Jail & the Junkie

Five days before Christmas I got a Facebook message from my brother’s girlfriend.  He was in jail and wanted her to bail him out.  I told her not to and she agreed she would do no such thing.  He had been going down hill since the summer and she was barely involved in his life anymore.   I hadn’t spoken to him since July when he came by my house (that my children were at) completely high.  I asked him to leave.

When I found out he was in jail I found myself happy.  I was relieved that he couldn’t stick the needle in his arm.  At least for a little while. He called me and every other person in my family daily.  He was going through withdrawal and he was in pain.  For the first time in his five-year addiction he was going clean without the aid of any maintenance drug.  My worries however were not with him.  I was worried about my father.  The man blamed himself and even though he knew that jail may very well make an impact on his son he desperately wanted to set him free.

I answered his calls twice.  Each time he was mean.  Each time he demanded that I do something for him.  I didn’t.  I wouldn’t.

He stayed in jail through Christmas and New Years’.  It was the most peaceful 3 weeks our family has had in almost five years.  No 4 am phones calls.  No slurred words.  No hidden needles found in the closet.

Since his month in jail I haven’t spoken to him.  He never calls.  I find out about him (sort of) through Facebook and my dad.   I was hoping that being in jail for a month would have shown him the way.  I guess it hasn’t though because my dad just called to tell me he’s back in the clink.  Here we go again.

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Junk

He’s not gonna die.

He’s not gonna die.

He’s not gonna die.

No matter how many times I say it, it still feels like a lie. Because eventually he is. Eventually he is going to die. And unfortunately, thanks to heroin, it will probably be in the near future.

Being related to an addict absolutely blows. It is a never ending journey of heartbreak and despair. Even when there is a chance that the addict is clean, the journey still sucks because anything, and I mean anything, can throw them over the edge.  Quickly stick the needle back in the arm.

HATE being related to an addict.  I HATE what he does to all of us.  I HATE that every time my phone rings after midnight I think it is the hospital telling me he’s dead.  I HATE that my husband has to watch me shatter on a monthly basis.  IHATE that I yell at my kids when he’s on my mind.  I HATE what it does to my father, the only person who would give his life for him.  And you know what…sometimes I HATE him.

No I don’t.

I want to hate him.  But I can’t.  I love him.  I love who he was before he put that shit in his veins.  I loved him when he made laugh countless times, over and over.  He doesn’t do that anymore.  All he does now is make me cry, over and over, over and over. His life has been overtaken and he is the only one who can take it back.  I want him back.  I miss him.  I look at his picture on my desk every day and I can’t help but let the sadness overwhelm me.  But there is nothing else I can do.  We have done all we could do.  We have walked down this road so many times that our backs are breaking, our feet are bleeding.  There is nothing left to do but pray.

Being related to an addict absolutely blows.

Claws of the Poppy

My brother is living in a shelter.  I am devastated, however a part of me is grasping at hope.  This is the first time in three years that he has been on his on with his addiction.  Usually he is coddled and cared for by some member of my family.  He has been enabled time and time again.  Hitting bottom has yet to happen for him. His addiction has been easy on him.  An addict with a home, food, clothes, shower, and family.  Not bad.  It has only been hard on us, his family.

My stomach aches when I think about the last time I saw him.  He was high.  It was New Years Day.

Seeing him high again six months after the last time I saw him high broke me down physically.  I lost my shit.  I couldn’t stop the tears.  I stopped talking to him in the summer precisely because I did not want to breakdown the next time he did.  I figured if I was not emotionally attached to him I would not feel the hurt I have felt so many times before.  I was WAY wrong.    In fact I think that maybe I should have talked to him, I should have had a relationship with him for these past few sober months so at least I could be a part of his life, but then I think about my babies.  I could not have them around him.  I could not have them begin a relationship with him.

But I always hoped.  Secretely in the back of my mind I prayed that this was it.  He was back.  He was sober. He was my brother again.  He would step in and be my kids cool uncle.  My son’s fantastic godfather.

But he’s not. Walking into my parents house on New Years Day I spotting him on the couch and I immediately knew.  He was gray and he was skinny.  He looked like shit.

It was odd though, because he ate.  In the past when he was high all he would eat was ice cream & candy.  It was one of his tells.  But this day he ate dinner and he could function for the most part.  And then after dinner he disappeared.  He came back, sat down on the couch, and the shell of my brother emerged.

The signs of heroin began to show their disgusting teeth.  His eyes began to roll.  My kids attempting to play with him were ignored.  I knew.  I looked at the Chef.  He knew.  My parent’s knew while they searched his car.  We packed up the kids.

Happy 2009.

It has been three years since heroin began to kill my brother.  My brother, the smart one, the good looking one, the funny one.  My brother the boy who could make me laugh effortlessly.  My brother the goofy amazing athlete.  My brother.  My brother, the heroin addict.  My brother, the homeless man.  I am sad.  I am heartbroken.  I miss him.  I miss who he used to be.  All I can do is hope and pray that somehow he makes it through this.  I want him back.  I want my children to know the boy I grew up with and loved.

My poor father.  The man blames himself.  What parent wouldn’t?

The claws of the poppy sink deep in that first taste and never release.

I need hope but it’s so hard.  How many times….how many calls…how many sleepless nights are ahead of me?  How many years can this go on before it kills my father?  It will.  I know it will.  I can see how much he has aged since this began.  His eyes are sadder now and his voice is quieter.  He is broken.

Fuck.