Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My brother is lost

My brother is 32. He is six years younger than me. I remember the day he was born. I remember, his whole childhood. I remember, when he wrote me the letter that said, "stay weird, it's the best thing you've got going for you", when he was 13. I remember when I had to pick him up from the Principal's office from high school because he got into trouble. I remember when he got married. I remember when he played guitar in a band. I remember when he drove and owned a car and owned a house.

He lost his wife, his house, all his money, and now even his job, to alcohol. He lost his car to a DUI accident years ago. He's been living in motels and in and out of my mom's house and my sister's apartment for the past four years, but mostly in motels.

My brother, the bright one, the funny one, the one I admire. My brother who has destroyed his whole entire life with alcohol. My brother who suffers from diagnosed but untreated mental illness and who has no health insurance. My brother is homeless, with no money, no food, and probably no hope. And all he cares about, all that seems to matter to him, is where he can get his next drink.

My brother has been missing since yesterday. We don't know where he is. On Monday (two days ago), he checked out of his most recent motel. Nobody knows where he went. On Tuesday, my dad fired him from the job that kept him going for all these years, the one fallback he always had, that job that had enabled him to pay for motel rooms and go to bars.

He won't answer his phone. He blocked me on Facebook. I don't know if he is even alive. I can only hope.

I talked to my mom about getting an ex parte order to have him Baker Acted into a hospital, because he obviously needs help more than ever, and we're all worried that he might be suicidal.

It makes me feel helpless, not being able to help my brother. I looked out for him all his life. I stood up for him.. Anybody bothered him, and they had to deal with me, including our parents. I cared. I loved him all his life. I still love him. But it's not enough. People love him and try to help him, and it's not enough to make him get help. It's not enough to make him want to live. It's not enough to make him put down the bottle.

My brother has been basically a walking dead man for years. The only bright spot was when he went to the halfway house and AA, and I was never so proud of him as I was then when he was going to meetings, and living a sober life. I really believed in him, and had faith in him, and admired him. But he did not believe in himself. He gave up and went back to living in motels. He needs a a wake up call, and I can only hope that being homeless on the streets with no job will be that wake up call.

It is so hard to have family members who are alcoholics or drug addicts and have to worry about them all the time. It is much like having family members with mental illnesses. And in my brother's case, he has both. Today I called to talk to a Crisis Intervention Team trained officer to see if there was any news on my brother because they were looking for him last night. But the officer never called back yet. I talked to someone in NAMI and asked for his advice as he helped start the CIT Training program here in this county some 17 years ago. He gave me the name of a person who might be able to give me advice.

At the end of the day, I know there is very little I can do for my brother. I know that people have to want help to get better, at least somewhat. I know that they won't force him into the hospital unless he meets criteria, and he knows the criteria, and he's a really good liar.

All he ever does is lie to everyone, every day. And mostly, he lies to himself.

I hope my brother is out there somewhere tonight, maybe in a homeless shelter, maybe in a motel, maybe somewhere, and I hope he thinks about calling me and I hope he thinks about getting sober and getting help, and going to the hospital.



  1. Having been through something similar (but not nearly as bad) with a loved one, I know the almost unbearable heartbreak that is causes. You are not alone xx


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