I often wonder what it would be like to have a normal brother. I wonder how things would be if he was not an addict.

What if he had gone away to college in a different state,

And graduated with a nice degree,

And meet a pretty girl,

And got a job,

And lived a normal life.

I wonder what it would feel like to be proud of my older brother,

To admire him,

To visit his home and exchange pleasantries with his wife,

To spend Christmas with him,

To seek him out for life advice.

I wonder what I would be like if my brother had not destroyed my love for the world.

I wonder what it would be like to not be afraid of my brother, to not flinch every time his name is brought up, to not feel uncomfortable in his presence.

I wonder how are family would be…

My mother would be younger at heart, less aged, less tired, less stressed.

My dad would take more ownership of my brother as his son.

My grandparents would be happier to hear about other people’s grandsons.

All of the would’ve’s overrun my thoughts, but there are some things that I know for certain.

I will never know what it would be like to spend Christmas together when we are old, all together at mom and dad’s house.

I can never get drunk with him.

I will never trust him fully.

That uneasiness in my stomach will never go away.

I will never stop worrying about him.

I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life.

I can’t really remember how he used to be before becoming a drug addict,

And I will never know what he is like as a normal person in the future,

Because he will always be an addict.

He may be clean for long periods of time,

But he will always be a recovering addict.

He will always be recovering, but never fully recovered.

It will never go away.

And I will never know my brother as a non-addict again in my lifetime.

The addiction will always be there, lurking in the shadows, casting weariness upon our relationship and our lives.