Friday, May 18, 2012

I love him, but I don't like him.

It's Ashley.  I am the MUCH younger sister.  When I was born, Heidi was 11, and Donnie was 8.  If you've done the math, I was in kindergarten or first grade when my brother started messing around with drugs.  Growing up, I was never shielded from what was going on.  I got to see first hand how badly drugs could mess you up.  All of his arrests and all of his problems with money, jobs, him dropping out of high school, I got to see it all when I was still in elementary school and middle school.  While he didn't start messing with crack until I was in college, I saw our house get raided, and everyone in the house put into handcuffs while our whole lives were turned upside down all because one of his druggie friends got arrested and decided to name everyone he'd ever smoked pot with.

Because of this, I have a more "no-tolerance" policy when it comes to drugs.  I refuse to associate with anyone who does drugs, which led to me having almost no friends left when it came time to leave for college.  Not all of my friends in high school experimented, but many did and the ones who didn't stuck up for them by saying it wasn't harming me.  But I knew how it affected the families and I couldn't stand by and watch it happen to anyone else.

Even before he hit the "hard drugs," I noticed things missing.  I got a Playstation (the original, the PS2 hadn't been released) for Christmas one year.  Where did this go?  I'll never know.  All I know is, he borrowed it and I never saw it again.  That was 12 years ago.  In the years since, things have disappeared from me.  I've had money, electronics, video games, movies, and cds "disappear."  They weren't lost, they just ceased existing and no one knew where they went.  In more recent years, it's not just the occasional thing disappearing here or there, it's to the point where you can't leave him alone in a room.

I love my brother, but my brother is NOT the person who has stolen hundreds of dollars worth of money and possessions from my sister, parents, myself, neighbors, and random strangers.  The drugs have him and I don't like the person he has become.

Back in February, I bought a newspaper at the grocery store.  I needed to change the newspaper in my bird cage.  I opened up the first page and saw my brother's mugshot next to an article about a string of robberies in a neighboring town.  He had been getting into cars and removing GPS units, cell phones, ipods, cameras, whatever he found.  This was not the first time, and I know it was also not the last.  Our last name is not common. My mother told me someone asked her at work if it was her son.  I googled his name.  I fear he will never get another job again because of what I found.  8 out of the first 10 results were about him robbing cars.

Our mother's mother passed away on May 13th 1993.  It's been 19 years, but mom still has difficulty with this date.  It was complicated this year by the fact that May 13th was also Mother's Day.  On Mother's Day, of all days, the friend of my mother's who let my brother stay with her out of the kindness of her heart came down to talk to mom.  She said that my brother stole from her and would no longer be allowed to live at her house.  This is the LAST person who will let him live with them, and he was there because she begged her friend to let him stay so he wouldn't have to live in a tent in the woods.  Our mother, on one of the hardest days of the year for her personally, which just happened to me mother's day, had to tell her only son that he needed to get out of her life.  He was not to come over or call or contact in any way.  I hope she stays strong with this because it's the only way he's going to get better.  I love my brother, but I can't stand the phone calls from my mom where she is crying her eyeballs out asking me where she messed up.  Heidi and I turned out fine.

Addiction does not discriminate.  It doesn't see color, status, gender, religion, country, political affiliation, age, etc.  It affects the whole family's ability to function.  I'm just learning this.

With Love,

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