It’s been about a month since my brother was released from rehab.  Let’s recap the financials.

3 months of inpatient rehab – $30,000

Defense attorney – $3,000

Sober house deposit – $250

Six weeks rent for sober house – $1,000

Food for my brother – $150

Bus ticket to court assigned community service – $30

Drug test for brother’s new job – $25

Various mileage costs transporting my brother to job interviews, court appointments, community service, etc. – $150

So far, this has been the hard cost to my family to get my brother clean from his heroin habit. This is in addition to the amount of time that each one of us continues to contribute to help ensure his success.

My mother and I have discussed more than once how obvious it has become to us why people with addiction would end up incarcerated and/or homeless.  Helping someone get clean is both a financial and emotional drain.  When a court system punishes an addict, they are really punishing the whole family.  That is, at least, families who have not completely disowned the addict due to their behaviors.

My parents may never retire after this round of treatment.  They only have about a decade left to save, and at the very least this has put a significant dent into the savings that either one of them had.  If there’s ever a relapse, I’m not sure that we would be able to help again even if we wanted to.

Addiction treatment is a multi-billion dollar industry in this country. In the end, it’s the families who pay…with their money and sometimes with their children’s lives.