Today my 86-year-old mother sets off on a road trip from her condo in Vegas to try to right the ship of my brother’s wrecked life in Florida. She’s passing through Sedona about noon today and we’ll have lunch unless my stepfather, also 86, gets on his epic only stopping for restroom breaks binge he falls prey to. I hope not. I’d love to hug mom as thanks for her courage in traveling the 6,000 mile round trip.
Followers of my blog and Facebook page know that my brother fell off a 27 year recovery wagon in his retirement journey to Florida. He wasted his 13 day forced recovery when he almost died last fall of bleeding ulcers and went through two near deaths experiences blogged of here.
Fred’s epic fall from sobriety is all too common these days. Sadly, even only 10% of AA members stay sober and clean. And that modest 10% makes them #1 on the planet as the best for a sustained recovery after detox. Without an AA support group the chance of a relapse is almost 100%. I had studied all this trying to get my brother into recovery when we almost lost him in the fall. His ego would not permit this help. Ego really is like an elephant that likes to sit on your house.
I believe, but have no proof, Fred quickly fell into the drug culture that plagues Florida. All of us in the family that have leaned on Fred as a rock during his 27 year sobriety were shocked how fast my brother fell from grace. Over only a 90 day period he went from the proud owner of a new home and puppy to be arrested 3 times, one of those times supposedly for animal abuse of his new puppy.
Though she’s making mistakes enabling my brother, I’ve been amazed at the depth my mother’s love in trying to rescue my brother from himself. I’ve tried to tell her unless he gets into recovery he’ll end up right back in jail again. Mom does have a financial stake in my brother’s mess he’s made of his life as she co-signed on the mortgage that got him the house of his dreams. My brother has consented from jail to have the house sold. There are limits to what mom will do to help Fred. She’s refused to let him lein the house to bond his freedom. A wise thing as my brother was arrested fleeing a warrant for his arrest in his dark awakening you can read more about on the blog. I plan to record this whole chain of events as a cautionary tale to people drinking and drugging too much, and falling prey to today’s overzealous legal system. Sick people like Fred need treatment not prison.
Mom comes from a generation unfamiliar with the dangers of drugs like crystal meth and crack cocaine and how they can transform a person into a criminal, make them lie and cheat and steal for the drugs of choice. I’ve been doing my best to educate my mother and explaining why enabling can make things worse in the end for an addict. The mortgage she co-signed compels her to take action. Age 86 is not the time to lose your nest egg to a son who fell so low as to be negligent of his duties to care for a house Mom helped him get.
Before I broke off all conversation with my kid brother, he was relishing in a childhood memory of a nasty prank he pulled of disconnecting the transmission on mom’s car. It totaled her silver blue T-bird and could have killed her. I was furious that for all these years my brother had gotten away with pinning this evil prank on our drunken father. Fred got mad at me for placing the blame where it belonged.
I am blessed to have never drank and drugged, aside from some college experiments and the famed 3 martini lunches of the 80s business world. Addiction has never had a grip on me. Seeing what my mother must do makes me ever more grateful that I am an addiction fighter. See my blog about a meditation to end addiction in the world in Nashville in 2011 for more on this.
Someone asked me recently, “Aren’t you worried about sharing such personal stories about your brother’s problems?”
I answered, “Sadly he’s way out there in the public eye.” My brother has even made the local Florida TV news and is featured for his supposed puppy abuse on a national website. Fred’s gaunt face in mug shots looks drug induced to my sharp eye serving an addiction radio show as their media adviser. One day if he wants to be in my life again he is going to have to prove he’s not been on drugs or admit and ask forgiveness for putting the family through his hell.
A powerful Sedona psychic says if Fred gets into recovery his life ahead is especially positive. Recovery treatment, even if this all just alcohol related, is mandatory in Fred’s possible reentry to my life. After all I said he would be cut off from me to give him incentive to stay clean and sober not to truly give up on him.
My mother said, “Kenneth, aren’t you afraid of making Fred not sending him money in jail? What if he shows up at your place in Sedona? He knows where you live.”
“Mom, if I was not afraid of my abusive father why would I be afraid of a brother who has turned abusive.? If he shows up on my doorstep without recovery plan that’s been in effect a year he’s in for a visit to the Sedona police and the AZ police are even tougher than Florida cops,” I said with a calm that surprised me.
Fear fighting is one of the primary mission of DreamShield. I won’t live in fear of governments, corporations and certainly not messed up brothers. I told mom, “I could die crossing the street if it’s my time to go. If I die at the hands of drug addled brother I surrender to that. I do not live in fear of anyone or anything and I suggest mom you do the same.”
Addiction is at the heart of much of the world’s issues. And as a society we are addicted to war, oil, meat consumption and more. I am proud of Mom and send her a DreamShield ET escort to watch over her for a safe return to Las Vegas, a place she retired to for her love of Keno. Keno is her pet addiction. One that’s well under control. Mom plays with nickels. Now, she plays in the biggest gamble of her life, saving her son’s life savings and freeing herself from his mortgage.
Update: Yay! Happy to have connected to mom and wish her well on the journey. My stepfather Nick is like an open book. He’s not happy about the trip and all the driving ahead.
Mom held my hand as I walked her to the car after treating her and Nick to lunch and said, “I know we met up on this trip to Florida with you for reason, Kenneth.”
I smiled. Squeezed her hand and said, “Maybe it was for me to lend you my luck. Stay focused. Get yourself off Fred’s mortgage. Use the police if any of druggy friends show up to cause trouble. Fred’s the one in jail. Not you. The law is on your side and you have a right to clean up this mess.” And I then gave her a big kiss on the cheek for luck and I led them back to the freeway and off to Florida.