My best friend relapsed on heroin this year. It wasn't something I ever could have planned for, it was wasn't something I was expecting, it wasn't a thing I wanted in my life. I haven't told the full story. I am not sure I want to at this point. I do want to make a few comments.
I chose to stay with this person through the process. That was MY choice. They decided they wanted to get help. That was THEIR choice. I provided love and encouragement while I cried myself to sleep a few different nights. It was a turbulent few months, mostly because I truly was expecting the unanswered text messages and RIP on his social media that let me know he was gone. I'm new to the friend circle so no one would have gone out of their way to notify me. He and I met on instagram. The old friends probably didn't know I existed.
It was in an insulated world for many months. I didn't want to tell anyone close to me. I didn't want to hear judgment. I didn't want to answer questions. Most of all, I didn't want to be talked to about cutting him off. I wasn't providing him with resources outside of a sympathetic ear and the occasional lunch. There was nothing to cut off. I got a small taste of how my mother must have felt- the isolation was palpable. I knew it wasn't me that had relapsed. However, it hurt to see a person I cared about in that condition. I felt tired and I felt angry at the whole situation.
What did I learn from this? I had to practice everything I've been preaching to everyone else for so many years. I had to love him while practicing my own self care. I had to discuss harm reduction. I had to pull, not push. I had to support not punish. I say this to say this post isn't really about me. It is to say that a person will never find recovery if they are dead. He did find recovery. I am grateful for harm reduction.