Why I won’t shut up about overdose prevention sites, an open letter to my dead friends

Dear Jules,

Remember the first time that I asked you if I could call you Jules and you said no and I said that I don’t really care And continued to call you that anyway? Remember when we drove down A1A singing the new blink-182 album, And you made fun of me for saying that one time one of my friends told me I sound like Alicia Keys. And every time you would sing I would turn the music down and listen to you.

I remember swapping poetry and song lyrics all night long, I don’t think anyone has ever and will ever understand my soul the way you did. Without judgement. Without fear. Without hesitation. You were special. I don’t even know what to say.

Remember when I made you pray with me for my bank account to not be empty when I was craving Chipotle? I wonder if you ever look down when I’m praying about something crazy and think “oh god what’s she saying now.” You are one of the best people that I have ever known and it really sucks that I have to use the past tense.

When I think about the last time we talked I feel sick. Be careful in New Jersey. I was worried about going home. You were worried. Nobody was worried about you just spending another weekend in paradise sitting at the beach.

I remember landing back in Fort Lauderdale and turning my phone on to call my ride and I was bombarded with messages that you died. Liars. I called you at least a thousand times. It was true. You were gone.

I wondered if you were alone. I wondered if you had told anyone how hard you were struggling. I wondered if you could have been saved. I wondered and wondered and it didn’t bring you back.

I hoped you found peace and I hoped it didn’t hurt when you passed onto heaven. I hoped you were singing up there.

But all my hoping still hurt my heart. It didn’t feel fair then and it doesn’t feel fair now.

I wonder what would’ve happened if you reached out to someone. I wonder what would have happened if you knew you’d be met with compassion instead of judgement. But people with x amount of time clean can’t struggle the same, right?

All you ever wanted was to feel connected and I can’t help but think that if you had somewhere to go to feel connected to other people that may be life would’ve turned out a little different and maybe I wouldn’t have to write about you in the past tense. You just craved to be around other people that understood you.

I wonder what could have happened if you had a safe place to go and use for one last time. I wonder if it really would’ve been one last time.

What if you could have been around people that understood some of the pain that you have felt and the sadness and the anger. I wonder if you could have talked instead of got high. I wonder if that’s all you really wanted in the first place.

I wonder if any of my dead friends would have been able to go somewhere with narcan and nursing staff, recovering addicts and therapists, would they still be my dead friends? Would they have ever found the peace they were searching for in that one last shot.

I wonder if I would have less dead friends if we met people where they are at instead of judging them for the same disease that once controlled us too? I wonder if less mother’s would have to bury there sons and daughters, if less babies would grow up without mommies and daddies, if less friends would end up dying, if we just offered people the same acceptance and love that we got so freely.

I wonder if we could accept that our way isn’t the only way, and that helping others is the foundation in which your 12 steps are based on, if we would have less dead friends.

Dear Jules, I am still writing. Dear Jules, I’m never shutting up. Dear Jules, I miss you.

And dear Jules, you are not the only person I think about when I think of wishing someone could be back on this earth for one more hour, so I hope your head isn’t getting big up there. Dear Jules, you were the first of many dying friends. Dear Jules and Danielle and Justin and Mason and Liz and Sarah and everyone else who’s life was cut too short, I’m sorry we couldn’t help you heal your pain in time for you to believe it gets better.

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