Missing brother

by Emily
(Ann Arbor Michigan)

More than 8 years ago I gave my brother an ultimatum. You go into rehab and get clean or you never see your new baby niece ever again. That worked! The next day, my brother who had been using heroin for 3 years, went into rehab and got clean.

He lived in a halfway house for a year and was doing great. Had a son and seemed happy.

Fast forward to today.....right now as I type this my brother is missing. He left his home which he shares with his girlfriend and children and has not been heard from in 2 days. He was trying to detox at home (which has been unsuccessful for the last 3 months)

He has no job, no money, a broken down vehicle and will most likely not make it out of this addiction alive. No matter how much support I've given him, it never is or will be enough. He has 3 children who need a dad and the only thing he can worry about is when he will get his next fix.

Right now I pray that he doesn't hurt someone or hurt himself. We wait for the phone call.

Comments for Missing brother

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Heroin takes over!
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Emily,

I'm so very sorry for the torment and agony you've been through for your brother. Heroin addiction is a disease of the brain. What does that mean? It means, that once your brother became addicted to heroin, it systematically takes over all of his brain's functioning, such that your brother is no longer your brother.

A heroin addict believes that the only thing they need to be happy and feel good and to be loved is heroin. Also, because it is a brain disease, even if your brother is sober for 10 years, the minute he takes ANY heroin or any other opiate, his brain changes back to how it was when he was using constantly. When he relapses, he likely becomes a full blown addict almost immediately. That's one reason addiction is so difficult to treat.

But there is always hope, your brother can move past this if he is willing to go to meetings and to continually work the steps for the rest of his life.

I would HIGHLY recommend that you and any one else who cares about your brother goes to Al-anon meetings in Ann Arbor and begin working the steps so you learn how to HELP him but NEVER enable him.

You mentioned he was trying to self-withdrawal over three months at home. That sounds like he was being enabled and allowed to use. If he has no job, no money and no car, then he NEEDS to feel the ramifications of those choices including being homeless and in jail if that's what he chooses.

I have a good friend who just stopped helping her son after five years. No more staying at the house, no more money, and no more access to a car.

He was homeless for about a month and she thought he was going to die. Instead, he found treatment and is doing it on his own and has been sober for a year and has a good job. He goes to meetings daily, but his parents do not enable him in anyway.

So there is hope for your bother and Al-anon will help you to understand how to really help your brother.

Good Luck,


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