He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

Oh boy. Where do I start? It’s been a crazy week around these parts.

I last wrote about my brother being encouraged about a long-term treatment center in Florida. That fell through. There is this whole issue of health insurance and his 26th birthday on March 7. There are no rich relatives waiting in the wings to help out. There is only us.

Shifting gears, the next option for N is a halfway/recovery house. It’s not ideal because he doesn’t have a lot of clean time under his belt but it’s a hell of a lot fucking better than him just coming home at the end of 28 days and landing right back into the environment that has been so toxic for him all this time. The halfway house under consideration has a grant bed available and apparently that’s a rare opportunity so he has to jump on it while it’s there. His interview is on Tuesday.

I went to visit him today with my mom. I didn’t really want to when she first proposed it. I was scared, really. What the fuck do you say to your brother on visiting day at the rehab center when you haven’t spoken to him about his drug addiction honestly and openly? How do you help someone without physically being able to help them? I felt guilty because I haven’t been there for him, in any meaningful way.

I was being a coward. It’s not fucking about me, it’s about N. And I knew I needed to go see him. He’s my brother. He’s been in my life for 25 years and walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. How could I NOT go? So I went. And I’m glad that I did. I don’t know if I said the right things, but I did manage to say “I love you, I’m here for you. I will always be here for you.” And I think that was enough. There were a lot of tears. A lot of awkward silences. A lot of hugs. Then our hour was over… and I spent the 1.5 hours driving to my mom’s house in tears.

Sad because my brother is a heroin addict. Sad that he has never known a “normal” life. Sad because I can’t do anything about it. Sad because I found out he had a guy shoot heroin into his arm on Christmas Eve, right before he joined our family for dinner. Sad because I know that my Dad has been through all of this shit and just gave up on himself, giving up on his kids as an extension.. just passing along his fucked up genetic cocktail. Just… fucking… sad.

It wasn’t all bad, though. It was really, really good to see him sober. To see him clearly. To see him so raw and honest. You can’t talk a bunch of shit like nothing is wrong when you’re sitting in a rehab center. It was good to not hear him coughing so hard it sounds like he’s dying (the heroin depresses the respiratory system). He also smiled. That was good too.

N has a long road ahead of him. I don’t know if this time will be “the” time that it clicks for him. He could very well go to this halfway house and start using at the first opportunity and get kicked back to square 1. Or… it might work. Who knows? I sure as hell fucking don’t. All I know is that seeing him today ignited a fire in me that is burning so hot I might melt from the inside out. The social worker who ran our family group session said that addicts have to make their whole life revolve around their recovery. I’m ready for mine to revolve around it too. I will be ever-present, always available, and endlessly supportive. I will never give up on my little brother and I will never stop loving him, no matter how bad he fucks up.

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
The Hollies

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…

6 thoughts on “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

  1. Pingback: What fresh hell is this?! | Write in the Wrong Way

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