An Unedited and Unsolicited Letter
(Used with Dorothy’s permission and at her request)
You probably do not remember me, but I wanted you to know what happened after we spoke months ago. I tried unsuccessfully to help my sister Elaine from alcoholism, and drugs, I had talked to you briefly about you handling her intervention. But I was too late, I hesitated, and she died.
Elaine was a brilliant Geneticist, she was extremely bright, I always looked up to her even though she was my baby sister. While I was trying to get her help she ran away, and drove a car. She was drunk, and while she was drinking she decided to drive to Las Vegas and ran her car into a brick wall outside of Las Vegas. Elaine was brain dead, and on a respirator for a week before I consented to pull the plug. Elaine died.
I did everything wrong, in what I thought was helping her, I waited too long to seek your help, I tried to do it on my own and I failed. When we last spoke you asked me If I was ready to fire myself, and hire a pro. I was ready, but I had waited to long and she was running, it was too late.
I was flipping channels tonight and came across your show, and wow, did it bring that horrible night back to me, The night I chased Elaine all over into areas of town I would normally have never gone, and the absolute desperation I felt, I still feel the pain as if yesterday.
Elaine was an amazing woman, she was brilliant. Advanced education came easy to her, while we were at Harvard, I had to work to get a 4.0, while she just partied and still pulled the grades. School was effortless for her, she was so smart. In school she discovered drinking, and she loved being the life of the party. Upon graduation Elaine got the job that everyone wanted, she was hired out of college as a chief geneticist by a major Bio -Tech industry. This great scientist was partying with thugs, and undesirable’s, I would show up at her enormous mansion and see “low life” people “hanging out” there. I did not understand how this brilliant mind could surround herself with such loser people. Elaine let everything that was important to her go, and soon it was all about getting drunk or high, and staying there. She threw her dream career away, which everyone else wanted but her.
I wanted you to tell your families in crisis this tale. If you have people who aren’t sure if they should seek intervention for a loved one, you must tell them not to wait or it could be too late. I waited and my sister is dead! I will never forgive myself for waiting, and then thinking that I could do it alone. When you love someone you can not do there intervention alone, you need help. I believe that If I would of done this the right way, my sister would be alive right now, my action’s caused her death, she was running from me when she crashed her car into the wall, it was my fault, and I will carry this guilt to my grave. My sister’s fear of my help made her drive all the way out of state. I had to hear of her accident from a policeman at the door. I flew to help her but again too late, all I could do was hold her hand, until she died.
I did not understand my sister’s addiction, and maybe I never will, how someone so brilliant could throw it all away, for a drink, or to get high. I only know the pain I feel that my sister is dead. People who are addicted need help from those who understand the drive that addicts have, and if your not an addict you will never understand, and therefore cannot help. If you really want to help then you must relinquish control to the professionals in the field.
I hope if you have a family, not quite sure, than this may help. You can use the email, I hope it will help others. I know that in my heart if I had called you sooner, my sister would still be alive today. A day’s wait can be the difference between life and death. Don’t let them wait, or they could end up spending the money on a funeral instead of a recovery house. Don’t let the addict convince them that they can get clean on their own, because they can’t , if they could they would of done it by this point. I encourage you to tell your families what happened to our family. My sister died because we were trying to fix the problem ourselves. We loved Elaine, and just never thought her addiction would ever get as bad as it did. We did not understand the lengths and addict would go to get high. Elaine was brilliant, and she could so easily convince us, that her addiction was not that bad, and she could fix it herself when she was ready. We listened to Elaine, and now the only conversations I have with my sister are over her head stone.