This week my brother called me to chat.  I can’t even remember when the last time was that he had called me to talk and not to ask me for something. The fact that he just wanted to have a conversation is such a positive sign.  He shared other positive news with me also.  He said that he’s starting to feel “normal” again.  He had a counseling session with his girlfriend (the one he was using with who had overdosed) and came to the realization that it was not good for his recovery to have her in his life.  He has agreed to do counseling sessions with my mom and dad and he has finally given up on his insistence that he would resume suboxone use after rehab.

I met his counselor randomly this week also.  I was at a training on identifying trauma in substance abusers and I overheard a girl say the name of my brother’s counselor.  She was a stocky girl with brown hair, blue eyes, and tattoos covering her arms.  I introduced myself following the training.  She asked, “Have we met before?”  I told her that we had talked on the phone once and that she knew my brother.  My name finally clicked with her.  She immediately started gushing about how well my brother is doing.

My mom talked to my brother’s counselor on the phone this week too.  Just as a bit of backstory, my mom has stayed active in my niece’s life even when my brother was lost in his addiction.  A couple of weeks ago she delivered a letter to my niece from my brother.  He had written that he was sorry that he’s been away so long, but that he’s getting better.  He also asked her if she would forgive him.  My mom said that after my niece read the letter she immediately started writing him a letter back.  The first thing she wrote was, “I forgive you Daddy.”  This letter was delivered to my brother at rehab.  The counselor told my mom that my brother read it silently during a group session and then gave it to the counselor to read out loud to the group.  The counselor said that almost every man in the room started crying.  It was such a powerful moment for them to hear the forgiving words of a six year old.

I am cautiously optimistic.  I haven’t asked my brother yet what he plans to do when he gets out of rehab.  He was living with me before and I don’t know if he will be returning or trying something new.  The thought of him coming back only to disappear into drugs again terrifies me, but I am trying to stay hopeful that this will be a life changing experience for him.  Things are looking up for now.