OCTOBER 19, 2006 ? PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: SIBLING DEATH FROM A LONG TERM ADDICTION:? ROD COLVIN who lost his brother, Randy, age 35, to a drug addiction in 1988. Randy?s death inspired Rod, a former journalist, to write Prescription Drug Addiction?The Hidden Epidemic.? Rod currently is the publisher of Addicus Books out of Omaha, Nebraska. From 2003 to 2005, Rod served on an advisory panel to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), Columbia University, which produced ?Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Prescription Drugs in the U.S.,? a landmark study on prescription drug abuse in the U. S. Tune in as Gloria and Heidi talk with Rod about what you can do when a loved one is deep into drug addiction and how to cope.? www.presriptiondrugaddiction.com www.addicusbooks.com
Rod Colvin:? We siblings are sometimes called the forgotten survivors.? Early on, the first few years after my brother?s death, people would come up to me and say, well, how?s your mother doing?? And in reality, I think she was doing better than I was.? She didn?t live with my brother any more.? He lived in the same town as me and had for the last six years.? We were buddies.? We talked often.? It seemed outwardly that she was perhaps handling it better than I was but people were more interested in her grief than mine.?
Rod Colvin:? It really called into question my mortality.? At 38, you?re not thinking a whole lot about dying, but I thought, my God, if my little brother?s going to die, if he can die, I can die, too, and that called me to think about my life goals and what I wanted to do which sounds like it does mean that?s sort of a positive effect, but it was such a rude awakening.? I think, my God, I?m mortal also.? You think at that stage in our life, we?re sort of thinking we?re invincible and will live forever.
Rod Colvin:? People are extremely ashamed and embarrassed about addiction.? It?s a culture I think we still tend to see it somewhat as a moral issue, a moral weakness.? I prefer to see it as a disease.? If we?re diagnosed with diabetes or some other chronic condition, we?re certainly going to get help and it?s not embarrassing or shameful, but addiction carries the stigma of shame and embarrassment and I think shame is one of the most destructive emotions there is.
Rod Colvin:? It was five years before I felt strong enough or had the idea come to me that I would write this book and I have to tell you, writing that book and having this website has been so, frankly, healing for me.? I thought I was doing it to help others and I think it has helped people who are looking for information, but sometimes I get letters from people saying that they have been in the throes of addiction and they came across my book and that it really helped them.? And I thank them profusely and let them know that any action they took toward recovery well certainly they deserve the credit.? But I cannot tell you how healing and how heartening it is when I get those letters to know that out of my deep personal loss, I did a little something that helped somebody else.? Every letter, eighteen years later, when I read those stories, I get tears in my eyes.? That?ll come as a real shock to you, won?t it?? But it?s very healing and very helpful.
Rod Colvin:? Addicts aren?t having fun.? People tend to think addicts are having fun.? They are not having fun.? They are in a lot of pain and they?ve got a monkey on their back and they?ve got an addiction to feed, and I tell them, ?I wonder if your family knew how much you are hurting, how badly they would feel if they knew they weren?t able to help you.?? If I had a child that was hurting and suffering and I wasn?t being allowed to help them, I would be devastated.
Rod Colvin:? Well, a few months ago, I had gone to Compassionate Friends right after my brother first died, and then I didn?t go for a number of years, but then about a year ago, I started leading a subgroup, if you will, of the adult siblings at our monthly meetings and, I?m telling you, I think it?s nourishing for people who come there but for me, whether I?ve just gone as a regular attendee or if I?m leading this group, the environment is so nourishing.? For those who are listening and who are newly grieved, I would encourage you to go to one of these meetings because it may be, for me, it was one of the only places in the world I could go to, be full of a room full of people who knew my pain, who knew the anguish, and there is nurturing there, and it is so, so helpful to go.? It certainly was for me.? I don?t mean to preach, but it was for me.
Rod Colvin:? I guess the knowledge that our psyches, our hearts, our emotions as human beings, we do have a normal process that will lead us toward healing at the time we?re in that horrible, gut-wrenching grief that doesn?t seem possible and even when people tell you that the time will help and that you will get better, it just doesn?t seem possible, but I think if we will give ourselves the path, and give ourselves room to grieve and do what?s natural, that we can heal and recover.? The loss is always there.? I wanted that to go away.? That loss is there but the anguish and the ache subsides with healing.