Helpless

A few days ago I wrote about my brother and his relationship with his girlfriend.  He has since been in contact with me and admitted that the drug problem he had in the past has come back.

He sent a long rambling email in response to the forwarded voicemail I sent him, ending in something like “I wish I could just die”.  My feeling is that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, so I sent him the link to NA meetings in his area.

Only I guess he wasn’t really admitting he had a problem.  He was telling me what he had been doing.  Doesn’t seem there was any intention of stopping.

I pulled my cell phone off the charger this morning and there was a missed call from him at 6:45 a.m.  He works weird hours so I thought maybe he was on a break (and I keep my phone on silent all the time – I highly recommend it – except when you lose it!).

I called him back but didn’t get an answer so I left a voicemail, then realized he had left one for me, so I listened to it, which was a big mistake.  He had left a long rambling message telling me he’d been going through his girlfriend’s pockets and purse “just looking” and insisting “I didn’t take anything”.  His girlfriend was screeching in the background.

It broke my heart.

I remember getting those sorts of phone calls from my mom – long, weepy, unintelligible messages at 4 a.m.  She’d call three or four times in a row sobbing uncontrollably.

You’d think I’d be used to this by now.  The thing is, I’ve given up on my mom.

You read that right:  I’ve given up on my own mother.

Knowing that and owning it has helped me more than I can tell you.  Think of me what you will, but when someone calls about my mother, I think it’s “the call” – the one where someone tells me she is dead.  I’m ready for that call.

I haven’t given up on my brother.  He’s been a clean, functioning member of society for such a long time, I didn’t think he would ever relapse.

It’s also different because he’s my brother.  With my mother there is some sense of having no control over the situation – she’s supposed to be the adult.

With my younger brother I feel like I should be able to do something, but I can’t.  I’m scared to get sucked in.  I’ve been through this so many times, I know how it works.  I get involved and he doesn’t want to change and I get hurt and he continues down this path.

I just can’t do it, and that makes me feel weak and useless.

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