And behold, the LORD has once again found another soul. I really don’t know what to make of this at the moment. My brother, has a drinking problem. A bad drinking problem. Obviously, this is a system program that has run his life since he was old enough to drink. And I remember the first time I realized my brother had a bad problem with booze. It was back in 2001, when I was still married. He was living in Atlanta and had lost his job and his driver’s license (for driving under the influence), and I felt sorry for him. I said, ” Sure, come to Ohio.” When he arrived, we partied and hung out a bit, and then I watched him rip through 18 cans of beer in a single sitting. Now, I used to like a beer or two. Seriously. Two was pretty much my limit for the evening. I drank because I liked the flavor. My brother drank, apparently, to get hammered. 18 frickin’ cans of beer? And he didn’t seemed fucked up in the least! I was amazed.
Anyway, my wife and I hooked my brother up with a job, a house and an apartment. My brother also suffers from depression. So in a few weeks, he lost his job, his apartment and the car he sold for money. Before he was kicked out of the apartment, I had to take him to the hospital because he got in a fight with some thug who pretty much bashed his face in. As I sat fuming in the emergency room waiting for over five hours for my brother to be seen by a doctor, I had an epiphany. I couldn’t help him. The next day I grabbed all his stuff and bought him a bus ticket to Toledo to go live with his mother. As I handed the bus ticket to him, my brother began to weep. His face was a bandage-covered, welt-striped mess, with chunks of skin missing. His tears dribbled down to the concrete floor as his body shook helplessly. I knew what he was feeling. I leaned over and kissed him, and said, “If you don’t get yourself sorted out, this is always going to happen to you.” We embraced and then it was time for his bus to be boarded.
Fast forward ten years. My mother calls and says that she’s moving to Illinois, and David doesn’t have a job and she’s afraid he’s going to become homeless. I had been living on my own for the last year after my divorce and I was doing okay. My apartment was small, and I knew that my brother was still a drunk. But I gave in and let him come down again. I wondered if I would live to regret it.
The day that I agreed to let my brother come down to live with me was the day I was fired from my job. Denise, whom I had just met online, was also planning to visit. This was gonna be interesting.
So of course, Denise and my brother hated each other almost immediately. My brother had graduated to drinking a bottle of cheap vodka a night, and was very unruly and stupid. You wouldn’t think that there would be anything to fight about at 4:00 am in the morning, but here we go! I am awakened by Denise and my brother screaming at each other over some stupid shit. My brother’s behavior got worse and I was finally forced to kick him out. “You are gone. I can’t handle you anymore. Do you have somewhere to go?” No, he didn’t. “Well, I guess you’re sleeping down at the Mission, because you ain’t staying here.” I was hard. Yes, and when faced with a life or death choice (in his mind), my brother actually pulled a solution out of his ass. His ex-wife in Atlanta would let him stay with her until he got back on his feet. So we’re back at the bus station AGAIN (can you say: “time loop?”), and I feel nothing but relief. Now I can have a quiet time with Denise.
I would kick Denise out too, eventually. Do I have “sucker” painted on my forehead, or what?
Anyway, last I heard from my brother before today was back in March (while Denise was in town visiting me) when mother called and told me that my brother had lost his job and had nowhere to live. I said to her that my bro was a grown man and he’d have to fend for himself. I had to talk my mother out of taking a bus to Atlanta to locate him. Jesus.
Anyway, my mother today called and told me that my brother has been living in a halfway house of some kind, and has “found the LORD.” He has stopped drinking (apparently).
I reflected on how we use beliefs to mask our self-dishonesties. To create something out of thin air and hand our power over to a placebo, a strawman that performs miracles, because it is obviously greater than we are.
What a game we play.