When someone struggles with addiction, they don’t struggle alone. Their families struggle too. There’s nothing more terrifying, exhausting, and tragic – than loving someone who’s bent on running their life into the ground. It’s like watching a car crash. Your loved one is inside the car, as you stand by helplessly observing. You can open the door to let them out, but they’ve locked it and they won’t let you in. Instead, they choose to stay inside the mangled car as it smoulders, just waiting to ignite.
If you’ve never struggled with substance use, it won’t make sense. Addiction is an illogical, irrational and delusional, illness.
As a recovering addict, I can tell you. Addiction is a lifestyle which is every bit as addictive as the drugs and alcohol. It’saddictive to live on the edge and feel like you have power over people. Power is a drug. I wanted the people who loved me, to hurt. If they felt guilty, or sorry for me, I had a better chance of getting what I wanted from them. When I was active in addiction, I liked the power I had over people. I got high from it. I used cunning and my looks, to manipulate. If I could manipulate you, I didn’t respect you. If I didn’t respect you, then you deserved to be manipulated.
There’s no reasoning with the twisted logic, of an addicted persons thinking.
There’s a god-like sense of immortality, when snorting drugs up your nose, or shooting heroin into your veins. It’s like saying you’re more powerful than death. Every time you get away with it – it only enforces the belief. Other people might die from drug overdose, but not you.
Sick relationships are built. You’re ‘tight’ with other addicts. You’re strong, invincible and grandiose, until… you run out of drugs.
Then you’re weak. That’s when most of us turn to our families. We go home with our tail tucked between our legs promising never to do it again. Our families nurture us back to health, where the cycle often begins all over again.
When I was active in my addiction, I never considered how my family, or my children, might feel if I died. I never considered it, because I didn’t believe it would happen to me.
Since then I’ve worked with many addicts and their families. I’ve learned how very lucky I was to escape overdose or suicide. I wish I could tell you I made it out alive because I got smart, or had a God moment. But that’s not what happened. I’m alive today because my friends and family stopped enabling me, and forced me to go to an inpatient treatment facility.
Today’s statistics say opiate users are at an extreme risk of dying. It isn’t if, it’s when. One person dies approximately every thirteen to nineteen minutes. What statistics don’t track is the devastating impact these unnecessary deaths have on the grieving families. They want to know why. Why did their child have to die? What did they do wrong? Why couldn’t it have been them who died instead? How are they supposed to live, with such a tragic, senseless loss?
My heart breaks for these families.
By the end stages of addiction, no one is having fun. The addict uses to feel normal and to avoid being dope sick.
Dope sickness lasts about a week, maybe two. It’s uncomfortable. However if the addicted person seeks medical attention, they’ll be prescribed medication to make them comfortable throughout the process.
Losing a family member to overdose is unbearable. There are no medications to help ease the pain. There will be an empty chair at every holiday, celebration and family get together. The family will never be the same. There’s a gaping hole that only the deceased person, could fill. Items of clothing will be kept. When parents miss their child, they may wrap themselves in the deceased clothing, hoping to feel closer by touch and scent. They’ll caress their picture and cry countless tears. Birthdays will be like a punch in the stomach. Something once celebrated, will now only be a day to be gotten through.
The families pain doesn’t lessen over the years, they just grow accustom to living with it.
If you’re a substance user and reading this, you’re one of the lucky ones. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. The next time you use, could be your last. Before you pick up again, do this. Dare to play the tape all the way through. You’ve just used, only the sweet bliss you were expecting doesn’t kick in. Instead, the grim reaper appears. Your luck just ran out. You’ve become another statistic. Your family is left with your corpse. Look hard. Can you see them? Now imagine them standing around your grave. What are they feeling? Can you let yourself feel it? Your fear of detox is nothing, compared to what they’ll be experiencing.
Feel the pain and then ask yourself … Is getting high worth it?
Help is as close as your next phone call. Reach out before it’s too late.
I got out in time.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 888-601-8693.