Thursday, May 28, 2015


So I feel like most of my posts start with "I know I haven't been around much lately" but that's exactly what I'm about to say again. The past couple of years has legit been one crisis after another after another. Today I am here to bring awareness to an issue to something that doesn't get enough attention. Addiction and mental illness affect 1 in 5 people in this county. There have been many people in my family and in my life that deal with addiction issues.
My grandparents, Gavin and a cute younger Meaghan
On April 26th my cousin Gavin, passed away from complications due to alcoholism. He was 3 months younger than I am and so he was 32 years old. Being 3 months younger than me, we pretty much grew up together. I will say that he had a rocky upbringing as his mother was an alcoholic and his father wasn't around. He lived at my grandparents' house and had no siblings.
As I have an overabundance of siblings (five, yes five) we always used to say that Gavin was the 7th Smith kid. I used to look forward to going up to my grandmother's house and hanging out with my cousin. Our main game was trouble and we used to get into a lot of it. About 5 years ago, he began falling down a dangerous path. He was lonely and depressed and drinking a bottle of vodka a day became a habit. When he drank he was angry and violent and so in order to protect myself and my family I had to take a step away. I didn't want to enable his drinking and I told him when he was ready to get help I'd be there in an instant.
To my surprise a month before he passed away I was told he was in a medically induced coma and he was suffering from failed kidneys and liver. I got a chance to spend a lot of time with him in the hospital and so did the rest of my family. When he passed he was surrounded by so many people that loved him.
I've been struggling with guilt, sadness and anger. I feel guilty because I keep wondering if I should have helped him more when I had the chance. That I didn't tell him I loved him when I could have. Intellectually I know that this guilt is not helpful and that I did what I could do at the time. Emotionally it has been a lot to process. I keep wondering if he knew that I cared or if he thought I abandoned him easily.
My cousins and I with my grams. Gavin in back on right.
The anger comes from wishing that he could have stopped a horrible cycle. Alcoholism is a disease that I truly believe is genetic. There are too many alcoholics in my family for it not to be. I can't believe that someone would watch his mother go through this addiction and then proceed to follow suit. I am angry that he wasted his life and pushed away everyone who could have helped him. I am angry that his parents didn't really give him a chance in life. They left him on his own to raise himself from the time he was an infant.
I am sad that I will never see him again. I am sad for the time that I missed with him. I am sad that he was a recluse with not many friends. I am sad that he never felt like anyone loved him or that he didn't deserve love.
Overall it has been a shitty month of grieving and dealing with quite a few emotions. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it's not your typical post but I thought that to incorporate the books I'd post a few books that deal with addiction. It's like a shameful secret that people don't often talk about and I would love to change the stigma and maybe then we can make some changes.

These two are memoires. The first one is about drugs and alcohol while the second focuses on alcohol. I have't had a chance to read them yet but they are now on my TBR (which may or may not be about the size of Mount Everest).

I haven't read The Basketball Diaries but I have seen the movie so if that's any indication it should be good. Rachel's Holiday is one of my favourite Marian Keyes books. It is serious but it also has some humour in it.

I loved Spin. It is about a woman who goes to rehab to spy on a celebrity but she is also is need of some recovery. The Spectacular Now is another seen the movie before reading the book. I know the shame!

 I remember Where it Began being on my list of books I wanted to read but for some reason I never got to it. I think it'll have to be added to the list again. Crank was intense but so so so good. It's about meth addiction and very eye opening.

The Glass Castle is written like a fiction book but it is a memoir of growing up poor and with parents who had some alcohol issues. Parched is another memoir which I haven't read but plan on reading soon.

Well, there is my post. This started as a way to get it all out and I have found it to be cathartic. I hope that the next few years are not as chaotic as the past few have been. This year alone I've been to 5 funerals, lost my niece because it turns she was never actually my niece, dealt with some martial things and dealing with the fertility stuff. The next time I write a personal post I am hoping it's a happy one :)

Happy Reading, thanks for listening.

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