I Work in a Treatment Center. This is What Happens When a Patient Overdoses.

It’s a very confusing feeling losing a patient to an overdose.

As an employee at a treatment center, we often find ourselves fighting harder than the patients for their recovery. We beg and plead with them to follow our suggestions. But isn’t that strange? It goes against what my own personal program of recovery tells me I should do.

Logically, I understand that I, or anyone else for that matter, cannot save anyone. I cannot make someone decide to stop using. I cannot improve someone’s life for them. Conceptually all of this makes sense to me. Emotionally, it does not.

I’ve had the horrifying displeasure of experiencing the loss of handfuls of patients who refuse to embrace a better way of life. They simply refuse to believe that their ultimate demise can be at the hands of a substance.

My first thought when I receive the news of another overdose death immediately goes to the families. I don’t know that type of loss and I pray I never have to. It’s a pain I can only imagine but have nothing to truly relate it to. The heartache is real. It’s raw. It is unbearable, I’m sure.

It seems, recently, many of us hear about another death from this brain disease every day. This leads to automatic desensitization after a while. It’s natural. Our brains can only handle so much before it evolves. We still feel it but it, sort of, effects us as if it isn’t real. Only a nightmare that if we wait long enough, we will awake from.

That is why I say it’s confusing. It hurts each and every time and, to be honest, some hurt more than others.

At the same time, I don’t feel it as much as my brain thinks I should.

A person I was just looking at, speaking to, laughing with, is now gone…the thought is physically draining. On one hand, I am aware and saddened by the loss but on the other, I am unconsciously numb to it.

Again it’s confusing. My brain tells me to be sad but I, for some reason, cannot let myself fully feel it. Perhaps that is a form of protection one’s brain puts in place when you work a job like this. The Automatic Desensitization I spoke of.

I’m tired. Frustrated. Short fused. Impulsive. All characteristics that no longer come natural to me. It’s like my body is mourning the losses but there is a disconnect between my body and my brain.


I find myself questioning society:
Why don’t you understand?
How come you’re not doing more?

I question the addict that is still using too:
Don’t you want to be happy?
Doesn’t your life mean anything to you?
Was that last high worth it?

I’d love to make some grandiose remark that romantically explains that if I could do it, so could you…but I simply don’t feel like doing that.

I want to be idealistic and say that if we all stick together we can effect real change, but I don’t believe that right now.

I am not hopeless. No. Far from it, in fact. I have hope. Hope for myself. Hope for those that understand that the gun is loaded and the hammer is cocked.

Unfortunately, too many are too blind to understand that just because what you are playing with doesn’t look like a gun or feel like a gun, it will still end your life the same.

-Blake C. (Sober Since 12/31/12)