The other day while wandering around Facebook, idly searching for names of past or former friends, I came across my former brother-in-law. Boy has he changed! He went from slim to body builder … a 180 degree difference … I almost fell out of my chair. Only his face was familiar.
Wow, did a lot of memories come flooding back. Recently I wrote about things I’d like to tell me ex and … is this a sign that I should? Or should I send an innocent “oh, hi” message to my brother-in-law? What would I say? It’s not like we have any Facebook friends in common that I would naturally stumble across his profile. The only way I would is if I’d purposefully been looking.
Some backstory … my brother-in-law, let’s call him Steve, has quite a colorful and storied past. He was an addict, cocaine and alcohol (that I know of), had been through rehab (? times) but seems to have traded drugs for body-building. A much healthier path, to be sure. While in the midst of the drug years, we had a tense relationship. I liked him a great deal but loathed his behavior. His family seemed to accept his drug use and subsequent actions as “that’s Steve, what can we do?” while I silently seethed with anger and disbelief. Once he wrapped a brand new truck around a telephone pole, after which when the police arrived, the search was on for a body … the crash was that severe. I either don’t know or don’t remember if Steve said how he got home that night but I do remember the truck was a gift from his grandfather and owned barely 6 months before it’s embrace with the telephone pole. Again, the reaction from the family was limited to “at least you’re okay” with not a thought or mention of the fact he could have easily killed or injured an innocent stranger. Not a word about being so drunk the police were looking for a fatality. Nothing about wrecking a very expensive gift. Not one single utterance. I was outraged and held myself apart from the family, sitting very quiet and not speaking to anyone, let alone joining in the “thank God you’re okay” talk. And guess who got chewed out later on for “being rude to Steve” … yes, me. Talk about insult added to injury. Of course, the admonishment came from my former husband making it all the more cutting. I have not and will not be a quiet witness to abuse, of drugs, alcohol, to oneself or another … I certainly won’t be complicit by refusing to take a stand. By accepting his behavior, his family condoned his actions and enabled his lifestyle. I refused to be a party to this attitude and for that I was chastised.
Addiction ran in the family as both parents were alcoholics, as (it turned out) so was the eldest son (my erstwhile ex). It was status quo for them but inconceivable for me. Admittedly patience is not a virtue I’ll ever be known for, so I might have been on the harsh side of judgmental. However, if my choices were cooperation or condemnation, I chose the latter. There was a grey area of compassion I couldn’t quite manage.
So, switch to present day and the discovery of Steve on Facebook … and the question de jour … do I reach out to him? What would I say? Or should I let past rest in peace.