The unfortunate side of Facebook, the accidentally morbid profiles that become shrines. Addiction takes our lives too soon.

I don’t know if most people are aware of this, but after you die, your Facebook profile remains open. If you’ve been there long enough, sooner or later you will have friends who die, and then their pages become places where they are remembered by their loved ones. So while the messages and photos are posted with love for their lost beloved, those pages become accidentally morbid and really quite depressing.

I have two deceased Facebook friends, whose accounts I can not bring myself to unfriend… I didn’t know about one of them until today.

Firstly there was Joshua McAllister. He wasn’t even thirty (I don’t think) when he took his own life on the 24th December last year. He was an addict who I met in rehab at the end of 2009. He was a sweet guy, a gentle giant, and a bit of an idiot. But he was a good idiot.

I’m sorry to call him that, sorry if any of his family come here and read that, but it is as I remember him. He was a big guy, weighing far too much for someone his age. And he was one of the few genuinely good people I met. He’d never do anybody harm, and was kind and generous to all.

Although everybody loved him, he didn’t have much love for himself. I knew then already that he had tried to commit suicide before, and that he was lonely. In rehab, and in the church we were all forced to attend on Sundays, he found his reason to go on. He’d stand there during the worship, with both arms raised high, singing praises to his imaginary personal god. I couldn’t stand that church. I couldn’t stand that the message of accepting Jesus for your own salvation was so appealing to the weak-minded, desperate people like McAllister (I can’t bring myself to refer to him as Josh because that’s my son’s name) as to give them an apparent solution to their problems. Even though the entire sermon every day at that church was about “seed faith”… forty minutes of bullshit to convince you to give those despicable people money, people desperate for an easy solution to all their problems didn’t see the problems with the church that seemed to give them an answer. I tried… I had long talks with him where I explained exactly why I hated that church, even going so far as to quote what had been said in the sermons, but he didn’t want to hear. He welcomed the message of salvation, coming from those despicable people who had obvious personal wealth that they’d accumulated from people like McAllister.

Yes, he was weak-minded, and I’m sorry to say that too. I had nothing at that time, while he had family nearby and always had sweets and cigarettes. They wee really cheap cigarettes, and I hated the taste, but I knew that when nobody else would give me, I could always turn to him. Even if he had only two left, I could always persuade him to give me one; so desperate was he for friendship – for acceptance. He was such a good person, but was a little too generous, and I took advantage of that.

I don’t think he ever found his way out of depression, but instead relied on the false comfort of his imaginary personal saviour – Jesus Christ. Being credible like he was, was perhaps part of his downfall. Relying on faith in theism and the 12 steps was never the treatment he needed. But it was the accepted way to do recovery, so everybody thought he was doing fine.

My other deceased friend is John White. I never even knew him in person. He was a much older man, aged 49 in the US, who found me via my old blog. He’d struggled with addiction for years, and I thought he was doing fine. (I do not know the circumstances of his death.) He posted regularly on Facebook last year, all about his new house and the work he was doing on it, as well as his new skateboarding hobby; then he stopped posting and I forgot him until yesterday. It turns out that he died suddenly on April 26th, 2015. Here’s a link to his obituary. He was a computer programmer like me, but he was also a brilliant man who achieved many other things in his life.

I’m struggling to conclude anything out of this… Struggling because those were two good people. Both were addicts, but neither was anything like the stereotypes you normally read about or meet. Both were well loved by many (you can see that on their Facebook pages), and would never harm anybody, yet they died too young.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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