These emotionally powerful words were recently sent to us by a young Trowbridge woman. She writes with agonising honesty about the reality of living with her drug addicted brother, and the massive impact it has had on her whole family.

I have been asked more than once ‘why don’t you take drugs’. Why I’m the one at a party that stays on the dance floor whilst others sneak off to quiet corners of the venue? I was the more unusual one for not going off to do a line. And I have no judgement on that. I’m surrounded by drugs. My nearest and dearest use when they’re out having fun and I still love them dearly. But my answer to the question ‘why aren’t you doing any’ was “my brother does enough for the both of us” and laugh. I’d make light of the fact I didn’t touch the shit because I’d watched it destroy my brother and my family for years. It’s hard to describe really, it’s such an invisible yet blatant illness. My brother isn’t a heroin addict you walk past on the street. Often the drugs he took were in plain view, when he was surround by his friends, in the most social situations. No secrets, no dirty habit, just part of a good night. Except when it stopped being this. Except when it started to be alone in his bedroom at night. And then alone in his bedroom during the day. I’ve watched my brother slur his speech and struggle to stand in our family home. I’ve seen my brother off his head, curled up in a ball outside the local club. I’ve watched my brother come home bloody and bruised after disappearing for 48 hours. I’ve watched my brother get into crippling debt. I’ve watched my mum break her heart as she puts a plea out on Facebook asking if anyone has seen my brother in the past 2 days. I’ve watched my mum scream at the top of her lungs in agony after my brother has just drug driven home. I’ve watched my brother and step dad head to head in physical violence because my brothers in a vile mood on a hideous come down. I’ve watched my brother be kicked out of his home. I’ve watched my brother come back to his home. And repeat, again and again. I’ve watched my mum, myself, all of us, lose all fight against this habit because none of us know how to win. So why don’t I take drugs? My brother does enough for the both of us.