The Anonymous Junkie
The Overdose Wave
15 years I have worked in the field of substance abuse at the same recovery home. I started when overdosing was cool and not common. 15 years ago the house was full of older alcoholics and just a handful of heroin addicts. Death was not as common. As time went by our clientele got younger and the drug of choice became heroin. I started to see the children of the men we had in the house years before.
Then the overdose wave hit.
I remember the first in house overdose we had, it was when I was working. I heard screaming from the community bathroom. I heard Mikey is dead he overdosed. I grabbed the Narcan and ran to the bathroom. What I saw a 21 year old kid lying dead on the bathroom floor. He was in a bathroom stall in a pool of fluid. He was purple, with a needle in his arm and his pants around his ankles. I ran over and knelt by his side and all i could think is this is someones kid. First shot of Narcan and nothing then CPR nothing, at this point the bathroom was full of clients. They were screaming "MIKEY WAKE UP PLEASE!'. Another shot of Narcan and then the death gargle began. Its a sound like no other. It sounded like his soul was growling at me to stop and that it was in pain. His eyes started to flutter and we rolled him on his side. I looked into his eyes and said "your alive, stay here with us". He started to come to. At this point the EMT's arrived and we moved out of their way so they could do their job. In the hallway outside the bathroom there were guys crying, there were guys who were visibly angry and there were guys walking away just shaking their head. The bathroom door opened and Mikey was on the stretcher and he looked at me and said, "does this mean I'm going to get kicked out of the house"? My reply was, "dude you were dead 10 minutes ago. I'll see you when you get back." After talking with the clients and making sure they were okay I went in my office and cried. All I could think of is what if he died. And his family how they would feel.
I still think of Mikey and picture him on the floor and the sounds that came from him as he lay dying and the lost look in his eyes when he woke up. When Mikey got back he grabbed his stuff and left and went back on a run. And I haven't heard or seen him since. This was 4 years ago. If your out there Mikey I hope you are happy and healthy and have made a beautiful life for yourself.
Is there a solution? Is it something we are doing wrong?
While walking through the supermarket just days ago and heard a woman on her phone and she said the following. "Wow I would have never known" , "I mean all her posts on Facebook were so wonderful", "She didn't look like a drug addict", "So sad I wish she told someone", "And which one of her kids found her". Then it hit me. ANONYMOUS!
If Anonymous were a stock you would have seen a crash of epic proportions in the early 2000's. Worse than Black Tuesday, which lead to the Great Depression. So is Anonymous leading us toward a mental health great depression.
Not That Powerful?!?!?
This is my plea to people caught in the cycle of addiction........Please Please Please get the words I'm not that powerful out of your list of phrases. Because you are!
- The pain of a mother seeing her son in a hospital bed waiting to see if you will ever wake up again.
- The sadness of a father at his daughters wake and wishing he could have been there to save you.
- The sadness of a child that has been left behind again and just wants you to love them.
- Friends begging you to wake up and not knowing if you are.
Powerful is what you are. Use your power for good. Change it now. Break the cycle. You can be so much more.
I have met so many amazing men and woman working in this field and I see the power it has on you I see the struggle in your eyes. But change is what you are.
As my mother always said to me, " You are never stuck. You always have options. Just pick the right ones."
- Please let people know who you are.
- Please let your children know who you are so they can be better than you and not try to compete to be better than their friends but better than you. Because they need healthy competition not toxic.
- Even if you are not an addict let your children know it exists and still have the competition to be better than you.
- If you see a change in behavior in one of your children s friends or even a neighborhood kid, tell their parents. It takes a village and silence is no longer an option.
If you need help please ask. Its out there. Please do not be ashamed, be proud that you have the strength to move forward.
If you are having trouble I can do my best to point you in the right direction, or find someone who can.
You can do it. Life is good and it gets better the better you live it.
© 2016 Renee Kelly