Brother, Where Art Thou…

Everybody’s addicted to something.
Everybody’s gotta grip onto something.
Even if it’s just to feel the responsive appeal.
Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe hundreds of times.
Hundreds of times
Without it, it’s just harder to function at times.
So you race to the bottom of every single bottle.
As if there was someone or something to find.
You struggle in your mind.
And you tell yourself lie after lie.
‘Til you get to the point where it’s no longer lie…
John Doe!
I just want the John I know.
Once you put the drinks on hold.
Maybe you could come back home.
John Doe…

~(from the song “John Doe” by B.o.B feat. Priscilla)~

So I heard this on the radio while I was driving the other day and it made me think of my brother…yes, THAT aforementioned horrible brother from previous posts…him. See, he’s not doing so well. In all honesty, he’s actually in a really, really bad way. Drugs, drinking, partying…the usual…only worse. I don’t know the entire situation because well, for a lot of reasons. For starters, I haven’t talked to my brother in months, ever since our last not so civil go-round that spurred me into packing my bags and moving out to Auburn. I just couldn’t take it at that house anymore…it was driving me crazy. Granted, I loved being there for the kids and helping my grams out–but with my brother there, it just wasn’t working. And I was sick of getting into it with him and the cops being called and them not doing anything because they “couldn’t since he lived there, too” and then the others picking sides and acting like I was this horrible person for calling the police on my own brother–which in my defense, what else are you supposed to do when you’re being physically and verbally threatened by someone who has already made good on his threats against you numerous times in the past–so yeah. I had to get out of there. So I did. I moved out. That was 5 months ago…and honestly, it was the best decision I could have made. I’m so glad that I did. I’m happy where I am now. While I don’t get to see the kids too often, I think the distance is a good thing. For my sanity, if nothing else. So yeah, I haven’t talked to him since then…or been interested in what’s been going on in his life. Maybe that makes me sound like this horrible sister and human being, I don’t know, but honestly…there’s only so much a person can take, you know? I mean, I love my brother because obviously…he’s my brother…but I don’t like him. He’s hurt so many people with his selfishness and complete disregard for the feelings and well-being of everyone around him.

He’s got issues…a lot of them. And I get that, I do. Hell, I’ve got plenty of my own…some that might even overlap with his. But I’m not like him. I don’t let all of my problems rule my life the way that he does and has. The issues that he has and has had for years…they’ve completely taken over his life. I’m trying to understand where he’s coming from and why he is like he is. I’m trying. I get that he hasn’t exactly has an easy go of it. Not having a father around when we were growing up wasn’t easy on any of us…but it was probably the hardest on him, seeing how a boy needs a father-figure and all that. And god-knows the men in my mother’s life didn’t fit that bill. He was close to my uncle…but then he got married and disowned our entire family for reasons that I still haven’t been able to discern even now, almost 20 something years later. My sister and I had my mom–or my grams, I should say–but it was different for my brother. He acted out…fell in with the wrong crowd…and he’s been sliding down that deep, dark hole ever since.

He’s a good guy…deep-down, I think. But he’s just so messed up. He’s got three kids that he doesn’t support because he can’t keep a job for too long…mainly because he can’t stop partying. A lot of it is the drinking. He’s an alcoholic…big time. He’ll even admit it…but he doesn’t do anything about it. He says he’ll stop…but he doesn’t. He won’t. He can’t.

I get it, you know. I do. I mean, I know what it’s like to be addicted to something. I’ve gone through my own battles with addiction. A few of them. 5 years ago when everything went down with whatshisname, I was pretty bad with drinking. I wasn’t an alcoholic by any means, but I had a problem. I think in my situation, the drinking was an escape. A numbing agent, really. In a twisted, illogical way, I think it was easier to drink and be drunk when I was doing what I was doing…that way I didn’t have to face that what I was doing was wrong and messed up. Honestly, I’ve had so much time to think about it over the years and I really do think that had I been sober–that relationship never would have lasted as long as it had…or even started in the first place, as I was drunk that first night as well. But bygones and all that. Anyhow, my turning point came when I found myself standing on the railing of a fire-escape at 6 am, barefoot, half-dressed, and so completely out of it that, to this day, I still don’t remember what the hell I was thinking or doing that day. All I know is that I’d been drinking, I had an argument with that guy I was with, I took a bunch of pills…and ended up on a 5th floor fire-escape ledge. To be clear–I wasn’t trying to kill myself. That–wasn’t happening. It’s a really long, convoluted story but from what I’ve pieced together of that night is that apparently I woke up and decided to take a walk…without getting dressed or taking my keys with me. So after wandering around town for who-knows how long, I returned home to find myself locked out of my apartment building. So, dumb-ass that I was, I decided to climb the fire-escape and climb in through a window of an apartment that I was thought was a friend’s, but turned out to be an un-rented apartment–lucky for me, I guess LOL–then pound on the landlord’s door to let me into my apartment, which as it turns out was unnecessary because I’d left it unlocked with the door wide open and everything–yeah…unreal. It got worse because I was so out of it that I didn’t know what time it was or where I’d left my car or even what day it was. My friend told me later that she’d seen me in the hallway that morning and that she’d tried talking to me and that I had just seemed like I was completely messed up. I don’t doubt it because I don’t remember even seeing her. The only thing I’m sure of about that entire incident is that I blacked-out and nearly killed myself because I was foolish and had a problem. Well, the drinking was a problem…but so was the guy thing. THAT was the near-incident that changed perspectives for me. I stopped drinking after that….and the rest fell into place. I barely drink anymore…not because I’m worried about something like that happening again or getting out of control…but because I just don’t feel like it.

