Thursday, February 9, 2012


So, I haven't written a post in about a week and there are many reasons why, but I wanted to share some things now that all the dust is settling...
a family member of mine overdosed on Friday. that may sound a little shocking if you don't have any family members who are drug addicted, but for my family, we have some experience with this area of living (or not living). It would have been a "routine" overdose had she not also been in the bathtub. I am not attempting to sound callous, it is just that like my family, I have seen and been the one overdosing, so as disturbing as it can sound, my skin is a little tougher around this subject matter. Let's call it scar tissue...
She was under the water for an undisclosed amount of time before her roommate(a nurse) found her. She was not breathing and was unresponsive to CPR. The paramedics could not revive her and she was rushed to the emergency room. The doctors put her on life support and my family was notified. When I say notified, I mean her parents were notified, they called an aunt and then we were all notified via our family hotline, most notoriously used to gossip when someone isn't in the hospital. 
I got the call from my mom around 6 and was at the hospital by 8. The prognosis was not good and didn't ever get promising in the next 4 hours. I prayed a lot, talked to my cousins, aunts and uncles and waited my turn to go see her.
My cousin and I used to be really close. We went to see shows together- Bon Jovi, Richard Marx, I convinced her to go to a couple of skate contests with me. She dragged me to some metal shows. No matter how different we looked from one another, we always managed to have a good time together. We started drinking and doing drugs together in our teens and every Christmas Eve, we'd get hammered and share pills. When we didn't spend a lot of time together, we caught up when we could and kept in contact through the years. The past few have been a little different. I got sober and she did a bit of jail time. I quit overdosing and she started. I got late night phone calls and we talked about what it is like to be trapped in that nightmare between wanting to get sober and not knowing how to stop getting high. The's midnight, I'm on a family vacation in bed and my phone rings. She is on the other end, desperate to quit using drugs and I am the only person she can think of to call. I answered that call for 6 nights in a row- by the 3rd night, I expected it. I sat in the warm ocean air, hearing the waves hit the shore as I talked to my dear cousin about how I got sober. That was 2 years ago. There were a couple of phone calls between now and then.
Fast forward-
it's been 6 days since she went into the hospital not breathing. The doctors told us on Saturday to prepare for the worst- it didn't look like she would make it and if she did, there may not be much of her left. On sunday morning, after a fitful, sleepless, teary night, my aunt called and said she woke up, not only alive, but kicking and screaming. "A miracle" they said. 
I just got home from  a two hour visit with a bright eyed, coherent girl I remember from a long time ago. I hadn't seen her in so long, I wasn't sure if she was still there in the shell that resembled my long lost cousin. We talked about sobriety. We talked about how. We talked about the trickery that was happening in her brain as we talked. She talked about back pain. I answered honestly. I cannot tell you what is going to happen to her once she leaves that hospital, but I have hope that she won't go back to that life. I know it's a slim chance, super slim, I know she will have to fight for her life and fight herself. I hope she calls, I hope the girl I sat with today doesn't fade away until there's nothing left of her. I told you I have thick skin about these overdoses, but not today. Today, I feel like a naked little crab who shed her shell and is out here, vulnerable, exposed and the wind just picked up. The perfect storm just blew in- better batten down the hatches!

"If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


  1. I know how hard this is, for you and for her. There have been a number of addiction challenges in my family as well. The only thing I know to do; hope for the best, prepare for the worst, talk openly about all the things anyone else wants to keep secret, live moment to moment. Getting rid of family secrets and finding that one could make a life that was worth living makes all the difference.