Thursday, November 12, 2015

Middle School Child Dead From Heroine Over Dose

Update: (They had been friends since middle school. The facts still remain the same)
Today I read on a family member's social media page a classmate of her middle school child died from a heroine overdose. Yes middle school.  Addiction is an equal opportunity disease, knowing no boundary in age, gender, social status or nationality or family.

As a licensed addictions counselor, I have seen many people in a place so dark one might ask themselves "how did they choose this"? The answer is they didn't choose it.

From the outside looking in it might appear one is choosing, however no one wakes up one morning and says to themselves, "today I am going to be an addict". It starts out as simply and as easily as one drink or use to ease the pain of the loss of a loved one, the need to fit in, the ability to talk to a stranger to somehow feel "normal", and comes in many forms from gambling to eating disorder. In the beginning there seems to be this acceptable reason why one time won't hurt. I get the rush, relief or what ever it is I am seeking at the time and my brain is given a signal "oh this helped, felt good, relieved the pain if only for the moment". The more I give "reason" to the use, the more I use, the more I use the more I have to use to get the effect I got in the beginning. The mind is altered (lots of evidence in this area). If stopping was easy more people would do it.

In sixteen years of doing this work, I have witnessed so many who try and relapse. Family and friends help them in the beginning and after a time of stopping and using again, family and friends decide there is no use in helping and withdraw from the addicted person seeing them and the situation as hopeless, if they really cared about themselves or me they would stop". When the addict needs support the most,it is gone.

As a family member or friend we don't do this because we don't love the addict, rather we love them immensely and it is too difficult to watch a loved one be sucked into the vortex of darkness and use. Hate the disease but love the addict. Support doesn't mean ignoring the use, it means directing the addict to help. it means not judging. it means not "rescuing" them from themselves, When we rescue and remove consequence we enable the use. Refrain from pointing a finger and trying to lay blame.

Continue to be supportive, by providing help like taking them to support group meetings such as AA or NA and staying for open meetings with them, offer to drive them to a counselor. Learning about how the addiction starts and how it pulls its victims in so deeply. Most importantly love them and let them know you will always love them and support their recovery, but cannot participate in their denial or continued use.

Additionally seek support for yourself. Attend an Al-Anon meeting. Learn the signs of addiction and seek reliable help.

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