A Reflection on Mac Miller's Death From The Girlfriend of an Addict

Last year, I wrote an article on rapper Lil Peep's death and its possible connection to hip hop's supposed “responsibility” of drug addiction. I hoped it would be the last piece I wrote on a dead musician, but the music community lost a beloved artist on September 7th, 2018. Mac Miller, often referred to as a “big brother” by his fans, has been confirmed by many news outlets to have overdosed last Friday afternoon.

Death within the music industry always seems to spark arguments on social media. The quarrels are oftentimes a reflection of the hurt looking for a scapegoat to carry their pain. Such blame has been pointed toward Miller’s ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande, and his friends that may have sold and used drugs with the late rapper. As a girlfriend of an addict, I find this misplaced anger heartbreaking and disrespectful, but I also know that grief can showcase itself in misguided ways.

My boyfriend has been sober for three and a half years. I don’t doubt the fact that I met him sober is probably the reason we were able to successfully get together in the first place, but people carry pasts, and I have made the conscious decision to accept him—past and all. He has taught me an immense amount about the disease he has and how he can’t just simply “not be an addict." I’ll never be able to fully understand the weight of what it is truly like, and I won’t make this an article about why addiction is a disease (because it is), but I want to explain why Mac Miller’s death touches me so deeply and personally.

Relationships in and of itself are hard. A relationship with an addict isn’t exactly “harder," but just another mixture into the “work through this” pot. I remember when I first told my friends I was talking to someone new. Their questions were countless. When I told my friends that I was talking to an ex-drug addict, almost all of their faces fell a bit.

“Are you ready for that kind of responsibility?”

“Are you sure you can handle that?”

“What if he does drugs again?”

All of these questions are harmless and understandable, especially if the addict may be less than six months sober. But all of those questions seem to link to the belief that, once his girlfriend, I am responsible for healing him, that I am now supposed to watch his every move and make sure he stays clean, that I am now a liable factor for the god forbidden but possible relapse and, for me, unimaginable death.

I will keep it very simple for those reading - I am not.

Does this mean I don’t care for his well being? No. Does this mean I’ll stay with him if he falls back onto the path of drug abuse? I couldn’t tell you because it hasn’t happened. What it does mean is that it is the addict’s responsibility to keep themselves in check—not his family members, not their friends and not their significant others. The people that love the addict should always be good support systems, but the actions taken to further get help is solely on the individual themselves. Addiction never goes away—it’s something that has to be worked on everyday. Addiction is not a choice, but the willingness to stay clean and work the program is.

Just for the record, my boyfriend has never once made me feel like he was struggling with his sobriety.

It is absolutely heart wrenching to hear about Mac Miller’s overdose. I hope and pray his passing brings people together for the better and his loved ones are able to find the light in this dark situation. But to those who are trying to pin his death on anyone else, just don’t.

Photo credits: 1, 2