Donny's Ramblings

My Brother Daniel

46 Comments



I have one sibling, a younger brother named Daniel. He’s 3 years younger than me, which makes him 30 years old.

The two of us were always very close growing up, except during certain times when he thought it would be funny to shoot me in the butt with a pellet gun, or when he’d decide to try shooting me with a rock from his slingshot. Other than that, childhood together consisted of two brothers who felt they could take on the world together. We did fight a bit from time to time, but what siblings don’t?

As an adult, Daniel grew as bitter as I was toward church. In fact, it just might be possible he hated church and the “saints” who attend even more than I did. Where I attempted to drown out my anger and frustrations using porn production and rebellion, Daniel chose meth and alcohol. In 2005 I forced him to move from Las Vegas to Chico to live with me for awhile because his meth use was close to killing him. There was no way I was going to sit around and wait for him to die, so I packed as much of his stuff as I could fit into my Explorer, evicted him from his apartment and got him away from the so-called “friends” with whom he enjoyed shooting up.

For some reason he’s always been in the habit of not just using, but seriously abusing his drug of choice. One example is with his alcohol consumption: where other alcoholics might be happy to just be drunk all the time, Daniel chooses to drink half a gallon of vodka per day. He was recently at a doctor’s office having his shoulder examined. His doctor asked about alcohol use and Daniel was honest with him. At that point the doctor let him know that there really was no point treating his shoulder because his alcoholism was going to kill him soon anyway.

I’ve fought pretty hard to make my brother seek professional help, as has my father. He hasn’t wanted to listen. He is of the opinion that when he’s ready to quit he’ll just do so on his own. Because of this, our relationship is not nearly as close as it once was. We’ll sometimes go a few months without talking.


THIS PAST MONDAY:

This past Monday I decided to drive to the small mountain town where both my brother and my father live. My dad had an errand to run so I waited at his house. When Daniel called to give my dad his new phone number, I answered instead. He was surprised I was in town.

“Dad told me you want to talk to me about this new life you’re doing. You can talk to me anytime you want, bub.”

An hour or so after our telephone conversation I drove over to talk to him in person. He let me know how surprised he was that I was “going back to church again”. I asked him if he wanted to hear some of the reasons why I’d chosen to do so. He said he’d listen.

“But honestly, Don, I believe in God but I don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible and I never will.”

I started sharing with him some of the things that I’ve been reading and experiencing that have been rewiring my mind. We talked for a long time about the Christians from our past, mutual frustrations we’ve had, anger and a wide variety of other Christian oriented topics.

I pointed out to Daniel that the hatred coming out of his mouth was hatred toward PEOPLE, not toward God or Jesus. I started showing him scriptures that demonstrated Jesus was all about love, not condemnation and judgment. I read to him from Blue Like Jazz and Velvet Elvis, two books that have changed my life.

Over the course of the time we talked I could see tears forming in my brothers eyes. The message of love, not judgment, is something all of us need to hear. It’s so important to separate the love our father has for us from the hatred the “saints” so often show. There is nothing unattractive about a perfect, pure love. Nothing.

I could write several pages about the conversation we had that night, but what it boils down to is this:

I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF LEADING MY LITTLE BROTHER BACK TO A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

Yep, he invited Jesus Christ back into his life this past Monday.

I explained to Daniel that Jesus isn’t going to beat him up if his alcohol problem doesn’t immediately go away. All he wanted was for Daniel to reach out to him first, and he’d take care of the rest.

“Do you want to go to a crazy church service with me this Friday, Dan?”

“Sure, why not?”


“Okay, I’ll be back Friday morning to pick you up. You can stay at my house.”

The service was different than anything from our past. It touched him. Like mine, his mind has begun to be rewired as well.

Out of respect for me (and because he knows he needs to do it) Daniel significantly reduced his drinking when he arrived at my place. Rather than a half gallon of vodka, Daniel only consumed half a beer on both Friday and Saturday.

