Copyright © 2011 Kitty L. Garrett
Imagine a world without someone you deeply cared for. There is a sense of emptiness, confusion and a pain so sharp it’s uncontrollable. The realization that your loved one not being able to enjoy life along side you has set in. Now, all the “What Ifs” are rapidly loose in your head. I knew a man his name was Nowak, creativity poured from his being. His confidence and wisdom was commendable. Yes, he taught me a lot; I learned so much and lost a valuable person the day he died.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 was the day my world stood still. Even though, Nowak was one of the most intriguing men I ever had the pleasure of knowing. He still battled tons of demons. This past year, those demons destroyed any mental stability Nowak had.
As a result, the lethal combinations of Alcohol Addiction and extreme Depression took his life. Before his passing, I saw this disease quickly take over his thinking. He was like family and I took action, several times I begged him to get medical attention. Nowak then, seeming to have a clear mind refused. As each day came and went the man I once knew was slipping away. With each “NO” my heart broke more. I sought out many city outlets to intervene, called law enforcement and cried out “Please, Help Save This Man’s Life!” Their hands were tied because he was still coherent and refusing to go to the hospital. They could not forcibly make him get medical treatment. Nowak was estranged from his family; the only person he depended on was me.
My last hope was another city agency. Keeping in prayer, I dialed the number. The organization gave immediate response, took my statement, signed off on legal documents, consulted with their supervisors and told me to “Re-Call 9-1-1 and give them these papers”. Rushed to make the call, within less than 10 minutes the paramedics was at Nowak’s house. They took him to the hospital. I felt relieved, he had a fighting chance at life or so I thought. I would go and visit him at the hospital. He seemed to be doing better and the doctors were doing everything possible to keep him alive. Sadly it wasn’t enough, Nowak survived for only 3 weeks after being registered into the hospital. The constant neglect of his body and health took a deadly toll.
It was than; I realized just how horrific alcohol addiction is. The disease truly destroys a person from the inside out. Until this day, I am puzzled not understanding why or how someone could stop wanting to live. Not wake up, embrace the sunshine, go beyond the darkest moments of life and keep fighting for survival. Especially knowing how much you mean to everyone in your life. How can one just give up! Even though, I couldn’t walk in Nowak’s shoes… I could still see and feel his anguish. But I prayed to God that he would go into rehabilitation and get sober, continue to fight for life. The day I was yearning for never came. He surrendered to his demons, the addiction and his depression. The world lost yet another great person to a treatable disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 75,000 lives will be lost due to alcohol. Alcohol abuse is the third leading “preventable cause” of death in the United States. We must unite and try to help those that fall victim to this terrible ailment.
Yes, the reality is some people with this addiction say they don’t want help. But we must keep in mind; alcoholics do not have control over their mental state. They drink to escape reality, run from whatever haunts their lives and for some reason they feel that’s the only way to get through life. It’s not, nor will it ever be! Excessive alcohol use causes damage to a person’s brain function which often leads to extreme depression. Now, that person has an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. Alcohol abuse and depression, without medical help, will eat away at a person. So, we as family and friends must be that person’s rock and support system. Push to get them into treatment and help them with following through it’s a never-ending process to get and sustain sobriety.
Losing a man who meant so much to me has left a giant hole in my heart. Just thinking about the last days of Nowak’s life brings tears to my eyes. The only thing that comforts me is hoping that he is in a better place, surrounded by all those that have loved him in his physical life.
~ It was an honor to have known such a unique man. May he rest in peace ~
* Informative websites that may help you or someone you love:
How to Help Someone With An Alcohol Addiction
12 Step Treatment Centers
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline