Cover of Moleskine for Project with my Brother, featuring a Darkroom Print of his portrait, 2015.
When you type his name into Google, you will find the articles he would rather be caught in the gravity of a black hole. I would like that too. And, as the proof of his past is pulled closer to darkness and non-existence, I imagine he would experience some relief. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. The articles exist and will exist. They remind him of his weaknesses. His sorrow. His shame. They remind him of the rocky, torturous shoreline he was/is called to so sweetly by a siren, his siren, heroin.
You may be surprised to learn of these facts as we are seemingly cut from very different cloths. But the truth is, it shouldn’t surprise you, really. It’s everywhere, and no one is immune to her call. While I have been quiet for some time regarding his battles, as I had decidedly declared it was not my story to share with the world, my tune has since changed.
The battle is not his own. It is all of ours. We are a part of it.
Following his release from incarceration in December of 2015, I asked if he would collaborate to share his story with a larger audience. To my surprise, he said yes. Since January, we have been documenting the ups and the downs. There are both, believe me.
His story is recorded on all fronts. In sobriety, he is the empathetic, creative soul I once knew, willing to share his thoughts and feelings for a greater purpose. In relapse, his monsters are refueled and enraged, and he recoils once again. The tumultuousness of this oscillating storyline is both personally challenging and perhaps someday, somehow, creatively rewarding.
I often ask myself, how many chances must we give him? How many times before we realize he may always take that inch and run a mile? When should I walk away? When will my hope deplete?
I have not walked away. My hope… it waxes and wanes, in exhausted rhythms.
While I am entirely unsure how this story will play out, I am grateful for the ability to get to know my brother as a sober adult. I am doing this for him. I am doing this for me. And, I am doing this for you, if you know addiction personally and are unwilling to share, as I once was.