My brother is an addict.

My brother is an addict, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my blog, though he is quite tech-savvy. I’ve lost count of how many years he’s been on the same dead-end cycle: using drugs, losing jobs, manipulating “friends” into letting him crash on their couches, using, stealing, lying… and yet never seeming to hit rock bottom, not even when he goes to the ER with some imagined ailment brought on by drug-induced paranoia/anxiety, not even when he spent five weeks at the downtown Austin homeless shelter when there were no other options.

My brother is an addict, and he’s 29 years old. Will he become one of those forty- and fifty-something addicts who relapses and relapses and never really lives a healthy, sober life? My parents wised up years ago after realizing they were only enabling his destructive habits by allowing him to live under their roof.

But my brother is a clever addict, and just before Christmas 2012, he came to them with a story. The story was that he wanted to change his ways, get his life back. He agreed to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings nightly. He put on a show, and it was the holidays and they pitied him and made themselves believe it. Not three weeks later, he came home smelling of beer, having skipped the meeting and gone to a friend’s house. (Did he ever even attend one meeting? I doubt it. Or if he did, it was mostly a venue to meet more addicts, most of whom would sooner or later relapse and rejoin the network of drug pushers and purchasers.) He sold the $20 gift card to Chili’s that my aunt had given him and used those $20 to buy beer and cigarettes and whatever other substance he could.

My brother is an addict, and he’s a master manipulator. My parents needed him to take care of their two dogs and two cats and dozens of plants while they came and visited me and their new baby granddaughter, Jade, in Guatemala for almost two weeks. They chose to forget that he is not to be trusted. I won’t bore you with the details, but he dug himself an even deeper hole and will no longer be welcome in my parents’ home due to his choices and his apparent unwillingness and/or inability to rehabilitate.

My brother is an addict, and we love him anyway and hope he will get clean – a choice that is his alone to make.

{p.s. On a brigher note, my brother-from-another-mother, dear friend and fellow writer, Tommy, has vowed to give up drinking and drugging for 2013… and he’s keeping a highly (no pun intended) entertaining and revealing blog chronicling his experience. Check it out at A Year Above The Influence.}

8 responses to “My brother is an addict.”

  1. Being around addicts and drinking alcoholics is no fun. We can only pray for those who still suffer. AA and NA are there if he decides to have a life. Please take care of your own little family and wrap yourselves in a cocoon of love.

  2. Addiction runs in my family too and there came a point where as hard as it was my parents had to say no to my brother and my sister. My brother is still muddling along but he manages to hold down a job these days and a roof over his head (just). We love him and always hope for him that he make choices that bring him true happiness. I hope that for your brother too.

  3. I feel for you and yours, but try not to lose hope. Compassion is a long, tough, yet inspiring road. May we all be happy, peaceful, and liberated – and want to share that path with those who need it most dire.

  4. […] My brother is an addict, and he was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 14. My brother and I are not close, and after all he has put my parents and family through with his lies and manipulation, it’s easy to point fingers, lay blame and generally live in ignorance about the state of his life and the condition of his recovery. […]

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