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?
Whether that awful situation is a result of a horribly dysfunctional family, chronic drug or alcohol addiction, sexual or verbal abuse, raising a disabled or autistic child, the pain of a disintegrating marriage and divorce, the responsibility that comes with parental healthcare decline, a jailed or arrested partner or some other trauma?
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 bookThe 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 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 as her neglectful and emotionally-withholding mother moves on to a new partner and divorce again. Eventually starting her own family with a loving husband and two children, and beginning a business, 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.
Now a full time speaker and advocate living in Alberta CAN and Oroville, WA, after successfully building and selling her highly regarded beauty company, Jodee is also urging families to stop hiding in shame from “family secrets” – to deal with hidden emotions by sharing, speaking out and getting help, to lance wounds that lead to pain, addiction, rage, regrets and family crisis.
Says Jodee: “I know what it is like to feel powerless to something that takes control over your life. It is not easy to break patterns of all we have ever known, even when our choices hurt us or hurt the ones we love. I know that sometimes these behaviors are etched deep inside…But when we lose ourselves in someone else’s addiction or issue, we are no good to anyone; not ourselves and certainly not the one’s we love. In the end, we are not culpable for someone else’s path. Just our own.”
And that’s the deepest form of love and understanding. Jodee inspires people to: LEARN. ACCEPT. FORGIVE. HEAL.