I can't say I've really been saving this up for a while. I'd love to say it's been on my mind for some time, but it hasn't. But maybe now I've had enough. In the past three weeks, three people I know have died from things related to their drug addiction. One overdose, one fatal relapse, and another who took his own life, because he felt he couldn't beat his addiction.

Yes, you read that right, three friends. In three weeks. All dead. In my adult life, that brings the total up to 13 people I've known who are no longer with us because of addiction. So why hasn't this been on my mind much until now?

Because like half the world, I've become so desensitized to it, that it never seems like a surprise anymore. And I think that's what made me the most sad. And made me think I should finally say something about it.

These folks weren't my best friends, but I'm certainly watching wives, girlfriends, brothers and sisters, all losing their minds over loved ones they've lost to as deadly a disease as there is. But as deadly as it is, n the world at large sees addicts as people who are just choosing themselves over everyone else.

And at the beginning that may be true. But with every addict I've ever known, there comes a point where they would give anything to get that monkey off their back. Anything. But the pull is so strong, they can only fight so hard without help. But sadly, shame seems to beat help in every one of life's games of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Shame stops more addicts from getting the help they need more than anything, and it's that same shame that often puts them in the ground. Their addiction prays on that shame, and drives them deeper in the hole. That's why addict-shaming will never help one single person stop doing drugs. Plus, I'm hardly an angel, so I can't point fingers.

Chances are, you know someone who's addicted to something. Booze, pills, meth, gambling, sex, food.... it doesn't matter. It might even be you. All I ask is, please don't be ashamed of who you are, or what you think you've become. Those who know you well, love you to the moon and back, even if they seem mad at you.

We would all much rather have an amazingly hard and difficult conversation with you, than be writing our memories of you on Facebook. And if you do know someone who's suffering, don't be afraid to tell them how scared you are. It could possibly be the one thing that finally inspires someone to get help.

But no matter which side of the fence you're on, leave shame at the door. The addict needs you, and you need them. And you might find that you really, actually need each other. I know right now, I'd love to have my friends back. But I didn't reach out because I was too apathetic. Starting today ... that changes forever.

If you're reading this and you're an addict that wants help, but doesn't know where to start, just start anywhere. Go to the person you love the most, and tell them you need help. And if you're on the outside looking in, maybe it's time to tell the addict in your life, that you love them with all your heart. That alone can move mountains.

And to anyone I don't know that's suffering either scenario, be strong. And just love.

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