Death is hard, really really hard. Death in the addiction world is even harder because where people don’t always know what to say, well, a loss due to addiction makes it even worse. People say dumb things. People say hurtful things, even while not meaning to be hurtful. It goes back to the whole they don’t know what to say thing, so they say stupid things.
Some decide it is a good time to talk about “good” kids versus “bad” kids. Nope. It’s not the time. In fact, there is never a time for that talk. Good kids get addicted. Well, I’ll leave it at that because despite the belief that addiction is a choice or something that only bad kids do, nobody deserves to die, not even the so-called “bad” kids.
I’ve been open about how addiction has hit my family. I have pretty much shouted from the rooftops, not because I’m thrilled about it, but because I know so many families who have been touched, families who keep it quiet because of the stigma, a sense of shame, and to protect their loved ones. But, keeping quiet, hiding, worrying about stigmas, well, that’s not my thing. I respect those who go that route, but I go a different way because I want answers, solutions, cures. Not that those others don’t, but I’m a little more in your face about it. Pretty much I have a former CEO that told me he felt battered in my quest, and while I didn’t batter him, I demanded results, action. I still demand results, even if I’m not getting them, just yet.
But, I digress. So if you know someone lost their child to addiction, please check yourself. Are you judging? Are you lecturing? Are you blaming? Are you sure you’re doing none of those things? Because you may be, even if you don’t think you are. And if you think you are because, well, you think you have all the answers, think again. No parent needs your “good” kid versus “bad” kid speech. In fact, if I was that mother, I’d stab you in the face if you started that discussion. Oh yeah, with whatever dull object was handy.
The rehab industry is a billion dollar industry. Billion. Read that again. And again. Let it sink in. BILLION. There is money in addiction. In creating it. In treating it. In every aspect of it. BILLION! I won’t even get into that rich AF family that hid the evidence that the drugs they were profiting from would create the addiction industry or how some are trying to recreate it in another country. I believe there is a special place in Hell for those who created this situation for their own financial gain.
The rehabs have a 90% fail rate yet continue to get government funding, insurance money, parents mortgaging homes money, and God knows what else kind of money. They have a proven fail rate. Where are the watchdogs?! Where are the f*&@ing watchdogs!! But that’s a different conversation, an important one, but different.
For now, I ask you to be kind. If your kid escaped addiction, it doesn’t make you a better parent. It just makes you lucky. No matter what you think. You are just lucky. We can disagree on this, but the bottom line is there are parents not as lucky as you. Be kind. Don’t give them the speech about how you loved your kid more, better, or did better things as a parent. You didn’t. You were lucky. And you don’t want to get stabbed in the face.
Addiction sucks. It’s a family disease, a community disease, a disease that kills. It is killing our kids. They are ALL our kids.
Someone said to me recently that I must be afraid every single day. Yes. I am. Especially when we lose someone we love, someone who was our family. I am afraid when I know all of the “kids” the amazing kids who share their recovery stories, the ones who are in jail as I write this, the ones who are struggling, and the ones who appear to be success stories. I worry every single day, but especially when we lose one that we love, that they love. I still struggle with putting that in the past tense.
Loved. We loved. Nope. Can’t do it. We love, totally, completely, forever.
My family lost someone this week. There are no words to describe just how awful it was, for us, for that family. A parent hugged me and told me that he was there for me. Imagine that. He is there for me. I loved his kid. God, how I loved his kid, and I’d kill anyone that called him the “bad” kid or talked about his choices.
He was beautiful. He was respectful. He was loving. He was loyal. He was amazing in ways he hadn’t even figured out yet. And people loved him, really really loved him. So please, be kind. Change the conversation. Stop talking about bad and good and start demanding cures, action, and the end of lives lost to addiction. It is the difference between life and death, and that life could be the one of someone you love one day, even if you don’t believe it could happen to yours or one you love. They are worth it, even if you think they are the “bad” kids. Forget that. They are not the “bad” kids. And no kid deserves to die, not even the “bad” ones.
Finally, a thank you, to those who get it. Thank you for the love, the support, the understanding, and for not shaming or blaming. Thank you! If you’re not there yet, message me. I’ll try to help you get there.