Kind, gentle, intelligent, daring, wicked sense of humor
When Alex was little he was open, free, chatty and precocious. He was a character; very happy, intensely creative and inquisitive from day one and loved to learn about the world. Alex constantly asked questions until he was satisfied with the answers. The family laughingly said; “he was a force to be reckoned with” and “he marched to his own music.” In addition to those traits, Alex was compassionate, kind and had a quick sense of humor.
Alex love nature and enjoyed gardening, hiking, fishing and camping. He adored his dogs, Daisy Mae and Jack, who now miss his warm hugs and late-night ice cream treats.
Alex was homeschooled much of his life, eventually going to a small Junior High School. His mother Becky said: “At 13 he went to bed a boy and woke up another person. That happy, chatty kid became isolated and due to drugs lost his friends one by one.” Alex went to treatment many times but his addiction persisted. Drugs took the place of the customary rites of passage, like football games or prom. The world closed in on Alex.
During his slow decline, Alex had intense nightmares, sleeplessness, and joined in few family celebrations. He was withdrawn, nervous, anxious and depressed and went through years of the “dark night of the soul.” Alex seemed to be unable to help himself and was convinced he had wrecked his life. He felt hopeless and prayed with his mother, asking for God’s help; it was torturous existence.
“It is hard to have a family member with substance use disorder; you don’t get the same kind of support as you would with other illnesses,” his mother Becky said. People are afraid of the topic and she was fearful of the stigma that might brand Alex. “The stigma and shame make you very isolated and alone.”
In his last years alive, Alex became more loving and expressive, telling his parents: “Don’t feel bad, you had nothing to do with it, it was me. You have been great parents.” Becky said, “Alex learned a lot of deep spiritual lessons many of us never face and did it with grace. It was his time; he is now in a more peaceful place.”
Alex’s mother, Becky Nickol, provided the information for this narrative.
March 5, 1982 – January 7, 2017
Age 34- Lived with addiction 20 years