Loving somebody with a drug addiction might be just as confusing and frustrating as being a drug addict yourself. Today was one of those confusing and frustrating days.
My brother, John, is addicted to crack cocaine. He's been an addict for going on 20 years. His drug addiction makes him a liar, a thief, and a completely paranoid asshole 99% of the time. I try not to get involved. I try to stay neutral. He's burned every bridge he's got, and sometimes comes to me when he needs help. I love him with all of my heart. He's still my little brother. And when he's not high on crack, he is one of my favorite humans. He's funny, smart, and incredibly charming. He's also 6'4", and when he's not strung out, could pass as Vince Vaughn's brother.
Today I found myself caught up in the drama when he called and said that he'd been shot, and needed somebody to meet him at the emergency room. After finding out that it was nothing life threatening, a shot in the leg and two in the hand, I found myself sitting with him in the emergency room while he was being stitched, bandaged, and questioned by the police. We cried, we laughed, we promised to take care of each other. Everything in my heart says love, everything in my head says watch out! I brought him home with me. He needs me tonight. He needs me to just take care of him, and not to talk about what happened. Not talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room.
And tonight, I can do that. But I told him that the only way he was coming home with me is that he had to agree that I'll nurse him to health just enough to get him into rehab. He cried and said, "I'll go. I'll go. I don't want this anymore." Oh, if only those were the first time I'd heard those words. Oh, God grant me the strength to believe them just one more time.
It used to be something I hid. Something I'd never talk about. But sometimes I just get mad about it, and want to let it all out. I just get mad that one of the biggest problems in our country is not even on the agenda, politically. Our prisons are filled with drug addicts, drug dealers, and drug cooks. Our cities are filled with them, too. Our neighborhoods look clean from the outside, but don't look too closely, you might find an addict next door. You might even find one living in your own house or in your family. You might even be an addict yourself.
IF YOU ARE AN ADDICT OR HAVE AN ADDICT IN YOUR FAMILY, please know that I know what you are going through. I know your pain. You don't have to tell your story here. But if you need a little love in this area of your life, shout out a little "HEAL US" in your response so that we can send healing vibes your way.
HEAL US. HEAL ALL OF US. Give us all the strength we need to love ourselves to heal inside and out. And know that you're not alone.