Rest in Peace Robin Williams

Robin_Williams-Esquire

My brother has been in jail for the past three months and is out on bail waiting for trial. I have talked to him once and I heard from my grandpa that he is doing well. I keep my distance because 10 years of his heroin addiction has taught me too.

Today when the news of Robin Williams suicide hit the interwebs I couldn’t help but tear up. A lifetime of addiction and depression caught up with him and enough was enough. The disease won and Mr. Williams lost.

I think anyone who knows or loves an addict knows that the sad ending of Mr. Williams life is a distinct possibility of an ending to their loved ones life. When people in the spotlight die by way of addiction all it does for me is make me feel like my brother is next. Sometimes the choice to live isn’t present and there are no other options.

We all hope that this ending isn’t the ending to our brother’s story. We hope they make it. But I think deep down we know that the grim reaper stands on their shoulder every day of their lives.

And I am so sad that my brother has to live that like. And I am so sad that at 63 Mr. Williams couldn’t live in this world any longer.

I hope that he finds peace. I hope that his family can find peace. And I truly hope that someday we will live in a world where the disease of depression and addiction no longer exist.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman

When the news of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose hit the web, my stomach turned. My brother’s face immediately appeared to me in all the PSH news feed and everything I read about the father of three’s overdose felt like I was reading about my brother’s own death. Knowing an addict does this to you. Each death attributed to heroin should have been my brother’s, could have been my brothers, and still could be my brother’s.

Addicts don’t live long and happy lives.

Sober for 23 years and he dies with a needle in his arm and 70 bags of heroin in his house. 

Heroin doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t give a shit if you are white, black, famous, poor, married with kids, or a boy who never grew up. Heroin wants you dead. From the first use to the last, the only goal of heroin is to kill you.

When I was growing up I always knew that heroin was a death sentance. I saw Trainspotting in 1995 and the dead baby scene sealed the deal. I would never ever do heroin. I did other drugs though and luckily I made it through the haze. I grew up and left my experimentations with drugs behind.

Others are not so lucky. My brother was not so lucky. After a soccer injury my brother’s doctor prescribed him oxycodone for the pain. He became addicted to the pills and when he couldn’t get any more refills he started buying them on his college campus. His habit was expensive though and when a ‘friend’ introduced him to the cheaper version aka heroin he indulged. That choice has cost him the past 10 years.

Heroin addiction is so hard to understand. Even coming clean doesn’t really mean you are clean. That desire to use never goes away and the addict battles that desire daily. It’s not their fault. The drug takes over the brain and they have no choice.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman had no choice. That lingering pull of the drug never went away and the battle he fought daily to stay sober ended up being a losing battle. The heroin won, it rarely loses. Image

RIP Phillip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

 

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Back to Jail

After 4 moths of sobriety my brother is in jail. Last week he got charged with felony heroin possession.

Here.

We.

Go.

Again. 

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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.

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.

 

Bender

My brother is on a bender. The text messages have begun and he wants to die. Sick from withdrawal his angst filled text come to my father’s inbox. And then they stop.

His phone is dead.

He may be dead.

We don’t know where he is. We don’t know if he’s ok or if he is in trouble. His roommate has called us to let us know he stayed in a motel last night but now has disappeared.

The saga of the poppy continues. His veins full of death just waiting to take him one last time.

All we can do is wait.

All I can do is tell my dad how much I love him and how this is NOT his fault. He didn’t put the needle in his arm. He didn’t make that choice. My brother did. My words fall on deaf ears as I watch my father wait for him to die.

Heroin is such a mother fucker.

My Brother is a Heroin Addict & There is Not a Goddamn Thing I Can Do About It

It’s so funny what will make me have a meltdown when it comes to my brother. For the most part, my skin is thick when it comes to him. I’ve built my wall and it rarely comes down. After seven years of watching him stick a needle in his arm you’d think I’d be numb by now.

And then something makes a crack. Today it was this song. A hairline fracture forms and within moments my wall is down and I…am crumbling. The tears begin and all I know how to do is blindly stare at a computer screen through waterfalls of tears and write. I write about how this disease never ends and how it’s hold on my brother is a million times stronger than our love for him. I write, through the tears, about how I ache for my father, who holds the blame for my brother’s addiction on his shoulders even though he shouldn’t. I write because I am sad and I miss my brother. I write because my children will never see the boy I do. They will never see the sparkle in his blue eyes or hear the carelessness in his laugh. They will never know him like I did. No one will ever again.

Heroin has changed him. Gone is the twinkle and the laugh, forever replaced by an ugliness that never leaves. A shade of gray he has become.

This time I don’t know how to recover. I don’t know how to forgive him for going back to the thing that nearly destroyed him so many times over the past 7 years. I don’t know how to stop fucking crying for him. I don’t know how to stop hating him. I just don’t know.

My brother is a heroin addict and there is not a goddamn thing I can do about it. 

Cold is the water
It freezes your already cold mind
Already cold, cold mind
And death is at your doorstep
And it will steal your innocence
But it will not steal your substance

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And you are the mother
The mother of your baby child
The one to whom you gave life
And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars

But you are not alone in this
And you are not alone in this
As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand
Hold your hand

And I will tell the night
Whisper, “Lose your sight”
But I can’t move the mountains for you

-Mumford & Sons

15 Months

15 months wasted.

15 months clean and sober erased in one moment.

15 months of family and friends, school and normality, gone.

15 months and the needle is back in your arm as the lies spew from your mouth.

15 months later and my father is once again watching his son destroy himself.

15 months later and I hate him yet again.

15 months later and somehow I am surprised. I let myself believe that he would never use again.

15 months later, I’m sad and he’s high.

Here we go again.

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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.

 

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