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"If You Need Help, Ask For Help" - The TNT Broadcast With An Incredibly Important Message While Remembering The Life Of Jimmy Hayes

I've refrained from writing anything about the heartbreaking loss of Jimmy Hayes mostly out of respect for the Hayes family. Situations like these always just feel a little strange to me to be getting page views at the expense of another family's tragedy. But the strength and courage of the Hayes family to disclose Jimmy's toxicology report in order to help prevent another death like this made me realize that Jimmy's story is one that needs to be shared. And one that the TNT crew did an unbelievable job with tonight. 

Every single one of us knows somebody who has lost their life to the opioid pandemic. Maybe it was a friend, a family member, an acquaintance, whatever. This is something that touches each and every single one of us. And what's so tragic about this is that for so many, this was never the intended path. For guys like Jimmy Hayes, it was pain pills which were originally given to him to help his pain. To ease his pain and make life easier for him. The cruel and twisted thing about addiction is that it takes something that you think you need to survive and turns it into the thing that ultimately kills you. 

But the point is that people don't get addicted to opioids because they are inherently bad. The opioids don't care who you are. You could be the greatest guy in the world who lights up every room you walk into and brings endless amounts of joy to anyone who crosses your path. The opioids simply do not care, and they'll hook you anyway. So as long as we all come to the understanding and agreement that literally anybody could ultimately find themselves in the vicious cycle of addiction, then we can finally get rid of the stigma behind it. And we can finally make it easier for guys like Jimmy Hayes to not only admit that they're struggling with addiction, but also ask for help to get through it. Because that's what it takes. It takes the help of friends and family. A support system around you that cares about your life and needs you in theirs. 

It breaks my heart so much that Jimmy Hayes' wife was so surprised by the toxicology report. It's making my cry my eyes out right now as I'm writing this blog. Because that means that Jimmy thought what he was doing was so wrong that he was too afraid to confide in the one person who he vowed to spend the rest of his life with. The fact that he felt he needed to hide that pain and hide that struggle from his wife is so unbelievably tragic. Because if we could just lift that stigma from addiction, Jimmy could still be here with us. 

And hopefully that's exactly what the Hayes family sharing this information will do. Hopefully it'll make everybody not only in the game of hockey, but life in general, realize that even the most happy go-lucky fun loving guy you'd ever meet could be dealing with this struggle. And if it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone. So anybody who is struggling is never alone, and there's always the opportunity for help. All you have to do is ask. 

Much love to Jimmy, to the Hayes family, to the TNT crew for doing such a great job with this tough subject, and to anybody out there who is struggling right now but ready to reach out for help. Never alone.