Below Deck’s Captain Lee is finally opening up about the tragic loss of losing his son to an overdose.
Speaking to Page Six, Captain Lee opened up about the tragedy of living with a son that battled an addiction problem for years and eventually losing him to an accidental overdose. Captain Lee opened up stating:
“We spent 20 years, every night, waiting for the phone call saying either he was in jail or that he was dead” regarding his son’s longtime opioid addition.
His tragic death came after Captain Lee and his wife thought that he had turned his life around as he began to show signs of doing a 180:
“We thought this time was the time we turned the corner. He had a DUI conviction about 12 or 13 years ago that he finally got off his record. He’d got himself a car. He was working. We thought we might have hit a milestone.”
Tragically, that as not the case as Captain Lee went “to check on” Josh one day:
“I walked in and he was sitting on the sofa with his head in his hands, and I thought he had just passed out. I felt relieved. I thought he was fine. Then I went over to give him a hug, and he was cold. He’d gone.”
Doctors told the family that it appeared Josh had bought pills that appeared to be prescription opioids but were actually counterfeits, laced with five different substances including Fentanyl.
Captain Lee opened up about his unimaginable grief stating:
“I hate going to sleep, and I hate waking up. There’s a hole there that can’t be filled. And the person who said, ‘time heals all wounds,’ is full of it. It doesn’t. The only thing that time may do for you is allow you to learn the skills you need to cope with the situation that you’re dealing with. As parents, you’re not designed to bury your children. The hard times for me are the alone times, when I’m on my own. Those are hard. I don’t laugh a lot any more. Things aren’t too funny. Once in a while something will slip in, and it feels good when it happens. And it gives you that glimmer of hope that you can get through it.”
Captain Lee states his son had been battling drug addiction for a long time with signs of it starting in his teenage years:
“Josh was a normal teenager up to a point. We moved a couple of different times. Those moves weren’t easy on Josh. I think he had some [obsessive-compulsive disorder] problems. He was very anxious. And I think that maybe contributed to him finding to self-medicate with, because he found it difficult to go to a doctor and talk about it.”
Unfortunately the breaking point came when Josh was in a car accident and was prescribed pain killers that got him hooked to opioids.
Captain Lee describes his son as a loving person who just had internal demons to battle stating: “He was such a loving child, and guy. His sister would be having a bad day, so he’d drive by her house and drop a little note with a smiley face in the mailbox and just write on there, ‘Love Josh. Hope your day’s better tomorrow. There wasn’t anybody that knew him that didn’t realize he had an unconditional love for life. He took a beating from a world that he never intended any harm to whatsoever, as most addicts do.”
Captain Lee states that he hopes to do something to help fight the opioid addiction and is doing research on how he can get involved and be most effective. He ended his interview by stating: “That’s my endgame right now, because I can’t do anything else for my son right now. He’s gone.”
Our hearts go out to Captain Lee and his family. There is truly nothing to say to someone dealing with such unimaginable grief and I hope Captain Lee finds comfort in helping others. The opioid epidemic is devastating and as almost everyone knows someone who has been affected by it I’m sure Captain Lee’s story will hit close to home for many.