The Hardest Possible Kind of Preparation
Have you ever felt such loss that you thought your heart was going to actually break? The pain in your chest, the thoughts of regret, the guilt, the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s. Many people are lucky enough to have never experienced losing a loved one, while others know far too well the pain it brings. This heroin epidemic has wrought utter devastation in America, not to mention synthetic opioids and the scourge of fentanyl creating record numbers of overdoses on a daily basis.
Family members, cherished friends, and beloved spouses are dying every day due to the chaos that heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and not to mention the countless over-the-counter and street drugs, have been creating. If you have concern for a loved one who is still out there using, I’m sure you have probably been plagued by countless thoughts of the worst, an overdose.
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Overdose: the End of Addiction
This isn’t really a pleasant blog topic, I am well aware of that, and if you are reading this, then I assume it looks pretty bleak on your end. I want you to know, first and foremost, that you are not alone. You are one of the thousands of parents, spouses, friends, and even children, of addicts and alcoholics. You are part of the endless line of confused, scared, and shamed people that chooses to love an addict. It is almost a right of passage that you have considered the possibility of the seemingly inevitable overdose in the future. I’m sorry, this all sounds so dark, but I’d rather be honest than gentle.
First of all, let’s discuss your options on getting YOU to be okay. As someone who is an extremely grateful member of a 12-step fellowship, I have to recommend that you whole-heartedly look into AlAnon. Al-Anon is a sister fellowship of AA that was created in part by the wife of one of the two founding Alcoholics Anonymous members. After she realized how well the program worked for the sick and suffering alcoholic, she felt the desire to create a fellowship for those people who loved them and wanted to experience their own spiritual growth. Al-Anon/Alateen literature focuses on problems common to family members and friends of alcoholics such as excessive care-taking, an inability to differentiate between love and pity, and loyalty to abusers, rather than the problems of the alcoholic.
The organization acknowledges that members may join with low self-esteem, which is a common side-effect of unrealistically overestimating their ability to control another person’s drinking behavior and, when they fail, blaming themselves for the other person’s behavior. Al-Anon has helped countless family members and friends to learn how to live with and love an unhealthy addict or alcoholic, and the running joke in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous is that once your wife goes to Al-anon, your days of manipulating are over.
Overdose and the Pain of Coping
On a more serious note, there is no real way to prepare yourself for the death of someone you love. It just isn’t possible to avoid the pain. However, it may be smart to take certain precautionary measures. I must tell you, I feel heartless just writing this, but again, I’d rather be honest than gentle. In order to prepare yourself for the potential loss of an alcoholic or addict loved one, you must think about what your future will look like without them. Are you going to be provided for?
Are measures going to need to be taken in order to keep the house, send the kids to school, or pay for the funeral, etc? Is there credit card debt? Hospital bills? It may be wise to seek legal or accounting advice to make clear what the situation will look like. An overdose, much like a heart attack, can happen at any time when the risky behavior is occurring often. The sudden passing of an important family member can be detrimental to the surviving family, it could be wise to seek a family counselor or therapist.
Grieving After an Overdose is a Personal Process
Honestly, there is no real way to perfectly tell you how to prepare yourself for the overdose of a loved one. It is a sticky, sensitive, and truly dark subject. However, if you find that it is something you may have to face, my first wish for you is that you are able to continue on afterward. In order to be of service to others, we must first be strong enough to do so. Out of all of the funerals of dead friends and family members that I have attended, the ones that I was spiritually fit for were the ones where I felt most at peace. I could truly be there for other people because I was of sound mind to be able to do so.
After working through the 12 steps, I learned that everything happens in God’s time, whether we like it or not. And no matter what, no matter what is going on in my life, being there for someone else is my top priority, as long as it is going to help that person as well. Dealing with the death of loved ones is something I wish no one had to experience, however, I know that I am not alone in the pain that I have felt, and neither are you. Don’t be afraid to seek help, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t ever be afraid to pick yourself up and start over if the unthinkable does happen.
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Freedom From Addiction is Possible
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Find Addiction Rehabs refers to programs nationwide, including dual diagnosis specialty centers and holistic options that treat the whole person. For more information on our programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out today!
Anna M. joined Find Addiction Rehabs with extensive experience in the field of addiction treatment. As a former Nurse Practitioner in Miami, she found her passion for addiction treatment when a family member was lost to his disease. With each article and resource, she hopes to save other families from experiencing the anguish of a loved one’s passing due to drinking or drugs.