Tag Archives: Glee

Losing a child to addiction

Did you see the tribute episode Glee did for Corey Monteith? I watched it through a veil of tears. It felt almost voyeuristic at times; as it was clear that the actors weren’t acting but channeling there own grief. How incredibly brave and professional of them to honor their friend in this way, I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. Lea Michele was particular outstanding, imagine having to act your grief for a TV show just a few weeks after loosing your Fiancée? Her performance was heartbreaking, because her heart was breaking.

“I can hear his voice so clearly. Do you think I’ll ever forget it?” Rachael Berry
“He was my person.”

But it was the grief of the actors playing Finn Hudson’s parents that moved me the most. It was heart wrenching.

“How do parents go on when they loose a child, How do they wake up every day? How do you breath?” Finn’s mom.

They put into words how I felt, imagining the unimaginable.
The day you become a parent, is the day you realize that the rest of your life is about managing your fear.
Because when you see and hold your baby for the first time, the love you have is so fierce and enormous it frightens you.
The desire to build an armed fortress for your babe to live in, so you can protect them from any hazard or danger is almost overwhelming.
As a parent you have to resist this urge and just do your best to equip your child to grow up in this world you can’t control.
You have to fight your fear to wrap up your child in cotton wool and never let them go, because your fear will suffocate them.
Because no one can thrive and grow with that amount of fear pressing down on them.

Yet tragically some parents experience the horrific reality of loosing a child.
Children die in accidents, because of mistakes or of diseases.
And some die of addiction.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I watched Glee and I felt so f**king angry with Corey Monteith for overdosing.
And I understand addiction!
I get it and I still wanted to slap him for dying and leaving all those people berefit.
I know he didn’t choose to OD. I understand why he used heroin; I understand why he thought he could just do one more.
I’m just so mad at him for dying. For all those addicts who die way before there time.

I’ve sat there with parents who’ve lost their kid to an overdose. I’ve seen how haunted they are. I have truly wondered how they are going to get through the day and the next one after that and the next one after that…

‘Its all so pointless, all that potential.’ Sue Sylvester.

I don’t know how they can keep breathing when they have lost their child. I don’t know if I could, I can’t even think about it, I can’t bare to have that thought in my head.
And yet it’s a reality that many parents have to live with.

How do we change this?
More treatment.
Access to more treatment.
Sober High Schools.
More honesty.
Less fear.
Less shame.
More education.
More understanding.

But mostly we need to talk about what is within us.
Our insides. Our feelings and emotions.
The things we keep most secret. Our fears, our shame, our disappointments, our need to be loved and our terror that we won’t be, our loneliness.
We need to talk about these things more than anything because these are the engines of addiction.
That’s why people use drugs and continue to use them way after they stopped being fun.
Because they quell the darkness within.
We all have darkness within us. Part of the human experience is about managing this, learning from it and choosing to live in the light.
And yet for some of us the darkness just continues to eat away at us. And the only thing we can do is to find relief from the pain.
Which is what I’m guessing Corey Monteith did that last night of his life.

If this is you. Right now.
I’d like to invite you to reach out, to take a risk, to choose someone you trust and be vulnerable with them.
Ask for help. Ask again, keep asking until you get it.
Hold on, please for f**ks sake hold on. Get some help, then some more.
The darkness within you isn’t real, it is an illusion. You deserve to live in the light.
Please try.
Because no matter how alone you feel right now, the pain of loosing you, of you not being here is not a pain we can keep bearing.

I know because I’ve seen it.

You can read my previous post on Corey Monteith’s death here.

Why did Corey Monteith die?

I’m sitting in a room with eight other people, we are all gathered in a circle. Our attention is on a young man; he is in his late twenties. He is dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, the latest pair of sneakers on his feet. He is crouched over with his head in his hands, unable to look at anyone else.

“I know,” he says, “I know you’re right. I have no idea why I do it, I just thought one last time would be ok.”
Seven other addicts and alcoholics nod their heads.
“You have everything to live for buddy,” one of them says.
“You have your whole life ahead of you,” says another.
He looks up, his face a mixture of despair and confusion, “I know,” he repeats softly to himself, “I know, it’s insane.’

And he really means it. He has everything he has ever wanted and yet he still uses drugs and alcohol because nothing else has filled the hole inside of him.
To an outsider it would look insane.
To an addict it’s the only thing that makes sense.

Addiction doesn’t care if you have a promising future, a good family, a great job. It doesn’t care that you have a beautiful and talented girlfriend or millions of fans around the world.
It wants you, and it wants you now.
Which is why it is telling you, that one more time won’t hurt.

And this is why Corey Monteith died.
Because he lied to himself that one more wouldn’t hurt.

He died of a lethal mix of alcohol and heroin, alone in his hotel room.
With the world at his feet.

There are so many Corey Monteith’s all over the world. Some may be lucky enough to get a shot at some kind of treatment. Some of those may be even luckier and get clean and sober and some of them may even be lucky enough to stay so.

But not Cory Monteith, he had his shot at treatment, but still thought one more would be ok.

Cory Monteith’s death wasn’t just shocking because he was young, what shocked most people is that he died of a heroin overdose.
Because he just didn’t look like your average junkie.
He was 31 years old playing someone who had just graduated high school, the epitome of the good looking, clean cut Midwestern kid. Someone you would take home to your parents.

The image people have of a heroin addict is someone homeless, with bad teeth, dirty clothes and a gaunt face. Corey Monteith was the complete opposite of that. The reason that heroin addicts can often look so ravaged is because of the side effects of the taking the drug, rather than the drug itself.
Having money makes addiction a lot easier and the consequences much less severe.
Which is why he could fool everyone. He didn’t fit the stereotype.

So despite ‘having it all’ on a night out he decided to do something insane.
Take heroin alone.
He took the hit and never woke up.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unless you deal with the real underlying reasons of addiction, for every addict there will always be a call for ‘just one more.’
The insane idea will always win out.
Addicts use drugs and alcohol beyond any sane understanding.
Drugs and alcohol promise oblivion, numbness and escape. They kill pain and wrap the user up in cotton wool so they don’t have to feel anything.
Behind his Midwestern, clean cut good looks Cory Monteith was hiding a darkness, that only drugs could fill.

I wonder if he battled, I wonder if he argued with himself. I wonder if he remembered sitting in treatment with his head in his hands as he faced up to the reality of his addiction.
I wonder if he knew he had crossed over to the place where the insanity of using seemed like the right thing to do.

I guess we’ll never know.