SATURDAY NIGHT:

Last night (Saturday) Daniel and I were sitting in my room. As I’ve mentioned, I live in the master bedroom of my house. This is a living situation that will be changing this week, as I get the last of my things out of the house and turn the keys over to the bank this coming Friday. The house didn’t sell. I couldn’t afford a $3,600 per month house payment anymore and the bank finally decided not to wait any longer. That really doesn’t bother me too much, however. It’s just one more weight off my back.

Daniel was sitting on the floor watching a movie on TV while I sat in my easy chair doing a bit of writing on my laptop. As the day got later and the room darkened, the only lights came from the TV and from my computer. At 7:06pm the TV turned off and the room went completely dark. I asked Daniel to turn it back on. There was no response so I got up and turned on the light. My brother was having a seizure on the floor. He’s never had one before in his life.

That freaked me out. Big time. But I resolved to remain calm and I kept him on his side as best I could. Puke was coming out of his mouth at the same time, and it sounded like he was struggling for every breath. I dialed 911 on my cell phone, gave them my address, quickly ran to the front door to unlock it, then returned to his side while the convulsions continued. They went on for a minute and a half. I thought he was dying.

He must have been hungry because he bit a nice piece out of his tongue.

Once the convulsions had passed, and as I waited for the ambulance to arrive, I tried to communicate with my brother. Every time I’d get near him he’d scream and jump, scared out of his mind. He struggled to his feet and walked toward the bathroom. When he saw his reflection in the mirror he screamed again and fell to the floor. He had no idea what was going on.

The paramedics arrived and Daniel was taken by ambulance to the hospital. To make a long story short, we spent several hours in the ER as the doctors ran tests to see what was wrong. It turns out his body was going through alcohol withdrawals.

Daniel was given some prescription drugs to help with the withdrawal symptoms. He’s also been instructed to check into rehab ASAP because his liver is highly inflamed and the doctors don’t think he’ll live longer than a few years if he continues to drink.

Perfect timing. After his decision for Jesus on Monday he realized quitting is something he desperately needs to do. Now he has the motivation to do so, and a God he can lean on to help him through it.

Daniel is doing well today. He’s asleep on the floor in front of my television as I write this. I’d like to ask all readers to say a prayer for him as he struggles with this addiction.

These last few days he’s mentioned several times that a real God encounter is something he badly wants. Help me pray that he gets it.

46 thoughts on “My Brother Daniel

  1. Wow Donny! Cary and I will definitely pray for Daniel.

  2. Wow Donny! Cary and I will definitely pray for Daniel.

  3. Donny, it’s more than lucky that you happened to be with your brother when he had his seizure. Had you not been there and he was alone, he undoubtedly would have drowned on his own vomit. Thank God you were there!!

  4. Donny, it’s more than lucky that you happened to be with your brother when he had his seizure. Had you not been there and he was alone, he undoubtedly would have drowned on his own vomit. Thank God you were there!!

  5. Awesome. Dude- the first time I was introduced to you was on the X3 podcast with Craig and Mike when you were still a pornographer. I wonder what you would have said if someone could have told you then that you’d change your brother’s life around for Christ.

    Keep it up. You’re awesome dude.

  6. Awesome. Dude- the first time I was introduced to you was on the X3 podcast with Craig and Mike when you were still a pornographer. I wonder what you would have said if someone could have told you then that you’d change your brother’s life around for Christ.

    Keep it up. You’re awesome dude.

  7. Josh,

    I’d have laughed and told them there was no way in hell that would ever happen.

    I would have been wrong. 🙂

  8. Josh,

    I’d have laughed and told them there was no way in hell that would ever happen.

    I would have been wrong. 🙂

  9. This entry brought me to tears. I didn’t realize that alcohol withdrawal could be so violent. (I guess that’s just naivete on my part.) I have a sister who is three years younger than me. I can imagine how scared you must have been for your little brother. I will be thinking of Daniel tonight and I’ll remember him in prayer.

