“I’m tired of going into work. Maybe I’ll just start selling drugs haha!”
This. This is the shit that will forever send me, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my grandparents, into a blinding hot rage.
When Yves Saint Lauren releases a perfume and commercials glorifying the dark mystic surrounding drug culture, I want to physically hurt whoever came up with that idea.
Drug culture isn’t cool. It isn’t a catchy fucking marketing scheme, it isn’t something to joke about, and when you share videos of you and your friends high as a lost kite, it makes me want to spit in your face and tell you to wake the fuck up.
It’s like that for me at least, and my family. And the families who’ve actually had a brush with the REAL drug culture.
I don’t share about this part of my life often because it’s raw. If you can think of the nastiest wound you’ve ever seen, that’s how this feels for me and it’s only started getting better, almost 10 years later. Around this time maybe 5 years ago I got a call from my Mom. It went to voicemail because my daughter at the time was taking a nap next to me. I opened the voicemail and the first second of the voicemail, I physically fell to the ground. I knew.
“You need to come down. Your brother overdosed again and the EMT’s are trying to restart his heart. We don’t know if he’s going to make it.”
My baby brother. The one who’s zany ideas made some of the best memories I’ll ever carry with me through life. I had to go and say goodbye and I didn’t even know if I would make it in time. I ran out to my mother in law, sobbing trying to choke out what was happening so that someone could make sense of it for me because I didn’t know how to. I couldn’t find the words, I could barely find the breath. She held my baby while I walked outside to call my husband home from work while I dry heaved in the bushes from fear.
The fucked up part? This wasn’t the first time, and despite what we thought at the moment, it wasn’t going to be the last.
We had been in the trenches battling my brothers drug abuse for years. We had held interventions, my parents emptied their accounts, my grandparents did the same, trying desperately to turn it around before it reached this point. We continued to hold onto hope even though it felt like holding onto a hot piece of metal because we just couldn’t let it go.
But, I guess the only way to start climbing to the top is to really reach rock bottom. And he did. We all did. And that’s the thing. People joke about ‘junkies’ and ‘crack heads’ and that’s where the sore is, thats the part you see. But under that? There are people who are desperately trying to heal the wound, who are bleeding themselves dry trying and crying and praying.
I can’t tell you the amount of phone calls I’ve made crying. To someone. To anyone. Just so I didn’t have to face it alone. I can’t explain to you the feeling like it was your fault.I can’t tell you about looking a dead friends brother in the face and feeling guilty about the relief that the roles weren’t reversed. I can’t tell you how it feels to have to accept and find peace with the fact your brother, might die. I can’t explain to you the feeling of looking at your brother bruised, with an irregular heartbeat, holding his hand and asking God to please let us keep him here as your Dad sobs in the background or the nightmares about him dying alone in a ditch without anyone there to remind him he’s loved and despite everything, we.still.have.hope.
And I’m just one in a sea of thousands with the same story. There are some out there who have a better one, there are some out there with worse ones, but it’s a deep, unfortunate similarity we have to share.For the one of us who is honest and put their story and pain on display to educate people, there are 5 more behind them keeping it silent. But I can’t tell you their stories.
But I CAN tell you that when you make thoughtless jokes, when that fucking ad flashes across the screen, when you make fun of someone for getting sick smoking weed, or when you make fun of the junkies, it makes me feel like someone has shoved a rock down my throat and I have to excuse myself so I can gain my composure so I don’t choke you while I cry because I haven’t figured out how to handle that pain yet. I haven’t learned how to unpack the complexity of it because you can’t.
I CAN tell you that there are families out there who feel the same and that for every single joke or reference, they feel the worst moments of their life all over again because it always feels like yesterday.
Whats even worse is you’re making light of the hell and suffering people with drug abuse have walked through. It feels like it pokes fun and discredits what the survivors have made it through. My brother is strong. He’s walked through some places that make shadows look like the sun, but he’s here and he’s honest about it and he’s made the choice to do better and that’s fucking brave and I’m proud of him. For someone to profit off of the real people living through the hell or to make them a one liner or angsty caption is sick.
If you’re in my boat, if you are facing this, I don’t have any advice for you and for that I’m so sorry because I know how frantically you’re Google searching looking for answers and hope. I can only offer up to you the fact you are NOT alone and it’s okay to feel every bit of what you’re feeling. And I’m sorry. I’m so unbelievably sorry.