My uncle is a recovering alcoholic. Surely my cousin knew that substance abuse takes your personhood away. But this didn't make enough difference. I hear he had an illegal self-medication regimen, street-sourced for anti-anxiety. Isn't that a long way around saying he took downers? Or, couldn't we just say he took [blank]? This is still tip-toeing around, not actually touching it.
My uncle is a recovering alcoholic. Something is missing here, that he didn't see his son's problems. His son (my age) is still living with Dad, has no friends, never dates, just buys drugs on the street and goes to work (my cousin did have a job and I hear a good boss) and then comes home to do--what? Drugs and T.V., I guess. Sitting on Dad's couch. This was normal to them. I wonder which one of them got the remote.
It's like the shell of my uncle was filled with alcohol. When you drained that out, he was still hollow. Decades later, nothing has filled it up. But I can't completely judge this; I'm not there.
I worry about this, even though, I have seen this cousin of mine exactly three times, one of which hardly counts since we were both two years old. For awhile, we even lived in the same metropolitan area. I kept trying, but those were the years of the bottle for my uncle, the secret years. Apparently they never ended, even after my cousin did the intervention and got his father in rehab.
So you could say that part of the favor is now returned.
Flashing forward to now: I sent my cousin a letter with my e-mail address, to the center, cleared by my uncle to go to the rehab center. Maybe we could actually be family. I received a note from my uncle this week. I can write my cousin care of his father's e-mail.
It took me a few days to figure out that my cousin is home again after his serious lock-down rehab, and my uncle wants me to write him again. This means my cousin is not going to do it. He is not going to get his own e-mail box. I wonder if he'll ever get his own home, his own date, or his own couch and T.V. I would never say never--it's early days yet--but not even an e-mail address?
What upsets me is that the pattern of living within Dad's realm is not really broken with my uncle, either. It's still normal. It still leaves my cousin remote from the world.
I have seen substance abuse screw things up royally, more than once. It runs in families, they say genetic. I don't think it has to be genetic to pass down in a family. I think the life habits come down too, the lack of--something--that predisposes to a problem.
In a way I think my cousin is more grown up than his father. No one had to intervene. He admitted it himself. In another way, I think he has not learned many life skills worth knowing, so he is not grown up at all. My cousin is old enough to know better, to seek out skills from others. But he did not get what he should have to make that leap. He will be both older and younger than his years.
So here we are. I am as much a spectator as you who read this. Very far removed from the scene.
Everything I have written is true, given that I have met them all three times, decades ago the last time, and never kept up. Yet so far I am the only one who is not surprised. I find that significant. Not that I am so acute, but everyone else must still be in the fog.
I wish him luck. I wish him a future with no more wasted years. I will write him at his father's address. I will wonder why it must be so.
Parking in hell, or, take the key.