My Brother Overdosed on Heroin Last Week…Should I Give Up Hope?

heroin overdose brother sisterMy brother overdosed on heroin this past week. Yes, he survived, this time. Narcan (naloxone) came to the rescue like a knight in shining armor and defeated the very thing we call death, in order to save his life. I am grateful for that. Truly, I am.

But now, I am also facing the reality that the very knight I love, the Narcan that swooped in and rescued him 4 times before this, may not be able to save him the next time. As sinister as it sounds, yes, I say the next time. I only expect what this disease offers.

No one has had more hope for him, than I. When I say that, I mean that. I was always on the sidelines of each rehab stint, calming and encouraging my family, saying things like “this time it will work”, “he is going to make it”, “he won’t die this way” and “don’t give up on him”. But, addiction is a tricky bastard. It sucks the life out of the one addicted and all who love them. In this case, I am the latter.

I can’t ever say I will fully give up hope for him. I have this belief, that belief itself is more powerful than the natural realm that encompasses us. I am careful about what I believe – specifically when it comes to my brother. But, at this point, I know what it’s like to imagine his death in a very realistic manner. It takes the breath right out of me. It wasn’t until this last overdose and the fentanyl going around that it finally hit me – he may actually die.

Writing that feels like peeling my own skin off.

I work in this field every single day and every single day there’s another RIP post. Loving an addict has tested me in every single way. When he went to rehab I felt like I was lifted up into heaven and experienced true joy. When he left early, I plummeted to the rocks below me, screaming, frustrated and absolutely demolished.

heroin overdose brother sisterBut, I have realized I have been living in almost a fantasy like state of mind. Never truly rationalizing the consequences of addiction- or where it will leave myself and my family if it decides to pour out its wrath upon my brother. Death and overdose are very real. I would know, I deal with families everyday who have lost their loved one to it. I can’t say in accepting the idea that he may not make it, has really done anything substantial enough for you to learn from, as I write this article. But, maybe in doing this, I can find an ounce of peace.

I have done absolutely all I can possibly do. Rehabs, moral support, treatment, counseling, detox, living with me, tough love, some enabling at points, stern talking to’s, interventions, deep talks and love. Nothing has worked. Not one thing.
Hopeless, right?

Not exactly. I can acknowledge that yes, I have done everything I can and it has not worked. I can accept the fact that I may face the reality that he may die. I can learn to live with the pain of loving an addict and the implications of it.. But, it is not hopeless.

See, I’ve rationalized it like this. I will always be the one that holds out hope for him. Even if one day he does overdose and die, I will not feel foolish for hoping. I will never feel foolish for hoping. Hope keeps people alive. It kept me alive when I was in active addiction and overdosing in a parking lot. Maybe consciously I did not know someone else was holding hope for me, but my spirit knew it. That’s why I am here. Someone or something held out hope for me, so much so, that I caught the bug of hope, myself.

That’s why I will never give up hope. Yes, I am at the edge of the “hope cliff” almost ready to fall off, but something keeps me bordering the very chipped edge below.. and that is my brother.

I know what it’s like to have no hope. To live everyday believing that there is nothing more than death for me. To be void of all joy and fulfillment. To feel hopeless. I know this is how he feels, deep down inside, aside from all of the lies and deception and the I’m doing good’s.

But, I want him to see hope, every time he looks into my eyes. I want him to feel hope every time he hears me speak. I want him to visualize something better, every time I try to build him up. It’s what I needed, so desperately. It’s what he needs, so desperately.

Whether this is ever discussed between him and I (and it probably never will be), I will know that my hope in fact, makes a difference. I believe that. And the power of belief trumps the naysayers, to me.

Yes, it’s true he overdosed last week. Yes, it could be that he overdoses again. Yes, it could be that I may have to bury my brother. Yes, I am broken, drained and exhausted. But no, I won’t give up my hope for him. Sometimes that is literally the only thing I can control.

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Written by Chanda Lynn, Blogger/Writer for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Edited and Published By William Charles, Founder/Publisher

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6 thoughts on “My Brother Overdosed on Heroin Last Week…Should I Give Up Hope?

  1. Don’t give up hope on him. Death is the reality you gave up. My son od’d in January and there is nothing like burying your child. I’ll never hear his voice again, see his face, hear his laugh, argue or love on him. I disagree with tough love. I just say love him.

  2. It really feels so painful to hear all this, and I completely understand how frustrating it feels when all your efforts fail. But, I really salute your spirit of positiveness. You are absolutely right that one should never lose hope because it is only hope that keeps all of us alive. Even I know and I can feel the pain of losing our dear ones when we know that we have to face this reality one day. My wishes and prayers are with you and I wish that your brother overcomes his addiction one day and live a normal life. Stay blessed.

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  4. You are lucky he made it
    I lost my son last month he
    Was only 31 we are lost without
    Him we will never get over this
    Him

  5. My brother died August of 2017. Not even gone one month. I tried very hard to help. The one thing I didn’t do was ask the needed question; “Are you addicted to drugs, and do you need treatment?” I guess I was afraid of the answer.
    Please don’t be afraid to ask the question you’re afraid to ask. It might save the life of someone you love.

  6. Above all hold on to hope. Hope for safety, healing and having compassion for the addict. My heart is with you all. My Brother died sometime before Thanksgiving of a heroin overdose. We’re still not sure of the exact day and I’m the one who found him. It’s all so fresh. I didn’t even know he was doing heroin. I was worried when he wasn’t answering calls and txts. I was told this is normal. For years he was abusing other opioids and so every once in a while he went MIA. He would detox and go to rehab but always leave after 7-10 days of rehab. My logical brain knows that I could not control the outcome of what happened, but the other side of me, is in the part of grieving of “if only” and “I should have”. I had wanted to get him arrested, or have a judge deem him in harm of himself and others, so that he would have a little more sober time and be forced to do the part of rehab he never made it through. The part of rehab, that deals with cognitive behavioral therapy and coping tools, as well as the detox. A sponsor would have been a great help too. I have been in Al-anon for several years and worked the steps which were a help to me. I also see a CBT every other week because I had a different sibling pass away at a young age. It felt like my thoughts/ warnings fell on deaf ears with my family. There was enabling, denial and doing there best to cope. Addiction is scary. The way things happened are understandable, but it also causes pain in my heart because we could have tried a couple more things. They may not have worked, but we would have at least not had those questions. I also have to say for anyone reading this, that I feel like there is misinformation out there on the web, that people can constantly be saved from od’ing (and yes some are, more than once), but my brother had naloxone in the drawer near where he died… It was never opened. It did not save his life. He was either alone, or whoever was with him and left his apartment that night, did not administer it (this haunts me). I haven’t shared the naloxone part with members of my family yet, because I feel it would hurt them even further right now. Also, if there was fentnyl in the heroin, than you sometimes need two-three doses of naloxone to save a life. You can’t watch addicts 24/7 and I’m trying to reassure my family we did the best we could with the information we had at the time. Before he died I had no idea about this life saving drug and signs of how someone acts on heroin and that they sometimes don’t resemble a strung out person. My brother went to work, spent lots of time with my parents, and was good to others. He was organized and kept a nice, clean apartment. He was just over 40yrs old. He didn’t want to be addicted, but drugs changed his brain chemistry and he had untreated depression and grief from losing another sibling. Love to the person who wrote the post and to those of you who have lost someone. I am writing this to grieve, offer love, and hope that if someone reads this, it can help them know they’re not alone in their concerns, worry, fear and struggle. Do have hope and make the time to be with your loved ones. Compassion for addicts. They want to change, but that horrific drug consumes them. God bless, Nicole

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