My Baby Brother

My little brother is an addict, and watching him deal with it is one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. He's 20 and 2 years younger than me. He started smoking pot and drinking when he was 13 when our parents divorced. We live in a small town and it's (sadly) normal for kids that age to start smoking or drinking (I started drinking and partying when I was 16 and felt like a late bloomer, since then I've stopped and now will only drink on the occasion). My brother lived with my dad while my sister and I lived with my mom. To put it simply, my dad is a psycho-case. He played head games with my brother, pulled him out of school for a year when he was in high school, smoked pot for him, left him alone for months at a time in the winter while he traveled to Thailand (we live in AK and my dad's house is 30 miles from town in the middle of no where), and told him all sorts of horrible things about us girls. 
I saw less and less of him during high school, and every time he came over he was miserable to be around. Starting high school, he started smoking pot at least once a day, and by his second year, he had to smoke at least five to ten times a day to function normally. He hated my mom, and my step dad and always yelled at them and called them horrible names, no matter how nice they were. He would call my mom a **** to her face, and lashed out at my older sister and I, saying we were horrible daughters who abandoned their dad (which is the opposite). 
When I moved away to college, things just got worse. He started drinking more and doing coke during his senior year. After he graduated though, he started doing even worse things. He started smoking plant food, also known as bath salts. It's basically meth, and has very similar side effects. The drug had hit our town like a bomb, and he fell victim. 
I didn't come home that summer, but I did the following Christmas. I knew he wasn't right, but at the time I didn't realize he was doing anything but smoking pot. (While I was at college I smoke too much pot, about 15-20 times a day everyday and had to force myself to quit, which was one of the worse physical and emotional experiences in my life. I was forced to address the issues I ran away from, and come to terms with myself. I had a lot of dad issues, and found myself realizing how I felt inside. After all the with drawls diminished, I read my journal entries from then, and realized I didn't feel like I was good enough for anyone to like or love, including myself, because my own dad didn't.) When I came home from college, my brother thought I was a ***** and goody goody for not smoking pot anymore. It actually made him angry. I tried telling him he should try to quit to, but that didn't help much, and I admit my efforts weren't as strong as they could have been. During that Christmas though, by mom and brother were both talking about plant food, and my brother kept saying how he had friends who did it, and how it was ruining their lives. He said he wasn't, which we all learned was not true later. 
The following summer I came home for the 3 month break. My brother was not normal. He was irrational, he rambled on incoherently to people, he was inconsistent at his job, he could never afford his rent even though he made more than enough, he would have bursts of anger that came from no where, and he was losing a lot of weight  even though he was already way underweight. One thing that he kept bringing up though, was that plant food was destroying his friends' lives. In all honesty, I believed he had cracked. I thought he was actually crazy; schizophrenic. The disease runs in our family, and he was not right in the head. 
My sister's boyfriend worked at the same job as my brother and was able to convince the boss to not fire him. He also talked to one of the cooks who told him my brother was a tweaker. He told my sister, and the two of them tried talking to him. As usual, he lashed out and called them terrible names and stormed away. My sister's boyfriend had grown up with addict parents and most of his siblings are also addicted to something. He's the only one in his family who had tried to make something of himself. He didn't like knowing someone from our family had the same problems he had left. He kept asking people, and finally found out my brother was indeed smoking plant food.
When I left for school that summer, almost the whole town knew my brother was a tweaker who fell to the plant food. He was one of the zombies who wandered around town and couldn't keep a conversation up to save his life. Who disappeared for a week at a time reemerged several pounds lighter and crazier than before. He was living in a very dark world. Some people pitied my family, others scorned us. My mom is a substance abuse councilor and it hurt her more than anything to watch him live this way. She knew/knows that few people can truly return from the path he was on. 
