My family never imagined we’d have to endure all that transpired in our lives over the past two years. If I didn’t have the relationship I have with Jesus Christ, one that brings me closer to God, I may not have walked through this very well at all, nor be the glue that held us together. This post is the first of a series of brief depictions describing what we’ve walked through with my sister, a drug addict with deep-rooted emotional trauma, since January 2016:
The initial shock came upon receiving a call from a stranger one January evening: My 31-year-old sister was in the emergency room, an hour and a half away. Upon calling the hospital they would give us no information other than she was alive and a domestic dispute had occurred.
We arrived fearing the unknown but were comforted by the intake nurse as she prepared us for what we would see as we waited to go back to the ER. After being led to my sister’s area, the nurse told her we were there. Her initial reaction was not pleasant and she only let me in, not our mother. I stood outside the curtain and peeked in, then desperately tried to control my emotions while being horrified at what I saw: My beautiful little sister had been beaten in the face, beyond recognition. I prayed then allowed the Holy Spirit to take over my entire being so I would stay calm for her.
As I walked in, I quickly realized that something was very wrong, beyond her shattered face. She was pacing the floor, talking incessantly and irrationally—behavior not at all normal for someone in her condition. She started spewing out nasty language and saying horrible things to me that made no sense. Yes, she was in shock, but I literally saw it looking out at me, through her eyes.
I finally got my sister to sit down on the bed next to me; as I spoke, I saw it. The demon of addiction had a grip on my sister’s mind and body, and it was not at all happy to see me. I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I am your sister, who loves you and whom you love. I need you to look me in the eyes…” She focused on me for a moment, shook out of her state, calmed down a bit.
While we awaited her release, I prayed under my breath for divine help and wisdom in how to help her.
That night was the beginning of an ongoing nightmare for our family!
I took my sister home with me so she would be safe and cared for until she had to be back to her town for follow-up appointments with the doctors for her injuries. During this time, I further assessed her very fragile mental and emotional state. To give a little history, I’d known she struggled with prescription drug abuse for about a decade. She was clean on and off but we lived in different states (in the U.S.A.) most of that time, therefore, it was difficult to assess if she was using during visits. During the week she was under my care, it was apparent it something harder she was still high on (I recognize withdrawal), plus her prescription cocktail of pain, anxiety, anti-depressant, ADD and anti-psychotic “medications” and sleeping pills. (Nope, I’m not exaggerating!)
I went with her to the attending primary physician assigned to her for follow-up, and boy I felt for him. In months prior I had figured out that my sister had been shopping doctors for a long time to be sure she got her drugs. She was determined to play this doctor as well. Thankfully, the new generation of medical student is being trained well, to recognize such abuse of the system, and is standing strong. He was kind yet firm with her while she grew agitated; thankfully, he wasn’t giving in to her “needs.” At one point I literally put my big-sister foot down hard, telling her to stop trying to override what the doctor was saying because he knew what was best.
After we left the medical center, I had a long, hard talk with her and finally confronted her “game.” She may have been in pain due to her injuries, however, I recognized that my sister was completely out of control and someone needed to intervene. Many truths about the relationship she was in came forth during that week. Upon discovering what she’d been through, I discerned the need to step in, letting her know I intended to start keeping closer tabs on her out of deep concern over her life.
During this time, I was a newlywed who walked unknowingly into marriage with a covert narcissist (hiding his own addiction to drugs, porn, and social media) who immediately turned abusive. I was hiding it from my family, who apparently had their suspicions.
There was absolutely no way for me to successfully cope, than to depend on the Lord for strength, in order to be strong for my sister and the rest of our family.
Stacey Louiso lives for, and tries to love everyone wholly by constantly studying the heart of, Jesus Christ. In gratitude for transforming her life back into one that is pleasing and usable to God, she walks toward virtue, praying to embody a woman after God’s own heart! Her gratitude is due to being delivered from several decades of many types of abuse and victimization, as well as physical, emotional and mental health issues.