My brother’s problem is far worse. He literally drinks every night. Every night. And he loves the hard stuff. I mean, he’ll go through a bottle or two of Jack on his own and still be standing. I guess that’s because he’s an alcoholic, but still…it’s pretty ridiculous. Hell, I’d be flat on my ass after a few shots and a couple of beers. Another difference is that I’m an emotional drunk. I get drunk and I cry. My brother’s the complete opposite. He gets drunk and he gets angry…and mean. He’ll pick a fight just to pick one. It’s a horrible trait and habit–one that’s gotten him into a lot of trouble over the years…legally and personal. He’s been in and out of jail for years, most of his adult life, really. And each time he goes in, he swears that when he gets out, it’ll be different. That he’ll change. That he’s done with the drinking and the partying. It’s always the same damn speech. And it never happens. No matter how long he’s in for–as soon as he gets out, he gets right back into the thick of it again. I think the longest he’s lasted is maybe a week in between getting out and starting the partying again.

I know he has a problem…that he has an addiction and a disease…but it’s frustrating, you know? I mean, you’d think he’d at least want to change or try harder to, for the sake of his kids or something. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t want help or he’d get some. And it’s bad now. He’s into Molly and other stuff–which is pretty bad. I mean, I’ve taken pills–I’m not a saint–but this Molly stuff can be pretty hard-core, I know, especially with the shit they’re cutting it with. It’s dangerous. And apparently it’s gotten so bad that my mother and grams are really freaked out for him. They keep talking about how when he stops by the house, it’s like he’s losing his mind–he’s so out of it. I guess last week he trashed the attic looking for something but he couldn’t even tell them what when they asked him about it–and in fact, couldn’t remember even stopping there or being in the attic the following day. So yeah, I’d say he’s pretty messed up. The other night my niece’s mother called my mother to tell her that he was talking crazy and saying that he wanted to kill himself so my mother went over to try to talk him down, but apparently that didn’t go over too well. It’s all just so screwed up. I don’t know what to say when they talk about it…or what to do.

I mean, I wish I could help him or that there was something I–or anyone–could do, but I’m just not sure what there is to do. I mean, we can’t force him to get help. He has to do it himself. He has to want it for himself or it’s never going to work. And he’s not there yet. You’d think he would be…but he’s not. And this whole suicide crazy-talk…I’m the last person to be giving advice in that arena…for obvious reasons. I know what it’s like to be in that place though. To be at the end of your rope…to just want to crawl into a deep, dark hole and die…to want to escape it all. Your problems…the world…life. Everything. I know what it’s like to feel that desperate and I’m not going to lie…it’s a horrible feeling. It’s a terrifying place to be. I know. So I feel for him, I do. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone…certainly not my own brother. And if I could help him down from his own ledge, I would…but what would I say? That it gets better? That there’s more to life than this? But then, wouldn’t I be lying if I said that because honestly…it doesn’t get better. I mean…not really. Sure, life gets a little easier…but the pain is always there. And it’s always going to be there. I know because I deal with my own every day. There is more though. I’ve seen it. I’ve known it. I mean, I was at the place where he is once and now here I am, a few months away from moving almost 1000 miles away to finish school and start my life. So it’s possible, I mean. If he wants it badly enough…if he wants to change. If he wants to live… But it’s first and foremost, his choice. I just hope he makes the right one…and soon…before it and he gets any worse…


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