Monday, March 1, 2010

Conversation with My Brother, the Drug Addict

A piece of me died over the weekend.

*Note - This blog is probably going to be scatterbrained because I'm trying to get myself together still and haven't been able to really organize my thoughts. Just follow me.*

This past Friday I took a trip down to my hometown of Maryland to get some much needed things done. So among my list of things to do, I made time to go visit my older brother who has been dealing with a lot of things lately. What I saw, devastated me in more ways than I imagined, and I've been crying on and off for the past few days. Writing this is making me tear up now.

My brother is a drug addict. He's been addicted to drugs for, I believe, the past 5 or probably more years. I didn't realize it was so bad until I went to see him, and a normally bright, upbeat, smiling person was pale, defunct, out of it, weary, etc.

As soon as I saw him I pulled him close to me. I wanted to peel any piece of the old man I once knew. The guy who is obsessed with Wonder Woman, the guy who I could go to for advice about guys, the boy who has always struggled with his sexuality, and can sometimes be too honest, the man who I learned to love through all his ups and downs.

I picked him up at the motel he was staying at, (he had been kicked out of his house numerous times, but apparently his mother said this was the final straw). We went to Burger King, I bought him food. We talked. I asked him a series of questions and he was straightforward.

Me: Are you in rehab?
Him: Yes, I've been in and out of drug rehab. It isn't helping. But I go on Mondays when I can.

Me: You know everyone wants you to get better. We're worried about you. What do you need?
Him: All I want right now is drugs. Will you take me to get some?

Me: No! Are you crazy? (in retrospect I know that of course he indeed was)
Him: I know, (smiling) Just thought I'd try.

Me: Oh my god, that's not ok.
Him: I know. I'm not ok.

Me: I think you need to get out of this area. Why don't you come up to NY for a weekend?
Him: I love you, but I'm an extreme burden. I can't do that to you.

Me: what exactly do you do? Which drug?
Him: PCP.

Me: (frantic) What??? That's one of the worst ones! No! Oh, my god. You hallucinate with that don't you?
Him: Yea. I feel sick, chills, all that. But it's nothing I'm not used to.

Me: I'm praying for you. You know I love you right.
Him: I know. I love you too.

Me: Why can't you stop?
Him: I just can't. I just...can't.

Me: Is your mom going to let you back in the house?
Him: No. She made that very clear. I'm on drugs. She put all my stuff out the house.

Me: (pause) Are you scared?
Him: Yea. I'm scared of withdrawal. I've been there, I don't want to go there again.

And so went our conversation. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I still don't. What do you say to someone who can admit to doing drugs, but is scared to stop because he's scared of the side effects from the withdrawal process? How do you help someone like that?

There's more.

He wanted to pick up some things from his mother's house and asked if I could take him. Sure I said, anyway I could help, I would. We drive to his mother's house and he asks if he can buy some cigarettes from the gas station. 'Sure, better cigarettes than drugs,' I thought. I pull over and he gets out the car. What happened next will forever sit in my memory.

He gets back in the car. "You're gonna hate me" he says. Immediately I wanted to punch myself in the face for stopping. He lit up a cigarette and the smell of PCP, filled my car. Frantically I rolled down the windows, pulled out of the gas station, and started screaming at him. He didn't hear anything I said. He went from a seemingly normal state to completely blank. His eyes glazed over. I had to pull the car over so he could spit up. He leaned forward. Leaned back. And just sat there zoned out like a zombie.

I knew this was the end of our interaction. I couldn't be around him. As much as I wanted to help, I realized first hand what everyone in my family had been saying, and it hurt me to the core. 'All this time I had been thinking, this is me, I'm his little sister, he won't take advantage of me. We're so close. I was wrong. Every bone in me aches just thinking about it. It hurt me to the core.

I drove him back to the motel, stifling tears and anger both of which I didn't know what do with because if you know anything about PCP, you know that the person who is on it, can get extremely EXTREMELY violent so you have to choose you're words carefully.

I dropped him off and needless to say, I had to struggle to get him out of my car, and ultimately coax him by saying I would walk him upstairs. His eyes were still glazed over. He looked like death. As soon he got out, I slammed my door and sped off leaving him standing in front of the motel. Driving down 495, hot tears flowed down my face.I called my boyfriend crying hysterically and he tried to comfort me, but I just couldn't be comforted. I still can't.

I found out later that generally people lace weed with PCP, but in DC they lace cigarettes with it. I told my father about our run in, and all he could do was shake his head. 'We've tried to help him. Repeatedly. But you can't help people who don't want to be helped', he said. 'Just pray that we don't get a call saying he's dead.'

What more can I do? I asked. "Put it God's hands," he said. "And pray the devil doesn't win."


Mademoiselle M said...

Praying for you and your brother. And of course your fam. xoxo

His Daughter said...

you are in my prayers. don't give up on him, all you can do is pray

Anonymous said...

This blog really touched me. I am going through the same exact thing. I am the little sister and my brother is addicted. I am so scared and hurt right now and I don't know what to do. I know that I am not alone, Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your story breaks my heart. My older brother is a drug addict. His drug of choice is weed and oxycodone. The worst if it all is that his fiancé is also using and she is 8 months pregnant with my niece. I am so scared for my brother, but also do much for the baby! I hate him for allowing his baby mamma to use while pregnant with his daughter! I am an early childhood educator, do to see him do this to an innocent baby just makes me so sick! Right now both my brother and his fiancé are staying "clean" by using methadone and Suboxone. Today is my brothers 25th birthday... I hope he lives to see his 26th, and even his daughters 26th bday one day! I feel so lost, and I clearly know that I'm not alone, but I still feel so alone. Sometimes the serenity prayer helps... Maybe it can help you guys... G-D grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the power to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Anonymous said...

my boyfriend is going through a similar situation for some time now. Emotional roller-coasters that time can only soothe. From what I have researched, some say researching is first. Second is not enabling. Third is letting the truth unveil itself to the addict through the natural consequences that unravel with this vicious spiral. i do know that if the individual is believed to be a harm to himself or others, some baker act the individual. This is involuntary hospitalization.

Please, these words appear crude and too frank to bear, but I truly just wish you to explore the matter, learn all you can learn about it, and go from there. As a to be counselor, it helps to see one for the sake of piecing it all together in your mind so too empower the certain parts of your life that have been affected.

My prayers are with you, your family, and your brother.