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.

FIVE. 

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…

 

 

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Her Sober Brother

My brother is sober and in my life.

My brother is sober.

He is on his fifth month sober. After a string of events that led him to drug court he found himself in a program once again. He lived there for three months and is now living in a sober house. This time around I have chosen to have a relationship with him. I know the risks of this and I have tried to talk myself out of being in his life but something just won’t let me. I’m not sure why it’s different this time. It just is.

Maybe it’s because I miss him, and the anger I have felt towards him over the past 11 years is starting to fade. Maybe it’s because deep down I hope that my life will inspire him. Maybe I think if he sees that I can find happiness in family, love, and life, maybe he could too. Or maybe it’s just time.

I don’t know how things will end up. I know the cycle of addiction and I know the risk of having him in my life is high and could be destined for failure and pain but something just says that this is what I need to do. I love him and I want to believe so bad that he is on his way to a life of sobriety and happiness. But I also know that addicts have to do it on their own and my brother is no different. He has to want it and for the first time ever in the history of his terrible addiction I actually believe he does want it.

My brother started writing a blog when he found out about this blog. You can find him here at Her Sober Brother. 

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.

The Clean Addict

Hoping my brother stays clean…this time

Addicts love to get clean.

Heroin addiction is cyclical.  At least in my world. My brother has been clean more times than I care to remember and has been high more times than anyone ever should be.  It is not a pretty life.

Last time we spoke he had come by the restaurant.  He was headed into a 9 month rehab program and wanted to say goodbye.  I was hopeful, but having watched him go in and out of detox / rehab facility, I was highly suspect.

He lasted 2 months.

He got kicked out for fighting (?) and has now come back into my life.

I have seen him twice since he got kicked out of the facility and he looks good.  He’s clean.  He’s sober.  He’s got a sponsor.  But he’s still an addict, and addicts love to get clean.

Here’s what I mean.

The way heroin works, according to what I have seen go down in a 5 year addiction, is this:

Addict shoots up.

Addict shoots up a lot.

Addict shoots up so much that said addict can no longer get high with a small amount of heroin.

Addict is a junkie and can therefore not afford large amounts of heroin, so addict goes to detox.

Detox cleans addicts system out.

Addict can choose one of 2 ways, clean or junk.

Addict chooses junk.

The cycle begins again.

I have watched this go down with my brother over 20 times.  I hope I don’t have to watch it a 21st time.  I would like my brother back.  For real this time.