Substance Abuse and Homeless

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SeaGenieTx, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. SeaGenieTx

    SeaGenieTx Active Member

    Aside from my 23 year old Difficult Child who is addicted to pot, I thought I'd share my experience with my older brother who was addicted to alcohol.

    He worked at my cities largest newspaper for years, was a pre-press supervisor. Got laid off when they stopped using the large mechanical presses and went digital. He had no computer skills and the younger more tech savvy 20 year olds took over. He was 55 when he was laid off. Divorced, no kids, homeowner.

    He always had a drinking problem (beer) and on weekends would begin drinking early in the morning and continue until he was incoherent, stumbling, ready to pass out. He was married and divorced in his 20's, came home one day and found wife in bed with best friend. He never remarried after that - always held a grudge.

    After his job loss he cashed in his 401K and lived off that and unemployment for a year. Then tried a few menial jobs but he felt they were so demeaning (sports retail store, worked at small airport fueling private planes, did carpentry). He sank further into his drinking to the point he just gave up. His utilities were cut off so he lived in a dark house with no water for months. Foreclosure did't happen for about a year so he lived amongst his neighbors who enabled him (gave him small amounts of cash, food, etc.). They all felt sorry for him until he started getting on their nerves with his begging. Then they called me saying "Your brother is walking the streets panhandling and is telling people he has a terminal illness..." I said "Sorry, I can't help you, call the police and report him".

    Finally the foreclosure came and he basically packed a bag and took off on foot with very little belongings. He pawned and sold everything to his neighbors (who came in like vultures and cleaned him out). I never heard from him again after the bank took his home.

    He survived on the streets and was arrested several times for trespassing. He had made his way back to his old neighborhood to the house he and his exwife shared YEARS ago. That house was up for sale and vacant so he was camping out in it. That had to of been tough to walk into that empty house and remember back to the days he was married and lived there.

    He lived homeless for about 3 years then one day while I was at work I got a call from the county medical examiner that he was found dead on the streets behind a dumpster. Autopsy showed alcohol poisoning so he drank himself to death. He was found close to downtown where a lot of vagrants go after being released from jail. I think he crawled behind this dumpster to sleep as it was a nice clean dumpster with a new fence built around it behind a fancy restaurant. He probably sought shelter there as it would have been a safe place at night. There he died with nothing on him but a tiny cross in his pocket and an empty package of cigarettes. No wallet or ID. Amazing how they found out who he was and found my phone number. I asked them how and they said they have ways of accessing records in the event of having to notify next of kin.

    After that I had to sign papers then find a funeral home who would go pick his body up and cremate him. I could not afford a burial and he always said he wanted to be cremated.

    This is an instance of someone who hit rock bottom and never came back up. My brother gave up on life too easily. He was a good person when sober but a MEAN drunk. What scares me is my Difficult Child has similar traits. When my son is high and spewing lies and foul language - I see my brother. My brother didn't make it after he was kicked out of his house. I'm worried my son will follow this exact same route. Their personalities are identical except my son is a pot head. My son has started showing anger issues too which is scary.

    My point is, I never enabled my brother. I followed all the rules. Tried to get him to seek help, even had our church speak to him and offer help. He refused. He just wanted to wallow in misery and pity until the end.

    So this is why I worry myself sick over my son. He is weak like my brother was. He blames everyone else, won't get off his *** and work (at any job even if it's low pay) and expects to be rescued but until then the mentality is let's forget our problems, get high/drunk and avoid responsibility.
     
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Sea, that is a really sad story, I am sorry you went through this. I do not blame you one bit for worrying over your son.
    I don't blame you for making this comparison, Sea, but he is not your brother. He is younger. Hopefully, he will learn, go back to what you taught hm all these years. Only time will tell.
    My father in law was a meth user. Now his granddaughter, my daughter is using meth.
    All we can do is hope and pray. The rest is up to them.
    I feel you Sea. I am trying not to worry, trying to switch my focus to living.
    Going to have our ups and downs. It is natural. Just take it slow, one day at a time, and breathe
    (((HUGS)))
    leafy

    [​IMG]
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That is such a heartwrenching story and I am so sorry about your brother.

