Crime & Heroin

One of the many things I’ve learned from watching a heroin addiction unfold is addict becomes synonymous with criminal over time. Most addicts do not have a trust fund backing up their habits and if they do usually they blow through it in no time at all. Heroin addiction is an expensive hobby.

My brother moved back after the holidays. He was in jail over Christmas and when released moved into a sober house in the hood. I was reluctant to see him but the house moved into was close to my own so one morning I decided to meet him. He was gaunt but not gray. We went to my gym and worked out. It was all so surreal for me. The truth is that until this day, I had not seen my brother in over a year. He was in and out of jail, in and out of college, and in and out of addiction. I had previously chosen not to see my brother to protect myself and my family. If I didn’t see him regularly then hopefully his death wouldn’t hurt me as much as I believed it would.

And then he moved back. He was in my neighborhood and I felt like he needed me. He needed to see that life was good for me and it could be good again for him again. I  limited my visits with him not because I didn’t love him but because I didn’t trust him. Having only been clean for a month or so I still felt like he was hiding something. I still felt the criminal aspect of his addiction peeking through. Being around him made me feel like I always had to watch my purse or worse, my back.

My intuition was right.

My brother is and always will be a thief, a liar, and an addict. This time he crossed a line and burned someone I love very much. He is now a full blown criminal.

Once again I will not see him. I will not talk to him. I let my guard down with him. I will not make this mistake again.

Once again he chooses crime and heroin over family.


21 thoughts on “Crime & Heroin”

  1. I haven’t seen my brother in over a year and a half. During this period we’ve talked on the phone max 4 times. I keep my distance. I, too, feel the criminal aspect of addiction and I’m so very sorry your brother let you down.

    I just want to say though that addicts don’t really choose. Their “choices” are based on drives we don’t have. I know first hand how much it hurts seeing your own brother “choosing” life in the streets over his own family. I keep reminding myself that it’s the drug that controls him. Until HE decides to break free.


  2. I stumbled upon your website by accident and I am so glad I did. My brother is a drug addict and has been since I can remember. I never really had a support system or even able talk to anyone about him. Reading your blog, I heard the echo of my life, the constant battle of hope and despair. While I am truly sad to hear that others are affected by this disease a part of me was happy because for the first time I knew I wasn’t crazy. I am guessing your purpose wasn’t to share your story to benefit the rest of us, but to vent your worries and frustrations I want to thank you for making me feel like I am not alone in dealing with a brother who is fighting this loosing battle. I wish your brother the best and I hope that you are able to cope with the troubles that have fallen upon your family.


  3. Thank you for sharing your personal hell. Today would have been my brother’s 33rd birthday but he died from a drug overdose 11yrs ago. It’s all too familiar. My brother only lasted about 2yrs as a hardcore addict so I can’t imagine having to deal with it for 7yrs. Sometimes I really believe he is better off dead but then there are days like today where I miss him so fucking much. Your brother has a disease. He’s not choosing junk over you or your family, the disease is. He’s ashamed and embarrassed because he doesn’t realize he’s sick. Ego is what killed my little brother and my belief that it was all somehow his fault is how I killed him. I live with this guilt every day. Had I known then what I know now I can’t say he’d still be alive but I would have treated him and his disease differently. I’m proud of my brother now and ashamed of myself. He fought a sickness that nobody wants to understand and those who think they are helping only make it worse. Your brother needs heroin like he needs oxygen. You can’t just expect him to be able to hold his breath and survive just like you can’t expect him to survive by cutting out the drugs. He needs to build his strength little by little. And get him mental help. Heroin messes up the serotonin in the brain. Their body no longer knows how to feel good which is why they become so severely depressed. Without mental health treatment he will never stay clean.
    I felt like I lost my brother months before he died but now that he’s dead I know in my heart it was I who abandoned him. It’s a horrible fucking thing to live with.


    1. Wow Tracy. I needed to read that. Here it is two years after you posted it, but perfect time for me. Thank you, wherever you are.