While I was gone at school, my brother lost his job, and couldn't afford his rent. My mom confronted him, and told him that if he got help she would let him move back in. He agreed, and went to a rehabilitation center for a month.  During that month he suffered horrible with drawls. It turned out he was diagnosed as dependent on pot, plant food, and opiates, and abused alcohol and coke. Before he went, he told my mom he was trying to quit. He told her he hadn't smoked plant food in two days. After just two days (while still using everything else) he was in so much pain he couldn't leave his apartment. He was puking and and crying constantly. He hated himself, and said he wanted to get better. My mom set him up with the center, but he couldn't go for a month and a half because it was full. During that time he moved back in, but continued using. My mom knew he was using, but also knew that she could not house him while he went through detox. He used less, and still felt with drawls. He was very vulnerable. He told my mom everything he had kept from her for the last seven years. My mom called me several times a week to talk about it. It hurt her, and she needed someone to cry to. My sister wanted to ignore it, and my step dad began dealing with some of his own skeletons in his closet. My mom felt alone. 
I just came home a week ago. He's using again. He's been smoking pot regularly, and had went of a few binges since leaving rehab. It turned out his depression from the with drawls were too much, and he had to smoke again. He disappeared last night, and came home this evening. He left his phone, and my mom looked at it. All of his texts were about getting some plant. His last one was from two weeks ago. My mom confronted him today, and his reaction was expected.
First he was angry. He called her a dumb **** that couldn't mind her business. Then he denied it. Then he confessed to smoking pot. Then he yelled more and stormed out of the room. She followed him and he continued to call her a **** and a ***** while she stood there and calmly talked to him. She explained that she knew he had smoked plant food, and that she read his texts. He didn't get angry then, instead he started crying. He said he was sorry, and that it had been over two weeks. He didn't want to, and that he was sorry. She told him she wants him to go back to treatment, but this time to a different facility that's in a different state that lasts six months. She would pay for what the insurance wouldn't cover, like the time before. He didn't give  her an answer. She left his room so he could think about it. She asked me to talk to him afterwards so that he wouldn't feel awkward. 
Up until this point, I've always felt for him, but had only said a few small things, fearing his reaction. Tonight, I went to him. I went to his bedroom, and saw him crying. I hugged him and told him I loved him. I told him I wanted him to get better and wanted him to feel good. I stood there and held my little brother who is almost a foot taller than me while he cried and apologized. He said he loved me too, and that he wanted to feel better. He told me he was really proud of me for traveling and going to school and that he was sorry. I somehow managed to not cry until after everyone went to bed. 
I don't know what will happen. I've been home for six days and have served as a therapist for my mom, my sister, my step dad, and now maybe my brother. I've seen them all cry about either their issues or someone else's. 
I remember last year, a body had washed ashore in our town. It was unidentified, and the only information was that it was a young adult male. No one had seen my brother for several days, and he hadn't showed up to work either. When we heard about the body, everyone's immediate thought was my brother. We checked his apartment, which had a sign from the land lord asking for the rent. He was no where to be found. My mom finally called the police station and got a better description of the body, and the officer she talked to knew my brother and confirmed it was not him. We were all scared to call the police station. We were all terrified it was my brother. I never want to feel like that again. The feeling of my heart stopping and my stomach dropping. And the fact that everyone felt that terror that it could be my brother that washed ashore, not just myself, just showed how bad the situation had gotten. 
I can only hope that my brother will eventually be happy again. I haven't given up on him yet, and hope I never will. I was so angry today when I found out he was doing it again. My mom and step dad bought him a new cell phone, and were going give him one of the junk cars to drive if he got a job. He got one, but he was hired yesterday, and decided to go out and celebrate all night. He blew it again. I was so mad, I felt betrayed, and angry that he made my mom feel so sad. And I was angry that he just started the process again for himself. He's going to have to deal with the with drawls again, and the first part is the hardest. When I saw him though, all of my anger disappeared. It was replaced with sadness. I love him, and I hope he will be sober one day. I hope he'll be able to love and feel loved again. I hope I get my little brother again; the one I lost when our parents split up and he started with pot. He's my baby brother, and I wish he could feel nothing but good things. 
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May 21, 2012