So, I've got many posts whirling around in my head. Lots of Christmas pictures and lists of favorite gifts....but I have to get this post out first - it's just pushing to be said.
Today Jim and I visited my little brother Matt in jail. This was my second visit with him since he was arrested on drug related charges early in the morning of December 3rd. He spent Christmas there, he spent New Years there, he will spend his next birthday there.
Today was a really nice visit, he seemed so clear and so present. He must be sober in a way I've not witnessed since he was a young teenager. We laughed a bit, and this time I did not cry. He will go to court next Tuesday and says he will accept the deal they give him so he will finally know exactly how much more time he has to do. He thinks maybe they will offer him 180 days, which he says should turn out to be 90 with his good behavior. He wants to go to the honor farm where he can work and be outside more. There he could have contact visits, 3 hours a week. Now he gets 2 hours per week and we talk through a phone, looking through glass. It's hard to hear each other and other voices are on the line. There is a message that comes on about 90 seconds in to remind you your conversation is being monitored and recorded. It's all very surreal and somewhat silly feeling. Too bad it all so very serious and true. He walks miles each day around the dorm. He's reading a book about Gandhi and makes a hot sauce paste out of cheetos. He's learning to play pinochle. He says he almost let his attitude get him into to trouble, but quickly and with fear realized he need to put that away. He says it is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to him. He says he will not ever be going back once he's out.
Today I saw my little brother Nathan, he was home. He called his mother from an AM/PM at 3:30 in the morning asking to be picked up. He was cold and scared. No place to stay, no home. I had not seen him since about a week before Christmas when Jim and I happened to run into him in the grocery store parking lot. He looked awful. I told him, "You look like shit.". I cried. I hugged him. I told him our door was open if he was ready to try getting clean again. Then I walked away. I can't fix him. I can't save him. He has to make that choice.
Today he looked worse. He is so very skinny. He is literally killing himself. Jim and I told him again, our door is open if he's ready. I don't know if he is. He is scared and ashamed and doesn't want to inconvience us. We took him in once before, he spent almost two weeks at our house detoxing and waiting for a bed in a Salvation Army rehab program. His mother slept on our floor. Jim took charge of him during the day. He was on lock-down. We hid all our valuables. It was hard. It was depressing and exhausting. We are willing to do it again, but he has to want it. He has to want to live bad enough to push through the actual pain his body will go through while detoxing. Enough to say NO, every second of every 24 hours when his mind will remind him what will make him feel good again. Enough to stay in the rehab program this time.
If you are reading this you may be wondering why I'm blogging this horrible and personal bit of life. It seems so unnecessary. And glaringly, blatantly not my story to share. So here's the thing: that's exactly why I had to write this and put it out there for everyone and anyone to read. That feeling of shame and disgust. That secret. It's such a huge part of the disease. This terrible disease: addiction, it feeds on the the shadows and shame and fear. I want so badly to see my brother's well and living a life in the sun. I have to spit out all the truth of what has happened in our family. We can not pretend or hide from it. Matt is hopefully on his way, he says he is - I want to believe this. Nate however, he's dying. He still has a chance, but not much - it's true.
Today I'm being brutally honest.