I have a brother who, when growing up was my best friend. I was a bit of a loner at school and spent a lot of time on my own. The only time I really spent with actual people was when I hung about with my brother and his friends. He used to bunk off school and I used to go with him to keep him out of trouble. Some of his friends got into real trouble and I just went to make sure he did not join in any of their silly games. My mum used to crack up at me for leading him astray but really I was just keeping an eye on him.
A few years later I started frequenting a local pub that played really heavy rock music and death metal which was our music of choice. My brother had actually been in a band for a little while and I was their biggest fan. My brother started coming through to my work and we would go together. I liked nothing better than good music, my brothers company and our good group of friends. As we got older though things began to change,
My brother went through quite a bad time. He joined the army and came out quite damaged. When my dad was really ill he was dad’s sole carer right up until the end, (even though dad had 13 kids) my brother had to do it all alone. There were other things that happened to him but that is not my story to tell. In a nutshell over the years my best friend, my buddy began to drink more than was good for him. I used to feed him on a regular basis because I thought if I didn’t feed him then he would not feed himself. I spent a couple of visits to the doctor in floods of tears because I did not know what to do for the best. If I did not feed him – would he feed himself? At least I knew he was eating something. Even though it freed up his money to be spent on more drink. I really really did not know what to do for the best.
Eventually I made a decision. I had been becoming increasingly angry with him because it upset me to see what he was doing to himself. It all came to a head when he asked me if he had done something to annoy me. I initially said no but then thought better of it. I told him that I loved him but I was not willing any more to watch him or let my children watch him drink himself to death. I told him that the stress of it all was making me really ill and if he wanted to come visit me and my kids then he had to do it sober. He seemed to appreciate what I said to him and told me he respected me for saying what I did to him.
That was the last time I saw him for a good few years. He made the decision not to come see me drunk but that meant he did not come to see us at all. I was devastated at first but then accepted that drinking was part of his journey and not mine and that he had to come to his senses on his own. Once or twice we bumped into each other but he was always drunk or paranoid or abusive or angry. This was a saddening turn of events but again there was nothing I could do to help him.
A few weeks ago however things seemed to change. My brother was beginning to make a real effort to tackle his drinking. He was seeing some sort of counsellor and had cut back considerably. I managed to have some conversations with him and it was like having a wee glimpse back into the past to spend some time with him as he was before alcohol took a hold. The difference in him was huge almost like the film Awakenings when Robert de Niro is woken up by Robin Williams. I actually started to hope again that this was the start of something good and he was going to beat the drink.
Alas this hope was raised too early. A couple of weeks down the line and my brother has descended back into his drink bubble. His parasite friends are still leaching the life out of him. He had the makings of a relationship with my friend and that too has fallen by the wayside. I feel emotional and crushed because for a split second I thought this was the start of his recovery. He is still surrounded by other people mired in their own addictions and he has no chance as long as that situation stays the same.
So as a result of this I am grieving again for the clever, funny, talented and caring boy my brother used to be. I don’t want to say my hope was misplaced because I will always have hope as far as this brother is concerned. He is in my heart forever and I would like nothing more than to see him get well and healthy. I miss him more than life and the little sign of what he could be just managed to ignite the memory of the person he used to be. he still exists in that shell of a man he just needs to find him again.
Missing my brother big time.