Teen strug­gles af­ter heroin ad­dic­tion claims dad’s life

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BU­REN

DEAR ABBY: I’m 15. I lost my dad two months ago. I found him when I got out of the shower. He had over­dosed on heroin.

Heroin con­trolled Dad’s life ever since I was lit­tle, but that never stopped me from be­ing me. My fam­ily has had it pretty rough, but that never stopped me from be­ing me, ei­ther.

I can’t process the thought of los­ing my dad com­pletely. I’m scared with­out him. The men­tal pic­ture comes back to me ran­domly through­out the day. I can’t take it any­more. I know he’s at peace now, but I still feel like it’s my fault that he’s dead be­cause I took a shower and wasn’t with him. I feel like it should have been me, not him. He had just got­ten out of jail a month be­fore he died.

I can’t keep cry­ing my­self to sleep. I need a way to cope and right now I feel like I’m at rock bot­tom and can’t re­turn. I just want to be nor­mal like the kids I go to school with. Why can’t I be a nor­mal teen? — ROCK BOT­TOM TEEN

DEAR ROCK BOT­TOM: I am so sorry for what you have been go­ing through. You ARE a nor­mal teen, and in my opin­ion, you are much more re­silient than you think you are.

You have had a ter­ri­ble shock, and in ad­di­tion to the nor­mal griev­ing process, you may be suf­fer­ing from sur­vivor guilt. Your fa­ther did NOT die be­cause you took a shower. He died be­cause he had a heroin ad­dic­tion he couldn’t con­quer.

It is very im­por­tant that you talk with a grief coun­selor and pos­si­bly join a grief sup­port group. If your fam­ily can’t ar­range coun­sel­ing for you, please talk with a school coun­selor or your cler­gyper­son. There is a light at the end of this dark tun­nel, and you’ll start see­ing it once you get some pro­fes­sional help.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been read­ing your col­umn for years, but never thought I’d have to write to you. This year my aunt hosted a fam­ily din­ner and did a won­der­ful job — ev­ery­thing was de­li­cious. There was only one prob­lem. She was up­set (ev­ery­one at the ta­ble could see it and feel the ten­sion) be­cause I ate “too much” meat and she didn’t have enough for left­overs.

I did eat more than ev­ery­one else that night (doesn’t hap­pen of­ten), but I say if the food is on the ta­ble, it’s fair game. If you don’t want peo­ple to eat it, don’t serve it. I’m ask­ing for an of­fi­cial rul­ing, please. — OVER­ATE IN BUF­FALO

DEAR OVER­ATE: A gra­cious host or host­ess should not be­come up­set if a guest eats the food that’s pre­sented. If the host or host­ess doesn’t want guests to pol­ish off ev­ery­thing that has been pre­pared, the food should be plated in ad­vance.

● Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Bu­ren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.


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