Time to Let Go of my Favorite Brother

by DF Bozeman
(San Francisco)


I am just crazy about my brother. He is funny and talented and he is one person who touches my heart.

He has always had a problem with alcohol and drugs, and even though I have been in denial for at least 40 years, I have always known. He got 2 DUIs and a drug charge in CA a few years ago, and ran away to his home state, AZ, thinking, or imagining it would all go away. But it did not. AZ extradited him to San Mateo County for a 3 year period. He was homeless. He had to go through DUI classes and also a drug rehab program too. I decided to help him one last time. I paid for the programs, and I walked him through every step along the way. I made sure he had a gym membership so he could shower and work out. I bought tents and sleeping bags. I bought bikes and food. I lent my address to get him a PO box and library card. The list goes on and on.

He did great. His actually finished every program. When he got his drivers license back, I got him a car and insurance...when he broke his windshield, I paid to have it fixed. I have bought brakes, and tires. I did it all because I wanted to show him what success felt like. I want him to have a win in life. And he did. He worked out everyday and won back his health. He went to more than 100 classes on addiction. He looked physically better than he had looked in 10 years. No kidding. He became calmer, and so determined to get a job, get a place to live. I found him a great dentist who would fix his teeth...for free. It was a miracle when I think about it.

I knew I was enabling him, but I shoved the thought away because it looked like he was ready to stand on his own. I started to back away and give him more independence. Then he got a job, A good one too. He was so excited. I rewarded him with a weekend visit to the mountains and thought he might like to teach skiing again. He got his first paycheck and spent it way too fast, but I didn't see what was happening. He began binge drinking. It took me a while to get to the bottom of it, but he started taking drugs again, Meth. I came to his rescue the first time, but didn't see what was right in front of me. By the third rescue, I found the words to ask...and yes, it was meth. He was acting crazy. Stopped going to the gym, let his teeth go. He fell apart. And of course, he never did go back to his nice job. It was such a shame too.

The fourth time was a couple nights ago. Again I came to the rescue. He was supposed to meet me at the dentist, but could not manage to drive or get onto a train. So, I went to get him. I was so mad, I could hardly see straight, but didn't say much.

I dropped him off afterwards at the library and then went home. But he didn't want to go to his car. Why? Later, I got a call, wondering if I could bring his set of spare keys down to him. Then it hit me. We were talking drugs again. I knew something was wrong...but it was worse then I saw. He is such a master hider. I am so bad at seeing through things, I went back down to him. I drove his car from a tow away zone to a safer spot...as I started questioning, I finally got that confession, it was meth. Again.

Words are wasted when talking to somebody who is high. He seemed so helpless, and on the verge of tears, and desperate. I hated to see him like this. He didn't want me to leave, and he could not sleep.

This time, something broke in me. I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I realized my life was more important, and I could feel it slipping away. I am happily married. I didn't want to lose my husband, he is already sick of the situation. I didn't want to lose my company. I didn't want to lose myself. So I did the unthinkable. I told him I loved him, but I can't do this anymore, and I left him to walk the streets without me.

I sobbed as I drove away, thinking of his cute face that was a little distorted now. I debated if I should have taken him to a hospital, but decided not to. I followed him around electronically, so I knew that he had taken the train up to my city. I knew he was wondering around. I knew he needed a place to sleep, but I did not offer. I hated myself for this, but I really can't do this anymore. It has been 40 years of drama. I have saved him countless times, yet here we are. None of it has mattered. He is nearly 60 years old, homeless, broke and with no future in sight. His probation does not end for another year...and I am not confident he can make it now.

I am devastated. I have started several small companies, and have always been successful. I always thought I could do anything. I never tried so hard at anything as I tried to save my darling brother that I love so much. It looked so hopeful. 2 years of success, and them BAM, here we are again. I question myself, did I give him too much independence too soon? How did I miss this so badly. Maybe drugs were always there.

Gentle reader, please don't hate me for leaving my brother—my favorite person in the world. I am distraught at not knowing what to do to help him. The only hope I have left is that my departure might mean something to him. I was his last hope, and now, even I am walking away.

Thanks for listening.

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