Yesterday, the world was rocked by two, different, yet significant deaths.
Like many, I awoke to the news that His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away aged 99. As The longest consort (Companion to the sovereign) in history, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II must be beside herself, having lost her husband of 73 years.
By early afternoon, news broke that Earl Simmons, DMX, had passed away, aged 50. Passing one week after an overdose, DMX's death was anticipated, yet still difficult to process.
These two men lived, lived in stark contrast to each other. You get the sense of how short DMX's life was compared to The Duke of Edinburgh...Prince Phillip was almost, well pretty much, twice as old as DMX was, passing away at 99, and 50 respectively.
DMX's sudden departure from this world was a direct result of his substance abuse. Naturally I thought of his family, his 15 children, and his legions of fans. However, I thought about how many people were triggered by his passing of an overdose. How hard this must have been for so many who love a person struggling with substance abuse?
It's the call no one wants to receive, but many have. Some struggles end this way, in loss of life. Others may struggle with getting a loved one help, and the frustration brought about by their inability, or lack of desire, to seek the life saving treatment they require.
It's a mixed bag of emotions loving a family member, or friend with substance abuse...
Understand, they have a disease, and it's not something you have the cure for. Unless you are educated and specifically trained to help with addiction, more than likely, there are limits to how effective you can be in your quest to help them.
It's necessary with addicts to have proper and healthy boundaries. We tend to think the addict is in control of their substance abuse. They aren't. They are sick. Addiction is a disease, just like any other disease. Yet, them being sick, is no reason for you to allow them, and their disease to disrupt your life.
It's okay to say no to your loved one. It's okay to distance yourself. It's okay to tell them they have to leave. It's okay to leave the marriage. It's okay to end the friendship.
Letting the person continue to cause you damage and harm, because you fear the worst, and sadly what may be the inevitable loss of life, is not good for you. Without the willingness and cooperation of the addict, there really isn't much you can do.
The road ahead for DMX's family isn't an easy one. They have much to reconcile and my hope is they have access to the support of licensed mental health professionals during this time.
Death is a bitter pill, whether it be at aged 50, or 99. However, The Royal Family, grief in tow, have much to celebrate for the long life of Prince Phillip. They have 99 reasons to rejoice, and then some.
If you're reading this, and you struggle with substance abuse, just ask yourself...which side of the grief spectrum would you want your family to be on right now? Do you want them to be like the Royal Family, celebrating your long life? Or, do you want them to be like the Simmons family, saddled with unnecessary anguish at the bitterness of your short life?
We send our deepest condolences to both the Royal Family, and the Simmons Family.