Loving and Losing An Addict

The monitors beeping tell us you are still with us. That cold dark feeling tells us you aren’t. Holding your hands, brushing your hair out of your eyes, rubbing your feet…all of desperate just to see you smile again. The only reason why you are still with us is our guilt. That is what keeps us gripped in fear. We don’t want to let get go because there is so much left unsaid.

Who overdoses at 9am? On a Thursday? Somebody who is so badly broken that they thought this was the option. It feels like just yesterday when you reached out after another stint in rehab. Some stars were never meant to shine forever. It seems yours just never wanted to get old. Its hard to imagine your smile not lighting up the room but we are all learning just how hard it was becoming for you to do so. You did the best you could with the hand you were dealt. It doesn’t make losing you any easier just different.

Our new reality is you have just become one of many. Taken far to soon but you knew the risks. Unfortunately for us all like it or not this was your choice to make. We just have to find a way to accept it.

I think about is wife and how he called her minutes before. “Good Morning my Love.” Their fight the night before makes her hang up on him. Somehow, somewhere in between her hanging up and him calling a friend and asking for help he overdosed. No sooner did he ask for the words to help win her back he crashed. All that could be heard was him gurgling, then dropped her phone screaming for help.

Nobody knew where he was staying as she just kicked him out weeks before. Frantically looking, searching trying to race against the clock. They lost…or so they thought. By the time they found him he lay still on the ground no heart beat, no pulse. One paddle was all it took for him to oh so faintly begin to pulse. It was at this time I imagine his mom was told at work. Dropping her tray not only does she drop the dishes she is carrying but she falls to her knees as for a brief second the World as she knows it gets ripped away.

There is no feeling like the feeling one gets in the ICU. There is so many feelings coming at you all at once. No sooner does your brain reaches your heart does your soul come to rip it all away. Watching anybody grip desperately to any hope they have is so surreal. Everything feels like time is going in slow motion but the reality is the one thing constant in this storey is some things you just can’t recover from. I see my friend hooked up to so many tubes surrounded by so many desperate for a miracle. We know the reality but we don’t want to admit it. For the loved ones who don’t get the chance to say their goodbyes their hearts rip out of their chest. In these moments of making deals with the devil you have to remember…giving an addict an ultimatum is not your fault. Protecting yourself and your loved ones is your primary role. However we also want to live where we are free to make our own choices. He knew the risk and still nothing was more important than being high. Not his wife, mother, son. It was only a matter of time.

So sad. It’s the guilt of those he left behind even though they did what every normal human being would do. Except for this time. This time was different. Now he lay dying and it somehow seems to be everybody’s fault but his own. Because that’s how much we love him and above anything that’s all we wish to be able to say.

Hindsight is 50/50 and if only we knew. But even if we did the outcome would eventually end out the same. He’s gone now and there’s really not to much more to say about that. At 12:30 this afternoon it was determined that he was brain dead. No brain stem activity. Zero chance. The HOPE team was en route to use what they could and line up the recipients. It was time to see if maybe even in death there was still chance at life. To give the gift of life to a family…Maybe our prayers weren’t answered today but maybe the prayers of others were heard. I thought about the feeling of getting that phone call.

We all knew what we were up against. In and out of treatment. Lying, drugs, drinking…a total cliche of the side effects of the downturn of Alberta’s Oil and Gas. Like so many families before in times of financial hardships when the rigs were laying off in walked drugs. The war on drugs took so many of our young adults this way. We make it impossible to feel any sort of pride…any self worth. The only way to feel whole again and to feel like a King is to get high. The drug controls you till you are unrecognizable. A mere shell of the person you once way. There is no such thing as a recreational drug these days. If given the chance it will devour you whole and never let go. Infecting those with your toxic energy you destroy all of those before you.

Nobody should ever have to pass the way that you did. As a grown man you calculated your own risk and lived your life the way you wanted. My thoughts and prayers now go to the living as they try to process their new normal. One thing is for sure loving an addict forever changed all of our lives. Rest in peace my friend.

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