Melissa Etheridge made herself “sick with guilt and shame” following the death of her son, Beckett
The 59-year-old singer lost her 21-year-old son in May last year when he died of an opioid overdose after years of battling an addiction to the drug
6 February 2021
And now, Melissa has described Beckett’s struggle as a “nightmare”, as she explained he got hooked on opioids when he was just 17 after breaking his ankle in a snowboarding accident.
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She recalled: “[His injury] gave him a whole lot of pain. It kept him from being a professional snowboarder. He was on that path, and he got lost then - because if he wasn't going to do that, what was he going to do?"
Melissa said Beckett’s addiction quickly got out of control, and admitted she felt “helpless” watching him go down a dark path.
She added: "The drug abuse really turned him into someone I didn't know. He was quicker to anger or mistrust. He stole money from me. The last couple of weeks, he was paranoid, and all of a sudden he was involved with guns. It's sad because it's not who he was before that.
"When you have a loved one who is battling opioid addiction, it's horrific. You don't know what to do. You want to help them, but ultimately they have to help themselves. It's a journey for anyone around the loved one. You realise the only way to help them is to take care of yourself. You can't do anything for them; you can't make them be sober."
And since Beckett’s passing, Melissa has felt as though she could have done more to help him, but is trying to stop herself from feeling at fault for his death.
She said: "I could only do so much. You constantly think, 'If I had only done this, had I only done that.' That doesn't help you. That's making yourself sick with guilt and shame."
In June, Melissa launched the Etheridge Foundation which supports research into the causes and effects of opioid addiction, and wants to do more to help others in a similar position to Beckett.
Speaking to People magazine, she explained: "When opioid addiction took my son, I wasn't going to hide that. It feels better to be open about it, to be truthful about it. We're here to be an example."