    Do you think he would have not drank and died if somebody had been giving him money or set him up in an apartment?

    I have a story of a young man who DID live at home and who told me he was an alcoholic, but was treated well by his father whom he lived with. He never even talked to h is father about his drinking. He died of alcohol poisoning in his own home at 26. Although he was an alcoholic and knew it (and used some drugs too), he was not under any pressure to stop and his life was cozy. He didn't think his father even knew he was an alcoholic. There are no guarantees.

    Hopefully your younger son will decide to get help and to stop and you will see him well. It happens every day that addicts quit...I also dated a man who was an alcoholic who had stopped drinking and was active in AA and to this day, from his Facebook, he is still clean. This is some twenty years. Try to focus on those who do decide to quit.

    The final outcome is really up to your son and I pray he makes a decision to quit very soon!

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
     
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sea thank you for sharing. What a sad story but it reminds us that sometimes no matter what we do we cannot save someone from themselves. Substance abuse is an illness and if the person is not willing to get help there is little we can do.

    I know how terrified you are for your son. I felt the same way for my daughter. While my friends would turn their heads when their teenage kids drank or smoked pot I went bananas inside. I knew her birth history and was so afraid she would become an addict. Others can drink or use pot and be perfectly fine, I knew my daughter could not and she has proven that.

    The cycle can be broken. I did it in my family, having grown up with an alcoholic father. I knew early on I never wanted that kind of life. Perhaps I just did not inherit the addiction genetic material, but I worked very hard to be different than he was.

    I hope your son comes around and realizes that nothing good can come with mind altering substances. He still has to be productive in life and be responsible. I know that will not stop your worrying but he is 23 and needs to figure out that the path he is on is not going to get him anywhere but into trouble.
     
  5. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Sea, I was very moved by the story of your brother..just makes you wonder why some people can stop and others can't. But having had that experience with your brother, it stands to reason that would make it harder for you at times...you really saw the reality first hand.
    I am sorry for your loss, Sea. I, too, lost a brother in a tragic way, and it can really set off my fear about my son sometimes.
    I guess just believing that each of us is on our own individual path helps and that no matter how much we worry or try to figure out what will happen we can't..
    I guess we have just as much of a chance for a positive outcome as a negative one. There is hope.
    xox Carolita
     
  6. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Sea, I was very moved by the story of your brother..just makes you wonder why some people can stop and others can't. But having had that experience with your brother, it stands to reason that would make it harder for you at times...you really saw the reality first hand.
    I am sorry for your loss, Sea. I, too, lost a brother in a tragic way, and it can really set off my fear about my son sometimes.
    I guess just believing that each of us is on our own individual path helps and that no matter how much we worry or try to figure out what will happen we can't..
    I guess we have just as much of a chance for a positive outcome as a negative one. There is hope.
    xox Carolita
     
  7. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    This story is extremely sad, and shows what can happen to people if they can't/won't get help for their problems... RIP to all those who were killed by their addictions.
     
  8. SeaGenieTx

    SeaGenieTx Active Member

    Thank you all for such kind words. My brother had drinking problems going back to a very early age (high school). In his early 20's he got a DUI and kept drinking thru his 50's. He was a good person until he got drunk, then he would become very mean. He was the type who would just drink and drink until he passed out. Even his good friends told me after his death that they cared for him and tried talking to him but he was a full blown alcoholic. They stopped inviting him on fishing trips or over for dinner because his drinking was embarrassing and they always ended up having to take care of him after he got to the point he couldn't even stand up because he'd get so drunk.

    I honestly think there is an "addictive gene" that runs in families as my dad was a heavy drinker too. I remember several instances when I was little when my dad came home late at night so drunk he would be swaying when he sat down on the couch. My mom would get so upset and then I'd be sent to my room while they argued about him not calling, dinner was cold and why should she even bother.... My dad and some business associates took his boat out one day and they all got so drunk they ran the boat onto a reef and sank it. It was "good times" my dad said.
     
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