Disclaimer: I got permission to share what is in this post.
I was awakened by the telephone ringing. I opened one eye and looked at the clock. 4am. I knew who it is was, or so I thought. There was only one person that would be calling me in the middle of the night…my sister. I picked up the phone and said hello dreading what I was going to hear from the other end. I had been here many times before. A male voice asked if I was Lesa Schepers. My heart quickened as it was not who I expected. “Mrs. Schepers, I’m officer ____ and I am here with your sister. We need you to come to your parent’s house.”
The police officer explained that my sister called 911 and was threatening to take her life. He said that she was drunk. They confiscated all of the alcohol that was in the house and told me that I needed to come get her. It was New Year’s Eve a year after my mom died and my dad wasn’t home. I told them I was on my way. I hung up the phone and explained to my husband what was going on. He was not happy that I would be traveling an hour in the middle of the night…especially a night that there was a high incidence of drunk driving. At the time, I didn’t realize I could say no to the officer. I thought I had to go. So I left my two babies, aged 4 and almost 3, my angry husband, and I drove to my parent’s house.
To say that my sister was drunk was an understatement. When the police officers left her (they did not wait for me to get there), she proceeded to drink all of the cough medicine that was in the house. I got there at 5:30am and after chatting with her for about an hour I decided that I would try to get her into rehab. I brought her to my house where I could do some research with her insurance company and they found a place near my house. It was approaching evening by the time we got there and she had not completely sobered up yet.
We walked into the facility and they took her into a room to chat with her and go over her insurance. I was sitting in the lobby when suddenly a very angry young woman (a resident at the rehab) came up to the Christmas tree, knocked it over, and stomped on every glass ornament that was on the tree breaking them. She was upset that she wasn’t going home for a visit that she felt she should be allowed to do. I sat there contemplating if I was doing the right thing. I felt guilty…wondering if my mom would agree with me pushing my sister to do this. I had always been my sister’s protector and this place didn’t seem very safe so far. Someone from the office came out and escorted me to another room so that they could clean up the mess. In that room, residents were sneaking back into the facility through the window. Needless to say, it was quite the adventure. I was definitely rethinking this particular place for my sister. Turns out her insurance wouldn’t pay for the stay after all and I left bringing her with me.
I would like to say that things got better after that, but sadly they got much worse.
So why do I bring this up? I’ve heard it mentioned many times from Christians that they believe being gay is like being an alcoholic. I don’t quite understand that logic. Alcoholism is a disease. A person’s sexuality is not a disease. A person can choose to take a drink, but a gay person can’t choose their sexuality. Alcoholism destroys lives. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve shared this story because I have been in the trenches of addiction with someone. It is ugly and it ravages lives. It makes the person addicted very selfish. Their alcoholism can also be destructive to their family and any one who loves them. A person who is an alcoholic eventually learns that the alcohol is their enemy. If they take the steps to stop drinking, their lives change for the better. They are able to bear fruit. Asking someone who is gay to give up their sexuality does the opposite of what happens when an alcoholic stops drinking. It causes them to hate their sexuality and since sexuality is a part of who they are…they end up hating themselves. This often causes depression and unfortunately thoughts of suicide for many. It’s a very different picture from a recovering alcoholic. I guess some would argue that a gay person accepting their sexuality and acting on it causes destruction in their lives, but that is a conversation for another time (smile).
Note: I am happy to say that today my sister has been sober for 11 years. She made the decision to get clean 7 years after our New Year’s Eve adventure. She has shared her story and helped to change many people’s lives over the years. I am very proud of her. She is one of the strongest and most resilient people I know.
Remember to love each other…because love matters.