By Aaron Emerson
A couple of days ago – Saturday to be exact – I learned some devastating news. It’s the kind of news I have been hearing all too often. A girl I went to school with at Mason passed away from a drug overdose.
She was just one grade ahead of me throughout my youth and it was someone I used to associate with when I was in my party stage. I’m not going to act like we were extremely close or anything, as I hadn’t talked to her in a few years since I entered recovery. However, it was a peer, somebody that was just like me. Somebody that had the same struggles I did. Somebody that could have very well been me.
I am not going to share her name publicly on here, as I’m not sure the family would be happy about that, but it has been on my mind lately. My hometown – Mason, Michigan – has had several young people die in the last few years from drug overdoses. Heroin and opioids have been a well known problem here, as is pretty much the case in every town in the U.S.
Frankly, I am sick of hearing about them. I am sick of heroin. I am sick of painkillers. I am sick of people I grew up with dying from this shit. But I have the feeling this problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I can’t help but wonder what one of my old friends that are still using will be next. I wish I didn’t have to think like that.
There is hope. Trust me, if I can find recovery from an addiction that saw me put behind bars several times, in and out of rehabs every year, and seemingly hopeless, I know anyone can. But it’s so frustrating when I find out about another person dying from this stuff. I will never give up on spreading the message of recovery and hope, but sometimes it’s exhausting.
I wish I could prove that recovery is fun. I wish I could show that it is such a better option than living in bondage to drugs. But people in addiction just can’t see that. They are blinded and stuck. It’s so sad. I remember how that used to feel. I remember feeling like I was never going to stop using, that I had no hope.
But somehow God pulled me out of that crazy mess of a life I was living. Looking back, it’s a miracle. But today I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging or to act like my life is so great today. I simply want to let people know that addiction is not a life sentence. There is hope. I also want to remember and honor another amazing person with so much potential that was lost to this battle. Addiction doesn’t define us. I hope her family can remember her for all of the good she provided. That is my prayer.
If you are reading this, please know there is hope. If you know somebody in addiction, please tell them that you care about them today. if you know somebody in recovery, please tell them you are proud of them today. If you know someone that has died from this disease, please remember all of the positives they brought to this world today. And if you are currently in addiction, please know there is a better life awaiting you today. I promise.