I mean, you already knew the money was for drugs and that she’d return with eyeballs pinned, long sleeves on, slurred speech, aggro. The minute she’d walk through that door. But those kids. You couldn’t send them away because if she took her kids you knew she was taking them to the dealer’s den, the crack house, or outside the bar. Some doorway somewhere. So you and Mom would watch the song and dance, the kids would either stand there slightly glazed or would run to you two, eager to get away from Mommy, who wasn’t feeling good yet again.
After a few trips to jail or a hospital, inpatient or outpatient program, maybe beaten up by her supposed man or framed by the cops, she finally got into recovery. “At last,” you signed with relief. Except you couldn’t quite relax because she’d supposedly gotten into recovery before and then turned up in the same state she always turned up in. But you’d hope. You’d hope every time.
This time, however, seems different. Dinner is at 6 and she’s there at 6. Her skin’s clearing up, her clothes are clean, and her hair and nails look healthy. The kids are happier. She is smiling. Sure, she’s still a bitch because, after all, she’s still your sister and you two behave like siblings and she’s back to telling that stupid story about that one time when you were kids. But hey, she’s telling that story! It’s a good sign.
Sometimes she tells you what it was like for her, some of the shit that happened ‘out there.’ It sounds fucking horrible like something out of a movie, except it’s stuff that happened to your sister. You listen attentively even though you’re wincing inside, thinking, “Why didn’t you just stop using when it got bad? Why would you keep going back to that?” Sometimes you’d slip and say it out loud and she’d look at you incredulously like, “you could never understand” and, of course, you can’t. But still, I mean, why would anyone allow themselves to be treated like that? The first time you got a disease or broke out in handcuffs—pssh—that would’ve been the last time.
It’s only weak people who allow themselves to slip so low.
But this is your sister. The one who stopped you from getting beaten up in middle school, who got her first degree in less than four years, and who quit that one guy the first time he raised his voice to her. How could she have let this happen?
This book explains all that.