12 years ago, my brother’s life imploded . . . he lost his job, his wife, his child, and his home. He moved in with our family, and for a year misery and insanity filled our home. I didn’t understand what was going on, or what he was going through.

My brother was living in hell, being tormented by a devil called meth. Unaware of what drug addiction entailed, I made assumptions based on what sane people who are drug free would think, say and do. His psychotic drug induced nightmares, his ludicrous lies to cover his drug use, and his accusations hurled at us, became too much to bare. His refusal to take responsibility for his actions cemented his misery, and ours.

Drug addiction is a form of insanity, and those engulfed in drugs have gone insane – they are lost in hell, being tormented by their own actions and choices. They are compelled to destroy themselves for the high they get from meth, crank, coke, and heroin . . . a fleeting moment of bliss mixed in with the depths of despair.

After 2 stays in a drug treatment facility my brother finally kicked his meth habit, but it had already morphed into legal pain killers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxycodin, all of which are opiates – legal heroin.

My brother never faced the reasons he became addicted – he never began the long journey of becoming free from drugs. Many of us have tried illegal drugs, and taken pain pills, and we did not become addicted. Some people become addicted physically to drugs or alcohol and must stop them all together in all forms. But many people do drugs because drugs make us feel better about our miserable lives, that we cannot seem to find the courage to address and to change on our own. The drug becomes our cure.

My brother and I both needed to embark on a life long journey of self discovery. I did, my brother did not. My journey vacillated between the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, and there were times I thought I would not make it out intact.

Eventually I worked through a heap of garbage that had built up around me, and that had adversely affected my life in numerous ways. I kicked the rubbish to the curb and discovered a life of freedom, purpose and joy.

I now believe drug addiction is a combination of cellular addiction and mental addiction . . . both are difficult to overcome, the mental aspects being the most challenging. Cellular addiction usually can be treated though detoxifying our bodies, eventually overcoming the physical effects of the drug. But until the mental reasons for doing the drug in the first place are faced head on, I see little hope of living free from the torment and pain blamed on the drugs.

My brother lost his life at age 54, as a direct result of his abuse of drugs both legal and illegal, and his abuse of food. His once strong body slowly slid into illness and decrepitude. He never found the happiness he searched for in the drugs. He never understood that he could live free and be happy without drugs. For me, that was the saddest part of his life. He saw no way out. He had no hope.

The drugs made all of our lives miserable, too. Death brought with it peace. Peace for Valiant. Peace for me, and peace for our mom. Relief from the pain of watching someone we loved self implode, and relief from the lies he told to cover his tracks. My hope for my brilliant brother returning to us was also gone. I must come to terms with that in order for me to live regret free and joyously.

Rest in peace, dear brother, of mine.