One day at a time

 

Jessica Daily is a woman who has dealt with a devastating tragedy—one that seems to happen all too often with the youth in todays society. More frequently than not, teenagers and young adults lose their lives to overdose from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Too many millennials are formulating toxic dependencies on narcotics and unhealthy substances, and it’s become a major epidemic.

 

For Jessica, losing the man she loved to addiction prompted her to deal with her own addictions. While she struggled with her grief, Jessica also had to find a way to cure her alcoholism.

 

I knew Jessica from high school and we became fast friends. I remember how much fun I use to have with her and our mutual friend, Kirsten, going out to eat, dancing or just hanging out. As we grew older, we had more responsibilities that didn’t allow us to get together as often anymore, however, Jessica always remained friendly and would check up on me every now and then.

 

That’s when Jessica reached out to me with one of her own personal stories she wanted to share filled with riveting triumph, painful loss, and regaining a better love for herself.

 

A little over a year ago, Jessica’s then-boyfriend, Patrick, overdosed on heroin. Prior to Patrick’s passing, the couple had been together for about eight months. Jessica describes her relationship with Patrick as special, explaining that they fell in love fast. She felt herself around him and knew right away how gentle and kind he was. They met at a rehabilitation center and quickly became comfortable and non-judgmental with each other.

 

Jessica and Patrick

During their eight-month long relationship, it seemed Jessica didn’t drink as much, and Patrick was completely sober up until the point of his death.

 

In early November 2016, a Thursday, that morning Patrick had drove Jessica to work. She left her apartment key at home because Patrick was supposed to come back later after her shift to pick her up. It was normal for them to text throughout the day and by 1:45 in the afternoon, Jessica recalls Patrick not answering his phone.

 

At first, she suspects he fell asleep and took a midday nap. Then as 3:30 PM rolls around, worry sets in and something doesn’t feel right; he normally doesn’t nap for too long. Jessica excessively calls and texts his phone only to find her messages unanswered. Her shift ends and when Patrick doesn’t show up to bring her home, without hesitating Jessica anxiously walks towards her apartment as fast as she possibly can. Once she made it back she called the maintenance guy because the door to her apartment was locked and she couldn’t get in. The maintenance guy had managed to get the bottom lock open, but the top latch was still hooked to the door. Although Jessica couldn’t get in she could still see far enough inside the apartment where Patrick was laying on the floor motionless. She kept trying to reach her hand inside to get the top latch unlocked. The maintenance guy asked her if someone was in there? At that moment Jessica couldn’t say anything, all she could do was nod her head yes.

 

It took the maintenance man a minute to realize how serious this was, and he busted down the door and then quickly called an ambulance. Patrick had already been gone for about four or five hours and there was nothing they were going to be able to do. He was gone at just 25 years old.

 

Jessica postulates her reminiscing of Patrick’s death,

 

“It’s extremely hard. I still have flash backs and dreams about it. I’ve done some therapy to ease the memories, but it doesn’t do much to work. It doesn’t get easier it just gets different. I still go through the stages of grief.” Jessica still drank inordinately and more so once Patrick was gone. She knew in her heart that she had an addiction problem with alcohol. Jessica, reflecting on her revelation to getting sober says, “If I don’t get help now it’s possible that I will end up dying trying to cope with him dying.”

 

A little bit after Patrick’s passing, Jessica’s family were going on vacation and didn’t want to leave her alone to brood about the painful loss, so they took her along. Jessica promised her parents she wouldn’t drink while on vacation, but at one point the memories of Patrick mixed with her dangerous dependency on alcohol tempted her and alas she gave in. Her stepmother found her so intoxicated to the point where breathing slowed extremely, and Jessica could not be woken up. Her stepmother worried that Jessica was dead.

 

That was the turning point. She did not want to put her parents through what Patrick’s parents had gone through, and knew it would be disrespectful to his honor if she continued down this spiraling path of defeat.

 

Jessica told herself, “I have to go get help and I have to actually do it this time.”

 

She had to start somewhere and, so first she mentally set herself up for the task, by cutting away the toxic substances and the toxic people from her life. Then she had to physically focus on her health and emotionally better her well-being to pull away from liquor. Every day from there on out will be a constant struggle. It hasn’t always been easy for her and temptation creeps in every now and then, but she remembers that feeling of complete depression when she is intoxicated and realizes it never helped to mask the pain in the first place…

 

She repeatedly questioned herself:

 

“I hate the way it makes me feel. I feel guilty, horribly hung over, and wrong. So, I had to ask myself why am I doing this? Why would I want to do this?”

 

And the answers became clearer and clearer to her.

 

Currently, Jessica has been sober now for a little over three months and continues to strive in becoming as healthy as she can. She doesn’t continue to be sober just for her loved ones, but for herself and her well-being which is critical to becoming a now clean and former addict.

 

Living her best life.

 

A young woman she may be, but there isn’t anything she cannot accomplish no matter how rough, or painful, and tragic the circumstances; she has triumphed as one strong individual. Patrick, for sure, would be proud to know the woman he has loved during the last eight months of his life has not given up fighting for hers.

 

As she continues to stay sober and be determined for a better life, Jessica’s future is certainly bright, and Patrick will always remain in her heart.

 

Jacqueline

Jacqueline Jewell is a Marketing and Public Relations Consultant at an ecofriendly marketing firm in Media. With a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Immaculata University, Jacqueline loves the world of broadcast media and compelling raw news stories. Jacqueline loves to write poetry, song lyrics, and as well as short stories. When Jacqueline is not writing or working, she usually spends her time with her loving son, going hiking in state parks, playing basketball, painting, dancing, and watching science fiction thriller films. Jacqueline’s heroes include Walter Cronkite, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Margaret Fuller.