loss of him hit me hard. Initially I cried for him but did not have the life experience to truly understand the nature of addiction and spent many years in shock. As I have become older I have searched for answers and it has led me to try and truly understand the nature of this awful disease.  My brother and I had a love hate relationship, but also had that deep sibling love for each other that brothers and sisters have, the older we got the better friends we became.
Nick and I had a good upbringing, both parents worked and loved us, we wanted for nothing.               It took my brother’s death for me to realise that addiction knows no boundaries and affects all kinds of people, from all walks of life.
Nicholas started using recreational drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy, and speed (amphetamine) aged seventeen. At the time all (or so I thought) of the local kids in our area were dabbling in drugs in one way or another and I thought it was completely normal, it is for this reason that I never alerted my parents to my brother’s drug use. Nick was so shy and self-conscious that, he used drugs and alcohol to help him feel more confident.
At 21, Nick, along with a small group of his friends, began getting in to harder drugs and Nicky’s drug use escalated until finally he tried heroin. By the age of 22 he was a full blown addict.  When he could no longer cope with being addicted to heroin, he used alcohol too. Our parents were beside themselves it was so tough to see their beautiful boy ravaged by that dreadful drug, We did not have a thorough understanding of drug and alcohol addiction, we were all guilty of burying our heads in the sand and truly believing that he would just “get over it”.  Nothing prepared me for the fact that he would die! It came as a complete shock, we were so naïve.  I wish that there had been some drug education and awareness but there was nothing.  He died aged just 29 years old.
The day Nicholas died I was at work, my parents came to collect me and my mum could barely tell me what had happened. The period of time after this is cemented in my mind forever, my cousins coming to help me, forensics in white suits, and police everywhere.  My parents’ house taped up with that yellow tape with crime scene written on and my brother being carried out of the house it in a body bag. My poor mum was unable to take in what had happened and I felt so lost and alone. It felt like someone had dropped a bomb into the middle of our family.  
For me Nicholas’ death did not sink in, no matter how many tears I cried. I just could not accept the enormity of the situation. There was no support. The Dr gave me sedatives and anti-depressants’ but there was no formal support at all.  My parents had to deal with this together, I only had my cousins and friends, and I felt like no one understood me at all. I did not know of anyone close to me whose sibling had died from a drug overdose and I felt embarrassed and not quite sure of what I should tell people, for me this was heart-breaking. I was not ashamed of Nick but I didn’t want others to stigmatise him because to me before anything else he was just my brother, not an addict not an alcoholic just our little ‘Nips’ (our parents pet name for him ) I could not bear others to look down on him. Our parents, especially our mum could not talk about him at all and I found this really difficult.
Over the next few years I tried to get on with life. I relocated with a new partner and we raised five children together. It was only as my children began reaching their teenage years that I felt I truly needed to understand what had happened to Nicholas. I read and researched every article on drug abuse that I could, I began to understand the mental and physical dependency my brother had to both drugs and alcohol. It saddened me and I found myself suffering a kind of post traumatic shock. My heart broke over and over for our mother. I grieved for what should have been. I felt cheated and angry that we did not have the understanding or the capacity to deal with such a tragic situation. I had so many questions but no answers. For me this time in my life was even harder than when we initially lost him.
Throughout this period of time, my husband was a huge support to me. With his help and support I told our Dr who referred me for counselling. I have steadily come to accept what has happened. I still cry, I still miss him but these days I can also smile and remember his ‘antics’. He was a talented artist, a compassionate and kind individual who lost his way. I am proud he was my brother, because to me over everything else he was just that!  He gave me wonderful memories and for that, I am truly grateful.
Thirteen years later, I can now openly talk about him and I am ready to raise awareness to help others facing similar situations, he was always helping other’s despite his addictions so I am working hard to get drug education to our youngsters! And by doing so, this is my tribute to my beautiful big brother xx

Comments

Icarus Trust
5 Oct 2015

Hi Vickie,
I'm so sad to read your story but think you are very brave to use such a hard time in your life to help other people having similar experiences. Good luck to you.

Asibling
10 Jun 2016

Thank you for sharing your story.

It seems there are few services and research done considering the experience of family members, in particular siblings. That is why I am conducting a research project looking at the narratives of siblings, encouraging others like you to share their experiences. If you wish to participate and share your story or would like more information please contact me at u1422721@uel.ac.uk. Thank you.

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