Sitting down with Jodee Prouse, author of The Sun Is Gone, to discuss her journey and purpose behind writing the book, it becomes clear that she has the desire to help families recognize the signs of drug addiction, which she says doesn’t need to end in death.
Prouse, who lives in Sylvan Lake, witnessed her own younger brother Brett Tisdale suffer from addiction, and said that despite attempts to help him, that addiction eventually led to his death.
That’s an outcome Prouse feels can be prevented, and for other families, she’s hoping to do just that with her new memoir.
“The book is a memoir: I have written it in present tense so you’re on the journey with me,” she said. “It’s not meant to be advice, it’s a journey. I want people to recognize and be able to identify with addiction, where it potentially starts and where it will end if you don’t embrace recovery.”
Prouse said she was extremely close with her brother, and the two shared a close bond. The story of his addiction and subsequent death is one she says she’d prefer to not have to write about, but she’s chosen to embrace it with the aim of helping others.
“I always knew my brother was going to die,” she said. “I went to many sessions with therapists, psychiatrists and Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) counsellors. I hate this story — it’s so profoundly sad — but it’s the story I have. I can help families.”
Prouse said her brother was loved by many due to his sweet and kind nature. She also feels that people who knew him would have judged him, had they known of his addiction.
“The brother I knew wasn’t hiding the fact he was an alcoholic because he was private. He was hiding it because he was ashamed,” she said.
Prouse said it took her a year-and-a-half of hard writing to complete the book. That process, she feels, gave her reassurance that she did everything humanly possible to help her brother try and save his own life.
But not all feedback on her writing has been positive, she admits.
“A couple of close family members are not supportive of my memoir or telling this story, but my own family, strangers that have since reached out via email and my large circle of other family and friends have shown nothing but love and support,” she said.
And she’s got no regrets about writing it.
“I’m not scared of judgement,” she said. “I don’t think anyone could read this book and not feel heartbroken for my brother.”
The book will be released mid-2015.