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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Benyamin Bresinger

I wasn't the addict yet I was silently screaming: Bryan's story


I hate that word. "Dude, your brother is insane!" I couldn't tell you how many times I heard that line. They were referring to Jay. Technically my half brother. Six years older than me. Ruining my life. Screaming inside

Jay wasn't always a party animal. I remember him protecting me from Dad. Taking the beating. Crying in the corner while I hid under my blanket. My Dad was a man's man. Worked hard at a blue collar job, drank heavily when he got home. He didn't always beat us, but there were some bad days when I found refuge in the safe darkness under my blanket. At some point, Jay underwent a change and began sneaking into Dad's alcohol closet. He must have been around 12 years old. As he got older, he turned into a troublesome youth who was always skipping school and getting drunk or high. It was up to me to keep the family together. Instead of shooting hoops with my friends, I was cleaning vomit from the living room carpet. Instead of playing on an Xbox, I was diligently doing my homework. I was an A student screaming silently. How I wished someone would check on me. Ask how I was doing. How I wish I could tell them. My bold request Chabad Lifeline helped me recognize my lack of self-care. My bad habits. My efforts at being impossibly perfect. Their youth counsellors are incredible, and have helped me find my voice. They helped me find my youth. My brother still struggles with his addiction. My Dad occasionally comes for meetings. It's a battle forward, and we're on the road to recovery as a family. Last week, I did something I had never done before. I asked my Dad for money. $100 to be exact. Why? To purchase a raffle ticket (under his name). Not because I want to win the $15,000 (though we won't say no to that), but because I want to support a place that heals the entire family as a unit. --- Please note that names and certain identifying information has been changed to protect anonymity. To purchase your raffle tickets, click here.

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