My Brother, The Heroin Junkie

People always ask me why I am such a stickler for going to the gym and why I love running so much?  Well, the answer is a simple one.  It’s about living a clean lifestyle.  Hell, I don’t even drink a great deal because I see the long term damage alcohol consumption does to the body.  Perhaps 7 years of working in domestic violence units, rehab centres, mental health units and A&E wards taught me one thing.  Alcohol and drug consumption on a regular basis is never going to end well.

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If I go back to 1987 however, this is where I got my first experience of substance abuse.  Sharing a room with my brother, he was 17 at the time and I was just 10 years old, I would sometimes witness him injecting heroin into his arms late at night.  He’d threaten to punch my head in if I ever told anyone and by this time I was used to the priests at school using fear to stop me from telling anyone about what they had been doing to me behind closed doors.  Fear was, I guess you could say, all around me.  I was a pretty fucked up kid by the age of 10 so it kind of explains why I can be distant and reclusive from people now.

Over the years, my brothers heroin abuse grew into an out of control monster.  Eventually, it would lead to the death of his wife at Christmas 2000.  It’s also why I have so much respect for people who are able to kick the habit and better themselves.  Beating heroin is the hardest habit of all to kick.

The last time I spoke to my brother was in 2006.  I was in Melbourne doing my training to become a travel agent and he called me up to ask me to buy him a beer.  I politely refused and have not seen or heard from him since.  To be honest, I couldn’t tell you if he is alive or dead.  I’m not really bothered either.  Yeah, that sounds harsh but it’s a case of too much water under the bridge.

This is why I like to share my exercise routines on social media with friends.  It’s not to brag about my achievements as I am not too strong, don’t have a six pack and run slow.  I share it all because I want to encourage people to be healthy.  If I can help one or two people motivate themselves to lead a healthier life then I have succeeded.

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