My Sister is a Junkie

Drugs took my sister before death will.

Punches, screams, bites and blood

I started this blog as a safe space to vent

And I’ve stopped writing because it’s just the same

again and again and again

And it’s lies and violence and swearing

And then apologies and crying and niceness

And then abuse and punches and vitriol

And tears and sobs and “clean time”

 

This weekend she punched my father

Our father

Our 77-year-old dad in the face

He has a black eye and is too ashamed to see a doctor

She punched the walls until there was blood on the walls

 

And today I’m at work like, hey, I had a totally normal weekend.

The world spins madly on

Since I last wrote, my sister was in rehab for a month. There she met a boy. She’s been dating said boy since one week into the recovery programme at the clinic. Wonderfully healthy.

The signs of her using have been there since she got out.

Coming home and passing out for hours. Constant flus and colds. Constant coughs.

Then, jesus, I can’t remember how many weeks ago it was except it was the week my neighbour killed herself and I woke up at 3am to the sounds of her mother’s soul tearing apart and put my arms around that mother in a freezing passage way while we waited for an ambulance that could do nothing for a two-day dead girl.

It was that week that my sister and my mother had an argument. She pushed my mother, our mother, so hard that our mother fell to the ground – slammed to the ground and could barely move. Turns out she’s fractured a vertebra in her back in two separate places.

My sister broke our mother’s fucking back.

My father tries to ‘stay neutral’, but in not defending my mother, in not telling my sister that would she did was beyond reprehensible, beyond disgusting, he’s taking sides. Keeping the peace means buying into her narratives and playing by her rules. What if it had been me?

Inevitably another blow out followed.

It’s “just weed”, it’s “just psychedelics”, don’t you know? It’s all about spirituality, she’s “fine” as long as she can have a daily joint.

She’s moved in with her boyfriends.

The insanity wheel just never ends.

My sister’s going to die before I ever have a chance to have a real relationship with her,

Part of me wishes she’d hurry up and do it, part of my is so close to total devastation that the only thing keeping me together is my ability to firmly put this all out of my mind except for these moments: alone in a cold flat, rain outside and two glasses of wine in my belly.

How long can a heart break for? Mine’s been breaking for the last four years – and it’s not over yet.

Exhaustion

I last wrote on Christmas. What’s happened since then has been more of the same. More boyfriends and breakups, more drugs and lies about drugs and eventual confessions when it serves the next end game.

More valium from the GP, more money from my father, more expletives, more freakouts, more yo-yoing.

Two weeks ago she got kicked out by that boyfriend and was screaming and having a tantrum on the side of the road outside his house. The cops got called (the cops, dude, the cops) and she got picked up. My father, on his steed to the rescue, got the call and picked her up from the police station. She was trying to lay a charge for the gang rape that happened months ago, didn’t want to take responsibility for the public meltdown she was having or that the cops thought she was high and took her in for a public disturbance. 

Her getting picked up by the police wasn’t enough.

She said she’d been kicked out because the boyfriend, his sister and her friend were doing coke and she said no (yeah, sure). Today she admitted she’d been fucked on coke that day (duh). Still not enough.

Now it’s the wanting rehab (ie: wanting the doctor sanctioned drugs that will make her stoned – valium, bitches, valium). Now it’s the same tears, the same spiral of ‘I’ve wasted the last three years of my life’.

Yes. Yes you have. 

But pick yourself up. Pick up the pieces and stop treating our entire family like your goddam punching bag.

You wonder why I lost respect for you.

I lost it when this shit all started more than half my life ago. 

I lost it before than when my big sister became my worst nightmare and the attack dog I never saw coming.

Having you as a sister is exhausting. Your addiction is exhausting. Your lies are exhausting. Your bipolar is exhausting. Your borderline is exhausting.

And the thought that one day I’ll be the ‘parent’ taking care of you when ours are dead is enough to crush my spirit. I can’t handle you at this distance I’ve enforced but in another 20 years, you’ll be the yolk on my back and the burden I carry til I die.

It’s not fair.

This shouldn’t be life.

I shouldn’t have this stranger as a sister.

But tomorrow, I’ll plaster on my smile with my makeup and go to work and say I had a wonderfully relaxed weekend and I won’t say a word about the sucker punches you threw today. And every time I get a message, my heart will sink as I wait for the next blow in the nightmare that’s been the past three years of your relapse.

Merry Christmas

My sister is a dealer now.
Her and her no-front-teeth boyfriend.

I went looking for trouble and I found it in her phone. I knew, I knew, I knew, I knew. But now I gave my mother the proof she needs to do exactly nothing at all.

Merry fucking Christmas indeed.

