2001-10-07 - 6:56 a.m.

Heroin is like an invisible octopus, that wraps all of its tentacles around the person so that person cannot move on his own. The octopus even controls his voice. It tells lies, half-truths and excuses. Sometimes, when the octopus is asleep, the person will tell the truth. This is like an alarm clock that wakes up the heroin octopus, who immediately makes up an excuse and contradicts what the person just said. To those who cannot see the octopus, this seems incredible and stupid. This seems stupid and often they get mad at the infected person. What they don't know is that the addict is being held hostage. If he tries to get away, or calls out to others to free him, the octopus threatens to kill him. Sometimes the heroin octopus will bring him near death as a threat the hostage so he won't ask for help again. That's because, like a parasite, the octopus needs the addict so it can live.

I knew my brother was an addict, but I have just spied the octopus. Now it is no longer invisible, but a shadowy figure that tries to hide himself from my sight. I feel tremendous guilt for not helping my brother before now. For all of these years, I have been befuddled, sad and angry - but never empathy. How could I have not seen this octopus before when now it seems so obvious? Someone else had to tell me. The tentacles are so tight now, he can hardly breath. The Heroin tells us to stay away. That my brother can do this on his own.

I don't know how to remove my brother from the clutches of the octopus. I hope that it's not to late. Right now, I'm trying to trick the octopus by lulling it into a false sense of security. I tell it the truth, that I love my brother and care for him. And, (for now), I will stay away. Once that octopus lets down its guard, I'm going to tell my brother that we can do things to help him. That, the beginning of removing tentacle by tentacle is medical, emotional and psychological help. I just hope that alarm doesn't go off.

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