A Letter to Any Family Dealing With Addiction
If there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that no family ever recovers from losing a child to addiction. No family ever fully recovers from losing a child, in general—not just from a drug overdose. It’s an unnatural sequence in that children are supposed to bury their parents, not the other way around. When parents have to bury their children it’s as if a piece of them is lost forever. A gaping void of emptiness is left behind that is never again filled. The sad part of the whole drug epidemic is that more families than ever before have had to endure that type of eternal heartache and loss.
When I was an addict, I had no concept of how my behavior affected the other people around me. Not only did I not have the concept of it but even if I had, I probably wouldn’t have cared much, especially once the withdrawal and the cravings hit. I completely disregarded my parent’s desperate pleas, tears and anger. I disregarded my own physical well-being and safety all in the name of staying high because I didn’t know how to deal with life. I couldn’t deal with my grandfather’s death and while my body was present for his funeral, my mind was somewhere else. My girlfriend at the time had no idea she was in a relationship with a junkie. Every person who ever tried to help me smashed into my brick wall of resistance.
At the bottom of every late-night fight with my parents in the kitchen, at the bottom of every crisis they had to fix, after every failed attempt at getting clean, was fear—pure, unbridled and unrelenting fear that I was going to die and that they would lose their child. And that’s what every parent fears the most.
In today’s drug crisis, deaths happen every single day and it’s really easy to scroll through your Facebook feed and see all of these mass-overdose situations and memorials and think “at least it’s not my kid.” But what you have to realize is that the person who died was someone’s child. You can only sit back and think it’ll never happen to you or your family for so long until it does.
Every addict reading this needs to know a few things:
I know what you’re going through. It’s awful, it’s hard, and you may not even be willing to fully admit to what’s going on. But I want you to know something: everything you’re going through with your family, all the fights, arguments, the getting kicked out of the house—all of that—is because your family is terrified of losing you. That’s it. There’s nothing else to it. And let me be the first one to tell you that their fear is very real.
Your family will never completely fill the void left by losing you. Once you fatally overdose, all hope is gone. There’s no more rehab attempts. There’s no more “I’ll go to detox tomorrow.” There’s no more meetings. There’s nothing. It’s over. And the finality of it is what’s going to be the hardest for your family to deal with. What you’ll leave behind are a pair of completely broken parents who’ll constantly lose sleep over wondering if there was something else they should have or could have done for you. Or they’ll be replaying the last fight they had with you over and over in their head, wishing they hadn’t said that one thing. They’ll be broken forever because they couldn’t fix you when you couldn’t fix yourself. What they’ll be left with is regret, for the rest of their lives.
You don’t have to die. You don’t have to put your family or yourself through that. Take a stand. Get help. Stop trying to convince everyone that things are okay when they’re not.
I care about each and every one of you battling yourselves and your addictions and fighting to survive on a daily basis. I care enough to sit here and write this, hoping maybe just one of you has a sudden realization that you’re going to do something to save your life. And when you do, I’ll be here to help you.
All My Best,