My apologies for a few days' hiatus...
If there is one lesson DV recovery teaches you, it's that self care is of the utmost importance.
Last Friday, I lost my cousin, Brian, to heroin overdose. He was 37. He was a son. A brother. A father. A friend. A human being. A precious Soul. Even though he's only been gone less than a week (I was notified around 6 pm... He was found ALONE @ 5 pm) it all STILL seems surreal. He DID NOT deserve to die... not like that.
I have spent the last week trying to heal and come to terms with this tragedy; one that I know affects millions of families... Our family is not special. But as far as I'm concerned, Brian WAS special. Yes, he had issues. Yes, he was an addict. He needed help. But like so many addicts I'm sure he thought he could outrun his demons... And when he found he hadn't the stamina or ability to do so in a healthy manner, he ended up chasing (technically, shooting it; although "chasing" is often the term used to describe the addict's quest to recapture that First High) the dragon.
And it killed him.
Similar to trying to overcome addiction, dealing with the trauma, rebuilding your life, rebuilding relationships, and finding a new normal following a DV relationship takes stamina. It takes guts. It takes determination. It takes strength.
You think, "I got this." And when you realize you don't, you aren't sure where to turn.
Odds are, your abuser sufficiently cut you off from friends and family and, to add insult to injury, told enough stories and lies to make you out to be the bad one that you feel (felt) helpless as to where to turn. Yeah, the world may buy the abuser's stories and lies for so long, but you know what? It doesn't last.
Everything that is held together with lies comes apart at the seams VERY quickly. I promise you this.
The key is to find healthy resources to help you regain your balance. Regain your stability. Reach out to friends and family. Reach out to agencies and organizations that specialize in DV situations. And above all, keep yourself SAFE.
Once you learn to ground yourself (and stay grounded) those triggers that once left you panicked and a complete wreck sway you no more than a passing gust of wind.
I am still learning. I still don't have all my shit together and I'll be the first to admit it. Sincerely. But, I DO know where I am. I am WELL AWARE of where I've been. And I know where I AM going. I also know, I am a SURVIVOR.
And though Brian wasn't able to survive his addiction, he is no longer in pain. He isn't running from the demons that chased him for so long. He has finally found Peace. And he is with me.
Just as my DV experience taught me many lessons I've gone on to use to help others, this loss too shall be what propels me forward to be a voice for CHANGE. I wasn't able to save him, but I AM able to try to make a difference somehow, somewhere for someone.
In Peace and Love,