Last night I heard the story of a young lady, twenty-four years old, who didn’t have any sober ups left. In case you are new to the world of addiction, this means her addiction finally took her life. She had a two-year-old son and had gotten sober for nearly three years. But a few months ago her roommate noticed that her behavior started to change. It was a slow progression at first but as the days and weeks went along it became more and more apparent. Finally, her roommate asked her if she was using again. She was. Her drug of choice was heroin. This beautiful young lady couldn’t live with the guilt and shame of her addiction any longer. She lost hope. Her bondage was so great that she saw only one option – suicide. They found her hanging from a bridge.
My wife’s cousin got married a couple of years ago to a young man who had managed to put his life together despite a battle with drugs and alcohol. They had a son together. He had been sober for a while but he worked on fishing boats in Alaska and at some point along the way, while at work, he went back out with his addiction. His alcohol use and heroin addiction became so bad that the young couple separated and finally divorced. Two weeks ago he was found dead. He had choked to death in his own vomit.
When I got into treatment one of the things they taught me is that there are really only two options for alcoholics and addicts: jail or death. As long as someone is active in their addiction one of these will get them.
Recently I found out about a gal I went to school with who had a problem with alcohol. She is married with high school-age kids. On the outside, they looked like the perfect family. But she had her secrets. Thankfully her family confronted her and got her into treatment. Unfortunately, it was a low-quality program so she didn’t get all the tools she needed to deal with her alcoholism. When she got home she was sober for a while but one day, in a moment of weakness, she bought a bottle of wine. In the middle of the day she was driving home – impaired to the point that other drivers called the police. When she pulled into her driveway the police were there waiting. Her 16-year-old son watched as mom was handcuffed and arrested for DUI. She spent the next 18 hours in the local jail. Thankfully she got jail and not dead.
We don’t know which one the addict we love will get. We only know they are guaranteed one or the other. But there is another option. They can get help. It starts with those that love them. You have the power, as the loved one of an addict, to help them stay sick or to help them get well. So many I talk to are afraid of the addict in their life. They see they are losing that person and are afraid if they do something they will lose them completely. But if you believe there really are only two options for your loved one, jail or death, and when either of these is realized you will have lost them, then maybe you will have the courage to do something.
This site is dedicated to helping families navigate this scary road. If you have questions please contact us or look through the resources we have provided.