    I was just thinking of a verse today that reminds me of your discussion with Daniel. John 3:16 is very popular, but as I was reading it today I realized that John 3:17 is also extremely powerful, and I think that sometimes it’s overshadowed by the previous verse. It says, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” It’s exactly the message your brother needed to hear and so many of us need to remember.

    I am so happy for you and for your brother. yay 🙂

  10. This entry brought me to tears. I didn’t realize that alcohol withdrawal could be so violent. (I guess that’s just naivete on my part.) I have a sister who is three years younger than me. I can imagine how scared you must have been for your little brother. I will be thinking of Daniel tonight and I’ll remember him in prayer.

    I was just thinking of a verse today that reminds me of your discussion with Daniel. John 3:16 is very popular, but as I was reading it today I realized that John 3:17 is also extremely powerful, and I think that sometimes it’s overshadowed by the previous verse. It says, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” It’s exactly the message your brother needed to hear and so many of us need to remember.

    I am so happy for you and for your brother. yay 🙂

  11. wow amazing story. keep it up man!

  12. wow amazing story. keep it up man!

  13. Wow. What a story about you and your brother. You have my prayers, and I thank God for his perfect timing in having you re-enter your brother’s life in the nick of time. Praise God.

    Hope in the Lord, and the Lord will renew your strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

  14. Wow. What a story about you and your brother. You have my prayers, and I thank God for his perfect timing in having you re-enter your brother’s life in the nick of time. Praise God.

    Hope in the Lord, and the Lord will renew your strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

  15. Donny –

    This story gives me hope – no one is out of God’s reach.

    Would everyone who prays for Donny’s brother pray for my brother as well? He was a very serious Christian until about 5 years ago. We didn’t know it, but he had been struggling with homosexuality for some time. At some point he basically had a nervous breakdown and is now a homosexual activist who goes out of his way to be blasphemous towards Christianity whenever he can. THis is his blog: http://petercava.blogspot.com/

    Donny, what was your family and/or church like growing up? It’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t some seriously screwed up stuff going on seeing the paths you and Dan took…

    If cash is needed to send him to a rehab facility, you should let us know and set up a paypal account for donations. I would definitely joyfully contribute.

    Encouraged and sharing your joy,

    Riggy

  16. Donny –

    This story gives me hope – no one is out of God’s reach.

    Would everyone who prays for Donny’s brother pray for my brother as well? He was a very serious Christian until about 5 years ago. We didn’t know it, but he had been struggling with homosexuality for some time. At some point he basically had a nervous breakdown and is now a homosexual activist who goes out of his way to be blasphemous towards Christianity whenever he can. THis is his blog: http://petercava.blogspot.com/

    Donny, what was your family and/or church like growing up? It’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t some seriously screwed up stuff going on seeing the paths you and Dan took…

    If cash is needed to send him to a rehab facility, you should let us know and set up a paypal account for donations. I would definitely joyfully contribute.

    Encouraged and sharing your joy,

    Riggy

  17. Donny,

    It is amazing what God has given you and done with your life. Your love for others, the ability to speak frank about everything, and the excitement you show for Christ. My wife, our small group, and my self will be praying for Daniel and you. Please keep us posted on how he is doing.

    Bmac

  18. Donny,

    It is amazing what God has given you and done with your life. Your love for others, the ability to speak frank about everything, and the excitement you show for Christ. My wife, our small group, and my self will be praying for Daniel and you. Please keep us posted on how he is doing.

    Bmac

  19. Wow, that’s truly amazing. and cannot be mistaken for anyone but God. I can’t wait to attend a xxxchurch event to meet you AND your brother. Thank God for being so amazing.

    “oh no, you never let go
    through the calm and through the storm
    oh no, you never let go, Lord
    You never let go of me”

  20. Wow, that’s truly amazing. and cannot be mistaken for anyone but God. I can’t wait to attend a xxxchurch event to meet you AND your brother. Thank God for being so amazing.

