I do not ever need to know what substances anybody had in their system when they died thank you very much

Every time someone dies and there’s cause for speculation as to what they died from, I yell and scream and claw my face off. I do not ever need to know what substances anybody had in their system when they died thank you very much.

This person died.  That’s all that’s important.  Can we allow people to die please? We allow people to live – barely – can we allow them to die?

This person led a life. Just like you and me. They had their highs and lows and many more moments happened off camera or out of sight than in public.  They had family and people who were around them likely concerned and aware of the issues but these things are not so easily fixed as so many armchair therapists believe they are.

When someone dies, you know the drill – the clamoring starts with “I wonder if it was suicide or if it was pills or if it was booze or drugs or cancer or WHATEVER” and I want to collectively shake all of humanity. Someone dies. We all grieve and are sad.  And then however long goes by and some news surfaces and the smug satisfaction happens.

It’s none of my business what somebody had in their system when they died.  NONE.

People want to have a reason or something to blame.  The people we love and hope for are just human beings. All of them – even the seemingly immortal ones. Human beings fail.  WE ALL FAIL. Does that take away from the kind of life we lead or the contributions we make to society and the world?  NO IT DOES NOT.

People do the best they can with the life they have.  From the outside, we have no idea what their insides looked like.  Can we be so presumptuous as to think we do?

But what if it can help someone?  I don’t think so, and if that’s a justification than you really don’t understand what alcoholism and addiction and mental health demons look like.  If the investigation is conducted and privately revealed to the family and doctors take those findings to learn new things about what can kill people, GREAT.  But we don’t all need to be so gd flippant about tossing in a “oh well once an addict, always an addict.”

Look, I know it’s public and it’s out there, but that doesn’t mean we need to revel in it. Is this helping with empathy and compassion? Because it seems to me to be a way to drag people after they die and that doesn’t seem very empathetic or compassionate.

Love and kindness, love and kindness, love and kindness is what we need.

I’ve watched too many people die from alcohol and drugs to believe that this releasing of details post-mortem changes anybody’s mind.  What changes minds and hearts is education and connection. The sharing of experience strength and hope one on one helps. Moving things forward with science and mental health and deeper understanding of classicism and racism and then gaining the advances we so desperately need.

We need to acknowledge that we are all in pain, yet the degree of that pain can vary from time to time in our lives and we all do the best we can to cope.  Some folks use therapy and find the right mix of community and medication to help them feel better.  Some folks don’t have access to that or chose not to and they don’t make the best decisions on how to deal with things in that season of their lives.  I was one of those people for a while.  I was fortunate to come out the other side and find healthier ways to deal with my pain and depression and anxiety, but it’s still there.  It’s always there.

This is why I share so much.  THIS IS WHY I TALK ABOUT THIS SO MUCH.  Because I have connected with countless folks who tell me they related to what I shared and they stopped drinking or using. Or they have a family member who is trying to get clean and my sharing helps.  BECAUSE OUR CONNECTIONS WITH OTHERS SUFFERING LIKE US HELP.  Sometimes people go back out.  But many times they don’t. None of this is easy.

If we share our secrets and our struggles we feel less alone.  We hear the “me toos”.  This is social media used for good.  I choose to use it this way.  It helps keep me sober.


My kids like to help me pick out my jewelry sometimes.  They of course will pick out flashy rhinestones for a day in the office, but we can usually find a good compromise if I pick something with a good color to it.

I keep my AA sobriety coins in a little box inside my big jewelry box.  One day a couple weeks ago, they were lining them all up and asked what they were.  “Do they add up to a lot of money?”

OK here we go.

I laughed and said, “They cost a lot more than money to receive” which resulted in blank stares of confusion.

I said, “I will tell you more about it when you are a little older, but they mean that I’m a part of this very special club that I worked really hard to get into and stay in. Anybody can join and get these coins if they want to.  They are really important to me and the more I get, the longer I get to be with you two. But this one right here with the hole in it is the most important one.”

I don’t go to meetings nearly as often as I used to, but that 24 hour coin is everything to me.  That’s all I ever really have.

This releasing of intimate details of someone’s death after the fact? It’s not causing folks to get sober. The fact is this person died. Can we leave it alone please? This is pure sensationalism and it’s disgusting. Is this person still dead?  Yes?  Then I think we are done here.  Grieve the life, not the death.  And yes, you can grieve someone you admire from afar as well as someone in your own life. That’s what I have learned in recovery after watching this shit consume too many folks.  Even after a long time sober, it still can get us.  If it happens to me – and I will do my best to let it not but I am only human after all – please grieve my life and not my death.


But you don’t look like an alcoholic

Alcohol is a liar and a thief

What does a whore look like?

Addicts will always die

What it feels like to be an alcoholic

Grant each other the grace to feel all the feelings


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