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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Addiction is a B*tch

I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that my normally festive demeanor has been tempered this holiday season. I enjoyed baking cookies with the boys, wrapping presents and engaging in all of our other seasonal activities. Yet despite the smiles, laughter, and colorful sugars, my heart has been hurting. I miss my brother.

My brother has been living in Austin for the past five years. I saw him two years ago when I was helping to care for my Dad, and our reunion was bittersweet. I miss him so much, yet the man that I was hugging had little resemblance to the brother I knew and loved.  Drug addiction is a horrible scourge, slowly killing the person in the most agonizing and torturous ways. 

Whenever I think about my brother my memories inevitably drift back to a family day trip that we took to Philadelphia. I remember being in the back seat of our light blue Chevy station wagon, driving through the city and absorbing the sights and sounds of the city. At a stoplight my dad directed our attention to somebody who was disheveled, disoriented and filthy who was living on the streets.  "Take a look at that person. There is a new drug going around called Crack. One puff and that is where you will end up. It is killing people quickly. Don't ever try it kids, remember that person and know that somewhere they made the choice to try drugs just one time. One time is all it will take." 

I remember this lecture so vividly because it made such a strong impression on me. Coming from a safe suburban neighborhood, simply seeing a homeless individual was shocking. Having my Dad so poignantly tie drug to the visual made a lasting impact. That moment sparked my lifetime fear of elicit drug use. 

For whatever reason, the lecture did not hold the same weight with my brother. His foray into the abyss of drug use started young. Since his late teens he has been raging against a cyclone of addiction. His years are marked by stints in various rehabilitation centers, months of sobriety and the return to the chemical demons that taunt him.

The need to consume drugs will propel an individual to live a hellish existence. While I was waking up Christmas morning with my two boys excited to see what Santa left, my brother was wandering the streets. He has become the symbol that my Dad etched in my mind so many years ago. I miss my brother dearly. Although he is still alive, the person that I know and love has been gone for awhile. I hope and pray that he will right his path, seek sobriety and come back to us.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep hugging my boys while I tell them funny stories of the Uncle they don't know.  A few days ago I sat down Robby and explained to him what happened to my brother. Robby is now ten years old, and while he is still my baby boy I know that the next few years he will be faced with temptations. I want him to know what doing drugs does not only to the individual, but to everybody who loves them. He watched me cry as I explained how his Uncle is struggling because of his addiction. He has seen me worried, fretting and anxious about my brother's safety. Maybe witnessing the real-life impact of loving a drug seeker will be the reminder that he needs to avoid the dreaded "just one time."

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