Of dark places and silver linings

I can’t say I was surprised when I heard the news of Cory Monteith’s death. I know the autopsy report will come back as some kind of overdose. When someone has been abusing drugs and alcohol for that long, it’s not a matter of if, but when. That’s the truly heartbreaking part of it. Deep down, you know he chose that way out. He knew sooner or later he would die from the abuse. I feel for everyone who loved him and tried to help him. I lost a dear friend of mine to a heroin overdose about a year and a half ago. One of the last things she told me was the next time she used, she would die. For her, she couldn’t escape the darkness. She didn’t know how to find her way out.

I know what that darkness feels like. I was there 3 years ago. I had so much pain, no name for it, and nothing seemed to help. Drinking would numb it for a time, but then the drunk would wear off, the hangover would set in, and I’d hate myself as much or more than I did when I started. It’s a horrible, lonely place to be in. There were days where it was a challenge to get out of bed and get dressed, much less face the world like a functional human being. I knew I didn’t want to keep living that way. I didn’t want to stay in that darkness. I was lucky to have an amazing support system of people who loved me deeply and helped me in any way they could. I was able to put a name on my pain and start to heal it. I found others like me who could understand the hell I’d been through and come out the other side. I gained an understand that I’ll never truly be “over” my experience because it’s part of who I am now. But it doesn’t have to rule who I am. I can look back on those dark days and know that it did get better. And it will continue to get better. If I’m willing to put in the effort and time on my part, the darkness won’t hang around forever. Part of why I’m so open about my own struggles is that maybe my words can help someone else. If someone else can benefit from my experiences, no matter how terrible, then it’s worth it.

A moment I’ll never forget was as I was driving home the day I’d heard Emily had died. I was driving past the exit to get to her house and I saw a rainbow over about where her house was. It hadn’t been raining that day and there was really no reason to see a rainbow. I took it as a message from her that she was okay and in a much better place. Rest peacefully, Cory. The pain is over now.


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