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Lost my younger brother to overdose last month

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I am at a loss as to even how to begin....I am twelve years older than my brother. I was like a second mother to him. Our mom wasn't exactly the best mother...she can be toxic. He started drinking at 18, it progressed to cocaine and eventually prescription painkillers because of his hip injury. Eventually, he was shooting heroin and doing meth. Finally...it was Fentanyl that we believe killed him. We are still waiting on the toxicology report....should get it mid July. There is a LONG history, including enabling by family members , some even doing and buying drugs for him. Including out mother. My mother has her own pill addiction to Xanax. She had been okay for awhile until his death. We are all devastated...but now she is starting the xanax again and I am in the middle of it all. I cut contact with her last April and had a drama free life until my brother passed/OD'd on May 17th. She wanted a clean slate so I gave her a chance...as I am now all she has left. My husband even stepped up even after all the awful things she had done and said to us over the years...even our daughter got caught up in it. Right now, I am having a really hard time not being blindingly angry at my brother and everyone who enabled him. Me and my husband were the only ones who didn't enable him. I was always brutally honest with him. He had been to rehab at least ten times....and had just gotten out of the halfway house two days before he OD'd. Wee have so many unanswered questions right now and I am so angry. He left behind a widow (they were divorcing, but it hadn't been finalized and they did still care for each other)...and also two little boys and two step children. The entire situation is just devastating. Two years ago, our grandmother was dying in hospice. We were staying with my dad at his house for the time we had spent down there with her...about a week. My brother OD'd then too...two days before my grandmother passed. I was the one who found him, barely breathing...my husband called 911 and they used Narcan and had to shock him back to life. He almost died that time and was in a coma for three days. He promised then that he was done with it all. He didn't want to die. The doctors told him back then that if he did that again he would most definitely die. He knew it. yet, he still did this. I know a bit about addiction so I know an addict doesn't think like a regular person who doesn't deal with addiction. Their brains are different. But he KNEW it would kill him. Sometimes I believe he did it on purpose, but they wouldn't declare it a suicide. His marriage was over, he missed his kids...I know how he gets those points in life...and there have been plenty. My mother is blaming his widow. I blame nobody but my brother...he chose to do it. My mother os driving me crazy right now...I know she is grieving, I get that...we all are. But, she is blaming everyone else but him. I just want to forget this and try to move on...I hadn't even fully processed the death of my grandmother, who practically raised me...and now this happened. I just don;'t know what to do or how to handle my mother. She is overdoing the xanax and trazadone right now...just like always...and I can't take it...especially after what happened to my brother!!! What could she be thinking? I am so very angry. I don't know how to handle it.

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You may want to join a support group such as Al-Anon. While it is for families of those who are alcoholics, drug addiction is the same disease--the disease of addiction. Al-Anon helps family members understand why their loved ones do what they do despite the risks. Quite simply, the drug is doing the thinking for the addict. Your brother didn't care about the risks because the drug was doing the talking, walking and leading. Same with your mom. She understands what could happen, but again, the drug(s) are controlling her, not the other way around. 

Of course you are angry. You have every right to be angry, but by researching and educating yourself on addiction and its impact, you may find you can come to some kind of peace about what has happened and what is happening in your family. Drug addiction has decimated many, many families and communities, and it's on the way to destroying our country if we don't come up with some real plans to combat it. 

Just know you are not alone. We will be here with you,


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