    “oh no, you never let go
    through the calm and through the storm
    oh no, you never let go, Lord
    You never let go of me”

  21. I don’t really know how I came accross this blog but as I read the story about your brother I had tears in my eyes. I know more than most how special it is to have a little brother who means a lot to you.

    My younger brother passed away very suddenly 15 months ago – he was only 29 and left a wife and four children.

    We had a wonderful relationship and I thank God for that. Stay close to Daniel – your brother needs you – you are doing a great job.

  22. I don’t really know how I came accross this blog but as I read the story about your brother I had tears in my eyes. I know more than most how special it is to have a little brother who means a lot to you.

    My younger brother passed away very suddenly 15 months ago – he was only 29 and left a wife and four children.

    We had a wonderful relationship and I thank God for that. Stay close to Daniel – your brother needs you – you are doing a great job.

  23. Donny,

    Very inspiring story. Now, get your ass to an Al-Anon meeting. No kidding. Do it today. If you want to be of any help to your brother, go hang out with some people who have and who have figured out what they can and cannot do. Often, it is a matter of just staying out of God’s way. For this alcoholic, there is no distinction between AA and my church. God speaks as He will.

    Hope that is helpful, and I will keep your brother in my prayers.

  24. Donny,

    Very inspiring story. Now, get your ass to an Al-Anon meeting. No kidding. Do it today. If you want to be of any help to your brother, go hang out with some people who have and who have figured out what they can and cannot do. Often, it is a matter of just staying out of God’s way. For this alcoholic, there is no distinction between AA and my church. God speaks as He will.

    Hope that is helpful, and I will keep your brother in my prayers.

  25. When you hear stuff like this, it really is awesome. Hopefully Daniel keeps headed down the straight and narrow.

    You wonder where the naysayers are, also. This is proof that God does real things for you.

  26. When you hear stuff like this, it really is awesome. Hopefully Daniel keeps headed down the straight and narrow.

    You wonder where the naysayers are, also. This is proof that God does real things for you.

  27. I am confused as to how your brother could ask Jesus into his life after he said he didn’t believe in Jesus and never will. If you convinced him to do it, how could a day spent with you be enough to convince him Jesus exists if he was so set in his beliefs. If part of your convincing him was due to you showing him bible scriptures like you said you did, how could he believe anything in it when he previously said he doesn’t believe in the bible and never will?

  28. I am confused as to how your brother could ask Jesus into his life after he said he didn’t believe in Jesus and never will. If you convinced him to do it, how could a day spent with you be enough to convince him Jesus exists if he was so set in his beliefs. If part of your convincing him was due to you showing him bible scriptures like you said you did, how could he believe anything in it when he previously said he doesn’t believe in the bible and never will?

  29. Wow, I just stumbled over your blog. That truly is an amazing Story 🙂

    Thanks for sharing it. You definitely have a new fan from Germany 🙂

  30. Wow, I just stumbled over your blog. That truly is an amazing Story 🙂

    Thanks for sharing it. You definitely have a new fan from Germany 🙂

  31. Man you must be happy, that is awesome, I am praying for Dan, that he will be lead through these withdrawal symptons quickly and easily and for healing.
    With God all things are possilbe. Yeh.
    Take care,
    May God really bless you both in these next few days, weeks, months and years.

    ps. I like the site re-design.

  32. Man you must be happy, that is awesome, I am praying for Dan, that he will be lead through these withdrawal symptons quickly and easily and for healing.
    With God all things are possilbe. Yeh.
    Take care,
    May God really bless you both in these next few days, weeks, months and years.

    ps. I like the site re-design.

  33. I too am sitting here tears just streaming my face. You tell that precious brother of yours that no prayers are wasted. My husband (as you already are aware) has been struggling with an addiction for 28 years of his 40 year existance. We believe he was delivered 5 weeks ago. Seriously… in some ways it feels like God just did it instantly, but then we look back to the years of hell and prayers and fasting etc. thinking it would never come… but God had a plan.

    God has a plan for Daniel. We will be praying for Daniel weekly. If there is anything I can do Donny, please let me know. You know how to reach me.

