This was clearly the most devastating thing that had ever happened. None of us even knew what to do with ourselves anymore. It had always been us three, you know? Brandon, Brady, and Ben.Three peas in a pod and all that.
When we got the worst possible present for Christmas, it was almost impossible to understand or believe. We had never even realized Ben was using heroin. I think that is part of what hurt the most, that we had really missed all the signs.
People who use drugs are often really good at hiding it. Some people manage to function fairly well, and if we aren’t looking for signs of abuse, we aren’t seeing them. It wasn’t like mom was going through his room to seek out dirty needles. Ben had asked for privacy, which was reasonable enough, so we all gave t to him.
No one had wanted to put too much pressure on him. He wasn’t fragile, but he had been through a lot, you know?
Looking back on it I wish we had known more about what to look for and had been ready to help him handle it all.
There are a lot of signs of drug addiction out there, and it seems silly now that we didn’t see the obvious. If we had then maybe we could have gotten Ben the appropriate heroin addiction treatment that he needed.
Heroin addiction symptoms are really not hard to notice, but it was the winter and Ben was a guy, so it wasn’t strange for him to wear a jacket every day. Now that we look back on it none of us recall having seen his arms in months. That means we totally missed the telltale black track marks on his inner arm.
He was always refilling his pills and always seemed fatigued. He’d even lost weight, but we attributed all of that to his pain. We didn’t want to intrude in his safe space, and it felt like he needed to be treated normally, so that is what we did.
That was our worst mistake.
Every day I wish we could have known and gotten help. Our city alone had multiple Narcotics Anonymous meetings that he could have gone to so that he could know he wasn’t alone. That’s a great way to get support from people who understand what he was going through, especially because he thought he could not confide in us. Yes, we all still have this mind “if we could notice, we could help” and we all still have a feeling of guilt for not being attentive enough. We began to visit the psychotherapist with the whole family, he helped us to feel the splashes, because, as it turned out, we all experienced this common grief as personal. Guilt is normal, but it’s still hard for us to get rid of it. Now we really want to help others prevent what happened with us. Carefully read this article and take a look, maybe your loved one now needs help.