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our ex daughter-in-law’s brother passed away last week. on wednesday. his family wasn’t notified until yesterday. he lived in another state, and contact with his family was not very consistent.

her brother suffered from addiction. he overdosed.

he was a kind and sweet young man. countless times he climbed the recovery hill that far too many slide back down. but he tried. he tried and kept trying.

he lost his battle with this disease, though. and now, his parents will be burying their only son. our daughter-in-law and her sisters will have to make a new life without their brother. his grandparents will mourn the loss of one of life’s most priceless blessings. our granddaughter has just received her first emotional scar from a disease she can’t even pronounce yet. his friends and loved ones will spend the next block of time in a fog so thick that they won’t be able to breathe.

in light of this most recent soul lost to addiction, i’d like to just take the time to remind everyone that: us addicts, we’re just human beings. same as the rest of the world. no better, no worse than you. fighting demons that most of you never have to meet. thank God, on this day, that you have been spared from this disease. it’s something i’d never wish on anyone.

to those who don’t understand addiction: that’s ok. you don’t have to understand addiction in order to be a compassionate and loving person. try to be mindful not to judge what you know not about. what you need to see is someone suffering, in pain, fighting a battle that most lose.

so, maybe…just love. love the addict…even if you don’t understand the addict. even if you disagree with me on my stance of disease vs choice, don’t let that distract you from loving another fellow human. a human who was also “fearfully and wonderfully made.” made the same as the rest…”in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

love. kindness. compassion. gentleness. all things that benefit us addicts (and yourself) so much.

and if you’ve never been on the other side-the family member, friend or loved one who has had to helplessly watch their beloved slowly fade away…again, thank God. on this day.

i know every side of this coin. i own this addiction coin. i know it’s edges, it’s weight and the impact it has on everyone, from every angle. i am an addict. i am also a family member, friend and loved one to those still suffering…and to the many that i have lost. the many loved ones i have lost, including my father…my cousin, my uncle (i don’t have enough time or energy to keep listing everyone i have lost to this disease). i tell you, neither side of this coin is pleasant.

reach out to the family members, friends and loved ones who have lost their beloveds.

to those who have experienced any sort of loss: you know that that pain never goes away. be a light to them in this dark world. comfort them. help them as they learn to navigate and travel along a road that is impossible to travel alone.

NO PARENT should ever have to suffer the loss of their child. be there for those parents whose children were stolen from them by this heartless and evil disease. be there for their spouse, who is now carrying the full loads and burdens of their family all on their own, without their best friend and companion they chose to travel through this life with. be there for their children…who, often times, lose their parent so much sooner than God intended for it to be. children who are generally young, and just don’t understand that age-old question…”why?” be there for their siblings who have just lost their very first, and best, friend in this world. siblings who now have to exist without their other half.

step in and step up.

the list goes on and on, everyone. the list of people that need a loving smile, a kind word and a compassionate ear.

so many addicts are desperately fighting to overcome. reach out. if with nothing else, reach out with love, encouragement, positivity and confidence.

persistent and caring optimists pave the way to recovery.

it is possible for all addicts to one day join the other side-sobriety. once they get there, though, they will be at war for the duration of their life. a war that has bloody, hard fought battles. a war with priceless victories. but, nonetheless…a war.

keep in mind that ONE battle is won when an addict gets clean, but that is really just the start of the endless marathon they will soon be running.

stay the course. be a shield for them to use against an enemy whose only goal is destruction and death. be. a. shield.

be the change you want to see in this world.

start by helping someone up off this dirty ground we so often get trampled on. and in the end…you might just start to understand something you never did before, experience love you’ve never experienced before and be filled with a joy you’ve never known.

if they are alive, there is always hope.

“dear friends, let us love one another…”

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