A somber reminder that addiction kills
Overnight, news broke that a well known actor Corey Monteith was found dead in his hotel room. I’ve never watched Glee (and have no intention to) but understandably the entirety of Twitter is mourning his loss. Gone too soon, etc., etc., It’s so tragic. And while I only scanned a few hundred pages of tweets devoted to his loss there’s one thing that is missing from the subject matter.
He was an addict. Addiction kills. It kills a lot of people daily.
There is no official cause of death for Monteith at this point, but it’s probably a given what happened: his addiction(s) got the better of him and whatever circumstances lined up and that was that. Be it an overdose, a physical reaction to his using that caused his body to just give up, or he flat out committed suicide – which is a common path that those who suffer from addiction consider. They can’t imagine life sober, nor can they see themselves using anymore. They wish for the end and sometimes pursue it.
I’ve been sober almost 25 years, and I remember the names, faces, and voices of all those who are gone:
- Richard was killed by a drunk driver who blasted through a stop sign and hit him going 40 miles over the speed limit. The very next day, the driver showed up on my doorstep, with his family begging forgiveness and ready to accept whatever punishment I saw fit to dole out to him. That was for the courts to decide, and he did his full ride behind bars. When he got out, he spent a few more years using before he’d decided he had enough. He was found in the closet of a flophouse, hanging by a rope. The official cause of death was ruled a suicide. He was 26.
- Matt was the first person I sponsored in sobriety. He’d string up a few days of sobriety and binge again and again. Every time he went out, the chemicals got a little harsher, the binges got a bit more severe. One day he’d called me on a binge, and in the conversation I learned that he was alone with his kids there. I don’t stop people using, but I was concerned for the kids and was going to get them the hell out of there. As I came in the front door, he’d apparently gone out the back, and I found the kids on the balcony watching the highway that cut next to their yard. Matt was crossing the highway to get to the convenience store for more beer, stepped in front of a semi and was instantly killed. In full view of his children, aged 5 and 3 at the time. It took the highway patrol a day to clean up his body. When I spoke to the family last, the son who had witnessed his father’s death was now 27 and a hardcore meth addict. He was last seen downtown working a known hooker stroll where the money is guaranteed and the tricks are no-questions-asked cheap.
- Bob struggled with his addictions on and off for years, and he decided he’d had enough. He broke into my house, and the suicide note was left on my coffee table next to his body. He’d cut both wrists and bled out while I was at work. The amount of blood was staggering; it looked like someone had painted my living room floor dark red.
- Simon was the man who was my liaison while I worked the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. He was the one who’d introduced me to Richard, and a few years after his death Simon and I fell in love. He struggled with his own sobriety issues, and ultimately I ended up throwing him out of our house after the last time he’d used and lied about it. He spent the next two years running wild, and the only time I heard from him was when he called me drunk or high. He killed himself a few months ago, leaving a suicide note that apologized for his being an addict.
The list is absolutely endless. If you’re struggling with addiction and don’t have a program of recovery – any program of recovery – the clock is ticking and time is winding down. That’s the ultra simple version. Once casual using graduates to addicted behavior, there is no control left anymore. No moderation, no “I can take it or leave it”.
If you have a friend who struggles, they have a disease that will kill them. It’s just as deadly as cancer, but even more deadly as it wracks up an emotional toll on the friends and family around the addict. Support them, they need help whether or not they realize it. Some people get sober and stay that way. Others fall on their face a few times before they get it. Lastly, some never get it and will die.
(thumb via the linked article)