    Because of Him, I am;
    Michelle

  34. I too am sitting here tears just streaming my face. You tell that precious brother of yours that no prayers are wasted. My husband (as you already are aware) has been struggling with an addiction for 28 years of his 40 year existance. We believe he was delivered 5 weeks ago. Seriously… in some ways it feels like God just did it instantly, but then we look back to the years of hell and prayers and fasting etc. thinking it would never come… but God had a plan.

    God has a plan for Daniel. We will be praying for Daniel weekly. If there is anything I can do Donny, please let me know. You know how to reach me.

    Because of Him, I am;
    Michelle

  35. As I have already said several times, if I had not believed in God, reading your blog would certainly convince me.(that there IS a God!)
    I pray your brother will have a good recovery and a radical turn-around in his life.
    Hugs- -Nancy

  36. As I have already said several times, if I had not believed in God, reading your blog would certainly convince me.(that there IS a God!)
    I pray your brother will have a good recovery and a radical turn-around in his life.
    Hugs- -Nancy

  37. Steve,

    I knew exactly how my brother felt, because I used to feel the same. But I took the time to drill down to find the root of my problem, which turned out not to be God, Jesus or the Bible, but instead the people from the churches I was raised in and all the crap that went on in those churches. That’s what my brother’s problem was as well. We had a very long conversation and talked about the ways people liked to use scriptures to bash each other over the head. Most of the time they don’t know what they’re talking about and the scriptures mean something totally different than what they’re trying to make them say.

    When I started reading the Bible with a different perspective and started doing some research on the context of certain situations written about in it, my whole view changed. That was my brother’s problem as well. Like me, he felt angry and just wanted no part of it all. But after some introspection we both can see where our real problem lies. It took me months to get there, but when I shared with my brother some of the answers I’d found to the problems I had, he could see it instantly in himself.

    I think I’ll talk about context sometime. That would make for a good post.

    – Donny –

  38. Steve,

    I knew exactly how my brother felt, because I used to feel the same. But I took the time to drill down to find the root of my problem, which turned out not to be God, Jesus or the Bible, but instead the people from the churches I was raised in and all the crap that went on in those churches. That’s what my brother’s problem was as well. We had a very long conversation and talked about the ways people liked to use scriptures to bash each other over the head. Most of the time they don’t know what they’re talking about and the scriptures mean something totally different than what they’re trying to make them say.

    When I started reading the Bible with a different perspective and started doing some research on the context of certain situations written about in it, my whole view changed. That was my brother’s problem as well. Like me, he felt angry and just wanted no part of it all. But after some introspection we both can see where our real problem lies. It took me months to get there, but when I shared with my brother some of the answers I’d found to the problems I had, he could see it instantly in himself.

    I think I’ll talk about context sometime. That would make for a good post.

    – Donny –

  39. Donny,

    Great story! It’s great to hear how God continues to work in your life!

  40. Donny,

    Great story! It’s great to hear how God continues to work in your life!

  41. This entry brought me to tears. I didn’t realize that alcohol withdrawal could be so violent.

    Ever heard of something called “The D.T.s”?
    “Delerium Tremens” — an older word for alcohol withdrawals.
    Traditionally manifested as uncontrollable shaking and screaming psychotic episodes.

  42. This entry brought me to tears. I didn’t realize that alcohol withdrawal could be so violent.

    Ever heard of something called “The D.T.s”?
    “Delerium Tremens” — an older word for alcohol withdrawals.
    Traditionally manifested as uncontrollable shaking and screaming psychotic episodes.

  43. Donny,

    I hope all is going well. How has your brother been doing so far?

  44. Donny,

    I hope all is going well. How has your brother been doing so far?

  45. Hi Donny,
    Keep up the great posts. I’ll bet you have a happy dad right now. Hi to Daniel, and you guys are in my prayers.
    Bill

  46. Hi Donny,
    Keep up the great posts. I’ll bet you have a happy dad right now. Hi to Daniel, and you guys are in my prayers.
    Bill

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