  4. Totally, utterly depressed, much like you are, I’m not sure how long my brother has been an addict because like all addicts he’s a liar and I live on the other side of the country, but I believe my brother has been addict for at least a couple of years now. I’ve been visiting my family this past week and my brother seemed better. However, I just came home this evening to find my brother and a friend of his laying on his bed nodding off, I said “what are you doing?” he responds “sleeping, going to sleep” obviously the two of them are incredibly high on heroin, I feel a sense of rage wash over me. He claims he is clean and stopped and then to come home and see him high, it all seemed very abstract to me before, living on the other side of the country, of course I knew he was an addict and of course this upset me, but to see him high first hand I wanted to violently shake him and scream WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?! But instead I’m sitting at the other end of the house wishing I had somewhere else to sleep tonight, far, far, far away from him. I googled “brother is a heroin addict” and your site came up. I guess there are other people living through this hell, I’m so sorry for all of you and all of your brother’s. Your hell is my hell. I pray that we find our way out but I’m beginning to lose hope. How do we stay positive in this situation? So totally, utterly depressed right now.


  5. My brother has been addicted for 3.5 years now. My parents have lost anything valuable to them due to his pawning habits (Meaningful Jewelry, Electronics, Guns, Tools, Anything and Everything you can possibly think of). Finally, they made it known he cannot be in their home when using. He’s moved on to robbing my Grandmother who had a stroke a year ago. Now that we keep nothing valuable at her house, he’s moved on to my Aunt, who’s always spoiled us rotten as kids. For the past year, she’s been enabling him by giving him 15-20 bucks a day.
    This weekend, I noticed my brother was using again. It’s easy for me – I see right through him. He’s my best friend, but also my worst enemy. I can read him like a book. This time, I took it upon myself to call my family, inform them, and ask them to stop funding his habit. Once he heard about this he’s continued to call and harass me, threaten me, tell me I’m not his sister and he can’t believe I would turn on him like this. Since Monday, I have been terrified he’s going to show up at my house and physical hurt me or take things he can pawn. He’s desperate, he’s getting sick, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen now that he’s completely cut off from all of ways of funding his addiction. I almost want him in jail – I know he’s safe, my family is safe, and he’s not getting beat up on the streets or overdosing.


  6. This was written a while ago, but my brother is a heroin addict, also. After stealing from me, my family, his friends, his school, dropping out of college, being in jail countless times, halfway houses, living on the streets, and the many other awful things that come along with addiction, he is in prison. The last few sentences you wrote on your post broke my heart. “Once again I will not see him. I will not talk to him. I let my guard down with him. I will not make this mistake again.
    Once again he chooses crime and heroin over family.” Addiction is a disease. If your brother could stop himself, he would. It takes so much for a person to fight the disease, something none of us will ever know. I know how you feel, and I am still struggling to make amends with my brother, but your brother is not choosing heroin over family. It is a long, deep hole that your family and your brother will go through, but there is an end. Prison has been the best thing to happen to my brother since his addiction and it has been so great to see my real brother come back through.


      1. I agree. My brother chooses to use. It isn’t a disease, it’s his choice. This is what I struggle with. The last comment he made to me over a year ago was to go fuck myself. I don’t understand it, but he does. He’s in control but I no longer let him control me.


  7. I stumbled onto this blog and I appreciate that you put this all out there because clearly, there are many others who relate. When you speak of your brother it almost seems like you are talking about me. Being a heroin addict, my life became a life of crime as well to support my addiction. I knew it was wrong but it didn’t seem like I had a choice. I had to steal, lie and cheat on a daily basis. I did anything I could. Time and time again I put my addiction and everything that came with it before the people who loved me the most. Fortunately, I don’t have to live my life that way anymore and I got help from a place called New Life House. I have been sober for over three years now. Check out their website

    My prayers go out to your brother that he will find his way, and to you and your family for strength.


  8. Thank you for leaving this blog up. I know exactly what it’s like to experience a brother that is strung out on heroin. My brother started doing heroin when he was sixteen, when I was only twelve. The things that i’ve witnessed and have gone through with my brothers addiction have changed the person that I am. In many ways I don’t want anything to do with him. It’s better to protect yourself from the awful depression that comes along with being related to a junkie. The most unfortunate thing of all is that i’m still experiencing it to this day, still living with him, just waiting for the day I can leave. Only a year to go and i’ll be out of this place, hopefully i’ll be able to forget the worst years of my life. This is the worst pain i’ll ever feel. The despair is incomparable. Best of luck to you and your brother.


