My two kids and I was at the McDonalds drive through when I broke down crying. It happened so unexpectantly that it shocked all of us in the car. Me, because I was so certain I could handle one more thing my brother was doing or failed to do. My kids because they hardly see me cry. In between the first and second window of McDonalds, I try to hide my tears. While we waited at the second window, my daughter looked at me and said, “Mommy, you have done everything possible to help him. You are not a professional.” I responded,” I’m sad to see my brother like this. It’s a tragedy.”
By this point my brother had been living with my kids and I for over two years. The first year I was understanding, motivating, loving and caring in hopes that he would come out of his depression. Since I thought he was just dealing with depression I was very supportive and didn’t ask him to do much except take out the trash. He would stay up all night and sleep all day. I thought he was just depressed and I did not get suspicious that he was doing anything else until he started selling things from the house such as my wall decor, paintings, cameras, karoke machine, portable DVD players, movies and books. Then he would bring random people to the house at odd hours of the night after I went to bed. I found this out by accident because one night after 2:00 in the morning I woke up to go check on my kids when I saw someone walking out of his room. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back! I told him if he ever brings anybody else to the house had to go find somewhere to live.
It would be another year and another major incident before my brother was no longer living with me and finally getting the help he needed. He was arrested for forgery. I believe that arrest and time spent in the county jail, was a blessing in disguise because it was the first step to recovery. After spending three months in jail he was released to Community Bridges, who provides intensive care for people struggling with substance abuse and psychiatric problems. During his month long stay there, I took my daughter to briefly visit him when we drop off some cigarettes for him. She cried when she got in the car. She was sad to see her uncle a shell of his former self.
After my brother was released from Community Bridges, he went to live in a group home with seven other guys. The peer supported housing is managed by The Living Center/Friends in Recovery and their mission is: Friends in Recovery is an organized group of people in recovery from addiction, utilizing their collective experiences, knowledge and skills to assist others on their road to a rewarding and enjoyable life free from drugs and alcohol. It is an ideal place for my brother to be because he is surrounded by a great staff and support system. Since being with the organization, my brother is on the road to recovery. He has some good and bad days, but at least he is active and busy. We are just taking it one day at a time.