Once you enter the realm of treatment you will encounter a multitude of difficult situations and/or scenarios. The harsh reality is that as you trudge the road of recovery you will lose peers and/or loved ones to relapse, overdose and suicide. It’s a cold hard fact relating to substance abuse as well as eating disorders; once involved in sobriety. Grief/mourning becomes part of the struggle beyond putting down the drugs and alcohol. People are desperate when they decide to seek treatment and help for their addictions – many don’t make it….I wish it were different.
My theory is that whether any individual likes it or not, when they enter treatment, they have to surrender. That isn’t to say that they all surrender to a higher power and live happily ever after in a world of sober spirituality. Some make the decision to surrender to suicide, drugs; others succumb to the insanity that can drive one to revisit their past destructive behaviors.
I’ve lost three peers in six months. Jake * was the first to go……the second, (we will call him Steve) overdosed. After Jake’s* death, Steve and I discussed the events surrounding Jake’s* passing. Steve, in hoping to draw meaning from the situation, seemed to come from a place of judgment, almost obsessing over Jake’s* death; Steve was dead within a month of Jake’s* overdose.
The first thing to remember is that it was that person’s choice or disease that led them to die; it has nothing to do with you. You are not responsible for what others think or their actions.
How does anyone deal with a death that occurred too soon, especially in tragic, desperate circumstances? When we draw meaning from these losses, we learn to live on. I choose to live in memory of those who passed before their time. Drawing meaning from these tragedies is the only way to let go and move forward. All hope can disappear without allowing one’s self to sit in those feelings or truly grapple with the issues at hand.
Jake* and Steve’s* deaths pushed me to question my own recovery. I watched our mutual friends go through a similar process. Was I really better? What makes me so different from these individuals that died so tragically? I felt just as bad as before I went into sobriety and recovery. I hated myself, wanted to die, and somewhere deep inside I truly believed that I was next. I had the option to choose what to believe, and I chose not to die next.
I gained a deeper understanding of my own spirituality after maneuvering through the deaths of my two friends; I felt as if God was watching over me. This feeling of being “taken care of” allowed me the space to know that my friends had finally found some kind of peace. God led me to a place where I was able to have the strength to continue on. I truly believe that I couldn’t have come to that conclusion on my own – I was far too depressed and lost at that point. I have discovered that it is extremely important to stay in the moment, pause before I look to react…..I must be careful in regards to my own life! In turn, these tragic situations moved me to recommit myself to my program; emotional and physical sobriety is imperative.
I miss my friends on a daily basis, every time I come across an individual with hair similar to any of them or see a similar car to those that my deceased friends’ drove, I find myself getting butterflies in my stomach. I still expect to see one of their faces just one more time. However, Jake* and Steve* both made their choices, and I still have the ability to make mine – I choose life.
Filed under: Conditions and Disorders, Featured, Love and Relationships, Recovery · Tags: addictions, Alcohol and Drugs, emotional sobriety, grief, mourning alcohol, overdose, physical sobriety, Recovery, sobriety, Spirituality, substance abuse, suicide, Treatment