  9. Ah, I found this post because I, myself am currently having a breakdown over my drug addicted brother. It’s 1:18 in the morning and I can’t sleep because I miss my brother so badly. He is currently in rehab as he’s been for 3 months, but before that he was in jail for a few months…too long.
    Let me start by saying my older brother is my best friend. He started his addictions and stealing and pawing and other immoral things when I was in 6th grade. It’s gone on for too long. But that’s besides the point. I love him more than anyone else. He always knows the right thing to say to me and we were just so close. Nothing could pull me away from him even when he lived on the other side of the US we were still close.
    But this year when he went to jail for stealing a car, he never used his phone calls on me. He called my dad and even my Mother and brother who he hates. He wrote letters to my best friend. But never once to me. When he started going to rehab it was the same. I never requested to see me or anything. Nothing. He finally called me using the lamest excuse ever “idont really know why I havnt called you”. Really? 6 months without even a quick call and you aren’t sure why you haven’t? You aren’t busy you’re in jail!!!! It’s not like you’ve got anything going on!!!! We used to talk multiple times a week now he’s only called me twice in 8 months…I just miss my brother and I don’t know why he stopped. I’m so mad and sad and feeling broken inside. I just miss my brother, I want him to get better because he is soooooo bad but I want him back. I understand all of your guys’ pain. I’m sorry.


    1. Alyssa,
      My brother pulled away from those of us closest to him too. I believe he did this because of his shame but I also think it’s the only way the addict can continue using. The drugs rule the addict. The only way I can come close to imagining what my brother went through is to compare it to breathing. For an addict to stop using heroin is like asking a person to stop breathing. An addicts body thinks it needs heroin just like it thinks it needs oxygen. With that in mind, every addict is also a master at manipulation. Every relationship revolves around the getting the drug and using the drug. It’s a physical disease that buries the soul. It’s not your brother shutting you out, it’s the drug addiction.
      I wish I could offer advice but nothing I could say would help. My brother lost his battle in 2001. I miss him. The only thing I’ve learned from my experience is addiction is a disease and not a character flaw. It needs to be treated like you would treat someone with cancer or diabetes. You can’t just expect an addict to stop using. That’s just as stupid as telling someone with a brain tumor to just stop having a brain tumor.
      I sincerely hope for the best for you and your brother. Addiction is a very long, hard journey.


      1. My big brother died of a heroin overdose a year ago. It was the hardest hit I could possibly take, and I have not been able to get back up from it. My parents blame heroin and say that it was my brother’s choice. In my heart, I can’t believe that. On that dreadful day, he had full intentions of making it home later that night. Unfortunately, he never made it home. He was left in a trashy hotel room….alone. The person who hooked him up, took everything and ran. I used to think an addict was just a low-life idiot….not anymore. My brother was an addict, and was treated as “just another homeless druggie”. The police didn’t even find the “evidence”. Three days after his death, I found what killed him….the police had missed it….the coroner missed it… father missed it…..I had to be the one to find it in the pocket of the jeans he died in. I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time. I am still grieving….and looking for someone to talk to who has been in the same position. I have talked with counselors, but they have not personally felt what I have been for the last year. I know the steps…..they are not working. I feel like I have to see the room he died in. I still have so many emotions from his death. So until that person is found, I am lost without my brother.


  10. I googled ‘I wish my addict brother would die’ and your blog showed up. I don’t know if you ever feel that way but boy I sure do tonight. My blog is writeinthewrongway on here, don’t know why I can’t comment from there on my phone but I write about my own effed up version of reality with a heroin addict brother (broken arm in high school, got addicted to pain killers.. Story sound familiar?). Some days I cry and cry.. Some days I get so steaming mad I text him and end up in hours long fights that go nowhere… Most days I just try to pretend that he doesn’t exist since the ‘real’ him has been dead and gone since he picked up that first needle.


    1. Please don’t ever wish for his death. My brother died from a heroin overdose 2 years ago. I’m still grieving as much as I was then. Even as I type this, I’m in uncontrollable tears. Wish for the addiction’s death, not your brother’s. Please!!


    2. I have wished my junkie brother dead too, not anymore though. I don’t love him anymore. He has hurt us all too much. I don’t even hate him anymore. I just don’t care if he lives or dies. I know it sounds terrible but he doesn’t deserve my love anymore. If he died tonight I can’t imagine even crying over him.

      Liked by 1 person

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