I found a needle in my house today.  My house which was once so clean feels tainted somehow.  I held the needle in my hand and uncapped it checking for blood.  No blood, but the needle had clearly been used.  The needle was in a backpack dirty with residue along with a lighter and a note from my brother’s estranged heroin user girlfriend.  “I hate to see you this way,” the note read.

It’s actually a bit more complicated than that.  My brother was recently released from jail with a chance to have no felony on his record on the condition that my family enroll him in an inpatient treatment program.  He came to live with me since I am the family member who has a career tied to substance abuse programming.

This afternoon my phone rang.  It was a call for my brother from a local agency that I had him contact months ago to get connected to their methadone clinic.  I took the phone to my brother’s room where he was sound asleep.  It was 1:00 p.m.  I woke him up and passed him the phone.  He spoke incoherently into the phone and was a bit giggly.  I hung up the phone.  “Are you fucking high?” I asked.  No coherent response.

My significant other volunteered to rouse my brother and take him to the store so I could check his room.  The search uncovered a phone message from my brother to his estranged girlfriend around 3:45 a.m. asking if she was still coming by.  This discovery was followed by the discovery of a hidden backpack and, of course, the needle.

Then came the confrontation and the denial.  The hungry look in his eyes when I presented the needle was so sickening.  He maintained that the findings were just a string of coincidences.  First he said that his girlfriend had never come and then hours later the story was that he and his girlfriend didn’t do anything when she came.  I had heard the lies and stories before.  I noticed his ADD medication laying on a windowsill untaken.  I thought about how he had asked for calamine lotion because he was itchy.  I realized that he hadn’t eaten anything all day.  So many of the symptoms were present.

Rehab intake is only days away.  Would a rehab report back to the court that my brother had to be detoxed?  Would such a report render the rehab useless in the eyes of the court?  Would we have to pay extra money out of pocket for detox services in addition to the $30K cost of the 90 day program?  Would it all be a waste yet again?

My significant other and I decided that the best course of action would be to administer a drug test.  If the test was clean, then great!  If the test was dirty, then there would be the calls to the lawyer and to family members to decide what to do next.

It was such a long five minutes. My brother, already depressed from his recent month in jail, sat slumped against a wall staring into space.  It pained me to see him that way.  Trusting in recovery is hard…wondering if your brother will forgive you for not trusting is even harder.

The test came out clean. I immediately apologized for not believing him, but the damage had been done. There is sadness in the house that can’t quite be shaken.  I guess I’ll approach it just like everything else in recovery…I’ll take things one day at a time.

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