This morning, I read a powerful post on a friend's Facebook page. The post was an obituary for a young woman, Delaney Farrell, who grew up not far from the rural town where I spent my own childhood and youth. The young woman died from a drug overdose. Prior to her death, she wrote a very compelling, raw note about her addiction journey. It reminds you that there is a person behind the addiction.
My cousin, Jonelle, is the Director of Nursing for an Addictions Rehab Facility. It is her passion to help people overcome their addictions. I love her zeal and compassionate heart. I'm proud of the work she does.
The epidemic is real. The people suffering didn't want this lifestyle. It is so easy to sit and judge others, to see their flaws and mistakes, and miss the person lurking beneath the surface. We need to remember that they are people: people who are hurting, people in need of help and encouragement a harmful cycle to substances that don't want to let go of their hold on the person.
I have known people who have fought against addiction. I'm very proud of them too. It takes courage and strength to fight against addiction and breaking a harmful pattern of behavior. It isn't an easy process and can be physically painful. They have defeated their demon. Yet, it is a daily battle: a choice to stay clean.
This is what Delaney wrote about her addiction journey: "Funny, I don't remember no good dope days. I remember walking for miles in a dope fiend haze. I remember sleeping in houses that had no electric. I remember being called a junkie, but I couldn't accept it. I remember hanging out in abandos that were empty and dark. I remember shooting up in the bathroom and falling out at the park. I remember nodding out in front of my sisters kid. I remember not remembering half of the things that I did. I remember the dope man's time frame, just ten more minutes. I remember those days being so sick that I just wanted to end it. I remember the birthdays and holiday celebrations. All the things I missed during my incarceration. I remember overdosing on my bedroom floor. I remember my sisters cry and my dad having to break down the door. I remember the look on his face when I opened my eyes, thinking today was the day that his baby had died. I remember blaming myself when my mom decided to leave. I remember the guilt I felt in my chest making it hard to breathe. I remember caring so much but not knowing how to show it. and I know to this day that she probably don't even know it. I remember feeling like I lost all hope. I remember giving up my body for the next bag of dope. I remember only causing pain, destruction and harm. I remember the track marks the needles left on my arm. I remember watching the slow break up of my home. I remember thinking my family would be better off if I just left them alone. I remember looking in the mirror at my sickly completion. I remember not recognizing myself in my own Damn reflection. I remember constantly obsessing over my next score but what I remember most is getting down on my knees and asking God to save me cuz I don't want to do this no more !!! " Delaney Farrell as posted in her obituary.
It is my hope and prayer that Delaney's story will help you remember that they are more than addicts: they are people, people who are hurting, people who are fighting a tough battle, people who need help, encouragement, and hope.