Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Hand Up

I'm bothered by something I found online last night. My mom wanted me to check out one of my father's previous employers. Seems as though he has earned himself a stay, federally housed, for 6 months. I decided to plunk the name of an old friend in. We haven't seen him in years. Actually the last we saw him, K- was 3 months old.

His name popped up. So did his picture. Dude is strung out. He was in ja*il for attempting to ste*al a rental car. He had battled drug add*iction in the past. By the looks of the federally taken portrait, it seems as though R- is back on coc*aine again. It's sad. Truly. He has such a talent for what he does. (He is a builder by trade.) I don't exactly know what went wrong. When we were friends with him, he was clean. He had stayed here a few different times. I had made it clear that we would only accept him on a short term and clean basis. He never took a thing from us.

We met R- 8 years ago when we were doing the roof on our home. I had a dreadful sinus infection and fever, my natural curl had gone to frizz from the intense humidity, it was 90 degrees out and Hubs and I were attempting to remove the gutters from the house. No one had arrived to help out yet, but we had prayed that morning together. We knew that the roof was much more of a job than what we had anticipated. Hubs and my dad had gone up the night before and almost fell through the roof. We were so overwhelmed that we had no idea what to do. Our church had been doing the Prayer of Jabez and we had been praying all along as well. We prayed that morning that the Lord would send someone to us. We needed help. I still remember where we were when we said that prayer. Then, as we were working on the gutters, R- walked down the driveway. I thought that he was trying to sell us something, and he said that he was a builder, was going somewhere with family but he would leave his van here of supplies for us to use whatever we needed. He didn't even know us, but left us the keys and walked away. My dad had arrived and they started working on the roof. I went to the store and when I came back, R- was on the roof with them. He opted to stay back and help. He continued to come to our home every day that week until the roof was done. He was there at 7 AM and accepted no payment. He did a beautiful job. He and Hubs worked together and they were forming a great friendship.

Again, I don't know what went wrong. He kind of fell off the face of the earth. (So to speak, anyhow.) When I called Hubs yesterday to tell him what I found, his response was "We can't save them all, Amy." I know and I can't think perhaps there was something else we could do for him. My brother is a standing example of that.

My brother. I love him dearly. He is a bundle load of story all and of his own right. My brother is nearly 2 years clean from a horrible addiction to her*oin, coc*aine and Oxy*contin. As much as we all wanted him to be clean (I never in a million years believed it was that bad), it took a fai*led atte*mpt on his o*wn life for him to realize that it wasn't the best road to travel. He said that when we woke up, he figured that the Lord had other plans for his life. My mother called me that day at work to say that she was dropping my brother off to my house to stay for a while. There was no choice in the matter. I didn't argue, but I did want to know why he was being dropped off. It was a fam*ily interv*ention. I was the link to making him clean. In our neighborhood, he would get nothing. There was no one that he knew. No one knew that he was here. He could dry out. (Or clean up, whatever the case be.) I left work immediately, sighting a family emergency as the reason. I came in with both guns blazing (figuratively speaking of course, since we don't believe in having firearms in the home.) I wanted to know if he had done anything illegal, and if it was safe to have him in my home. Yes. They had explained.

My brother was with us for a few days. He had gone to my sister's house for a few more. We kept close tabs on him. If I didn't hear from him each day, I would run him down. I knew his paths. I beat on windows, went to neighborhoods by myself that I would never have gone to. I looked in ditches. I busted doors in. I stalked my brother, but because he asked us to. He asked that my sister, my mom and me keep him accountable. He knew that he asked three of the noisiest women to keep his butt clean. I reminded him of that. He's never complained once. As a result, my brother has been able to successfully manage his Bipolar diagnosis through legal drugs, rather than self-medication. He has pulled himself around. He has begun to be a model for my niece and nephew to look up to, rather than away from.

Oh, grant you his life is not perfect. He still has a ways to go in adjustment to life. Right now, he needs a job. Their home is in foreclosure and they will need to move from their neighborhood (which isn't such a bad thing anyhow.) They know, though, that we are happy to give them a hand up. I found that giving, giving, giving was something I thought was okay, but it was only enabling. I had to pull back. Now we do give a hand up, but not a hand out.

My brother is afloat, though. He's pulled through. I can only pray the same for R-. I've seen miracles in life happen when drug addict*ion is beaten. It is a choice he has to make for himself. No one else can do that for him, but him.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I know a couple people like that and it is sad. I could probably scare you with stories of people in my own family that are like that.

It is great that your brother cleaned himself up and is doing better. BP is a hard thing to get through. My Bailey is BP.

What your hubby said is true but I know firsthand how hard it is to feel otherwise. I try to fix everyone else's problems and want to make everything all good again.