In the news is a story about Demi Lovato, actress, singer and celebrity. She makes the news because she relapsed and overdosed. The story goes on to detail that her life was saved when she was brought to the hospital and administered Narcan.
There is not a single parent of an addict that cannot relate to this news. We have either experienced the same with our loved one, imagined the same, or lost our loved one because help wasn’t there in time.
As I devour the news about Ms. Lovato it brings back my own horrors as a parent of a son actively using and getting that call from the emergency room. Arriving at the hospital and hearing how close we came to losing our son.
Relapse and overdose are so closely related.
I remember the mistakes I made in dealing with my son when he relapsed. How much damage I may shoulder is incalculable but I do bear the remorse.
Relapse is a bad thing because of the danger it poses but it should not be considered a betrayal of trust as I took relapse. Time and experience allows me to understand things I could not while caught up in the drama and actions.
Now I understand how addiction is a disease and with that disease it may come out as a relapse. Other diseases do the same thing.
Imagine these scenarios:
I am a diabetic, it is a loved one birthday. I slip up, birthday cake and a Coke. My blood sugar spikes, emergency medical help is required.
I suffer from heart disease, out of shape, but that fried chicken, mashed potatoes smothered in gravy looks so good, two helpings fill me up. The next day I am feeling pains in my chest, 911 is called.
I am old, I am fat, I am out of shape, of course it snowed last night 18”. My body is that of a 70 year old, my mind is that of a 25 year old. Of course I can shovel that snow. Last thing I remember was grabbing my chest and falling into the snow.
We can all imagine so many scenarios like these and probably more. In those scenarios loved ones gather around and tell me and tell me how much they love me and want to help me from doing that ever again.
When a person that suffers from addiction we stand around and belittle them. We shake our head and mutter something like, “just and addict, what do you expect.”
It’s time we learn from these actions. I did the just an addict….. until I understood. When an addict relapses they need the love, concern and help the same as any other person suffering from a disease.
Reach out to those that relapse and to their loved ones too. “How can I help?”, is a perfect opening line. Every person suffering from addiction deserve just as much love and help as anyone not dealing with this disease.