This week is the anniversary of my brother’s death. It was 1982, a very long time ago, but my whole perspective on his death changed recently when friends in my on-line community, helped me understand that his death was not a suicide but a drug related accident. It was a quantum shift in my narrative knowing that he had not intended to kill himself.
I think that is something that you can only understand if you are a survivor of suicide.
The difference between losing your other half because they wanted to die, and losing them through an accident, is huge.
If I had not fought my way out of my own addiction, I would not understand so clearly what happened with my brother that Labor day weekend 36 years ago. He did not intend to die. He did not want to die. He simply chose to get high because he had the opportunity. His addiction was something that he was fighting. He was trying not to do it. He was going to a support group, trying to develop healthy habits and become a responsible young man, but the weekend my mom drove me cross country to school
He found himself home alone……
When I was working through my first year of sobriety I found that there was no greater trigger to drink, than finding myself home alone. No one will know. Just this once. I can get away with it.
My brother was one of many kids in the 1980’s who was addicted to inhaling aerosol. There could be nothing more innocuous really than a can of underarm deodorant. Like the cooking wine in the cupboard. Innocuous, cheap and easy to get.
Unless the aerosol from the can of underarm deodorant asphyxiates you this time, and you suffocate inside the plastic bag that you placed over your head to intensify the high.
Unless you drink the whole bottle of cooking wine, and then a bit more and a bit more, unless tonight you drink two bottles on an empty stomach because you’re trying not to gain weight, and you fall…
People do not intend to die of their addictions.
Especially addictions to seemingly innocuous everyday items like aerosol cans, and wine.
But overdose happens, Everyday. Everywhere that people are addicted to using chemicals to feel ok.
Don’t be alone.
Only you can make that choice.
I have learned in my almost four years of participating in an on-line support community, that there is nothing I can do if someone choses to slip away. People I care about in my on-line community have died and it hurts. But they of course did not expect to die. They did not realize the last time they drank, that this was the time they were not going to get away with it. They were most likely simply trying to feel better, to fill the void, in an innocuos, cheap and easy way, that was their habit.
I have learned that all I can do is be here if you reach out. And the vast majority of the time, I will be there with all of the positive perspective I can share about sobriety, because sobriety is endlessly positive for me. I will focus on hope, and I will focus on light, and I will share every resource that has helped me and helped others that I know, because I hope that we can turn this trend of the commonality of addiction around.
But now and then I will remember what happened to my brother, because knowing that he ran out of chances, is one of the reasons I no longer take chances with the seemingly innocuous chemical I was addicted to. Everyone drinks wine these days right? But I cannot, and am happily free now of needing to.
Alcohol lies. Our culture lies about alcohol. Don’t continue to be fooled.
When I knew that my drinking had become dangerous I did not go to an AA meeting or to rehab. I opened a book and turned on my computer. I commited to reading and writing my way sober and it worked for me.
Find what works for you. You don’t need to be alone. There are a world of people out there reaching back to you if you reach out to them and hold on.
I read an article in the Living Sober Section of the Fix yesterday, that begins like this
Last Thursday, leading medical journal The Lancet published a global study on alcohol and health. The study was massive, its conclusions grim: worldwide, alcohol caused much greater damage than earlier studies had reported. It killed 2.8 million people in 2016 and was the leading risk factor for death among people 15 to 49. Considering that only a third of human beings drink alcohol, that’s saying something.
( This article was published in 2017- The Fix is no longer availible online – more recently these studies have been published Alcohol Related Deaths are up 100% in Twenty years)
The alcohol industry is huge. It is a politically powerful money-making machine. Fight back. Don’t become an artfully hidden statistic. You don’t have to drink.
More Reading :
If you’re “sober curious” …If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break… Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using