A grim reminder on the danger of addiction. RIP Wesley

Recently I (Facebook) friended a man I hadn’t seen since 2010, when I met him in rehab. He was a good guy. He annoyed me a little at first, because when he heard that I was a computer programmer, like so many others he assumed that I had some sort of magical ability to fix computer problems, and asked me to fix something on his iTunes. I found it annoying that he had a notebook there too, while I had nothing. Anyway, even though I had never seen iTunes before, I fixed his computer problems, and won both his respect and his friendship. (I recall it was not an iTunes problem, but a Windows file association issue that was easy to fix.)

I’d forgotten all about him until a few months ago, when I decided to send him a friend request in Facebook. He was living in Thailand, having started as an English teacher and then decided to work in a tattoo shop. Up until last month, he was posting pictures of himself and his new girlfriend, partying it up.

I don’t know the circumstances of his death, and there isn’t a notice about it either… just lots of RIP comments from those closer to him. This is the third death I know of among those who were with me in Careline in 2010, and also the third young man who died despite being more than ten years younger than me. Wesley should have lived far longer than he did.

Edit: “I’m sorry I make you sad” on his girlfriend’s profile (among other things, so she is struggling with his death), so it looks like a suicide. No warning signs… His last posts looked happy-go-lucky and he was so far from friends and family, nobody could have seen this coming and helped him. This is a terrible tragedy, and I feel for his girlfriend. Their relationship reminds me of my own a few years ago, which could so easily have ended as theirs has.

This is a grim reminder, not only about the perils of addiction, but about the awful truth when it comes to recovery. Not everybody you meet in rehab stays clean. Hell, I didn’t get it right straight away and didn’t clean up for good until more than three years after that rehab. You make friends, often with good people who happen to be addicts, and get to know them while they are clean… But most of them will not stay that way. Some will return to drugs immediately, and many will stay clean for a few months and then go back. And some of them will die doing so.

It’s hard to take anything positive out of this, knowing that a good man who was loved by all who knew him, died far too soon and too young. If anything, let this be a warning to you who try to clean up but don’t get it right straight away. Don’t give up, and don’t allow yourself to be seduced by the good times that a life with drugs might present. Those good times will be short lived, and so might you.

Edit: (Oops. I can’t figure out how to add annotations using Windows Live Writer.) Since I have mentioned that rehab by name, I should mention that it is a good rehab. It’s a Christian rehab, which annoyed me, but I enjoyed my time there after the initial shock of being treated like a child. They run a good program – a basic three months program and an extended two year program (although I believe that two years in rehab is a bad idea, because you need to function in society and you risk being institutionalized by staying there too long). The fact that thee people I met there are now dead has nothing to do with the rehab or the program itself. Staying clean is difficult until you find a way that works for you, and most people who go to rehab, regardless of where they go and how good the rehab is, will probably not stay clean. That’s just the way it is.

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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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2 Responses to A grim reminder on the danger of addiction. RIP Wesley

  1. pluviolover says:

    I am sorry to hear about this. It is all so dangerous in so many ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jerome says:

      This wasn’t even somebody I knew well, as I last saw him more than six years ago in my three month stint at that rehab. But he was posting his happy-go-lucky Facebook updates until June, and answered a question about where he was (from someone else), saying that he had “started a new adventure” in Thailand. he also shared a meme after the passing of Mahammad Ali – as so many people did.

      So this reminded me of the fragility of life – reminded me that it can all be over so suddenly and when least expected. One day he was posting about how happy he was, and then he was gone. It looks like he had an argument with his girlfriend, and maybe overreacted to his feelings of sadness… coming down feels just like depression because of the lack of dopamine, and I know of several people who killed themselves (or tried) on a downer. (It was most likely not an overdose because he was not a heroin addict.) Now his girlfriend is left having to cope with his death, left wondering if it is her fault.

      I may be wrong to imply that he was using drugs (but I didn’t include his full name anyway) because I don’t know for sure, but it seems like a reasonable assumption… When a person’s status updates includes mostly photos of them in pubs and so on, and photos of them having a good time, it’s a sure sign… Most of our status updates don’t look like that, so it’s an indication of priorities gone wrong, of someone who got lost and never found their way home.

      Liked by 2 people

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