My brother Shawn lost his battle with drugs and alcohol.
As the two of us got older - and the years and the miles piled up, the distance between us grew. While both of us were trying to find our place in the world, busy fighting our own battles and our own personal demons - we fell out of touch. Falling out of touch with him was easy - too easy. I suppose it was the path of least resistance. I let him slip away.
Addiction is a disease of isolation! Addiction leads to isolation and isolation feeds the addiction.
I know that some of you probably know a loved one who is struggling with drugs or alcohol.
Reach out to them.
Don't let them isolate. Let them know that they are loved. And when you are met with hate and dismay and apathy. Tell them that you love them again. It is easier sometimes to turn away. Don't.
I love my brother. I miss him. I wish that I had told him that more often.
He was my co-explorer of thick Michigan forests and fellow conqueror of the beechwood island behind our farm. Ruler of the gravel pit, escaped pig wrangler and water snake hunter. He was my bunkmate, my roommate, my little brother and my best friend.
As a big brother I feel like a failed. I was too busy. Too fucking busy.
My brother Ben found a note in Shawn's apartment in New Jersey after he died that read "No more 'next weeks," I need to do better. Pray for help. Pray for my family."
That crushes me.
Something good needs to come out of this -
If you know someone dealing with addiction REACH OUT TO THEM.