Guitar Man-The Brother I Loved

My Brother's Struggle with Drugs and Alcohol

David pictured front and center, making a funny face with his band mates from Bacchus.
David pictured front and center, making a funny face with his band mates from Bacchus.
Dave and I as teenagers living on Lake Minnetonka.
Dave and I as teenagers living on Lake Minnetonka. | Source

The Journey of David's Alcoholism

Back several years ago, my father was dating a wonderful woman named Audrey. My mother had passed years earlier and dad met this kindhearted nurse in the hospital. The relationship did not last long as my father was an active alcoholic at the time, but I will never forget her. Thoughtfully, she invited my sister and I over for a slumber party to get to know us better. And so the story goes.......

Audrey knew I was eyeing her beautiful, wooden, acoustic guitar. The guitar seemed to be calling my name. She picked up the guitar that night and soon we were all singing. After the sing along, something very special happened. Audrey handed off her precious guitar into my arms. She said it was her gift to me. It was a powerful gesture that had repercussions I would not know for some time.

The morning I returned home from the slumber party, I started practicing the guitar. It became evident to me right away that this was not a talent I possessed. I can sing and write, but the guitar had a different suiter in mind. God always meant this to be in the hands of my brother David.

Wow! talk about raw talent. My older brother David was a year older than my twin sister and I. One day he asked if he could play with my guitar. "Of course you can." In just days he was jamming like a super star and could play almost anything. David, as many would learn, was a "musical genius.

No matter instrument, voice, charm, or the comic in him, Dave was a prize. He played bongos, drums, piano, and eventually realized he was a good singer. David was one of those blessed people that was born with a God given musical talent.

When David was in the room, there was nothing else. He pulled you in with his charm, wit and talent. Every time my twin sister and I would bring a date home, Dave would have them totally transfixed & laughing at his jokes. Linda and I wouldn't see our boyfriend's for hours. Dave would then become their buddy and they'd become forever friends. Back then, it was a frustration for us, especially when we'd bring our girl friend's over and they ended up hanging out with him and blowing us off. At times, he would end up dating some of them. Ugh!!!

Dave and his guitar were eternally bonded. Our entire family used to joke around that the guitar was just another appendage on David's body. Whether Dave was sad, happy, or looking for love, he'd just pick up his old friend, the guitar.

Family and friends would tell you that David, Linda and I looked and acted the most alike in our family of five. It was common place to see Dave, Linda, and I, singing for fundraisers, weddings and funerals. David would often invite his two younger sisters up on stage to sing harmony with him and the band. Music was a special connection that bonded the three of us together.

On a December day, as I decorated my foyer with fresh Pine branches for the Christmas holiday, I turned my attention to the breaking news story. My husband at the time screamed for me to come see something on television. I knew from the serious tone in his voice, this was not going to be good news; something bad was being reported.

It's still very difficult to talk about and even harder to write. If I write this story, then it must be true, right? There he was, my beautiful brother on the nine o'clock news. The headline went like this:

"Local Northwest Airlines Baggage Employee, pulled over for DUI and found with stolen luggage."

"Oh my God!" I exclaimed. "What more can our family go through." Understand, I was not saying this because of feelings of shame; I was saying it because I saw death in my dear brother's' tired, sunken eyes.

As I looked at David's haggard image on the TV screen looking back at me, I had a feeling of foreboding. I could sense that he was at the end stages of alcoholism. I just sobbed and sobbed, and then came the dark dreams....

I remember a particular dream I had soon after the news story aired. The dream was so vivid, I believed it to be real upon wakening. I dreamt my brother was in the ground, deep in a cemetery plot, grabbing and clawing at the soil and reaching out for me. He was caged in a dark like tomb. He could see me, but couldn't get out. I surmised this dream was symbolic of David's dark disease of alcoholism. David was struggling for a good part of his life to break the strong hold addiction had on him. This same disease took our mother thirty years earlier. David was tired and miserable with the shackles that was his addiction. He tried to crawl out of that dark tomb of addiction and went through treatment several times. Sadly, the power of his addiction was too strong and won the battle over my brother.

Tragically, David overdosed on alcohol and oxycontin in 2002. His lifeless body was found lying in bed fully clothed, in his apartment. It was deemed an accidental death due to large amounts of pain killers and alcohol which shut down his respiratory system.

