This is my brother Will. He was born on June 10, 1982 and died on April 22, 2012. He was 29 years old. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a friend.
Will was a happy kid growing up. In fact, he was happy most of his life. He didn't start drinking until he was in college. His story, unfortunately, is a common one. Will's substance abuse history from beginning to end was 10 years. In that time he started drinking like most of us in college. He became dependent on alcohol. He was prescribed medications to deal with anxiety, sleeping problems, and ADD. He started abusing those medications, which lead to abusing other prescription opiate medications.
On April 22, 2012, Will made a fatal error in what he thought was just a short vacation from reality, without much knowledge of the powerful drug, fentanlyl, that he had been introduced to, and overdosed.
To know Will was to love him. He was popular with his friends and close with his family. He was a smart kid. In fact, he would quickly tell you that he had "papers" to show his genius IQ...which he did. Will and I both went to The College of Charleston. He was a freshman when I was a senior. He was good student. He was a perfectionist in everything he did from grades to detailing his car.
Will was more of an observer for the most part. He had a gentle presence about him with a kind soul. One of his college friends spoke at his funeral and said it perfectly...
"To say, “he would give you the shirt off his back” would be cliché and a little inaccurate, because Will would give you his shirt, jacket, hat, and all the money he had in his wallet if you needed it. He didn't look for thanks or recognition for his kindness, he didn't need it -- all he needed to know was that he just helped a friend in need. That was enough."
My brother knew he had a problem with alcohol. He had asked God for help in a prayer he wrote a couple years back and kept with him in his wallet, which we found the night he passed away. There is nothing that breaks my heart more than a person who knows they have a problem, wants to change and doesn't know how. I was that person too. A life without alcohol seems impossible to an alcoholic who is suffering. It seemed impossible to me. Will was one of the unfortunates and maybe his only chance of recovery was going to Heaven, sacrificing his life so that so many of us affected by his tragedy can find freedom from the use of alcohol and drugs.