August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. One of my clients shared this story with me that she wrote when her child was struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, her child did overdose and die. This story is a great representation of what it is like to have a family member struggling with addiction. I am grateful that she is allowing me to share this with you.
The disease of addiction is a family disease. This disease not only devastates the life of the person with a substance use disorder, but it leaves its’ mark on every member of the family; and families are often destroyed. I used to compare my family’s struggle with this disease to experiencing a storm moving across the shore while you are at the beach. You know how it is, you start off together happily enjoying the peacefulness and pleasures that comes from spending the day on the beach with your loved ones. When our kids were very young, we would spend days at the beach building sandcastles, searching for shells, and catching fish in their buckets. Those were joyful memories. But as the storm starts to roll in, the skies gradually become darker, the wind picks up and causes the sand to blow and sting as it sweeps across your skin. The water becomes rougher and surges up and crashes along the shoreline. Once the storm approaches this point, you cannot control the tumultuous conditions; it is impossible to take control of the storm and prevent the impending dangers. Eventually, when the storm moves out and the skies begin to clear, you look around and the beach no longer resembles the idyllic setting you were witness to only a short time before. Like the sandcastles that were washed away, addiction has overtaken your loved ones, they have been swept away and only the broken fragments of your family remain. That is how I felt. Like a hurricane ran through our lives and left only fragments of the life I once cherished. #overdoseawareness