Heroin + Christmas = Jail

A reoccurring theme has presented itself in the tenure of my brother’s heroin addiction. For the past 5 years, my brother has spent Christmas in jail or rehab. This year, it seems it will be jail. I got the call today. He’s in jail. I wasn’t surprised. He’s been living with a co-dependant who has supported his addiction for the past year and a half. It was only a matter of time.

After I got the call I realized that more than once my brother has spent Christmas in jail. I read through this blog and a journal that I write in to confirm this realization. 5 out of 5. He’s spent 5 Christmas in jail.


It got me thinking that somehow, subconciously he is still in there. I’m not sure if this will make sense or not but I’m going to try. Since my brother’s addiction began, he has spent 1 Christmas with my family. He was high, and gave my 2 year old son a pair of 10 year old Burton snowboarding pants, tags on that were obviously stolen. Since then, he hasn’t been to any family holidays. Every now and then my dad will have him at one of his holidays but if my kids are coming, he doesn’t. We never want to take the chance that my brother is fucked up around them.

Heroin isn’t a fan of family Christmas.

Which is what leads me to believe that somewhere, way down, deep inside, the old Andy still exists. The Andy who used to come to all the family gatherings and play cards, tells stories, and have fun. When Christmas comes around, the old Andy momentarily battles the demon Andy (my junkie brother), realizes that the only family he has is heroin, and instead of spending Christmas with heroin, he somehow lands himself in jail or a hospital for the holiday. To me, it’s like the old Andy is subconsciously punishing himself for his addiction.

I know. I’m reaching. Addiction is addiction. Jail is part of addiction. Living with a co-dependant psychopath who feeds you pills and drugs all day is a part of addiction.

I just hope he’s still in there somewhere. I hope someday we get the old Andy back. I’m not sure we ever will but at least for now, I can hope. I can hope that someday he will be in my house, with a family of his own celebrating with mine.

A sister can dream…




Planning for a Funeral

I spent all day Tuesday planning my brother’s funeral.

In my head.

I composed a eulogy that I would say while standing next to his lifeless body. It was an angry eulogy directed at him. Whenever my words would come to surface all I could do was cry.

I cried over and over on Tuesday.

At 3:01pm the tears started flowing and wouldn’t stop. I convinced myself that this was the precise moment he died.

But I was wrong.

He didn’t die.

He was in jail.

The safest place he could ever be.


Second Chances

In the summer my brother was sentenced for all the crimes he committed in 2010.  He was given a ‘second chance’ verdict.  Basically he was convicted all of the crimes he committed, (minor felonies) however he was given a ‘second chance.’  His ‘second chance’ would consist of the jail time he had already served + staying clean and seeing a probation officer weekly.  If he did not comply with any one of these terms, he would automatically be sent to prison.

He was clean for 2 weeks.

By Halloween, he was in the hospital claiming illness but really trying to cover up the bender he was on. The hospital alerted the PO and sooner than later my brother was back in front of a judge. In a surprising turn of events, he did not get sentenced to prison.  Instead he was sent to a rehab correctional facility in Northwest Ohio.

I have not spoken to him, however my father goes up to visit him weekly.  The man is a saint, it’s over 3 hours away,  He says that brother is doing well.  He has gained weight and doesn’t look at all like the heroin addict he once was.  He is taking on responsibilities and has become second in command.

I like these updates from my dad.  I like them so much that I was even inspired to write him a letter.  The first contact I have attempted to make in over a year. For some reason I have hope now.

I hope he stays clean forever.

I hope he becomes the brother I used to know and love.

I hope he never sticks a needle in his arm again.

I hope my kids will call him Uncle again.

I hope he learns that he is worth something.

I hope he learns I still love him.

16% Recovery Rate

I haven’t been around for awhile.  I cut myself and my family off from my brother and tried to move past the pain he puts our family through.

Then I watched 20/20 last week and saw my brother again.  He was the every person portrayed on their show about college heroin use that night.  The daughter was my brother.  In and out of rehab & jail, scamming her parents for money and hooked on the poppy.

I called my dad.  Turn on the TV dad.  Someone is finally shining light on this epidemic.  Three days later, my ‘clean’ brother went on a bender.  With the threat of two felony convicitions on his head, he went on a fucking bender.  He lied to my dad. Tried to scam money from him for an out of state rehab and then tried to scam a hospital.

This is what heroin fucking does.

It takes ahold of your life and doesn’t let go until your dead or in prison.  Some may get out alive but not many.

16% recover.

84% don’t.

In the back of my head I had always hoped he would make it, I had always prayed he was different than the stats.  He was stronger, he was better than the other junkies.  He could make it through this.

Now I’m not so sure.

My dad is a wreck once again.  The past 6 years of his life stolen by a disease that his son chose the second he put that needle in his arm.  He cannot walk away no matter how hard he tries.  He doesn’t see the junkie I see.  All he sees is the son he once loved so much.


Happy Birthday

Today my brother turns 27.  I honestly don’t care that it’s his birthday.  Thinking back I haven’t celebrating his birthday with him in over five years.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.

He’s 27 and he has spent the last five years putting a needle in his arm.  He has spent the last five years stealing thousands upon thousands of dollars from anyone and everyone he knows.  The last five years lying, cheating, and who knows what else.  Heroin addicts aren’t really the poster boys for good are they now?

I am so sick of his bullshit.  I am so sick of my dad enabling him.  I am so sick of the fucking lies he tells to everyone.  I am so sick of everyone believing him.

He is a liar.  He will do anything for the poppy.  Anything.  Every word he speaks is a lie.  It is a way for him to figure out the next way he can get high.  He doesn’t want to get clean.  He doesn’t give a shit who he hurts or steps on.  He is a 27-year-old monster.

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.

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.