What prompted me to write you this letter is my amazement at how I can love you and be so furious at you at the same exact time. I’m writing this as you’re asleep downstairs and it’s about 2:17 am. It’ll take everything in me to give this to you in the morning because I don’t want you thinking I’m attacking you or shaming you in any way. But, I love you too much to let you go on like this, because I fear you will only get worse. As much as I’m hurting, I can tell you’re in even more pain. As your brother, I watched grow from an innocent and loving little girl to a beautiful young woman. However, the person who knocked on my door tonight begging me to let them crash on my couch is not my sister. Your addiction to heroin and God knows what else has turned you into a different person and someone I don’t even know, let alone recognize. I was scared as I’ve ever been when I opened the door to see you in the condition you’re in, with marks on your arm, barely being able to complete sentences and appearing 20 years older than you really are. You’re no longer who you once were Ashley, and I’m terrified I’ll never get my sister back. This addiction, using drugs, drinking, coming up missing for weeks on end…this lifestyle that you live has consumed and engulfed you, my precious sister. I’m begging you to come back because I miss you. Again, part of me being so furious and writing this is probably because I’m angry at myself for not protecting you more as your big brother. I should have paid more attention to you. Steered you on the right path. Acted on the signs that I noticed. That’s what big brothers are for. And for that, for failing you, I am truly sorry and will always be. This isn’t about being ashamed or feeling you’ve let anyone down. You haven’t. You’re one of many people suffering an addiction and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps I should have seen it before and done this a while ago, but I’m recognizing tonight as a wakeup call and hopefully this letter is what wakes you up. It’s time for you get back to being yourself. It’s time for you to come back to us. It’s time for you to change. Ashley, my beautiful sister, it’s time for you to get help. I’ll be there for you every step of the way to support you. Because that, my precious sister, is truly what big brothers are for.