Letters to My Brother

In preparation for my brother’s intervention today, we all wrote letters. We were to read them to him with the hope he would enter a rehab program today. Although he could not attend the intervention, my oldest nephew, the son of my brother who died in April, wrote these words to his uncle:

Uncle Steve,

I wish I could have been there to tell you this in person, but the fact of the matter is I care about you, how you are doing, and care enough to not want to see you make the same mistakes my dad did before it’s too late.

I care about you enough to not want your son and daughter, my cousins, to have to go through the same devastating, awful experience that me and my brother had to go through when my dad, your brother, died alone, seemingly out of nowhere. That is something I would never wish on anyone, especially your own children, because it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.

I care enough to see you get well starting today Uncle Steve, not only for yourself, but for everyone else in your life that cares about you as much as I do.


At the intervention, my brother’s daughter read first. I then read my letter. The interventionist read Jeffrey’s letter, followed by his son, his co-worker, and at the end, my mother. At many points, my brother had tears in his eyes. But it wasn’t until each of us had read our letters that he answered the question: Will you go for treatment today? He responded:

  • I’ve been working on it on my own.
  • I won’t go. Hell no.
  • I was sober for a year and it was no fun, boring.
  • I won’t go now. I’ll go next week.

As these excuses fell from his mouth, he looked at my tears, at this daughter’s tears. He stared at me.

“Please, Steve. I can’t lose another brother.”

“Where is this place? I need to change my clothes. I need to pack. How can I go today? Now?”

We told him it had all been arranged. We’d meet him there with his things. They were expecting him.

He seemed to understand the inevitability of it. I sensed not defeat, but relief. They asked him whether he wanted to go alone with the interventionist, or would he like me to go too. He said wanted me to go with him.

On the way, he gave me his best dirty looks. I told him I love him and how proud of him I am. I told him to not be afraid, they would take good care of him. I told him there are many people who love and support him. He responded that we’re all against him. I told him if we were against him, we would have let him continue on as he was. We would have let him kill himself. I held his hand. His eyes filled with tears. Like on Christmas night when I told him I want my brother back. When I told him we’d get him help. When he held on to me and cried.

We did get him help. And he said, yes.


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