Teen struggles after heroin addiction claims dad’s life

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DEAR ABBY: I’m 15. I lost my dad two months ago. I found him when I got out of the shower. He had overdosed on heroin.

Heroin controlled Dad’s life ever since I was little, but that never stopped me from being me. My family has had it pretty rough, but that never stopped me from being me, either.

I can’t process the thought of losing my dad completely. I’m scared without him. The mental picture comes back to me randomly throughout the day. I can’t take it anymore. I know he’s at peace now, but I still feel like it’s my fault that he’s dead because I took a shower and wasn’t with him. I feel like it should have been me, not him. He had just gotten out of jail a month before he died.

I can’t keep crying myself to sleep. I need a way to cope and right now I feel like I’m at rock bottom and can’t return. I just want to be normal like the kids I go to school with. Why can’t I be a normal teen? — ROCK BOTTOM TEEN

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DEAR ROCK BOTTOM: I am so sorry for what you have been going through. You ARE a normal teen, and in my opinion, you are much more resilient than you think you are.

You have had a terrible shock, and in addition to the normal grieving process, you may be suffering from survivor guilt. Your father did NOT die because you took a shower. He died because he had a heroin addiction he couldn’t conquer.

It is very important that you talk with a grief counselor and possibly join a grief support group. If your family can’t arrange counseling for you, please talk with a school counselor or your clergyperson. There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, and you’ll start seeing it once you get some professional help.

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DEAR ABBY: I’ve been reading your column for years, but never thought I’d have to write to you. This year my aunt hosted a family dinner and did a wonderful job — everything was delicious. There was only one problem. She was upset (everyone at the table could see it and feel the tension) because I ate ”too much” meat and she didn’t have enough for leftovers.

I did eat more than everyone else that night (doesn’t happen often), but I say if the food is on the table, it’s fair game. If you don’t want people to eat it, don’t serve it. I’m asking for an official ruling, please. — OVERATE IN BUFFALO

DEAR OVERATE: A gracious host or hostess should not become upset if a guest eats the food that’s presented. If the host or hostess doesn’t want guests to polish off everything that has been prepared, the food should be plated in advance.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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