Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oh Brother

I have two brothers. One is older and the other is my twin. I am not close with either one. Being the only Christian in a secular family causes distance.

My twin brother is an issue for everyone in the family. He is 40 years old and I do not remember a time that he did not drink or do drugs. In recent years, it has been more alcohol, but I am not close enough to him to know if he does drugs or not anymore. He is selfish and mean to everyone who doesn't agree with what he thinks. He is a stepfather to a 16 year old boy and a father to two girls ages 13 and 10. He doesn't understand that they have lives and his life should revolve around them. He complains how his kids don't have time for him.

When we were growing up, my twin brother was the "favorite" of my Dad. He was academically gifted and athletic. I think my Dad was living vicariously through my brother. Every teacher my brother had would tell him how wonderful he is and how he can do anything with his life. I used to think that my brother was the poster child of what happens when we build up a child TOO much. He turned into this monster who expected everyone to do and say whatever he wanted and would become verbally abusive and even violent if you didn't. He is still like that to this day.

During Middle School, my brother started hanging around with the "wrong crowd" and the drinking and pot smoking started. He had started smoking cigarettes a few years prior to this. Some of the people in that "wrong crowd" are dead now and some have cleaned up their lives and are functioning, responsible adults. My brother only made it through freshman year of high school before he was expelled and sent to a behavior disorder school. I think I was a junior when a judge sent him away to a boys boarding school in Pennsylvania. He managed to graduate early while he was there. He came home while I was a senior and he picked up right where he left off. My Dad did not understand. Even then, at my age, I knew that him coming home and hanging around with the same people he always had was not good news.

As an adult, my brother turned into a functioning alcoholic for a number of years. He had a girlfriend in his early 20's that he was verbally and physically abusive to. They lived together for a while. She finally had enough of him and left. I still think about her to this day and wonder whatever happened to her. She had her own problems, but no one deserves to be treated the way she was by my brother. I often pray she is doing well wherever she is.

In his late 20's, my brother started dating a young woman who has a young son from a previous relationship whom we welcomed in to our family with open arms. She quickly became pregnant and it's been downhill ever since for my brother. They did marry shortly after they determined she was expecting. My brother sounded so depressed when he told me that they married. Like many people in that predicament, he felt he "had" to marry her. I tried to tell him differently. 

They went on to have 2 daughters. They are still married, but have not lived together for years. I heard through my father that she filed for divorce last summer. She and the kids are renting a dilapated home about 1.5 hours away from where I live. The kids seem to be doing well, but I am not close with them so it's hard to know for sure.  

My brother lives in our parents basement. He was once a licensed plumber who made a decent living; however, alcohol was more of a priority in his life. When the economy tanked, he found himself without a job for years. Now he works odd jobs through Craigslist. In the last 2 - 3 years, he has been in and out of hospitals for alcohol poisoning or detox. His drivers license was revoked years ago yet he still drives. My parents won't do anything about it. My father thinks he will have to drive my brother everywhere if he doesn't allow my brother to drive.

His estranged wife still puts cars in her name for him to drive. My father has a decent relationship with her and I have tried discussing how this could hurt her if he hurts or kills someone while driving. My father thinks no one will go after her for anything because 1. She has nothing and 2. She is a single mother raising 3 kids on her own. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think being a single mom is an excuse to make bad decisions. I personally think she could lose the kids over it. I pray we will never have to find out.

A few months ago, at my former job, we had a new person start and within a few weeks I was telling her about my brother. She said that he sounds a lot like her adult daughter who has Bipolar Disorder. At first, I didn't want to think that my brother could have Bipolar Disorder. Not because I don't want to believe that someone I love has this condition. I think I did not want him to have an excuse to act the way he does. However, the more I think and pray about it, the more I think he probably is Bipolar. Even so, I don't see anything being done about it. My brother would have to admit that this is a possibility and seek treatment. I don't see that happening.

According to my father, my brother has been clean for a few months now and goes to AA meetings; however, you are not allowed to ask him about it. He gets very defensive if you ask him how he is doing with is sobriety.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

I'm sure I sound angry towards my twin brother in this post. The truth is I pray hard and often for my brother. I don't care to have him in my life with how verbally abusive he is. I'm concerned for his salvation most of all. It's heartbreaking to think of him spending eternity in hell. I have tried to discuss the Bible and Jesus with him, but he does not want to hear it. So I continue to pray that God will soften his heart towards Jesus.

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