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Brother Overdosed, angry/frustrated


Josh's_sister

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KateDontBeLate

Hi,

This is my first post. I just found this forum today, and I feel like I need a release; this seemed like a safe place for that. My brother, who was a year and a half older than me, overdosed on heroin on February 8th. He was found in a gas station bathroom with a needle in his neck. He had been using heroin for 9 years, since he was 17, and struggled his whole life with an incredible amount of emotional pain, anger, trauma, disappointment, etc. He never really learned how to live in the "real" world. He was in and out of hospitals and rehab. I brought him to a psychiatric hospital last fall, vowing it to be the last time I involve myself with his drama. He got out, went to rehab, halfway house after that. I actually had started to see a little bit of hope that maybe he had turned a corner after years of the hope/disappointment cycle. I saw him one more time in January, a few weeks before his death. It was the happiest I had seen him in a very long time. He seemed good, laughing, healthy. It was only for a few minutes, but I feel extremely grateful that this is my last memory, instead of sitting in the waiting room with him crying, pleading to let him just die, back in September.

My brother and I have a history of sexual abuse with each other that stems back to when I was 3 years old. There are two people in my life that know about it. I told the first person, who is like a mother figure to me, when I was 20. The second person is my current partner. I have only very recently told him, just in January. The abuse stopped when I was 12 and my brother was 14. It was never acknowledged again. It took me many years of suppression to be able to get through our childhood household in one piece. When I was 18, I bolted, focusing on my education (doing cortisol research in kids with PTSD, of course!) and building a social support group for myself that is as close as any family I will ever have.

My brother's death has brought up so much anger and guilt that I had hoped to address at some point, and be able to make amends with him. I wanted to do it when I was ready, and hopefully when he had reached a sober point in his life. I will never be able to do that. I want to forgive him. I was him to forgive me. After focusing on my family for my entire childhood (in therapy, in my ever day life of care-taking for my bipolar alcoholic mother, or depressed father, or bipolar heroin addict brother), I have spent the last few years of my life distancing myself from that so that I may gain perspective and build healthy relationships in my "adult" life. I can't help but feel guilt now having lost that time with him. Time that maybe, if he had felt some kind of resolution and acceptance from someone in our family, could have help pushed him in a healing direction. I won't ever know. Intellectually, I know I can't accept any responsibility for what happened. But emotionally, I can't control this feeling.

I'm angry because how much time, effort, money, care, emotions went into getting him treatment and care over the years- all for nothing. To end up like this. I'm angry at everyone in my family for being a part of his downfall. I'm angry at myself.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around forever. I know people say it gets easier. I just don't know how to find resolution. This is affecting every part of my life, in every relationship, friendship, etc. I go through waves of feeling like he's just off in the city, like the past few years of not having him in my life. Days when I don't think about him at all. Then waves of feeling so overwhelmed I can't even get out of bed.

I have a therapy session on Tuesday where I am going to discuss the option of group therapy. I have never been to one of those, as I've looked at my time in therapy as "me" time that I don't really want to share with other people. But I am hoping to hear other people's solutions who are 1 year out, 5 years out, etc.

Thanks for reading this. It feels good to just have it out in the universe.

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KateDontBeLate, I am very sorry about the loss of your brother. Group therapy may be very appropriate for you, and I hope you find some healing through it. I am a counselor at a prison. Unfortunately, you are not alone in what you have suffered. There are many, many people out there who share similar life experiences, and they certainly should be able to support and encourage you. I applaud you for trying to develop healthy adult relationships. You are doing the right thing. Please try not to beat yourself up over not spending more time with your brother. It wouldn't have helped, but instead it would have dragged you into more pain. His downfall was ultimately his decision--he alone is responsible for his behavior as you are for yours. I work with drug addicts every single day of my life, and (I know I may step on some toes here) drug addicts are very selfish people in their addiction. They are only thinking of themselves and their needs. It is a terrible disease that you would not be able to fight for your brother. I moved your post so others in similar situations can read it and offer their support. We will be here for you--ModKonnie

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nieserhonker

I am a heroin addict. I have been clean for a year and half with the use of suboxone. This is something I have been struggling with for around 6 years now, since I was 18. I just wanted to let you know that there wasn't anything you could have done to make him better. My family have tried to help me and they have always been supportive. They have paid for rehabs and detoxes. Sometimes these things helped.. but I never stayed clean for long. I have overdosed several times but been lucky to not lose my life (even though there were times I wished I had). Now that I'm clean, and even while I wasn't, I feel terrible for the pain I cause my family, especially after losing my dad to cancer a year ago (today). Sometimes when a person has been clean for a while, if they relapse on even a tiny amount, it can cause them to overdose. Just because he died of an overdose doesn't mean he wasn't clean before that and it doesn't mean he wasn't happy. I just though I might give you some insight into the mind of an addict. I'm so sorry for your loss. My husband's older brother (same age difference as you) died about a month after we lost my dad. Everybody thought it was an overdose at first and possibly even suicide because he struggled with addiction. Everybody grieves in a different way. My husband doesn't like talking about it much, but when he cries, I know why.

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Take care of yourself and know your brother is at peace and ok. You have a lot to work through. This is a painful walk.

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Kate,

I also am sorry for your loss. There was nothing you could do to stop what happened. It has taken me quite a while to realize that the decision to continue using heroin is made by the individual. Anger is totally normal for the families that are impacted by these decisions. You will go through the "what ifs" or "I should have". It has been explained to me many times that all the talking we do to help them "turn the corner" really isn't heard. All the addict usually wants is either the money or something to take to sell to get the money to by more drugs. The bad part about this is that when someone detoxes and then goes back to using, that this can be a very dangerous time for them. They are used to a specific dose, and after detox if they relapse back to their original dose it cab result in overdose.

All the feelings you have are perfectly normal. All of us who have lost someone to and overdose feel them everyday. This is not the path we have chosen, but it is the path we are on. You will go through the entire range of emotions, sometimes you will feel like a boat rocked in a storm, other times you will feel like you were hit with lightening. You have to let them out.

Therapy will do you good, as this is where you can finally talk about your feelings, and going to a support group will also help. I think it helps to talk about what has happened to people we don't know, but understand what we are going through. One thing i have found out with others who lost someone to drugs is when they say "I understand"....they really, really do.

God Bless,

Al

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My heart breaks for you! I am going threw the same situation my brother died on May 2 of a heroin overdose. . I would never wish this pain and grieve on anyone.. I have a lot of questions of why too! I feel nobody gets it... Somedays people ask me to make decision on things I want to scream saying "I can't pick out a couch my brother is dead." It is the hardest thing I have ever gone threw. I just got home its hard to continue on with life its like i think it should just stand still until i am ready for it to start moving again.I hope it's the last hard time for you and I. Sending love your way

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I am so sorry about your brother. I recently lost my sister to what we think may have been drug related. She had a previous history of pill addiction and had been doing well. Its so hard to deal with. Even though we have been dealing with addiction and her bipolar for years, and knew this could happen its still unreal. Know that people care and understand what you are going thru. I hope thatyou can find peace.

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Josh's_sister

I am so so sorry. I wish I had more words right now, and if you are around the group long enough, I'm sure I will. I hold you and your family in my heart. Heroin is such a strong and evil drug, and my heart breaks for anyone whose life it touches.. I pray for the addicts, hurting, broken people who need so much love and compassion but burn so many bridges that it is often difficult to find it... the families who are left behind to be sad and mad and confused....

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