It wasn't too long ago that I lost my best friend to addiction. This isn't an easy topic to talk about, but I feel that by writing this I can help someone else who has a friend or family member suffering from addiction.
Erica had been my best friend since the second grade. We did everything together-walked to and from school, biked around the neighborhood, climbed trees, and chased after boys. As the years went by Erica and I became closer and closer, people thought we had to be sisters because we were together so often. As college approached, Erica and I knew distance could not break our friendship. She went off to Ohio State and I attended University of Michigan that fall. Although our schools were rivals and about four hours away from each other, I knew nothing could tear us apart. We visited each other multiple times a year and called each other every other day; Erica and I were closer than ever.
In the fall of our senior year Erica had picked up a new habit, and that's when things started to crumble. She wouldn't answer my calls or call me back, her school friends stopped hanging out with her because they couldn't stomach her new habit, and her parents had threatened to cut her off financially if she kept up this addiction. When I finally made it to OSU to visit, Erica was worse than ever. She barely got out of bed and had to keep a stash by her at all times, I was disgusted. Her face began to sag and harden and her skin browned, she looked like all the moisture in her skin had been suctioned out of her. I couldn't stand the sight of her, nonetheless the smell- it all frightened me. What started out as a harmless craving quickly turned into a dangerous addiction. I didn't realize when I left Erica on that rainy day that that would be the last day I would ever see.
Only a few weeks after my visit, my worst fear came true-Erica had let her addiction get the best of her. Her friends had tried to stop her, her parents sought help, and even the school got involved- but Erica could not be stopped. On April 3, 2015, Erica fell victim to her addiction and became a piece of savory, teriyaki flavored (her favorite) beef jerky. Her parents donated her remains to the local Trader Joe's where she now rests as an example to all who go to buy beef jerky that addiction is real and anyone can turn into jerky if they don't get the help they so desperately need. Please don't let those you love fall addiction to beef jerky, get help now and make sure your loved ones are getting the real hydrated meat they need.