Thursday, December 17, 2009
Middle Sister has recently informed me of your latest drama. Once again, you have no job, no money, no food and are spending your days in your pajamas waiting for the eviction notice you know is inevitable.
Instead of being actively engaged in the pursuit of employment and housing, you are schlepping around your apartment complaining of feeling sick. No surprise. That's what happens when your body isn't getting the drugs it's used to ingesting. Such is the sorry state of a junkie.
You told Niece that your family hates you and that they are too judgmental. Only one of those accusations is correct. I don't hate you, but I most certainly have passed judgment on you. Your actions over the past several years have been pathetic and despicable. There has been much to judge.
For many years, Little Sister, you have been an addict. Because it is the nature of addiction, you have lied to everyone around you including those who loved you most. You have not only been a user of drugs, but a user of people. You will always be able to find drugs, Little Sister, but you will not always be able to find people who are willing to help you. Eventually they grow tired of giving you money, being lied to, listening to excuses and bailing you out of disaster after self-created disaster. They grow weary in their hearts of watching you self-destruct despite their many attempts at helping you.
When you stole prescription drugs from my home, it was the last straw for me. My husband and I had opened our home to you and offered you a new start. You had assured me that you were ready to begin a new drug free chapter in your life and I believed you. Within days, you repaid us for our offers of a place to live and help finding a job by stealing from us. After years of watching you make poor choice after poor choice and seeing the trail of burned bridges and human destruction you'd left behind, I was finished.
Our mother wouldn't, or wasn't able to turn you away. As she repeatedly gave you shelter both physically and emotionally, you used and abused her at every turn. She was the one person in your life who wasn't willing to give up just yet and you did nothing but take advantage of her and abuse her motherly compassion.
You certainly knew how to work the system, I'll give you that. Not only do I not understand the mind of an addict, I don't understand how a person can manipulate and connive with such ease. How did you escape going to jail when you were caught red-handed writing prescriptions for yourself on a prescription pad from the doctor for whom you worked? He'd given you the ultimatum of rehab or jail and you spent one hour at rehab. How many times have you evaded rehab now? Five...six? It's been too difficult to keep track.
While you were a minor, Mother had the chance to help you, but you did a fabulous job of convincing her that you didn't belong in that awful place with those messed up people and that you weren't one of them. She didn't have the fortitude to keep you in rehab long enough for them to help you and now it's too late. You are a thirty-four year old woman who is penniless, homeless and friendless. No one can force you to get help now. No one can make you clean up. Unfortunately, you have pissed away every opportunity you've ever been given and spit in every helping hand offered you.
You have done things I cannot imagine. They are the things I see on television shows and movies that turn my stomach. They are the degrading and pathetic acts of miserable junkies who live only to score their next fix. You have never once that I've known of, accepted responsibility for your actions. It's always been someone else's fault. Someone else made you do it. Someone else, someone else. Never you.
So yes, Little Sister, I judge you. I know where you come from and I know the opportunities you've been given and then thrown away. I know firsthand that your childhood was far from ideal, but it's bullshit to keep using that as an excuse. There comes a point when you must realize that you are no longer subject to the whim and will of your abusers and that you have choices to be made about which direction to take in life. You have chosen not to move forward. You are not even stagnant. You are humanity in decay.
There are pictures of you from your childhood that are heartbreaking to look at now; pictures of a sweet, cherubic and devilish child, full to the brim with loving adulation from her parents. Do you remember your first words? They weren't the typical first words of a child. They were, "I pitty." Translated as, "I'm pretty." You must have heard, "You're so pretty," a thousand times a day for the first few years of your life. Dad was in love with you and Mom referred to you as her "Miracle Baby." Sure, as was typical of Dad, once you hit puberty, he emotionally abandoned you as he did the rest of us, but you had a fierce and loyal ally and guardian in our mother. That is something that the rest of us grew up without. I consider you having had an advantage over us.
Regardless...whatever the perceived issues were that inspired you to make the brilliant decision not to finish high school, right down to the decision that ingesting drugs would be a swell idea, are not ones that the rest of us didn't have or that the rest of the world hasn't had and worse. The difference is that you had so many opportunities to right yourself and didn't take them. You had a mother who would do anything in the world for you and you abused her. Middle Sister has given you thousands of dollars over the years and attempted to be a confidant and friend and you have repeatedly taken advantage of her good heart and compassion. I have paid bills for you, given you places to live and helped you find jobs. In return, you have lied to me, stolen from me and abused my trust.
I have the odd and (to my husband) disconcerting ability to be able to break things down and compartmentalize them. I know that you are my sister and I have compassion for you, but I also know that you're an addict and I cannot knowingly expose my family to your lifestyle. Being "family" is not an automatic pass to use and abuse people simply because you share the same DNA.
Every now and then, those compartments break down a little and I have momentary flashes of fear. I fear hearing the phone ring one day and picking it up to hear Middle Sister's voice on the phone telling me that you are gone. Not the "gone" you are now, but the real and terrifying final version. When I think about it, I want to take you by your emaciated shoulders and shake you and tell you how selfish you are and and how your choices have affected us and that if you die, it will be the end of so many things.
I would be forever grateful to have her back.
Posted by Amy at 9:49 AM