How many times have you lost yourself in some chronic family crisis, giving and giving until there is no more left to give-and yet you give more. Out of love, out of duty, out of knowing that everyone looks to you?
As women, we have often learned from childhood that we are the ones that must be the peacemakers, the problem-solvers, the fixers-the ones to make concessions. And we sometimes do this with dire consequences, losing our selves, sometimes our partners and our children -- and even our souls.
Jodee Prouse knows this from experience. Her painfully honest book The Sun Is Gone about trying to halt the alcoholic decline of her beloved brother, amidst a lifetime of family crisis and dysfunction, is both a cautionary tale and beacon of hope for women to find the strength to make painful, but personally healthy choices.
Her story begins as a child where she becomes her sweet little brother's protector as her alcohol-fueled father rages in the night. The daughter, grand-daughter, step-daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, great-niece, aunt, cousin and ultimately sister to alcoholics, she becomes the one pillar of strength in her immediate household. Eventually starting her own family with a loving husband and two children, Jodee remains her brother, Brett's best friend and safe harbor.
But as his drinking becomes apparent, grows worse and more self-destructive, Jodee is drawn into a maelstrom of pain, co-dependence, and battle of wills with her other family members. Her deep love for her brother propels her forward to make choices and sacrifices that are disempowering for herself, Brett and others.
Yet, finally, despite excruciating emotional pain, she comes to realize that she must put herself and her husband and children first-and set boundaries-that she cannot fix someone else's life. For anyone dealing with an addictive family member, this experience will especially resonate.
But today, Jodee Prouse asserts that the need for women to take back the control over their own lives - and disengage from the maelstrom within a family crisis -- to no longer be an enabler -- is universal.
And that's the deepest form of love and understanding. Jodee inspires people to: LEARN. ACCEPT. FORGIVE. HEAL.
"Addiction is a family disease and it will take a change of a whole family to turn it around. A poignant story of sibling love, the ability to change and the impact family structure has on recovery." -Dr. Frank Lawlis, Author of Not My Child, Chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board and Co-founder of the Lawlis Peavey PNP Center
"As with any unhealthy family the one who gets blamed and scapegoated is almost always the healthiest member. Brave, enlightening and profoundly important." -Susan Forward, Ph.D., Author of Toxic Parents and Emotional Blackmail
"The Sun is Gone is to remind oneself that no one is alone on this heart-wrenching journey. Jodee illuminates early childhood patterns that poison adult family dynamics, and shows how much damage can be caused by mistaking enabling for caring." -Kim Barthel, Occupational Therapist specializing in Mental Health and Trauma, Co-author of Conversations with a Rattlesnake with Theo Fleury.