I'm feeling so angry tonight. Angry about the disease of addiction and the pain it causes. Angry that we had to grow up without a father and now my nieces have to grow up without their father. Angry that my mother had to bury 2 husbands and then her only son in one lifetime. Mostly angry at myself that I did not do anything to try to stop his drug use that killed him. I bought the book "Beautiful Boy" a few weeks before he died. I highlighted the parts that directly related to us and him. I passed it along to my mother after I read it. Then I did nothing else. When he came to me so many times after mom confronted him about using drugs and assured me irately that he was not, I listened to him complacently. I didn't tell him that I knew he was high. I didn't tell him how scared I was, how sad it made me. Even when he told me randomly a month before he died that he knew I worried about him but that he was ok, I just nodded uncomfortably and said nothing. He always looked up to me, even though I was his little sister. Maybe I could have reached him. I read on one of those support group pages about the drug user's family roles. I was what they call the "ghost." I knew there was a problem but just didn't talk about it. I didn't want to upset him or push him into a corner.
He took suboxone for the last 2 years. He said it was for Percocet withdraw. He adamantly denied to everyone that he had ever or would ever use heroin. With the suboxone, he took paxil and up to 15 Klonopin a day. They were all prescribed. They were all sedating, so it seemed like he slept all the time. He drove a truck over the road and always ran out of his medicine early because he took more than the ordered doses, so he was having withdraw symptoms frequently. The suboxone alone was $600 a month and the doctor visit (a 5 minute check mark questionnaire followed by hand-off of prescription) was $120. He had to struggle to come up with the money every month. In February, he ran out of suboxone and went through withdraw symptoms for 2 weeks. After that, he said that he didn't have any more withdraw symptoms. When he came back home, I drove him to his doctor appointment. On the way, he told me that he didn't know what he should do about the suboxone since he felt like he was completely withdrawn from it. I told him that I didn't think he should start taking it again because he had been addicted to it and using it for 2 years when it had been started as a temporary (less than 1 year) treatment. I argued that since he had already gone through the withdraws, couldn't really afford it, and seemed to be doing ok, there was no reason why he should start taking it again. Three months later, he was dead of a heroin and klonopin overdose. The one time I was finally able to tell him how I felt about the drug use, he agreed, followed my advice, and then died. From the autopsy report, we found out that he had early stage kidney cancer, which can cause fatigue and could have been the real reason why he was sleeping so many hours of the day.
Concerning the cost, it would have been difficult but I could have helped him pay for his prescriptions. Wouldn't I have struggled with him to help him pay for treatment of any other disease, such as cancer, that he may have had? Of course I would have, without question. Also.....I am a nurse. I should have been able to help him more effectively with treating his disease. I feel like there are so many things I could have and should have done differently to help him. The guilt and pain I feel for him are so heavy. I am so, so sorry that I didn't do more to try to stop this from happening. I loved him so much. I never thought he would die.
You are in my thoughts and prayers today and please know that you did not cause this. you dealt with this situation the best way you knew how. This is a terrible disease and you can not control an addict no matter how hard you try.