A letter to Peter

A letter to Peter

Dear Peter

An academic exercise

I’ve been writing your blog for a few months now. Thus far, it has been an interesting journey for me.

I read and researched and learned more about addiction and suicide and the impact it has on people’s lives.

But, it has been an academic exercise. I had empathy and sometimes I even felt a bit sad whilst writing.

Then I went back to my cozy suburban life and its normal ‘hardships’ of an emergency grocery shop on a Tuesday evening or a child’s lost history book.

Until it happened.

The phone call

Just like you, I have a brother. He phoned me two weeks ago and asked me to sit.

The first part of his news was not a great surprise – I’ve suspected things were not good between him and his wife. He told me she wanted out.

Then he dropped the bomb: He is addicted to cocaine and has been for more than 20 years. He was able to keep it under wraps by avoiding us (his family) as much as possible.

Now he reached rock bottom. He lost his one big relationship. He was married nine years. His little girl is just six years old. ‘I cannot do this anymore,’ he told me. ‘I need help.’

I suppose our family is lucky. My brother is still with us. He didn’t overdose in some back alley, had a heart attack or a stroke or caused a horrendous accident. He wants help and we can do all we can.

The wheels started turning

My sister flew down for a weekend from her home 2000 km away, so that we all could go and tell my parents together. They are in their seventies and we were worried. But they took it well. When you’ve got Jesus, you’ve got Someone to lean on.

Jesus came through for all of us by letting His Peace regulate the weekend. We were able to talk for hours and my brother let it all out: how it all started, how much money he spent on drugs and how he managed to keep it all a secret from us.

We set a few plans in motion that will start helping my brother.

A confession

I want to confess, Peter (and dear Reader).

I was writing this blog about addiction, but I didn’t have a clue.

Addiction hurts. It hurts the addict, but it also breaks the hearts of family and friends.

I think my heart literally broke during the last two weeks.

I know now. I understand a little now. My situation is unique, but for others, the support system might not be as good.

Peter, Largest Heart was born out of your conviction that starting something small can have great repercussions. The pebble thrown into the pond can ripple out the water. It now rippled even further than you thought it would.

It reached me, here in South Africa. You were placed on my path for a reason.




Largest Heart is not a fly-by-night non-profit organization. Its mission is to spread love and hope.

It wants to help – by being that pebble so that the ripple can reach other non-profits with the same focus on addiction (and suicide.) We need Largest Heart for the support they can give.

The journey for my brother and my family has started. I thank God for Largest Heart and other pertinent organizations (yes, also here in South Africa) that can help us.

If this story has touched you, please consider giving a donation to Largest Heart this Christmas season. (Go to the homepage to see how to donate.) Every last cent will help.

Addiction knows no boundaries. One day, you may be getting that phone call.

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