How to Deal with the Grief of a Loved One’s Overdose

I had slept in that Saturday morning. When I got up, I saw that my husband hadn’t come to bed at all, again.

As I made my way downstairs to get some coffee, I noticed that the house was strangely quiet. He should have been awake by now or had at least been awake long enough to turn on the TV.

I knew as soon as I turned the corner and saw him sitting there. Not that I hadn’t seen him fall asleep sitting up before or even with his eyes partway open, but his arm was outstretched, as though he were reaching for something.

I didn’t want to believe it. Maybe he had woken up after I went to bed last night, took more pills, and fell back to sleep like he had done a thousand times before. But, he had been good for four months! Why would he start abusing his meds again after everything he went through?

I had already known that he had done it again, though, the moment I walked through the door the evening before. He was in another narcotic stupor, and I had had a very bad day. I watched him for eight hours, making sure he was okay. Then I went to bed.

But he wasn’t okay, and I was on my knees in front of him, watching myself from above, begging him to wake up. What was I going to do now?

This was MY fault. Oh my God; it was my fault! Why hadn’t I seen it was different this time? Why hadn’t I thought about the fact that he had been taking his medicine as prescribed for the last four months and that this little slip off the wagon could be too much for his body to handle? Why hadn’t I just called an ambulance when he kept nodding off? How could I let this happen?

The rest of that weekend was a complete blur. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that my son and I realized that we hadn’t eaten since Friday. After that, I just remember laying around for days, then weeks, crying off and on all day. My heart had died. After all, how could it continue to beat when half of my soul was gone?

My best friend, Maria, called me every day, and after about a month went by, she had finally talked me into going to church with her on Sunday. She had been going there for 22 years, long before her husband, James, got sober. It was there, she said, that she had learned to give up all the pain she could not handle to God, and He would carry it for her.

By the Spring, I had been going there with her every Sunday for two months, but I wasn’t feeling any different inside. It was simply a few hours of temporary distraction while trapped in a life I no longer wanted to be a part of.

Then she invited me to attend an AlaNon meeting with her. Everyone there knows what it’s like to love an addict. If you need to talk, they want to listen. If they want to talk, you learn to get out of your own head while you listen. You find the treasure, to let go and let God.

That’s the moment when things started to click. Every life has a purpose even if that means preventing someone else from making the wrong choices, or, as in my case, showing someone grieving how to live again.

Beginnings Treatment Centers is located in beautiful and sunny Southern California in Orange County, which has one of the strongest and most active recovery communities in the United States. If you or your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, call us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors, we’re here to help.