When a junkie dies. (Very Long)

Jeff was a junkie. There were times he would have sold his soul for just one fix. Over the years he lost everything that mattered to him but he was okay with that because he no longer needed them. He just needed that one fix to make it through the next few hours and then he could think about how he would stop using and get everything back. But just that one fix first.

He was a beautiful man with an enormous heart. He made me laugh. Really laugh. I lived for seven years with an alcoholic SO and Jeff lived with us, off and on, for all of those seven years. He kept me sane and whole and alive. He’d stand up for me and I’d stand up for him and somehow we leaned on each other just enough that we could both stand up and face life most days. When my ex would tell me I was garbage, Jeff would tell me I was special. When life would tell him he was not worth it, I would tell him he was valuable. He was my buddy.

He had a childhood filled with the kind of sexual and physical abuse that makes you cringe to hear about. As an adult he never got over it and even with therapy he had a rage inside him he could never make disappear.

I have not spoken to Jeff in five years. Five years. Wow. The last time I saw him was when he called me, strung out and looking like death, needing money. I gave him one hundred dollars and never saw him again.

He died alone. No one looked for him for three days and even then it was his landlord who went searching. No friends calling. No family wondering where he’s at. No one.

No one was searching for him because slowly but surely we had all cut him out of our lives. One by one we all gave up on him and severed the ties. No one could handle the pain of watching him destroy his life. No one could afford to bail him out of the debt he owed his latest supplier. No one could handle the lies he told us just to get a few bucks out of our pockets. A few dollars this time, twenty the next, a few hundred the third, until he knew he’d get no more and disappear from your life. And every one of us would have, and many times did, pay his rent, buy him food, whatever, if that is what he needed it for. But no, it was us working and forking over the cash because he was a junkie and needed the fix. We couldn’t let him look us in the eye and tell us one more lie with that awful desperation in his voice and his sunken face creased with the pain of needing money for drugs. He was past caring who he hurt but it was killing us to let him do it to us.

At a party thrown for my ex when he was getting married last year my family saw Jeff there. None of his friends would talk to him except to be polite. My family spent the night chatting with him because they loved him and missed him and afterwards they said he was almost his old self. That night he told my dad, “My life would be complete if Jawofech came walking in that door right now and gave me a big hug”, but I was out of town and did not make it to the party. Shortly after that he started using again and dropped out of sight.

My youngest sister has a picture taken at a New Years Eve party we had in 1991. It shows her and Jeff, their arms around each other, their foreheads touching, mouths wide open in hysterical laughter. He is so full of life in that picture. He was happy that night. One of so very few times in all of his 39 years that he was truly happy.

It’s not like Jeff never got a break in life. He was handsome and intelligent. He was witty and quick. He could have been something besides a junkie. The breaks his friends tried to give him throughout his life just never came at the right time for him. When he needed the help the most was when he could not take it. He was far too addicted to want the help then. When he stopped using for the short times that he did he was too proud to accept the help and would not take it then either. His breaks in life were just all out of sync with his needs.

I went to his funeral yesterday. It broke my heart. How do you mourn someone that you loved so much but whose death is unquestionably their own doing?

Because he was not found for three days he was cremated due to the condition of his body. I think if there had been a body to see it might have been more real. Last night I kept thinking that maybe he is not really dead. As stupid as it is I kept kind of hoping that he was just making people think he was dead because he owes the wrong person too much money this time and has taken off. Should I prefer he is living that way? Probably not.

My husband thinks it has been unhealthy for me this week to go around pretending this just never happened like I have been so I decided to write this to maybe work some of it out.

This post is in the pit because of what I want to say to Jeff.

Jeff, Fuck You.

Fuck you for not having the balls to quit the drugs. Fuck You for traveling down the same damn path, year after fucking year, when you knew, you had to fucking know, where it would lead. Fuck you for making us all doubt ourselves yesterday, wondering what else we could have, should have, done. Fuck you for making us stand there with your family, who you hated for some damn good reasons, watching them call all the shots on what happened to you after you were dead when every single one of your fucking friends knew you would have been horrified to see the crap going on yesterday led by those idiots. Fuck you for making me weep, something you never would have done in life. Fuck you for making me defend your death to those who’ve said “well, he chose that life, he kind of deserved it”. And Fuck You for choosing that life anyhow. Fuck you for destroying all of Wade’s dreams that one day you would clean up and the two of you could finally be together. Fuck you for making us listen to Wade sob with a grief so raw it killed us to listen to it. Fuck You Jeff. Fuck You because despite everything I loved you so and always will.

Sweet Jesus I will mourn you buddy. I will weep for you for a very, very long time my sweet messed up friend.

I don’t believe in heaven but if anyone deserves to go there my buddy Jeff does. It’d be nice to see him finally get a break he couldn’t refuse.

I don’t really have anything to say - I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking of you.

Wow. I’m sorry for your loss, jawofech.

thank you for your OP, it reached my heart.

i find it difficult to describe my feelings right now, dont know if they are of love of life or sorrow to death.

bj0rn - thank you again.

Your post has made me cry. No words for that.

Take care.


Yeah, what Marcus said.


I’ve been through the situation you describe, more than once. The combination of sorrow and anger you feel is more than overwhelming. All I can tell you is that the anger will eventually go away, but the sorrow won’t. It will subside with time, but it’s always going to hurt when you think of it.

I feel like, having been through this, that there is something profound that I should be able to tell you. But I don’t have anything. Nothing I or anyone else can say will make this time easier for you, just stay strong – It will get better. I don’t know what I can offer you, but if you want to talk any more, my email is in my profile.

RIP Jeff.

And RIP, Jesse and Corey. :frowning:

I’ve been in the situation of watching some one you love slowly kill themselves (more than once, sad to say).

my thoughts are with you.

jawofech, there is nothing I can say that’ll offer any kind of comfort except that you helped keep me sober another day.


