Tuesday, September 11, 2012


These are the letters written by my son's brother, sister-in-law, nephew, sister, and brother-in-law for his one year sober celebration. 

"I remember like it was yesterday when I used to call you “little man”.  Now my son has adopted that nickname and you have grown into my grownup little brother.  I remember the day we were blessed to have you become part of our family, how excited I was to come home from school to meet my new little brother for the first time.  The excitement of having a little brother hasn’t changed even after all these years.

I am so proud to call you my brother.  You have developed into a wonderful young man.  Of course you have had your struggles.  Some of which I cannot even begin to comprehend how you got through them.  Some I wonder how long and how hard you will have to fight your whole life to manage.

You have become such an influence in my life, an influence of perseverance, overcoming challenges, and never giving up.  Sometimes you probably think I am just a big jerk to you.  Sometimes I am.  Sometimes I am especially hard on you because I see you not living up to your potential.  One of my favorite quotes is, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is.  Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.”  This is how I have always tried to treat you, as you can and should be.  I see so much potential in you, some you try really hard to live up to, and some you squabble away.  I want you to know I am proud to call myself your brother.  Always realize your potential--you are destined for great things.

I want to especially thank you for the example you have become to my son.  That little boy looks up to you, loves, and adores you.  I wish I could say the same for any of my uncles.  You have a great opportunity to become someone that he looks up to his entire life.  Thank you for changing your life in a way that allows you to do so.  If you had not, you would be greatly missing out on what a joy that little guy is.  Please continue to always be someone who he can love, and look up to.  Someone he can go to for advice.

No matter how I act.  How much of a jerk I can be sometimes.  I want you to know without a doubt a few things.  I love you.  I would do anything for you.  I am proud to be your brother.  I am proud of the man you are developing into.  I will always be here for you through thick and thin.

Love you bud.

Your Big Brother”

“Hey bud, I just want to start out by telling you how proud I am of you and the many challenges you are overcoming daily!  You are such a good example to me and the rest of the family.  I honestly mean that!  None of us can comprehend how you have felt in all of this and can say that we know what you have been through or are still going through, but to see you go from being withdrawn from the family to wanting to socialize with us again has made me happy.  The family wouldn’t be the same or complete without you.  You are a BIG part of this family!  I love it when I get the opportunities to spend some time with you and just talk.  Like when you rode home with me on the way home from camping when your mom was really sick.  Your mom may not like this comment, but I am glad that day ended up the way it di so that I got that opportunity to talk and laugh with you.  You have no idea how much you make me laugh by some of the comments you make.  You are hilarious!  It is one of your talents and qualities you were lucky enough to be blessed with.  Another time is when the family was playing Bunco and we owned everyone when we were teamed up!  I laughed so hard during that game because of you.  That wa a lot of fun and a memory I will always cherish.

I am glad you have continued to make the choice to be sober.  I am sure it is a constant struggle.  But with weakness comes GREAT strengths.  The key is how we choose to handle or deal with our weakness.  We can either choose to feed our weakness and become miserable and withdrawn or we can choose to learn from them and learn how to conquer them and be in control of our weakness verses our weakness being in control of us.  Right now in the present YOU are in control of your weakness which shows you have an abundance of strength!  Again I am so proud of you and proud that you are my little brother.

I just want to THANK YOU for being such an amazing Uncle to my baby boy.  He loves and adores you so much!  I think you may be his favorite person (don’t tell your mom I wrote that).  I know that if you were still using you would be withdrawn from us and he wouldn’t have had the chance to know his amazing Uncle.  So I thank you again for making the decision every day to stay sober and choosing to be in control of your feelings so that you can feel how much you love him and feel how much he loves you.

I want you to know I will always be here for you!  I may not be the first person you may want to talk to when you feel you need to talk to someone but I will be there for you none the less.  You can always call me at any time of the day and I will love to be there for you!  Continue to strive daily to be the BEST you.  We are all striving for that and it is something we work at for the rest of our lives, but every day we strive for it; every day we get a little better at it.  Keep your chin up and continue to look forward.

I love you and am grateful you are part of my life,

Love your Sis-in-law”

“I will never forget when we found out that we were going to adopt a little boy.  Mom and Dad had been trying to find the perfect kid for our family for a long time.  When they found out about you, I remember the excitement in the house, they knew without a doubt that you were supposed to be part of our family.  I could not contain my excitement that day, knowing that when I came home from school, I would get to meet my new baby brother!  I loved you from the minute I saw you ad had plans for us to become best friends.  Let me tell youeven before you can remember we were glued at the hip.  You were my little sidekick in everything I did (even if you didn’t want to be—ha ha).  I was always the best at getting you to be happy when you were crying and you were always the best at making me happy when I was sad.  We were meant to be brother and sister I think. J

I want you to know that today and every day I still love you as much as I did the day I first met you.  I still think you are as amazing as I did back then.  I still love how you can cheer me up if I am bummed and I love when we fight and play like we did when you were little.  I have a feeling that we will be fighting and playing until we are 80.  You have always amazed me with your ability to do anything that you set your mind to.  Even when you were little you were always so determined to get what you wanted.  As you got older that never changed.  I hope that you always remember how amazing you are and how good you are at accomplishing anything that you put your mind to.  Some people don’t have that ability and, I hope that you take advantage of it in your life!

To say the least this last year has been a hard one, and I know it has been especially hard for you!  For a while there I thought I had lost my little brother.  I really worried about you.  But, there was always a part of me that knew that the brother I knew was still in there, there was no way my little brother could have changed so much.  I knew that my creative, happy, hilarious little brother had to be in there somewhere.  And you were!  I look back now at the past year and it amazes me to see just how far you have actually come.  I think that this experience has taken the old you (who was already great) and it has molded you into a truly inspiring and excellent person.  I love that you are using your photography to help inspire others.  It was so neat at the yard sale to see that couple influenced by your photography and your goals.  You have the ability to influence others in such a great way!  I love that you have gone to high school and stuck to your guns, I am so glad that you are not letting the negative influences that exist at school get to you.  It is so neat that you have kept your grades up and have really seen what we could see all along.  That you had amazing potential for greatness!

I hope you know how much you mean to me.  No matter what ever happens you are my little brother and I love you!  Never give up, never quit, and never let others tell you how you should live your life.  Keep being true to yourself and your goals.  You are the best little brother.  I appreciate you for all you have done for me, you influence me more than you know and in good ways!  I am always here for youplease remember that.


Your sister.”

“I have known you for 3 years now and it has been great to have been given the chance to have the younger brother I never had!  I am grateful to you for the way you accepted me into your family.  We have had some fun times together and I have been amazed at witnessing the change from when I first met you to now.  This past year has been a challenging one.  I’m sure you have made some choices you wish you could change.  I’m positive you have learned more about yourself this year than you have in all the years prior.  The amazing this is that experience is all part of life’s journey.

     “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”  Plato

I’m excited for you and what lies ahead.  I’m confident in your ability and determination to be a victor and achieve greatness!

Much love,

Your brother-in-law