Years ago Robert Kennedy’s son died on his way to in-patient chemical dependency treatment in South Dakota. He OD’ed on the plane ride there. So close to a remedy, tragically cut short by using “one last time.”
From that experience, I came to know and understand that many individuals who suffer addictions want to have a “final toot” before their sobriety.
We see this now in the story of Prince. His healers were present at his home when he OD’ed. The people who were going to take him to treatment the day he died, could not save him.
You and I will never eliminate the final toot. Those who are addicted will often see a final need to use.
However, we can be aware of this phenomenon. That means, if we have a loved one who is going to treatment, we pay special attention. Often, this simply means being with them as a friend, helping another during their time of need.
Many of us have experienced the delight of seeing a loved one get sober. The sad reality is, many people do not stay sober after treatment. Those who go back or “fall off the wagon,” often find themselves using at the same pace they did before treatment. For the opiate user, using either prescription opiates or illegal heroin, this often can mean death. We must be aware of this. Let us teach the opiate user that returning too soon to their old level of use may lead to catastrophic results.
As caring observers, let us help by paying attention.