Her Over Me

I lent my mother my PC a few years back when I moved into an apartment too small for it and the rest of my furniture. She then lent it to my sister when she was “going back to study” (a lie I’ll never understood why they believed – or were willing to finance more than ten years down the line).

It may seem petty but I refused to give up ownership of it to her. She kept trying to claim it as she moved from one man’s hovel to the next and my parents stood firm. Until now. Now it’s a matter of they’ll just buy me a new screen (I’ve been using my old one in conjunction with my laptop to work from home) or they’ll have to (have to? really? she’s fucking thirty living with some over-aged teenage dirtbag) buy her a new one. The underlying message here, that isn’t even that well hidden, is that if I don’t give it up I’m costing my retiree parents money they can’t afford. I’m the bad guy, the bad child, the selfish one. I’m not loving towards my sister.

Then there’s the matter of Christmas. For a while my parents were firm that her thingman may not attend, even though that meant she wouldn’t either. But now it’s changing, the story is becoming that she will hold it against us, that she won’t talk to us, that Christmas is a time of love and understanding. Yet again the not-so-hidden message is that they want me to buy into them inviting her and dude guy for Christmas. That I must sit through lunch with this fucktard who knows jack shit about me and a sister who willingly has nothing to do with me. They’ll no doubt be high. Fun and games.

I’m getting to the point where it feels like to protect myself, because I cannot be around her, I have to draw a line and say it’s either her or me. And maybe even for Christmas. And I know my dad will choose her. And maybe that’s the way it has to be. If being around my family means constantly having my sister’s toxic cloud all over me (whether it’s my parents enabling her fucking horrendous behaviour or having to see her face and whatever douche nozzel she’s currently dating), then maybe I have to be alone. Cut all ties. And be heartbroken.

But they’ve never chosen her over me. Not once. She’s been sick (mentally) since she was little and she always attacked me. She was always forgiven, excused and let back into the fold. And maybe that’s the job of parents, to love their children no matter what. But it’s not the job of siblings to be beaten black and blue to the point of breaking.

I need my own life. To breathe my own air. To have jackall to do with her.

And if this is the only way, then I hope I’m brave enough to see it through.

Who Is This Person?

I don’t recognise my sister any more.

It’s not just the half shaved head, “hippie” clothes and chalky skin.

I don’t recognise the words that come out her mouth, the violence in her words, the hate in her eyes. She plays nice with my parents. Nice until she asks for money and they (finally, sometimes) say no. Then she’ll explode. She’ll call my mother a fucking bitch, a miserable control freak. She’ll say she fucking hates her. That it’s her fault she got raped. She’s less verbally violent with my dad, probably because he used to have his own anger. But she’s still mean.

She’s threatening to sell her stuff (what does she even have left?) or her body on the street corner if my parents don’t give her (more) money (she’s 30 years old and my dad still gives her R200 a week, still gives her a tank of petrol a month, still pays her medical aid). She says she’s starving. She got a dog. A fucking dog when she can’t afford to feed herself.

She asked my dad for petrol money on Sunday. He deposited R450 into her account, She says it didn’t even fill the tank. Then she says she spent R450 on dog food. She only had R650. Nothing adds up.

Its just lies with her. You can’t believe a word she says because she lies almost all the time. Every word is just a strategy to get what she wants.

This person has my sister’s skin. But she is not my sister.

The Freefall

Having an addict as a sibling is like climbing a mountain.

When they’re in recovery, when things are “ok” you’re either climbing the slopes back to normality or trudging the plateaus of what you think is life as “normal” or “fine”. 

But then comes the relapse, and the ground beneath you feet gives way and you’re left tumbling down the mountainside. As the crisis subsides you’ll hit solid ground again. You’ll land battered and bruised and bloody and close to breaking. But there’s ground beneath you again and you know your sister isn’t selling her body in some hotel or shooting up in the hopes of death.

Sure, she may still be using, she may not be clean. But you reach a new normal. The kind of normal where checking her Whatsapp ‘last online’ status to make sure she’s been online in the last 24 hours, to make sure she’s not dead (yet). Where you take it for granted that she’ll always be on a come down when you see her. Where you know she’ll sell anything she can get her hands on, so your parents lock the gates in front their rooms whenever they’re not home (you parents have gates in front of their rooms and a safe full of jewellery).

But then comes the next crisis – the next major binge and you’re plummeting again, waiting to hit solid ground and feel your heart break through your ribcage.

I’m plateauing a level above hell right now. I know this level ground can’t last. This new relationship she is in won’t and the job won’t stick. Then it’s back to the pimps house, the dealers – or my parents. Where she can rip them apart a little more and age my 60+ parents into their graves.

Living with an addict is like climbing a never ending mountain. A mountain that will only break your heart.