Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It started with a request for a letter from me to her

I have been asked by Emily to write a letter of what her addiction did to me. Oh, and I was suppose to ask the rest of the family to do the same... oh and it's needed right away.

At this point I still do not have my letter done. The main body of it is done. I am conflicted.. I feel I am too harsh.. or mean... but her addiction has been harsh and mean to me... but she's my daughter.. it's not in my nature to "hurt" her.

This subject morphed into several other issues in my life that revolve around addiction and or drug/alcohol issues.

One of them.. I am not ready to discuss.. I am still processing it. maybe I am still in "shock" over it. I hope I can discuss it or write about in time... I hope it doesn't put me in isolation again or send me to the grocery store hiding behind big sunglasses wondering if everyone knew but me.

The other thing that happened this week that involves addiction is... My brother, out of the blue.. asked to see me. Told me he was off work on Thursday and I should come down.. have lunch and hang around his pool. I know he was asked to do this by my Mother... because he did say... Mom was right.. you look like you belong in Ethiopia.
He had mentioned something on the phone about Bloody Mary's by the pool. I was like Bloody Marys? He said well if you don't like that.. we can make something else..

That wasn't my point. My point was... he had a liver transplant 2 years ago in April. That was why I "questioned" the damn Bloody Mary's.

So we had a nice lunch. His son was with us, as he was off work as well. His son will be a JR in college.. he was a State Champion in Hocky, MVP. Off season a soccer star and tennis player.. anything to avoid working. He was fit.. real fit. Now I see him filling in.. but not a healthy fill. He said he enjoys drinking with his frat boys.. most of the bars are cheap and add a daily dinner of wings... and he can get in because of his fake id. I like to be the "cool" aunt... also I remember my time in college... I had a blast.. most of my concept of that blast.. did revolve around drinking. Who am I to judge??

After the lunch we got our suits on... I was asked if I wanted a Bloody Mary.. no I did not.. I don't have my designated driver and it's an hour 20 minutes home. Well that didn't stop them.. garage refrig held all the "good" beer. Heck they both had the day off.. beautiful sunny breezy day.. I get it... ( sorta)

My brother comes out in his suit... that's not all he's adorning.. his huge peace sign scar from the liver transplant is a glaring reminder to me. Many other misc scars.. where there were ports or biopsies..

On to the 2nd 6 pack... he tells me he got his tatoo reinked , as it was fading.. The tattoo that might be the reason he got Hep C in the first place.. the one from Germany in the 80's when nobody knew what sharing needles or ink would do.
Still.. this isn't my place to judge...
But when tells me the tattoo place closed 1 week after he had it recolored.. due to not following the hygene, safety rules... I am sorry.. I am starting to judge...

I am starting to wonder.. when he and his wife handed me the Donate Life application that came with a car sticker .. that my left bumper is wearing.... can I request that if they take my liver they won't give it to someone that will continue to drink? Can I put stipulations on my organs?

WAIT WAIT... it's not about organs... it's about addiction... it's the strong hold to drink beer with your under age son on a beautiful summer day and think nothing is wrong. I forgot for a minute... addiction is stronger than LOVE.. stronger than getting a 2nd chance in life... stronger than anything I will be able to wrap my brain around. I forgot .. again... but it's there to remind me... it's always lurking around the corner to catch me. .. trip me up.

He walked me to the car... he said.. hey do me a favor.. call Mom. I said.. well we kinda had a fight.. he said I gathered that... but I told her I would ask you to call her... He said don't be like Dad's side of the family and hold a grudge and not speak... life is too short for that.. and I am an expert in that area.. I am on borrowed time.

I would like to say he has a death wish... I might be able to understand that... but I can't say that... I can say addiction grabs another one of my family.

Obviously.. his kids, his wife.. us.. aren't enough to live without drinks or drugs.

I could say a lot to him. I could write a letter to him about what his addiction has done to me.. but he is not ready to receive.. and it would end up with us not speaking... by his choice , not mine.

Post script: I forgot.. when I left my house.. I called him to tell him I was on my way. He was on his way home from returning 2 kegs. His wife and daughters went to FL for a week.. so he and his son thought they should have a party all week. He was getting his deposit back and returning the kegs.

I really have no desire to talk to my sister in law.... she is not an open person... and in reality, I should thank her.. if she wasn't there to keep things running.. it would be me... and that's not something I can handle right now... or maybe ever.

Every time I think I am making progress... I am quickly reminded... it never goes away. It's always lurking. Such an unsettling feeling.


  1. This post broke my heart. Not only are you dealing with Emily, but with your brother as well. You're right - active addiction defies all common sense and rational thinking. The irony of your brother's behavior, as a recent liver transplant, is startling. It's like seeing someone on oxygen, light up a cigarette. YOU, Kelly, are right on, and in balance. Just do what you need to do to keep yourself safe and sane. It's just so painful and difficult to let things go that you have no control over. Hopefully, your brother will find serenity one day. Do you think that he lacks confidence as a parent, and thinks the only way he can relate to his son is through alcohol? That he may subconsciously think that alcohol provides some kind of connection to his son, that he so desperately wants and is afraid to lose? Or that he doesn't know of any other way to relate to his son? I ask these questions because your brother's desperation to connect with his son goes hand in hand with his addiction, powerful forces that you cannot have any kind of significant impact on.
    Thinking of you, and understanding your feelings of frustration and helplessness. Peggy

  2. Thanks Peggy!
    You brought up some points I never thought of.. as I am too close to the situation.
    When describing my brother with other family, it's like describing Emily. Never grew up. Never reached that maturity.. feels invinsible. Life should be a party..have fun man attitude.
    There is that question.. what's rock bottom? knocking on deaths door obviously is not the bottom for him. His kidneys shut down, bowels, he was knocking for sure.
    I actually begged the Cleveland Clinic to take me as living donor. They said he was too far gone and the Hep C would eat my partial. I can tell you.. if it had worked.. I would be.. so mad... rage probably. I know I can only control my reation... but I have no words left to say.. maybe silence means more this time??