Please, if there is anything my family has learned through this painful journey, it's that "THERE is HOPE and HELP for ADDICTION to ALCOHOL and DRUGS." You do not have to die from this debilitating disease. My hope is that my story can help educate others who struggle, so my brother's death is not in vain. My mother and brother died way too young. Mom was only thirty nine and David only forty.

© Laura Rogers Arne

Comments 29 comments

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

A very sad cautionary tale indeed. Thank you so much for sharing this out of your love for your brother and your concerns for others. I'm sure it will help many.

I know what it is like to lose a beloved brother. Mine was also, coincidently (or not?) a musician.

Love and peace


LivingFood profile image

LivingFood 6 years ago

Very touching story...too bad it has a such a sad ending.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What a tragic loss of such a wonderful human being. You have my sympathy.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

I am so sorry for your loss. It must have been very difficult for you to write this piece, but I have a feeling you may have saved some lives.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

T.M.- Wow, you brother was a musician too. I bet you like me heard music playing at many hours growing up like I did.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

Nice writing on such a terrible disease. You will touch many with your story of addiction. Thanks for opening up and sharing it with the hubpages community. Love you sis

BEAUTYBABE profile image


I was very pleased to see you became my follower and having just read this hub of yours I am sorry about your tragic loss. Your brother David sounds like he was very dear to you.

I see he and I had something in common. I am a singer and play the guitar. I have been singing since I was about three and taught myself to play the guitar at the age of 14 years.

I have had my voice trained and was singing in productions and doing musical comedy and light opera which I loved doing. However, in 2006 my life singing on the stage, was cut short when I lost the feeling in my legs. The diagnosis was even worse when I was told I had a neurodegenerative disease called MSA which stands for Multiple Systems Atrophy, which I have done hubs on if you are interested in reading more about this and how it has affected my life.

I needed to find something to take the place of this, and that is when I found hubpages. I joined about nine months ago roughly and have loved it because it has literally been my saviour.

Through Hubpages, I have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting some very lovely and talented people, who not only are very talented but very supportive when you need it, especially when I was sick. Also, I had a mole removed from my thigh earlier, which proved to be pre malignant. If I had not had this removed, I was told that it would have turned malignant in under six months.

The hubbers who were known to me, sent well wishes and prayers, which was a tremendous act of love and support, so what more proof does someone need other than to know this, that when you need them they are there for you.

I was so touched by their sincerity.

I have also written poems and this has led to a discovery that I have a talent too for writing poetry, which I didn't know I had either. So I would like to become a follower of yours as well and look forward to future talks with you. Take care of yourself, God Bless Love Beautybabe (Pam)

I see you have also written some poetry which I will be reading also. I am glad that you have become a follower of mine and I will also do the same for you. I will also read some more of you hubs and invite you to do the same with mine.

I can see you loved David and must miss him very much also.

Aohol addiction is such a terrible thing to have and unfortunately it causes much heartache and loss

among families and really feel for you and for your loss. Please feel free to write to me as I would love to hear from you as well.

Take care and God Bless you and your family

Love Beautybabe (Pam)

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Wow, BB, I knew we had lots in common when I read your bio. Your wise beyond our physical years. I am so glad your stopping by.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

This brought big tears to my eyes for that lovely boy your David was. What a tragedy that he was lured into the trap of that stuff and so much goodness, brilliance and human beingness was lost. My heart goes out to you and your sister and all the others who surely loved and missed him too.

Hopefully your sharing it may just happen to save some other great kid - who may be a child of someone here - or a friend. And of course - the patterns begin even before the kids are born. In families, it may get its start. I know of so many young folks who vowed to not be like a parent who either abused substances or people - and yet - they often do end up repeating those behaviours they witnessed & "learned" as children. And it spreads like wildfire, obviously - among their peers.

Sad - but there is always hope. And you have my whole-hearted sympathy and gratitude for sharing such a raw and intimate story!

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Thanks Nelliana, And that is why I love working with families now that Want to and CAN break the cycle of addiction. It gives me such great healing. Thanks for your words.

Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

this is so powerful and you are a talented writer, I am so moved by this, it is a sad tale really but one that many know all too well. you can break a sycle, that much is so true!

wordsmith1956 profile image

wordsmith1956 6 years ago from Maine

My condolences; I can't imagine the sense of loss. I have three older brothers and a younger half-brother and I can't imagine what it would be like to lose one of them. Incidentally, three of them play guitar and I play 12-string, and every time we get together the instruments come out. When we sing together, the harmony comes so naturally--it's like we read each other's minds, even though we rarely get the chance to sing together. Thank you for sharing your story; your words WILL help others.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Rebecca and Wordsmith,

Thanks for your nice words. I know it is sad but hopefully it can help someone out there who is sick.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

That's a very hard story Healing Touch. It's rough for a brother or sister. Alcoholism takes too many. Thank you for the hub!

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Micky Dee,

Thanks so much for the feedback. Alcholism does just take too many.

Healing touch

oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

Healing Touch. Hi. What a tragic story and the emotional toll it must have taken on you to write it.

The way you have written it and the love of your Brother is priceless.

I am sure that your story has touched many folks and hopefully will help save many more from this debilitating disease.

If possible always remember the great times that you had with David and the love you had for each other.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. :) :)

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author


You are so right. The love I had for him was strong, but it was hard to be around him. I will take your heed and think of all the good times with him.

Healing touch

TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Great Story, My parents were both alcoholics and I know how you feel. One minute you want to hug them. The next you want to shake them and say, "What are you thinking when you do dumb stuff like this?" It can be tough on you. Voted up and awesome. I'm also becoming a follower.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author


You totally get it. Your right, one minute your just dying for their love and the next minute they are acting stupid and drunk. My mom, dad, one sister out of vie and bro were all addicts.

I have learned I can break the cycle and have.

Thanks for following.

Healing touch

profile image

Deborah Sexton 6 years ago

Wonderful hub.

Audrey seems like a very kind step mom/person

I am so sorry about your brother. Sudden unexpected death is the most painful

Blessings to you

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Deborah Sexton,

Thanks for commenting and stopping by. Blessings back to you.

Healing touch

skye2day profile image

skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Healing touch I too am an identical twin. R U and Linda identical? I know about loss from the illness of alcohol and drugs. I lost my parents to the illness many years ago. I have seen many of my beloved friends pass on because of the wreckage of alcohol and or drugs. It is but for the Grace of God I am alive today. Praise to God He is the Redeemer. I am so grateful I was spared death and I am recovered.

I am so sorry for your loss. Your brother was very talented and special. God can turn all things for the good for those that love Him and I believe someone along the way has been spared an early death from his story. God Bless you precious one.

Your writing is touching and moving with heartfelt emotion. Writing has a way of hurting and healing hey? Hugs galore to you and yours.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 5 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author


Yes, me and my twin are identical. At least we think so,no one can tell us apart. sorry for your loss too. God is good though

WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 2 years ago from Templeton, CA

My heart goes out to you. David sounds like a loving and talented person who lost a vicious battle with an ageless and ancient enemy. We watched a similar battle play out in our family, but it had a happier ending. The victim, after jail, prison, and failed recovery attempts, finally, with God's help and family support became a victor. She has been clean for about fifteen years now and is a blessing to her family. So there is hope. Your tribute to David is beautiful.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 2 years ago from Minnetonka, MN Author


I am so happy your family member was a victor. Thanks for the lovely comment.

Ed Stettin 2 years ago

Painful I am sure but he left us some GREAT memories as well. I prefer to focus on all the good memories I have of Dave.

Thank you for writing that. I lost track of him after high school and learned much later about his fight with addiction. It is a terrible loss of an outstanding human being. He was my friend.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 2 years ago from Minnesota

Dear Ed-I am moved that you came by the hub I shared about David. Your comment means more to me than you can ever know. Dave is so missed by our family. He was one of kind, not only to us, but to all that knew him. I love hearing stories about him from old friends. It's something that we hold onto to keep his memory and spirit alive. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for commenting here and on face book. You made my day and I know David's too. God Bless Eddy :)

Andy Baer 24 months ago

Wow, Linda I never knew this story about your brother. Pretty powerful and I feel your pain.

Healing Touch profile image

Healing Touch 24 months ago from Minnetonka, MN Author

Hi Andy,

Thanks for stopping y my hub on David. Yes, so sad and tragic. This story has had a big impact and I am glad people have learned from Davids' story.

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    Laura Arne (Healing Touch)783 Followers
    86 Articles

    I am a published author, speaker, photographer, and mom of two. I enjoy walking, singing, writing, cooking and photography in my spare time.

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