An Open Letter to the People Who Think Addicts Like My Brother Deserve to Die

This is written about my brother but also about me and also about all of us who are living the nightmare of addiction.

To The People Who Think Addicts Deserve to Die:

I can remember my brother having seizures and vomiting after he had surgery to correct his palette when he was 10 or so. He had an allergic reaction to the pain medication they gave him and he started vomiting a clear liquid. His fists were clenched in tight balls and he started seizing. I was screaming and crying, Desperate for someone to help him.

But I was always that way when he got hurt. I would scream, cry, and drag him home. I remember feeling utter terror at his pain. And later in our lives, when his heart would get broken, he would spiral into these dark depressions. The world became a hopeless, empty place for him when he was hurting. I would hurt to. When he was down, I was down. I would obsess and worry over him.

I don’t know when he started using exactly. But I know that I’m the one who encouraged him to start smoking Marijuana. I smoked it with him. You see, Pot may be harmless for some people. But for others, who are BORN with a predisposition to addiction, pot is not safe or harmless in any quantity.

Marijuana was the first drug. The first drug to lie to him. It told him he could escape from his emotional and spiritual pain. And when that stopped working, he turned to vast amounts of alcohol. And when he drank enough alcohol to poison his judgment, he turned to bigger things.

I lost him so long ago. Its like a lifetime of untold truths, of pain, of things unsaid, have created a canyon between us. When we try to communicate, all we hear are the echoes of who we once were.

Hes threatened to kill himself many, many times. And he lives a life so devoid of fulfillment, so teetering on the edge of useless, that I just wait for the call. Our entire family waits. We’re scared. But we’ve been scared for so many years, that the fear has woven itself into the fabric of our living, breathing, selves. It manifests as anger, apathy and avoidance.

What can we do that we haven’t done? If confronted, my brother launches into violent, unintelligible rants, that leave us shaken and confused. If we try to get close, he begins to drain us of our resources.

The whites of his eyes have a yellow tint. He hasn’t left our tiny town in years and if given the chance, he will steal anything that’s not tied down. I can’t scream, cry, and drag him home anymore. No one would answer the door.

So when you say, that “some addicts are such a drain on the system that letting them die would be a “just” solution”, you’re talking about my brother. You’re talking about the little boy with white blonde hair that was really good at basketball and could make ANYONE laugh. You’re talking about the kid who loved animals and believed in Jesus. My brother, who becomes a raw, beautiful stranger when he sings and plays guitar. The Man who has 2 brothers, 3 sisters, a mother who birthed him, a father who agonizes over him, and a dead Grandfathers namesake. The PERSON, who, to this day, can still make me laugh with wild abandon.

My souls twin. A part of me. A person who suffered a series of atrocities, that left him forever wounded. Atrocities that convinced him, at a very young age, that he was worthless. A man who lives in a society, that sends him the message that he’s not worthy to be ALIVE.

You know what would be amazing? If we came together and figured out a potential solution. I would love it if my community was educated on addiction and how to deal with addicts in a gentle, yet productive manner. I’ve seen what anger, disgust, and condemnation can do…

I wonder what LOVE could do?