My brother is an addict, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my blog, though he is quite tech-savvy. I’ve lost count of how many years he’s been on the same dead-end cycle: using drugs, losing jobs, manipulating “friends” into letting him crash on their couches, using, stealing, lying… and yet never seeming to hit rock bottom, not even when he goes to the ER with some imagined ailment brought on by drug-induced paranoia/anxiety, not even when he spent five weeks at the downtown Austin homeless shelter when there were no other options.

My brother is an addict, and he’s 29 years old. Will he become one of those forty- and fifty-something addicts who relapses and relapses and never really lives a healthy, sober life? My parents wised up years ago after realizing they were only enabling his destructive habits by allowing him to live under their roof.

But my brother is a clever addict, and just before Christmas 2012, he came to them with a story. The story was that he wanted to change his ways, get his life back. He agreed to go to Narcotics Anonymous meetings nightly. He put on a show, and it was the holidays and they pitied him and made themselves believe it. Not three weeks later, he came home smelling of beer, having skipped the meeting and gone to a friend’s house. (Did he ever even attend one meeting? I doubt it. Or if he did, it was mostly a venue to meet more addicts, most of whom would sooner or later relapse and rejoin the network of drug pushers and purchasers.) He sold the $20 gift card to Chili’s that my aunt had given him and used those $20 to buy beer and cigarettes and whatever other substance he could.

My brother is an addict, and he’s a master manipulator. My parents needed him to take care of their two dogs and two cats and dozens of plants while they came and visited me and their new baby granddaughter, Jade, in Guatemala for almost two weeks. They chose to forget that he is not to be trusted. I won’t bore you with the details, but he dug himself an even deeper hole and will no longer be welcome in my parents’ home due to his choices and his apparent unwillingness and/or inability to rehabilitate.

My brother is an addict, and we love him anyway and hope he will get clean – a choice that is his alone to make.

{p.s. On a brigher note, my brother-from-another-mother, dear friend and fellow writer, Tommy, has vowed to give up drinking and drugging for 2013… and he’s keeping a highly (no pun intended) entertaining and revealing blog chronicling his experience. Check it out at A Year Above The Influence.}