When someone is too afraid to ask for help …
Authored by Audra Franchini
For privacy, the author of this blog will remain anonymous. Readers, please be aware content below may be difficult to read and/or triggering for some. If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, call 1-800-RECOVERY.
When you’re too afraid to ask for help, death looks pretty good.
That’s how I felt on July 8th, 2012, as I drove to someone’s house to swap weed for pills. To be honest, that’s how I felt every day when I had an active addiction.
But I didn’t know that would be the day I overdosed.
Leading up to this point, I tried to quit on my own multiple times. What did that look like? Well, I’d go a day or two without drinking or using. Then everything would start to hurt and ache. It would feel like my body was rejecting itself. What could I do? Take a few pills, drink a little to stop the pain. Anything that would ease my mind and body and make me feel normal for a little bit.
And so began the downward spiral – one headed right towards an overdose. I didn’t know it, of course. But it was coming.
I wish I could remember a lot of things about that day, like how many Xanax I took or how I made it home safely, even though I was blacking out while driving. I wish I could remember what I was thinking. I wish I could remember if I thought this was really the only way to end to my pain and suffering.
In the end, the only thing I remember is waking up in a bathtub surrounded by my family.
Everyone else filled in the blanks for me.
Funny how addiction does that, isn’t it? Robs you of your memory, so everyone else gets to tell you what you said, what you did, how you lived.”
I was told when I got home, I went right upstairs into my bedroom. A few minutes later, my mom and grandmother heard a loud thump.
When they came to check on me, I can only assume they weren’t expecting to find what they found. After all, I was supposed to be their golden child. I was hiding my addiction so well – or so I thought.
What they found wasn’t their golden child who was known for making everyone laugh and being fiercely protective of his siblings.
What they found was a white-faced, blue-lipped skeleton of a person flopping around on the floor. What they found was their worst fears coming true – me overdosing on the bedroom floor.
No one wants to grow up and be known as the guy who overdosed. I had dreams. I had aspirations. I had things I wanted to do – none of these included winding up on my grandmother’s floor half-dead …. yet there I was.
Coming in and out of consciousness, it’s hard to recall what was real and what was fake. But one thing was very real: My middle sister’s face. You see, she had over a decade in sobriety. And we hadn’t spoken in six years. Yet she was here. Why?
Because she knew all along what I was really dealing with. They all did. Turns out I wasn’t as good at lying as I thought I was.
When I finally came-to, it was a rude awakening. I opened my eyes and was immediately immersed in my own intervention.
“Do you want to die?” My dad asked.
My answer was simple: Yes. All my years spent in addiction, I wanted to die. My introduction to the world of drugs and alcohol is similar to others: It started with a few drinks in high school and then dabbling in other things in college. But unlike my peers, who could party on a Friday night, end it there, and wake up and go to class on a Monday morning, my partying never stopped. It continued for years.
That’s when the isolation started. I stopped getting invited to things, because no one knew which side of me would show up. I was unpredictable, and it scared them. I scared myself. I was caught in the grips of addiction. I had no idea what my life would look like sober – and I didn’t want to know. It was too hard to try and get there; it was impossible.
So did I want to die? Yeah, I did.
But in that moment, surrounded by my family, all I felt was relief. I didn’t have to lie anymore. There was no more sneaking around, denying it, lying. For the first time in my life, I was faced with the truth – I had no other choice. Here I was, 31 years old. I was out of options. It was pretty simple: Get sober or die.
I accepted the help that was extended to me. And I’m glad I did. I’m a husband and a father now. I’m doing things that I’d never be able to do in my active addiction – including helping others find their way to recovery.
When my wife and I talk about my addiction, she remembers feeling like there was a darkness around me. She thought we were just going out, having a good time, and that I went home at the end of the night. But my party continued long after everyone went home. Now, I’m proud to say she sees me as a totally different person. She didn’t know much about addiction when we first met – and I was living in a halfway house! But I included her in my recovery from day one, and I know she’s really thankful for it. I’m thankful for her, and to have this opportunity to live a happy, meaningful life.
This disease makes you feel completely alone; it teaches you to isolate. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to get help and go on to live a life you enjoy. Call 1-800-RECOVERY today to find out more.