One of the hardest meetings I had to lead happened after the drug overdose of a beloved plumber. This plumber was well-loved by his team. He was a good person, and he was very good at hiding his relapse back into heroin addiction.
The shock of his death was deep. It cut like a knife through this tight-nit group of guys. His death was very troubling on many levels. For one, he was seen as a leader in the team. For another, he wasn’t the only recovering addict among the group. My fear was that this pain and shock could destroy the team; and possibly send someone back down the path of addiction.
I’m not a counselor. I’m not trained on how to handle these matters; but I have to face them, and so will you.
You don’t have to face them alone, or face them unprepared. I recommend companies to seek the counseling of a health professional in these cases. And, I recommend that you seek professional counseling should you have to face a drug overdose or suicide situation in your team.
However, there will come a time when you as a team must discuss these things outside of the safe boundaries of a counselor. Nature would demand this conversation be birthed into existence.
The time for this conversation was quickly approaching. I could feel the labor pains of this conversation birthing. It would happen in our next team meeting.
Before the meeting, I thought about what to say. I knew the guys were hurting. They were mad, confused, sad, and were reflecting on their own secret pains. I prayed that God would help me find the words. And when I spoke, Grace and Honor flowed from my mouth.
For the next hour, we honored the memory of this plumber. We told stories of his life, and spoke highly of him. We forgave him for his mistakes, and embraced each other as a team.
This conversation was like a healing balm laid upon an open wound. It calmed the pain, if for just a moment. It covered the wound, and stopped it from being infected by the negativity of life.
We allowed ourselves to start the healing process.
We also forgave ourselves.
Guilt creeps into these moments. When a person takes their life by accident, or on purpose, guilt demands a victim to lay blame upon.
Guilt will tell you,
“It’s your fault! Take this blame, and live with it!”
So, you do what guilt demands. You take on the personal responsibility of a person’s death. You ask yourself,
“Why didn’t I see this coming? How did I totally miss this?”
And, you start to slip down a very dangerous path of destruction. This path can lead you to darker places beyond the limit of your imagination. If you let guilt take you there, it will be a long journey home.
Don’t let guilt take you there. It is not your fault. It is not the fault of the lost person either. Addiction is real. Mental health issues are real. These are real issues that demand the attention of certified, and well-trained professionals. Let the guilt go. You need to heal.
The last thing I’d like to write about this morning is the fact that some will make light of addiction. This story was shared over Facebook.
[See embedded post. Please note: I do not own the photo, or write the article. It is a fair use share from the News Station that broke the story. CLICK here to read >> Man on drugs crashes into woods, police say]
“As I stated in my comments on Facebook:
I’ve seen some folks posting this as humorous because they are not a fan of the brand in this article.
It’s not funny to me at all.
I don’t know the owner of that franchise, but I know she/he’s a Contractor. She / He probably works hard to offer service and make a profit.
But, even if that particular franchise owner isn’t a solid person, there are lots of solid franchise owners that will share in this shame.
Franchises carry the potential of shared honor, and shared blamed.
Before you laugh at this incident, think about if it were your brand being put on the news with a cop walking up to your van.”
Think about the man in the van. Think about his family. Think about the deep shame he will now have to face publicly. I’m not saying he hasn’t earned this attention. He has earned it, and he will pay the consequences for his actions. Let the law pass judgment. The law was built for judgement. Individuals are not meant to pass judgement on another person.
“Let the man with no sin cast the first stone.”
Yes, he needs help. Yes, he could have killed a person. Thank God that did not happen!
As a trade, we should encourage all hurting tradespeople to seek the road of healing and redemption. Every person reading this article that has committed some shameful act that they would like to keep hidden. Instead of casting blame and shame on folks; you should encourage healing.
Suicide Help Line 1.800.273.8255
Addiction Help Line 1.800.662.4357