The big three

My brother has been released from prison.

In Pennsylvania, where Joe’s been an inmate for the past several months, the words “jail” and “prison” are interchangeable, unlike in the rest of the country where a “prison” refers to a facility where people are sent once they’ve been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a significant period of time behind bars. Despite the slew of charges against him, Joe was released a little over a week ago.

The phone calls have begun.

Two from case workers at the rehab facility where he is currently residing. One from Joe saying that he is in rehab and he loves us. He reportedly told one of the case workers that he hoped to come to my house to recuperate once they let him out of rehab. I told the case worker that Joe wasn’t allowed to come here.

When I begin to feel guilty about turning Joe away, I have to remember the three reasons why I can’t let him back into my life.

He is an addict.

He is a criminal.

He is abusive.

For these reasons, I can’t allow Joe to enter my house or to be around my children. Still, it hurts.


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