For a few nights after I learned that Chase had lost his battle with addiction, I had a recurring nightmare.
I can see his face so clearly. I see the fear in his eyes. He’s in dark and tumultuous waters. Next to him are the faces of several people I’ve grown close to and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. I’m throwing the lifeline I have at my side and begging them to grab hold.
One by one I watch them get pulled under.
I know, right? Not symbolic at all. Pretty obvious where my subconscious goes when the rest of my brain shuts down.
I needed to regroup, reset, refresh.
Heroin might never kill me. But it’s effects will continue to leave scars.
I want to formally apologize to anyone who read my own “obituary” that I wrote in an attempt to find peace with my life. If you found it “tactless” I am sorry, but writing has always been my therapeutic release and I’m not about to change that. It could have so easily been me in that casket. That won’t be my last funeral, and at times I’m forced to tap reserves of strength I didn’t know I had.
HOWEVER; Chase’s family and loved ones were a huge inspiration to me. The outpouring of love and support at his funeral would have made him flash that winning smile. His family and beautiful little fiancé taught me more about the grief process in those few hours than I could ever learn in a University.
Chase is at peace. We will all miss him, but we can meet that loss with apathy – throwing our arms in the air in defeat – or we can drop our shoulders and hit this epidemic that much harder.
Loss can paralyze us or light a fire under us. I prefer the latter.
I am often met with a very reasonable question:
“Who are you and why should I listen to you?”
I never have a simple answer. There are literally hordes of people with more “clean time” than I have. There are smarter people. There are people with better stories. There are MUCH better writers.
Nevertheless, I know I’ve never been more passionate about anything. My editor, Robin, wrote a great book (available on ThatSoberLife.com) and asked me to contribute. It feels pretty cool to grab someone’s Kindle and be able to type in Dan Workman and see a result.
But in my intro, Robin wrote: “Dan likes to do things his own way.”
I really do, lol. That’s really all I’ve done. I’ve traded dope for hope and found myself more addicted to the capital H in Hope than I ever was to heroin.
My favorite part of this new mission is to see other people reach for the baton. People want to help. Whether they are in recovery themselves or have gone through the pain of loving an addict, these amazing souls have set self-doubt aside and found their voice.
This battle is raging. We need all the soldiers we can get. We are fighting the single most addictive substance on the planet. We are fighting pharmaceutical companies who spend more money lobbying than the NRA. We are fighting shady rehabs that view addicts as bonus checks rather than people. We are fighting stigma and shame that so closely follow addiction.
As long as your heart is in the right place… there’s no wrong way to do it.
If you are struggling; all I can tell you is that I’ve walked miles in your shoes. Recovery is difficult but so very possible. As with all difficult things, it’s worth the fight.
If you’ve found your way out or carry the torch of a loved one who suffered from addiction… speak up. Don’t leave your lifeline on dry land.
Keep throwing it.