Not that I have been at this for very long but I thought from day one that this blog would not include anything about my brother and his addiction to heroin. No, I didn’t want this to be about that. I didn’t want to feel as though he and his addiction had somehow invaded another part of my life. But here I sit, having decided that this is my life and this is what I need to be talking about.
I found out about a year an a half ago that my brother was addicted to heroin. He had gone from prescribed medications to illegally getting more medications to heroin. Unfortunately, he isn’t the first person for this to happen to. Heroin is everywhere. One thing you learn when a family member is suffering with this is that there a lot of other people out there going through the same thing. You start to read stories about addicts and their recovery, people dealing with their sibling’s addiction, and parents who have lost a child. It is heartbreaking and scary and terrible to read about normal people who have been sucked into this life. These people haven’t chosen this for themselves. None of them woke up one day and thought “today I want to become addicted to heroin”. This apparently is also something that people who haven’t dealt with this can’t understand.
I have almost felt abandoned from friends because they don’t understand my situation. It is a very thin line – enabling and detaching from someone. How can you be there and support someone who clearly needs help but not help them continue the behavior. I feel like it is the same thing when a parent says “you wouldn’t understand what it feels like to be a parent if you aren’t one”. I get that now. I can’t understand what that feels like and my friends and other loved ones can’t understand what it is like to be the sibling of an addict.
That is where I come to my line in the sand. I haven’t done anything but be supportive and understanding. I have heard over and over that I’m clean, I’m fine, I have everything under control – but it isn’t true. I cannot continue to sit around and listen to the BS when I know that is what it is. I will not pretend everything is fine when I can tell it isn’t, even if that creates problems within our family. Because I have made it clear that I no longer and able to believe him my brother has blocked my phone number. If I can’t “be on his team” he doesn’t need me in his life. I’m hearing “if you can’t just believe what I’m saying even though I’m acting totally different I can’t hear what you have to say”. If he isn’t ready to change and get help and take responsibility for himself I can’t make him.
So here comes Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time that is supposed to be all about family. Now I am the bad guy because my brother isn’t invited to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. And I’m the bad guy because I’m not going to change my Christmas Eve plans to revolve around my brother’s changes. What about being an aunt to his girls? How will they feel not seeing me and not knowing why. How will I feel about not getting to see them?
I know that I can not change him. I can’t. There is nothing I can do to get him to see that I’m on his team and I’m trying to help him. I have to wait it out and hope that he figures it out. He is an adult. He got himself where he is and he has to get himself out. I do honestly believe addiction is a disease, not something that people decide to become involved in. But I also believe you have to want to get better and stay better. I can’t keep feeling like the bad guy because of someone else’s decisions. That is a lot easier said than done. I’m working on that. For now, there is a line in the sand. I won’t get on board with the lies and he won’t realize that I’m really in his corner.
I love you little brother and that isn’t going to change.