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Sunday, March 11, 2012

TMI, Anyone? My Sister the Junkie

I'm going to break a rule and share some personal stuff about my family. And be warned, its not nice. But it's important and yeah, I just feel the urge to share.

Today, my older sister finally admitted that she's a drug addict.

It was a long time coming...fifteen years...maybe more? I don't know, but after several failed attempts at getting her to get into...and remain in rehab, her husband finally sent her to a joint psychiatric/rehab facility. The one month visit has now stretched into 4 months and counting, and she's finally said the words.

Why the breakthrough? Because after decades of living with her abusive, psychotic and self-destructive behavior, my brother-in-law finally told her he's divorcing her.

I don't hate my sister, but I certainly don't like her either. She's been nightmarish for years, physically and emotionally abusing her husband and children, me, and anyone else who crosses her path. Yet most of the outside world doesn't know any of this. Most people believe that she's terminally ill, bed-bound and neglected by her cruel family. The wouldn't believe that she once broke a lamp over my head and back while I huddled in a corner of my bed, or that she gave her elderly mother a black eye.

The truth is, my sister is wealthy and has a Dr. Feelgood who will write her a scrip for whatever makes her happy. She's been on dosages of morphine so high the pharmacy she used at the time refused to fill the prescription. She's overdosed dozens of times, but it was the latest OD that finally tipped her family over the edge, and put the fear of God into her. Did I mention that she's a active, devoted Mormon? She's also a genius at manipulation and hiding her true nature. And she's violent.

Anyhow, she managed to cross Valium with some sort of powerful opiate on a patch and passed out. (OD'd on a patch???) Her kids called the ambulance when they couldn't rouse her, and they didn't know how long she'd been out. For the first time, her cynical oldest daughter believed that her mother might actually die.

When she woke in the hospital, she was surprised to see that her arms were covered with a deep and virulent bacterial infection. Turns out her cat tried to eat her while she was out. (Did I mention how much I hate cats? ~shudder!~) Then when she went to the bathroom, she found black ink marks on her chest and abdomen, and she realized they'd been prepping her to harvest her organs. Yeah, she was that close to death.

So. She finally agreed to rehab.

Every time a celebrity dies, I think of my sister. She was once brilliant and talented, with a will to achieve anything she set her mind on. She's rich, indulged and completely caught up in indulging her every want. She doesn't care who she hurts and she's never sorry. No one dares to say no to her. I say no to her, so she rarely talks to me. Which is nice since I've raised her daughter for the past 12 years. Keeps her out of my hair.

So now she's said the words. She understands that her husband is leaving her because she's an addict. I don't know if she realizes that she's also lost her children, her siblings and even her mother. She has no friends. But when she leaves the hospital, she'll be in a nice new home instead of a half-way house. When she divorces, she'll have all the money she'll ever need. She'll have complete security. Even though they don't want to, her family will make sure she's well and alive and will take care of her.

And she'll still be an addict.

What comes next remains to be seen. But I don't plan to be there to see it. My job is to protect my family, and if I have to protect them from her, then so be it.

I've got to protect myself as well.

Next post will be about addiction and mental illness, from my point of view.


Anonymous said...

~hugs~ one of my best friends is a recovering addict. It's a long road. I'm glad she admitted it though. It's the first step.


Belinda M. said...

Hey Jase! Last time I spoke with her (just before rehab) she denied it; said the doctor messed up her medications. So yes, the admission is a huge first step. Since she's got mental issues as well, I think it'll be a tough road for her. But we'll hope. :)

Love ya!

Kealie Shay said...

I feel for you. We've watched my sister struggle with her addiction, and came to the same decision after she's been in and out of prison. She's not allowed near my chIldren, and doesn't even know where we live since she's stolen from our parents to feed her addictions. Hang in there, and know your family's safety is far more important than hurt feelings.

Kathleen C said...

Oh Belinda. I feel your pain. My son, my only child, is a recovering heroin addict. I watched him self-destruct for years before he finally embraced recovery. He's been clean for about three years, and I am grateful for his presence in my world and for his life. It was horrible beyond words to watch his life disentegrate before my eyes for so many years. As single mom, we were so close when he was growing up. Just after he turned 18 and dropped out of high school, I finally did the tough-love thing and kicked him out of the house. I will never forget that day as it was one of the hardest in my life.

It got much worse before it got better. He was nearly 30 before he got serious about his recovery. He maintains his sobriety with a combination of AA, NA, counselling (thanks to Tim at Integrated Health) and Native American spirituality (thanks to Lakota shaman Holly Peters @ Stoneriver in Eugene, Oregon).

It has been a hard, difficult road for my son. It's tough everyday, for him and for all of us in similar situations. You, Belinda, will be in my heart and on my mind every time I think of him. I wish you peace...for you and for all of your family. Thank you for sharing.

Belinda M. said...

Kathleen, I'm so sorry to hear about your son. Its so sad when someone falls into the grip of drugs. I saw it happening with my sister long before anyone else did and it was a pretty scary feeling.

I'd like to know more about Holly at Stoneriver, a NA approach might help her more than anything else. After half a lifetime of abuse, I'm not sure that traditional methods will have much effect. She's working through an awful lot of self-pity and anger now.

Kealie, my most-loved cousin vanished the way your sister did. He ended up stealing and endangering family members and eventually vanished from his lives. It just amazes me, we all know someone who has succumbed to drug and alcohol addiction. It's not "the other guy" and it certainly can happen to us al.