My son Eric was a very good man.
My son, Eric.
Was a very good man.
He was an alcoholic and recovered drug user. Twice he was addicted to crystal meth. He completed several drug recover programs. He had been clean from all drugs, even pot for over 2 years.
He, however, continued to use alcohol. He felt that he could "handle it". However, when the stresses of life came bearing down on him, he kind of snapped. We knew his drinking had escalated - way beyond his normal" range - large quantities of alcohol, full bottles of whisky, rum, vodka, tequila etc were found empty in his room, stored in a bin, on his death.
Something happened, like a combination of him turning 29 years old while working out of town for an extended 3 1/2 week trip. Besides his birthday, he missed Father's Day (he had twin girls about 2 1/2 yrs old then), and missed 2 visitations with the girls.
When he came back from that trip he went down, down, down. We were meaning to talk with him about this change, but we ran out of time. Early one Saturday morning he took his life.
We thought he was doing better, except for the drinking, because he was not using drugs. We thought he was probably just headed for re-hab again, as he had in the past. We had no idea that he was so depressed that he was embracing the alcohol that he craved full force and had planned to end it all.
We were completely shocked and horrified. Looking back, I know we had discussed several times the lasting effects that he was acutely aware of, from his days using crystal meth. It left his brain in a "Swiss Cheese" state, we used to say.
He had acute paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, and while he was trying very hard to maintain his day to day existence with working, being responsible, paying his bills, this situation that only he knew about, this battle in his mind was becoming increasingly impossible to live with.
We say now, WHAT IF - the only one that makes any sense at all to consider now is WHAT IF HE HAD GONE FOR HELP AGAIN, REHAB, OR TREATMENT, AND WHAT IF HE HAD GONE TO AA MEETINGS INSTEAD OF THE BAR?
HE DID CALL MOST ALL HIS FRIENDS THE LAST WEEK AND THE ONLY ONE HE COULD NOT REACH WAS HIS SPONSOR, BUT HIS SPONSOR WAS ANGRY WITH HIM FOR CONTINUING TO USE ALCOHOL AND CLAIM TO BE IN RECOVERY.
Those two ideas are incompatible and the sponsor knew it. Although Eric thought he was able to handle it, it is very clear to us that using any amount of drugs or alcohol can be very dangerous to those with addictive personality disorder, and previous
So, the only thing I can offer you is that I loved my son Eric very much. His two daughters will have to learn how to manage in life without their father, and some day I will try to find the words to tell them how much he loved them, and how important it is for them to avoid the temptations that exist in the world today.
The only sure way to not become an addict is to not take the first drink, toke, pill, sniff, poke, whatever. I wish you all luck in your recovery, whatever phase you are in and encourage readers to talk with those they love and to not give up hope in achieving sobriety and a drug free life - it can happen, and it is so, so worth it.
People love you and life is too precious to have it cut short so needlessly. Depression is a symptom and it is treatable. It does not have to be fatal.
Since reading about Eric and hearing your pain i believe it?s finally awaken me. I?ve worked the 12 steps everyday sense reading about your pain.
Because i myself couldn't imagine putting my mom or my 2 sons through the pain that you have dealt with. Like i said earlier I?m 29 yr old also and i know at our darkest hours we don?t think of the people were going to hurt by ending our own pain.
I can promise you Eric never intended to hurt anyone not that i knew him but because our lives are so close in dealing with our addictions. This has helped me a lot and made me cry and think very hard about my own life and the people I?d hurt by ending my own pain.
I?ve read this story a lot because it touches so close to me and makes me think every time i don?t feel strong enough to maintain a drug free life. i think of your pain an its kept me straight for awhile now.
Thank you for sharing because you have helped me in my life very much it?s just such a shame the help has come from a fellow addict leaving us for a pain free life with God. Best wishes and thanks again, Zach.
@ "In need of encouragement" by Anony.
Hello - you can be as close to your loved one as a prayer. I am praying right now that God sends his angels to intercede and protect your troubled loved one.
Even my son Eric acknowledged a "higher power" and that made all the difference for me. People always told me that I had to "LET GO AND LET GOD"... even got a poem once about bitterness that God had not saved his life, but it went on to say, MY CHILD, YOU NEVER DID LET GO... (so he could not do his work).
I will pray for them, and everyone on earth who is struggling. The battle of addiction from drugs and alcohol is HARD but it is not HOPELESS. As long as we have breath in our lungs, there can be hope.
It is not easy, but as resourceful as people are in obtaining money for drugs, lying, stealing, etc those same efforts can be channeled into productive steps toward resisting the pain and sorrow of addiction.
You need to stop hurting yourselves. People DO Love You! Give yourselves a chance - reach out and love yourself first. God has a plan for your future. Please be here to find out that it is all worth it.
My goal is not to leave a pretty corpse, but to arrive at the goal line completely worn out, thoroughly used up and with a smile on my face, proudly declaring it was a wonderful exciting ride and totally worth it!!!!
Prayers for everyone struggling and those who love them. My angel, Eric in heaven, is looking down on us all and will keep watch day and night until we and y'all find your own perfect way to recovery.
In need of hope
My son is 25 and has been fighting addiction for 5 years and has spent most of the last four years in multiply treatment programs, half way houses or hospitals...a total of 12 treatment programs, 7 half way houses and 10 or more hospital stays.
He has yet to be sober for more than 30 days after he leaves treatment. He has had two serious suicide attempts and battles major depression and anxiety.
He is missing right now and I could use a story of encouragement.
Very strong article!
You're oh so very right. I've been dealing with it for 15 yrs an I'm 29. Very sad about Eric, best wishes.
by: Joy Brooke
After reading your story, I am truly touched. My brother is around the same age as Eric was and still an addict. After reading about Eric, I have realized it is time to intervene.
Something needs to be done to help my brother before the worst happens. Thank you for sharing your story. I feel for you and everything you have been through.
I think it is great that you have found comfort in expressing your stories on the internet. I hope this helps you overcome your sadness because you have truly blessed me by sharing this story.
My man E
Eric was a good man. He worked hard, loved his family and friends. His girls were his world.
It's sad that his world came to a sudden end, and as much as I'd like to kick it with him again, I know that you and the rest of the Hartman family want that even more.
We will see him again when we get to that backstage in the sky. He's at peace now, I firmly believe that.
Let your tears be tears of joy, for Eric had the chance to live, and we had the chance to be a part of his life.
Yes E, you are missed greatly down here.
See you on the other side, Bro.
by: uncle Tom
I loved my nephew more than life. I did not have the skills to help him. I felt he was always trying to impress me with his accomplishments. I loved him unconditionally, I only hope he knew that.
His death reopened the wound of my son's death. I miss him everyday, I'm sad that he he felt he couldn't call me, I'm sad for my sister, my niece's and one of the best men I have ever known, my brother-in-law Paul.
I only hope that God will comfort Eric and give him what he lacked here on earth.
A Hole Remains
by: Ned Wicker
There is no way to fully imagine the pain you must feel over Eric's loss. Your son is gone and his little girls don't have a father. The pain of alcoholism and drug addiction is felt by so many and the negative impact of the disease continues, like the shock wave after an earthquake.
People have often asked me how many times a person should go into treatment and I've learned over the years that "as many times as necessary" is the answer. AA meetings are great, because the people there offer love and support. There are so many "what if" questions.
You are right in saying the best way to avoid the disease is to not use. It's an easy answer to a complex human question. We all have to deal with the pain inside and sometimes that goes very wrong. Two little girls know that all too well.