I love a drug addict, very much. This drug addict has been doing some sort of drug for almost 20 years now. His addiction has hit peaks and valleys over these last 20 years, but the peaks occur more than the valleys. I have been, along with my Mother and Father, struggling right along with him. My brother Kenny is a drug addict, and this post is about his recovery.
I keep thinking that if I can say it out loud for him enough, maybe he will come to terms with his addiction, and face his recovery like a ship facing the strongest of storms, but knowing that he would not be alone in his storm. But, it does not work, it has not worked. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” right? I think that is the classic line I hear when I talk to people about getting him some help. His recovery must be his choice they say, he must choose to be better.
My brother started smoking pot when he was sixteen. I can remember, because I tried it too. I can remember not caring for the way it made me feel back then; the numb feeling, but he seemed to really enjoy it. I didn’t know then, or understand, how that feeling could be so addicting to someone in pain; the numbness that drugs can bring to a hurting soul. Please don’t misunderstand me about drugs, I am a huge advocate for medical marijuana and CBD products. I also am curious about mushrooms and other hallucinogenic drugs, but mainly the natural kind for meditation and consciousness purposes only. What I do not advocate for are pain pills, cocaine, meth, and other shit like that. My brother began smoking pot and drinking, and then over the years progressed into harsher drugs. I have seen his go through withdraws that I thought would physically kill him, but he lived. I have seen him so high that he didn’t even know his name or who I was, that high lasted two days. That was a very scary two days. I still have not told my Mother about that.
Now, his progression into harder drugs did not stem from his use of pot, or I do not think anyhow. Many people disagree, but I believe that my brothers addiction began long before he was ever introduced to drugs. I believe that we are genetically born with addictive personalities because our Father used to be a drug addict and alcoholic, and all this is genetic functionality that is way beyond our control. Some of us are addicted to food, to drugs, to money, maybe even to people; but we all really do face some form of addiction. It is how we manage that addiction, is what makes us or breaks us, and the support system we have during our time of recovery.
I firmly believe that in order for boys to grown into good men, then they need a good, strong male figure in their lives from a young age, teaching and mentoring them, and pushing them in the right direction. Men are funny characters, wired so differently that women, and they would argue the same about us women. Growing up, my brother didn’t have the support system he needed with a male figure. If you have read back though my 40 some odd posts here, then you would know that my Dad had cancer when I was younger. His cancer kept him from being a good Dad to us, whatever a version of a good Dad is. It was not my Dads fault that he was hurting, and angry, and miserable, and sad, and what it did to myself and my brother was not his fault either. It was Cancers fault. I blame Cancer. My Mother worked three jobs most of my childhood and did not have time to nurture us the way she could have if she worked one job like other Moms did. She could not provide the emotional input that we needed from a Fathers standpoint and do all she had to do. She did the best she could. My Dad was simply not able to do it, and I understood, but I don’t think my brother ever did. I think for a long time he blamed my Dad for being sick. I know he knew it wasn’t Dads fault he couldn’t take him fishing, or to baseball games, or show him how to change the oil in a car, or tell him how to talk to girls, or when to go in for that first kiss. My Dad slept a lot and was in and out of the hospital a lot for years. He also has a terrible car accident, pretty much turned his face into hamburger meat with a windshield, and almost died. I can remember that was a long recovery too. It was a rough time. To this day, his Oncologist still cannot say, with any certainty, that he is fully in remission and I am 34. I fucking hate cancer.
Anyhow, seven years later and my brother met a girl, and fell head over heels for her. He married her and he quit doing drugs. He quit everything. He got a really good job and worked, and cleaned his room, and took care of his wife, and was the best I had seen him in years. She got pregnant, about the same time I got pregnant with mine and my husband’s first child, my daughter. It was a really wonderful time in our lives. Then, her baby was born early, very early, and he was so tiny. He lived for a week, and they held him and loved him for a week, then he died. His name was Taylor Joe. I named my second born after him, my son, Frankie Joe. I never saw the baby, I was pregnant and could not do it. I could not be there for my brother because I was selfish, and I have still not released that guilt. I never will. I love my daughter and she is one of the two best things I ever did right in my entire life, but going to my little baby nephew’s funeral, while I was pregnant with her, was the most terrible thing I did up until that point. My sister in law and my brother had to look at my big pregnant belly while they laid their baby in the ground. I do not know that pain, I never want to know that pain. That pain, is what pushed my brother into divorce, and back into the drugs that he had once let go of. I know why he went back. He wanted to be numb again. He wanted to numb that pain. I will never blame him for that. He lost a child.
But, here we are, so many years later, and he is 36, and life has not moved. He still goes from sober to full on high for months on end. I watch my Mother, and now semi-healthy Father struggle to help him manage his addiction. My mom keeps the footprints of little Taylor in a picture frame, so she can remember. I see my brother look at those tiny feet sometimes, and I want to cry, because of the pain I see on his face when he looks at those feet. I wish I could fix him. I wish I could magic away all his pain and all the hardships he has had to endure. I wish he had stronger willpower.
I know he will never forget losing his child, but I have to believe that people can get better if they really want to. I have to believe that when facing the choice of either recovering and living your best life with what you have left, or staying in the Purgatory which life has handed you, that one could choose recovery if they really wanted it. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have bad days. He will have bad days. I tell him often, that the bad days are what will give him strength, if he will use it in that manner, but my brother is so weak in will and I don’t know how to build that in him. He is too old I think. I remind him of the strength that lives inside his broken spirit, and tell him often how much I love him. I will not give up. I will continue to fight for him, because I know he is in there, the brother I knew when I was 15 who laughed when he shoved me into the creek. The brother that held my hand and told me it was going to be okay when my Dad lay sick from chemotherapy treatments. The brother that sat quietly by my side, while I cried over my first real heartache. I know he is still there, pushing through the triggers of his addictions and relapses, and trying to be better for that one day when he is strong enough.
I love a drug addict, who is currently in relapse mode, but relapse is part of recovery, for any kind of anything. We are all in recovery from something and get a new chance to start over every morning.
I love you Kenny.