When a loved one overdoses, it can be an extremely jarring experience. Many times when people overdose, they can go into comas and suffer from brain damage. Drugs like Narcan are being distributed in an effort to curb the amount of fatal overdoses amidst the opioid crisis. People are still dying from opiate overdose at an alarming rate.

Coming face to face with how deadly addiction is and how fragile our loved ones mortality is,  is no doubt one of the most difficult confrontations we will endure. We begin to imagine life without them. Sometimes this imaginary thought can feel like a relief, and other times, it can feel like a soul crushing experience.

I hear so many people judging themselves for experiencing the potential relief part. It doesn’t mean that you love your sister, daughter, parent, partner any less. It just indicates the level of stress you are under. Addiction is the only disease that begins as fun. Addiction is also the only disease that affects the afflicted the least. Meaning that when someone is addicted, all their pain gets pushed on to people around them. The person who is addicted doesn’t experience the pain until they become sober. Often it is then compounded by waking up to the pain and destruction they have caused.

Some things to know about overdoses:

  1. NarCan or Naloxone are available through local needle exchanges but in very limited supply. Here in Asheville, the needle exchange is called The Steady Collective. These overdose reversal drugs are often distributed to those most at risk of experiencing an overdose, not necessarily to their loved ones. Although, if you can get your hands on some, it is good to have around.

  2. You get to decide how much this affects your life. If you want to be by your loved one’s side and help them examine whether they are ready to get healthy, do it. If you need to protect yourself from the chaos and pain by keeping your distance, do it. Whatever you choose, decide out of love for yourself because ultimately, the reception of that love will only be truly felt by you.

  3. There is treatment available. Here in the area, your loved one can call Vaya health Solutions to be routed towards the nearest treatment center. Not all treatment centers cost lots of money.

  4. Take care of yourself. This is a terrible thing to experience and you will probably need to do some processing. Reach out to your community, get to an Al-Anon meeting, make an appointment with your therapist.

  5. Don’t give up. People do recover. Every day.

 ***Disclaimer: This blog post is solely the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for mental health services nor does it constitute a professional relationship. If you are seeking mental health services, please contact a therapist in your area. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911***