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He’s OD’d In the Shower Before. This Time I Reached Out.


When Strudley’s son takes long showers, his history of overdosing in the bathroom causes his mother great anxiety. She made some great decisions about how to reach out to him. The results were promising.

©Karolina Grabowska/

“I’m sure this is old territory, but I get triggered when my 24-year-old son takes a shower. He has OD’d twice in there and used frequently. I tried messaging him: ‘I know that hovering is irritating. Since you’ve used in the bathroom before, I get anxious after a while. It’s reassuring when you shower and don’t use. It means a lot to your recovery, IMHO.’ His shower was shorter than usual, and he got out of the bathroom. He doesn’t seem triggered. I did some breathing to settle down. Any feedback?”

Yes—the feedback is, you did it! Small, incremental changes in how you communicate make a huge difference.

Well done in multiple ways

I thought about your comment. I thought about you and other family members feeling unspeakably worried whenever your Loved One showered. Minute by minute.

You expressed yourself with “I” statements. You told your Loved One how anxious it makes you when he showers, and reminded him why. You were clear about your wish for him not to use drugs in the bathroom, and you ended by noting some positives.

You were rewarded with a shorter length in the bathroom and probably no use.

This is a balancing act, and your balance seems strong

You want your Loved One to stop using drugs, but you also need to live in more peace. You are threading the needle. It’s not easy, but you’re off to a good start.

How gratifying to hear of your “small” success, just after joining us. The other success is that you found a way to calm yourself down afterwards. You’re in the groove, Strudley Cheers!


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In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)