I found my old diary just now, from 2009. Stuffed inside it was an unfinished column about addiction, and the war on drugs. I never did finish it
I found my old diary just now, from 2009. Stuffed inside it was an unfinished column about addiction, and the war on drugs. I never did finish it. In May 2012 my sister-in-law Eva died from an overdose. My brother hid her body in the bedroom, where she died, the room the housekeepers were banned from, inside an otherwise pristine town house. He had been prescribed enough morphine, we were later told, to kill a small horse.
I watched my brother and Eva decline, gripped by a vice, or a desire, beyond their control, entering a world where no one, in the end, could follow them. For us, their family, the sadness of their relapse was overwhelming. Their addiction became our project, a project of endless emails, phone calls, experts, meetings, strategies, agreements, disagreements. Every week brought a new crisis, new information, and new developments. But most of all, I remember the sadness.
Twenty-five years ago my brother came back from India, emaciated, pretending to have a stomach infection while he was painfully withdrawing in a hospital ward. He had cut his own hair then. His upper arms were thinner than his wrists, sharp hip-bones jutting out. We should have probably wondered why he came back from India so pale.
After one stay in a rehab (there were so many) he came to stay with me, for several months. He immediately relapsed; I didn’t know. I thought the way he lived – the plates with rotten food under his bed, the dirt under his fingernails – was just him. The dirt was heroin. I didn’t get it.