Okay. I am the master of holding in my emotions at all costs (living with an alcoholic for 7 years who only allows you to nod in agreement with everything he says will do that I suppose) and I am slightly embarrassed that I was so open about how I am feeling on here. However, my husband was right (and the first one who tells him that will get such a smack) in that it was slightly liberating to vent. I don’t feel so bottled up.
** Marcus, AudreyK, bj0rn, Francesca, Dev Null **and **wring ** Thank you for the kind words and thoughts. They are very much appreciated.

** mouthbreather ** I am very sorry for the loss of your friends. This is a terrible way to lose someone you love. I hope you are right about getting over the anger because, quite frankly, I am angry that I am even angry at him. If that makes any kind of sense. In all the years I knew him I was, at times, disappointed or annoyed or upset with him but I was never ever just plain old Pissed Off at him. Of all the things I am feeling I hope this leaves because it makes me so sad that now, of all times, I am really angry at him.

** MsRobyn ** Thank you and I am glad to hear you are sober. I have not used in over seven years now. I realized my own potential to become an addict early and quit before it got too far out of hand. Some people can handle it, some of us can’t. Keep with it and congratulations of staying sober.

My sister made me giggle at the cemetery when she mentioned that the purple velvet bag they placed his urn in looked remarkably similar to a Crown Royal bag. There could be nothing more fitting then for him to be buried in a whiskey bag. He would have laughed.

In my humble opinion, you’ve got it wrong. Don’t be angry or sad with the feelings you are having now. See, I did have times were I was legitimately pissed off at them before they died, and I was pissed off at each of them when the died. You have every right to be angry now. For me, it’s the times that I was angry with them (which were partially me fault) that bother me. At least Jeff only knew (mostly) positive things from you. I have regrets about things I said and did when each of them were alive that can’t be changed, and can never be.

But anger at the ultimate selfishness and stupidity of the act that took them away from us is a very valid and normal response. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that anyone close to them who is/was NOT angry about it might want to examine just how much they valued that person’s life.

Almost a decade ago, I lost a friend in much the same way. He was brave, and smart as hell, and strong, and noble, and addicted. He died.

I wasn’t into it the same way he was; I tried the hard stuff, but only twice. I was lucky. I got clean a few years later. And soon thereafter, found a guy who was smart, and brave, and strong, and funny, and addicted. He was trying to quit. The whole three years we went out, he was in various stages of trying to quit.

It’s been two years since I kicked him out of my life. He’d violated my trust in every way I could think of, multiple times. But he was so smart, and so funny, and so brave, that I kept trying with him; it could have been so good. But it wasn’t. And I hoped, for a long time, that without me around, he might find a way to get clean and stay that way.

A couple of nights ago, I found myself searching public court records for a particular case, and thought of my ex. I looked him up. Two arrests, robbery and armed robbery, since I saw him last.

Brad, I wish I could know you’re doing well. I wish I could think of some way to help you find the happiness you deserve. I wish you could know how much I cared, I still care for you. I wish I could tell you how much I miss you. How much I’m afraid for you.

But my life is much better since I threw you out. And I couldn’t find a way to help you in the three years we were together. And I can’t think of anything that I could do now. Except hope that maybe you will find what you need to get away from that shit, and become the charming, funny, brilliant guy I kept hoping would be in my life for good.

Oh jawofech, what a post. My thoughts are with you.

And with Jeff, because I used to be Jeff (well, not a guy, but you know). I would have done anything to get what I needed, whatever that might have been. Lie? No problem. Steal? Sure, piece of cake. Destroy the people who loved me the most? Sorry, but you just don’t understand. Give (or sell) the most precious parts of myself to strangers for next to nothing? Hurts a little, but hell, who needs a soul anyway?

That’s in the past now, thank God. Over ten years later, it seems like another life, or someone else’s life. Until I read a post like that. Like MsRobyn, I’m pretty sure I won’t drink or use tonight after reading it.

Sweetie, there are no easy answers and no pat solutions. Yes, maybe at first Jeff chose his path, but later the path may have chosen him. Love him, mourn him, and remember him. That way, the next time you meet him (or someone just like him), you may have something you can pass on.

My brain knows you are right but my emotions are flipping around from anger to sorrow and I guess I’m finding it a bit confusing. I feel badly that you feel you have unresolved issues with your friends. I was thinking today about all the times I turned Jeff away when he needed money and about how I’d feel guilty then for doing it. But the more I thought about it today the more I knew that Jeff knew I loved him and how special he was to me. I think, even when he was mad that I refused to pay for his addiction, he knew I would have done anything else if he’d asked. I’m going to take some comfort in that anyhow. I hope you can do the same and think your friends would understand that even through the anger you cared what happened to them.

** MrVisible ** Thank you for sharing your story. Not that I would ever wish this on anyone but it is somehow comforting to know that other people have been through this. That someone else understands that Jeff was more than just a junkie, so very much more. Yes, it was a big part of who he became but it was not the whole man.

That about sums it up I think. Like I said in my OP, I had not seen Jeff in five years but I don’t think he had a choice on where he was headed any longer. My ex last spoke to Jeff about a year ago and even then it was to ream him out for trying to scam money out of my ex’s grandfather, something Jeff would never have done if he were thinking clearly. My own father, who Jeff respected more than just about anyone I think, was conned into giving him cash more than once in the last two years. So I think you’re right. I think Jeff was just following the only path left for him in the end. I’m still pissed off that he walked right past so many open doors and forks in the road without so much as a turn of his head. Logically I know that he probably could not have veered off course even if he wanted to but I tell ya, I’d really like to be able to kick his hairy ass right down whatever the last fork on it was.