Today my brother becomes homeless. By choice.

I don’t know what to do with this truth.

Our mother died one year ago. Living in her home, supported by her, enabled by her to continue his addictions, my brother was slowly destroying her home with his clutter, dog shit on the rugs, cat pee on the furniture and floor, dirt everywhere, trash everywhere.

My beautiful mom in her beautiful home, elderly and in pain, enabling my brother and suffering deeply in her choice. Unable to stop the madness of codependency, afraid of his anger as she was afraid of my father’s. The cycle of alcoholism and codependency continuing through generations.

And then, she died.

I think, sometimes, that she took the only way out she knew. Or that God, in God’s mercy, took her out of the mess of her codependency and loneliness.

My siblings and I told my brother that he had to move out of our mom’s house. We gave him a month. Angry, grieving, trying to cope with the devastation of losing our mother and with the shit hole her beautiful home had become, we gave him a month. And he complied.

Alcoholic, bankrupt, on the lam for DUI’s, our brother took his pets and his car and moved to another state. Back to the ocean, back to the beach. Back to his girlfriend. Took his inheritance and abandoned all the rest.

Left us with all his possession and all his mess. And we dealt with it.

One year later, he is out of money, no car and no job, still on the lam. Drinking every day. Moving from hotel to hotel. His inheritance gone. This is my brother’s first day of homelessness, truly without shelter, money or resources.

Everything that my mother feared and tried to prevent has come to pass.

I want to believe that there is still hope for him. As he puts on his backpack and starts walking, I want to believe that he will finally acknowledge he needs help. But I don’t have hope for this. Not yet. I don’t think he’s hit bottom, even today.

Will he have seizures again when he can’t buy booze? Will he end up in a ditch on the side of the road, or in the bushes where no one finds him for a few days? Will he get picked up and taken to the hospital, like he has before? Out of his mind and not remembering what happened or where he is? Will someone rob him of his phone or wallet? Will we never know what happened to him?

This is my brother. My smart, funny, engineer brother. Caught in addiction and homelessness. Giving his life over to his mistress, the bottle. Sold out to lies and dysfunction.

The story won’t end here, it never does. My story, my family’s, my brother’s – it will continue on. How I live it, my part in all of it, how I tell it – that is up to me. I pray that I face it all honestly, clearly, without codependency and lies. I pray that I keep faith, that I keep looking into God’s eyes and trusting God with me.

My brother may die. He may disappear. He may slip into mental illness. He may recover. He may find his way back to health. He may not. It is all up to him.

Today my brother becomes homeless.

I accept this truth.

Today my brother is homeless.




2 thoughts on “Homeless

  1. Beautifully written from a place of heartbreaking truth. What codependents don’t understand, not really, is that while they are trying so hard to “save” the person they are slowly killing them, maybe not literally but in every other way. And in your mother’s case it may have ultimately killed her. There is so much poignancy and sadness in that truth. Perhaps be thankful she is not here to see this day.

  2. Thanks, Martha. I am grateful she is not here to see this day. Hard to imagine that within in one year we are in this place. I grieve for my brother and for the disease of alcoholism that has ravaged his life. Thank you for your support and love. M

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