Rest in peace, Keegan

A friend posted on my Facebook news feed yesterday that addiction is a choice, unlike other diseases.
I fought hard to control my anger.
She couldn’t have known that just an hour earlier, my brother had called to say his son had died — his sweet, intelligent, good-hearted son.
Keegan did not choose addiction anymore so than others choose heart disease, or diabetes, or epilepsy or other diseases or conditions. He was born with it. It runs in the family. It is, truly, honestly, sadly, a disease.
Nor did he choose to die at the age of 30.
Why would he?
He had everything to live for and he wanted, so badly, to live.
He tried.
He sought treatment beginning at age 15 when he showed his parents the whiskey bottle he’d been drinking from daily. He asked for help and they gave it to him time and time again, with no regard ever for the financial and psychological cost to the rest of the family.
They were there through every Code Blue (and there were many) in the emergency room, through every rehab stint, through every halfway house stay. They stayed even when the therapist said it was best to give up on him and forget he existed.
They loved him.
Over the years, alcohol, opioids, gambling, all kinds of addictions fought for control over him because that’s the way addiction behaves. It isn’t particular and it is incredibly selfish. It wants everything from its victims.
It is cruel.
We like to portray addicts as losers. It’s safer that way, to draw a line between us and them, to believe that it can’t happen to us because we are way too smart for that. We like to believe it is a choice and that we and the people we love won’t become addicts because we’re not stupid enough to make that choice.
Keegan was not stupid.
He was highly intelligent. He did well in high school and in college. He held patents from a major food company at a young age. He earned a master’s degree between stints in some of the most highly rated rehab facilities in the country.
I’m sorry, but you are not safe.
Your children are not safe.
No one is safe.
No one will be safe until we remove the shame, the stigma from addiction.
So think before you post.
Think before you degrade and judge.
Just think.
Rest in peace, Keegan.

8 thoughts on “Rest in peace, Keegan

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for this, so well written. It gives us some insight into the shocking news that we learned today. Peace, I wish peace for Keegan.

  2. I lost a son to this horrible disease two months ago and could not agree with you more.People need to become alot more educated on this disease before making comments about it being a choice. It is no more a choice than any other disease. God bless all who need help. I hope they get it.

  3. Anonymous

    So sorry for your loss, addiction is a horrible disease and takes everything good from a person. So very sorry to hear of another tragedy

  4. Thank you for all the kindness, and Bob, I am so very sorry for your loss. Keegan never had a chance at a full life. Addiction set in at such a young age. But at least he is at peace.Lori

  5. Anonymous

    My son was a very good friend of Keegan's. I never met him but wish I had. My heart hurts for you all and pray for you during this time.

Leave a Reply