Losing a sibling changes your world in a heartbeat. Bonds are shattered, future events like birthdays and holidays will never be the same, a void is created that is impossible to ever be filled again. There is also guilt. You ask yourself, “what could I have done differently?” or “what could I have done to save them?” Dealing with grief means that one must lean into their emotions and become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Some individuals release their emotions by expressing their feelings, others cry, and some bottle it up. Being the man of the family, I had to be there for my mother and my other younger brother. I did not have time to focus on my pain, and I probably did not want to anyway. I had to play the part of being a role model and a supporter and that was more important than dealing with my feelings.
After losing Eric, my pain consumed my life. I would escape the pain and anger I felt by drowning it with alcohol. It did not take long for this to start ruining close relationships as well as my career that I had worked so hard to build. I knew that I had to make a change, quickly, or else my mother was going to lose another son and that thought was almost more painful than losing Eric. EricsHouse has helped me understand and grow from the grief I felt and still feel. Being a part of the Men’s Group at EricsHouse has and continues to change my life. The men I meet with on a weekly basis hold me accountable to promises I have made with myself, they allow me to express emotions I normally would not by being vulnerable, and the group allows me to help others who are just beginning their loss journey or healing from an addiction. Empowering others to find the courage within themselves to heal and accept not only the situation, but also accept themselves, is the greatest gift that EricsHouse has given me.