One of the most striking observations about personal overdose stories are the subtle differences that makes the experience of addiction unique for each individual. People fall prey to addiction and experience drug overdose whether they have had a healthy family life and loving attentive parents or a splintered childhood overshadowed by abuse or abandonment.
The stereotypical image of inner city life as the perpetuator of addiction is being shattered by media coverage of drug overdose fatalities of people from every sector of society including the most impoverished, religious, morally bankrupt, affluent and educated. Like many people who suffer from addiction, Rob grew up in an upper middle class family that held him to high academic and behavioral standards. The offspring of immigrant parents with a mother from Seoul, Korea and a father from Heidelberg, Germany, his signature effect became centered around the fact that his eyes were not as round as his peers in school.
Since he had no siblings and suffered from an obvious lack of friends, according to Rob, his parents overcompensated by buying anything and everything he could ever have wanted. Still, Rob’s desire for acceptance by his peers led him down the substance abuse path which he said crippled him emotionally. Years of drug cycling followed that included the use of benzodiazepines, psychedelics, amphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, prescription opioids, methamphetamines and heroin. Needless to say, drug overdose also became a big part of Rob’s personal overdose story.
According to Rob, he had first-hand experience of the suffering and loss caused by addiction. Apart from his own experience with drug overdose, it also claimed the life of his friend, Ian at 26 years of age, his girlfriend Lucie was found dead in an abandoned building at the age of thirty and, Amy, his wife died in his arms from a drug overdose at the age of 27.
The turnaround for Rob came when he finally decided to face the truth about his condition. He said, “When I was able to be honest I knew, deep down that recovery hadn’t worked because I did it my way, not the way it was suggested to me. So, I called a rehab center and restarted my journey to self-discovery.” This journey led him to sobriety and a newfound respect for himself that he had been seeking through years of drug abuse.
Out of these tragic overdose stories, many recovering addicts like Rob work to encourage people in addiction to seek help, to never give up and share their stories of loss or triumph with others struggling with addiction. What recovering addicts often recognize and try to communicate is that more lives could be saved from the horrors of addiction if substance abuse was treated as the disease that it is. Making treatment the first step rather than the last resort could make a significant impact in the lives of the 135,000 Americans that die annually as a direct result of drug abuse.
One way that the friends of families of addicts can break the cycles of addiction and help save the lives of siblings, spouses, friends and lovers is to stage a drug intervention. Studies show carefully planned and executed drug interventions have a 95% success rate of getting people into treatment programs. Drug interventions are also cathartic for families of addicts who also need help to cope with the pain and fears caused by the addiction. Because drug interventions are emotionally charged events, the help of a professional interventionist can be extremely effective in maintaining order and keeping the main reason for the intervention in focus. The interventionist will also accompany the addict to the treatment facility if they decide to accept help after the meeting. The services of a professional counselor or interventionist is equally important if treatment is declined and consequences must be presented for refusing help. The ultimate goal of any drug intervention is to make the transition from addiction to recovery as easy and effortless as possible so that the person can write their own victorious addiction story.
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