What i want you to know: loving a drug-addicted brother

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest posts is by Theresa.Photobucket
I would say I live in a middle class life. I am a fifth grade teacher and my husband is a power plant operator. I have four healthy happy children with a fifth on the way. From time to time, I engage in conversations with people and uncomfortable topics come up. From time to time, we have the unfortunate experience of seeing children suffering because someone in the family suffers from drug abuse. I see my community falling under pressure from the pills and the pushers.

What do I want people to know? Yes, I agree. The user is making a choice. Whst else do I want people to know? You don't know who is suffering from the choices others are making. So making comments such as "they should just be dead" or "just let them rot in jail" are not always the best approaches. I know, because my brother was an addict.

I loved him so much. But he wasn't the kid I grew up with. Sure, we had always had our differences. We were both stubborn as mules. We both stood our ground. He went one way and I another. I couldn't tell you the day or the time when we lost him. But I knew we had.

He carried death in his eyes. We saw it coming. I often would say to my husband "He is going to die. I see it." And then I would pray and beg for mercy. "Take anything from him you need to get his attention. But spare his life." He would come to my house. My eyes always went to his arms. Did the marks look new? Look to his eyes. How red were they? Listen to his voice. Was he going to be ok? I never liked the answer my heart gave.

I would prepare myself for bad news. I started refusing to answer the phone. I told my husband that he could be the one to break the news to me. That he was gone. Every time the phone would ring I would stop breathing. I would picture the funeral in my mind trying to prepare. What would I do to help my mom? What would I say. I knew death was so close. The fear would be paralyzing. A cold dark shadow that was squeezing out his life and tugging at everyone around his.

I got a phone call at work. From my husband. He had been taken by ambulance. He knew nothing other than that. Although he didn't seem good. I rushed home. I tried to get ahold of my mom and nothing. I went home and laid on the couch. Holding my stomach. Trying to calm myself at least for the baby's sake. I tried to tell myself it would be ok. It had to be ok. A knock at my door. I ran. My mom. How did I know, she asked. He was at the hospital. They brought him back. I put on my shoes and out the door.

When I saw him my heart broke. He was arguing that he was fine. He had hit his head and nothing more. The doctor knew. The police asked him if anyone had forced him to take anything. No was his answer. They left. And then us. Suddenly my relief was flooded with anger. I yelled "How could you keep doing this to us? What is wrong with you?" He looked at me with such anger. His reply. It is my life. It has nothing to do with you. Nothing....

I went home. Sobbing again. Praying again. Wanting for this to be over. And yet so badly not wanting it to be over. "Save him God. Where are you? Help him. Spare him."

Days, weeks, months came and went. Time passes even when you think it never will. Finally, I get a call so very early in the morning. Please bring money. If I didn't, he would be stuck there for a long time. I wanted so bad to help him. So bad to save him. "I can't. I am sorry." He said, "Okay, I guess it might be awhile before I see you again." I hung up the phone and cried. Cried so hard into my pillow. "God help."

My mom goes to see him. He has made a decision. He is going into treatment. If he didn't do something he knew that he would be dead. For the first time in years, I took a deep breath. "Please," was my only prayer.

Almost 2 years later, he was coming home. It used to physically hurt to look into his eyes. Before help came, his eyes were dark. Deep. Dead. Of you looked at him, it was like looking at a ghost. Someone who had nothing there. And now, as I looked at him, another sob caught in my throat. His eyes. It was almost unreal. The light. The newness. The life! The scars had closed over and healed. There was something about him. He was here. He was whole.

Another year later and I thank God everyday. He is new and whole. He laughs and sings. Hold my kids close and offers help and encouragement. Reaching out to the lost and telling others of the good news he has found.

Do I believe in miracles? Of course. I have seen him.

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