I am remembering today about swimming competitively when I was twelve-years old. I had always idolized my older brother and followed him into competetive swimming.
My brother was going to be a lane judge in an upcoming swim meet. It was a “B” meet, which was a level higher than I had ever competed before and it took winning various levels to get there. My brother had warned me that if I did not touch with two hands on my breast stroke turn, that he would have to disqualify me. He warned me more than once.
I didn’t believe him. Especially being his sister. He wouldn’t do that to me, would he?
Because he loved me and wanted me to compete fairly.
I didn’t touch with both hands on my turn in the meet, being in such a hurry and in compete-mode. I was pleased to win second place and immediately disappointed to learn I had been disqualified and knew it was my brother who had done it. All he said to me was, “I warned you.”
It was a great lesson I learned that day—one I never knew would apply in such a dramatic way later in my life. I was two years sober and my sponsor was coaching me through an intervention on my brother. I was tormented by dreams of him dying of his alcoholism. He was about to celebrate his 55th birthday and I didn’t want to see him die. His drinking had hit an all-time high.
I realized as I remembered this swimming incident from my past, that the tables were turned now. I was struggling with calling him on his drinking and suggesting he go into treatment—disqualifying him from life’s race (as he was swimming it), if you will.
I know it took guts to do what my brother did for me so many years ago—for my own good. In remembering this, we went forward and did the intervention on him for his own good and because we loved him. Our mom, his wife and I sat at the kitchen table and told him lovingly about our concern for him. He told us he had been waiting for it, knowing I had gotten sober two years prior.
He caved quite easily. Needless to say, he made it to his 55th birthday thirty-five days later.
He is now sober and competing fairly in life again. We are both putting sobriety first place in our lives now—all of life’s good things follow after that.
Our love for each other is deeper and richer as the result of us calling each other on the hard things. We are accountable to each other, to our family, and to God.
I pray that by hearing this, it may give you hope to support your own struggling family member with love.
“Take good counsel and accept correction—that’s the way to live wisely and well. We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.”
Proverbs 19:20-21 The Message Translation
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