If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help! Call us today at (855) 722-6926
If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help! Call us today at (855) 722-6926

Losing a Loved One to the Disease of Addiction

How to Help a Recovering Addict from A Distance

This is a topic that I don’t speak on frequently. It is something that I rarely mention, even when telling my story to other alcoholics and addicts. It’s not that I’m ashamed of it, it’s just that it’s not a situation that should be taken lightly or that everyone can handle talking about. But at the same time it is something that should be talked about and that’s why I’m writing this today. The disease of addiction has one goal – to kill you slowly. It is a scary and harsh truth to accept but it’s the reality of the disease. Because of this, there are probably a lot of people who can identify with my story.

I was raised in a wonderful family that has a lot of alcoholism and addiction running through it. Growing up wasn’t the easiest but my parents both did the best they could. For as long as I can remember, my grandfather has been in recovery (present day he has 31 years of sobriety) and my father struggled with trying to get sober constantly throughout my childhood. It was scary as a child to see your dad drunk or high all the time and then disappear for days or weeks and not know where he was or if he was coming back or not. My mother and father were always fighting and he went through many different treatment programs and halfway houses to try and get better.

Sometimes things would get better for a short period of time but they always ended up getting worse again. When I was younger, I was always so angry with my dad for not being able to stop drinking or using for my mother, sister or myself. I now understand that he was just sick and was unable to find a solution with a power greater than himself.

On September 12th 2004, I was woken up by a phone call from my mother. I had stayed the night at a friend’s house and she was calling to tell me I had to come home immediately and that family was coming over and she was on her way to pick me up. I was 15 years old and had assumed that someone died but had no idea who it could have been. My mom arrived to get me and within seconds of me getting in the car she broke down crying and told me my father had died of a drug overdose last night. Hearing news like that isn’t really something I can even explain unless you’ve been through it; I don’t think anything compares to the feelings I felt that day and that I still feel when I think about it.

I always had an idea that my dad wouldn’t live forever the way he was living but I didn’t actually think he would ever really die. I’ll never forget that day or the week following it. I remember thinking to myself that things would never be the same and to tell you the honest truth – they weren’t.

The disease of addiction wants you dead and the ones around you miserable. It won’t stop until you’ve died and I know this from experience with my dad and other loved ones, also. I’m merely sharing this to let others know they’re not alone and share my experience strength and hope. Despite all of that, I still became a drug addict and alcoholic. I don’t regret any of my choices and even the knowledge of the ultimate consequence of the disease couldn’t have stopped me. I was born this way and I had to hit a bottom before I could get to where I am today and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

I miss my dad more than I could ever describe to another human and that will never go away. It helps to keep me aware of what my reality could be if I don’t work a program of recovery and stay connected to other alcoholics, addicts and my higher power. It was very difficult to get past the death of my father and it’s almost been 10 years now. I recommend seeking help through a 12-step program and possibly some professional help if you’re dealing with a situation similar to mine.

If you or someone you know if suffering from the disease of addiction and needs help, please call toll free 1-844-422-6926 today.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.