It’s unfortunate, but I have a cousin who is in recovery. He and I grew up together and were best friends in our childhood. As adults, we went down different paths: I pursued education and a career. He pursued getting high and the school of hard knocks.
Even though we have made different life choices, we were always connected. I could always talk to him and the family often came to me when he was experiencing severe bouts with drugs.
I’m not a counselor or trained in any way to deal with these issues, but I love him and could simply listen to his troubles. I tried to engage him like he had a sickness, not like he was a bad person or made bad choices. Because of this, he didn’t feel shamed around me. This often led to attempts at sobriety, partly to make me proud, even …