Monday, June 24, 2013

Blake's Legacy

I posted this on Facebook three weeks ago, but I wanted to put it here so I can keep everything I've written in one place so I can look back on it.

At the time when I posted it, I never gave context about why I was posting it. From what I've heard, some people thought I did it to send a message to Blake's friends who were struggling with similar problems, but were somewhat in denial about the severity of it. That's actually not true.

The truth is this note was written in response to a girl who had messaged me after hearing what happened to Blake. Her boyfriend is currently in rehab for a similar addiction and she wanted to share that with me. After hearing about what she was going through, I wrote this to share Blake's story, my thoughts about what happened, and how I thought I might have been able to help, but realized that the only way things would've gotten better is if HE wanted to change.

After sending the message to her and getting all of that out, I was filled with a sense of strength and comfort. I decided soon after that maybe sharing what I wrote to her could potentially help other people who were going through something similar with a boyfriend, friend, relative, or daughter/son. I added a conclusion paragraph to solidify what I hoped would be a final message, took out any personal information about her boyfriend, and put it up for everyone to see.

Here it is:
In college, my boyfriend Blake was in an accident where he was injured and subsequently prescribed the pain killer oxycontin throughout his college years. Due to the extremely addictive nature of this drug, he became hooked. This addiction to painkillers eventually lead him to experiment with heroin, which is actually a cheaper, more accesible drug derived from the same source. Blake was admitted into rehab 15 months ago and was clean when he graduated the program. However, the chances of an addict relapsing are extremely high.

Blake died of a overdose a week ago, but unfortunately (fortunately?) the whole time we dated I knew nothing about his continued struggle with addiction. I found out a few days ago that he actually overdosed a month ago too, but neither he nor his roommates told his family or me about it. We were robbed of the opportunity to get him help because we were left completely in the dark.

I am trying to think about it in a positive light and have chosen to believe that Blake knew he was already so far gone and never wanted to burden me with this ugly side of him. He wanted a clean start in life with me (someone very naive about drugs and overall pretty innocent) and never wanted to have me view him as the addict that he was.

On the other hand, if his family and I had known, we would have made sure he was in rehab right now, even if he didn't want to go. But this is something I have really struggled with. From what his roommates (who went to rehab with him) have told me, Blake never really hit rock bottom before he went to rehab last year, so he never thought throughout the whole time he was there that he actually had a problem. Because he never saw himself as an addict, he coasted through rehab and never got the message it was supposed to send him. After putting the pieces together, it seems like it’s possible he started using almost immediately after he got out of rehab.

So now I am thinking that even if I had been given the opportunity to put him into rehab and stuck by his side throughout the process, I am not sure it would have saved him. After he overdosed, his roommates said that Blake was not scared about his mortality, but scared about going back to rehab because that would mean losing everything (his business, the respect of his friends and family, and potentially his relationship with me). This shows me that he STILL didn't think he had a problem even though this time he technically hit rock bottom by overdosing. He wasn't worried about his life even though he almost lost it. He felt immortal and that he had things under control.

I am not trying to be pessimistic and say that if a person is an addict it means his/her only fate is death. I just think the very critical difference is whether or not you understand you have a problem and that you WILL DIE if you don't stay away from every drug (including pain pills and alcohol) for the rest of your life. Until an addict understands that, he/she will never get better. Never.

Blake had told me often that he wanted to marry me and I really believed at the time that I wanted to marry him too. I was, and still am, so incredibly in love with him. I feel like it's almost betraying him saying this, but I now know a marriage or even continuing a relationship with him would have never worked. All it would've done is sucked me in and changed my life.

I am trying to come to terms with the fact that realizing this does not take away from how much I love him. It is just acknowledging the severity of his disease and his mindset that he was not an addict and didn't need help. If he never truly believed he was out of control and needed help, he would have continued to relapse until the day he died. My love and support could have never saved him. He needed to decide he wanted to save himself.

I was about to move in with him in a couple weeks. I can't imagine how much more scarring this whole situation would have been if I had been the one to find him dead. I am very grateful that things worked out the way they did, because I don't really know how I would be able to recover from that. I am glad I never have to find out.

It’s hard to come up with a final message to sum up what I hoped to get across by sharing this story. I guess I can be cliché and say that the first step to recovery truly is admitting you have a problem. In the end, Blake never believed he had a problem and thought he was in control of his drug use the whole time. This was ultimately his downfall. All of the love, support, medical attention, and expert counseling cannot begin to repair you if you are not willing to admit an addiction exists. So please, I am begging you, do not let my wonderful, sweet, talented, and incredibly loving boyfriend die in vain. Look at yourself and admit it in your heart that you have a disease. Let down your defenses and the walls you’ve built up around yourself. The people who love you the most will be proud that you did. Save your life while you still have the chance. 


  1. Wow, just wow.

    I was in decision point with Blake. He was a very kind and genuine guy. I just decided to google some of the guys I was in decision point with and was shocked to hear of his passing. I wish you all the best. It's unfortunate that most of the people I hear about from decision point are back to the same sad cycle.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that people from your program have relapsed. I hope you're taking care of yourself <3

    2. Thanks for the kind words. I was only there for a month but was Blake's roommate when I first got there. It was Blake, Connor, Ryan and I. Connor was a bad influence and was kicked out of the program and had me and Blake in trouble when I first got there (he told me where to buy spice and gave me money on my first day to go get it). After that Blake was doing good and we would hang out and play hackeysack and even talked about doing some music production later down the road. I'm curious as to who his roommates were but I understand if that's hard to talk about.

      Anyways yes, after the month there and seeing people in much more dire states than me and people going through their tenth rehab visit really opened my eyes. I've been sober for 18 months and can't imagine going through that again. I'm in the best shape of my life mentally and physically.

      I wish you all the best, stay strong.

    3. I think I remember Blake telling me the story about getting in trouble and being put on watch. He told me it wasn't his fault, but I really don't know what I believe anymore (not that it matters). It's good to hear he had a friend like you and that he was doing well for a while during that time. He was always trying to start up businesses with people so it totally doesn't surprise me you guys talked about that haha.

      I'm wishing you the best too! If you want to talk more specifically about people or things that happened, find me on facebook and we can send private messages there. Just look up Briana Wagner. My profile picture is still with Blake, so I should be easy to find.

  2. This is an incredible post. My boyfriend, who I lost suddenly last year, also struggled with an addiction of sorts. I too was unaware of it. It's hard not to focus on all of the "what if's" but I've come to realize that the reason Alex didn't tell me about it was because he never would have wanted to scare me- he was always protecting me.

    You're a very brave girl, and a beautiful writer!

    1. I had no idea through your posts that your boyfriend also struggled with addiction. If you don't mind me asking, is that what caused the "accident?"

      I have settled on the conclusion that him hiding it was only to protect me, but it sometimes makes me insecure thinking that he didn't trust me enough to let me in on that part of his life. Which makes me start thinking maybe he didn't love me as much as I thought he did. It's kind of a slippery slope once I allow myself to start going down that road of thinking. Does this ever happen to you, or have you learned to stop doing that?