With drug addiction claiming yet another good friend from my life this past week, I have to admit, I’m angry. Having now lost over a dozen friends from my life to this disease and knowing there’s not a dam thing I can do about it beyond what I’m already doing, is precisely the reason why I’m so angry.
When I received a text about two weeks ago that one of my close friends from recovery had overdosed and was now on life support at the hospital, it was almost as if I was in a complete state of numbness to it. Of course, I did my best to muster as much faith as I could, and as much hope as I could, that he would come back. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew the statistics and how none of those I’ve ever known who ended up on life support have ever come back.
As I sat in the hospital staring at the machines in silence while dozens of family members and loved ones did their best to keep it together with red-soaked eyes, I struggled to remain hopeful. Hopeful to a disease that seems to have become far more powerful than God these days. Ten days later, when I received a text message that my friend had passed, even after I had prayed every day for it not to happen this time, I didn’t exactly react. In fact, I think I just felt numb.
Drug addiction related deaths have become such a regular occurrence in my life now, that I don’t even get the chance to grieve one person’s passing from it before the next one hits my front door. Frankly, it sucks. For as much as I pray on a regular basis nowadays for God to help those struggling with addiction, especially drug addiction, it sometimes feels as if my prayers don’t matter.
I’m sure you can tell in my words that I’m grieving, and if anything, I guess I’m in that stage of grief that’s anger-based. Why shouldn’t I be? My friend was only 56 years old and other than the drug addiction that plagued his life over the past year or so, he was quite healthy. Yet all the healthiness in the world goes out the door once any recreational drug starts getting inserted into it.
You know what’s the hardest thing to watch when a person succumbs to drug addiction, or any other addiction for that matter? Their will to live. Having watched that with both of my parents and too many friends throughout my life, I truly wish there was more I could do to prevent it from happening.
I’ve sat in meeting after meeting sharing my own journey to recovery from addiction with countless people struggling from it listening. I’ve given my phone number out thousands of times to suffering individuals as well. I’ve truly done my best to insert hope into a hopeless situation, but rarely does any of my actions seem to make a difference these days.
I am thankful though for the rare times my experience, strength, and hope with addiction do seem to connect with someone, as there have been a few diamonds in the rough. And that’s what I know I must continue to focus on, even as the face of darkness continues to show its ugly head when it plucks another loved one from my life due to drug addiction.
Sadly, it’s those of us who are left behind when another soul dies from drug addiction that end up suffering the most. We have to learn how to live on with the pain of their loss and figure out how to let go of all the bitterness and anger we often feel towards the drugs themselves, towards those that introduced the drugs to our loved ones, and sometimes even to God for not preventing it from happening.
Unfortunately, there’s free will, which often seems to trump God’s will when it comes to drug addiction. And that’s why it’s so hard to keep the hope alive every time I deal with another loss from this disease.
So, as I continue to grieve and work through the pain of healing from yet another terrible loss from drug addiction, I plan to continue doing my best to keep spreading my experience, strength, and hope, all while remaining grateful for when my message of recovery does end up saving even one soul…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson