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.

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8 thoughts on “Claws of the Poppy”

  1. This is heartbreaking. I follow your other blog (I’m a restaurant widow too), but this really was almost difficult to read. I have watched friends struggle with addictions, some have turned their lives around, some still (don’t) fight it. Please keep this site going, for the sake of addicts and the people who try to keep loving them.

    Like

  2. My brother also suffers of this addiction. There are times when I just don’t know what to do, how to help. My family “helps” and is repaid by having all of their things stolen. He has had his 2 children taken away by CYF, he is now in jail, his girlfriend is stripping to make ends meet.

    I don’t know how he got to this place. It breaks my heart, shatters it.

    Thank you for putting into words how I feel every day.

    Like

  3. Thank you for writing this. I have been dealing with my younger brothers addiction for 10 years. It’s been rehab after rehab, jail after jail, pawn shop after pawn shop. I know we are not alone. This addiction is spreading like wildfire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WHY do the family bloody do it? My brother is a junkie & my parents just help him…they give home money when he needs it, they give him a place to stay no matter what the circumstances (including when he is high & aggressive & my children are staying with them for a sleep over), they bail him out, they won’t make a police report when he breaks into their house & steals the TV…it makes me want to scream! If they would kick him out on his arse maybe he would be forced to get clean. Or die. Either way, problem solved.

    Liked by 1 person

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