Families impacted by drug overdoses channel grief to help others

(Courtesy: John Mabry)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Dozens of people signed a guest book Monday at City Hall to send their condolences to Mayor Megan Barry and her family after her son died from an overdose over the weekend.

Max Barry’s visitation began at 5 p.m. at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. A memorial service for the 22-year-old will be held Tuesday at the Belcourt Theatre beginning at 10 a.m.

RELATED: Condolences pour in for Mayor Megan Barry after son’s passing

On Monday, News 2 spoke with families who have dealt with the pain of losing a loved one to a drug overdose. They spoke about the grieving process and the long journey to healing.

John Mabry told News 2 the grief he experienced after losing his brother to an accidental drug overdose affected every aspect of his life.

Erik Blom died of a drug overdose three years ago. (Courtesy: Blom family)

“It has taken a good six or seven years to really break down the darkness, the amount of darkness that consumed my soul and my heart and my mind for so many years, I felt like I couldn’t get out sometimes,” Mabry explained.

Mabry added it has taken therapy, marriage counseling and in-patient treatment to deal with trauma.

“I had to hit this thing, it is a beast. The trauma of losing flesh and blood to an accidental overdose that the mayor and her husband are going to be going through, it took me years to hit it from all different angles to really be able to chip away at it,” he recalled.

Mother Cindy Blom lost her son Eric to an accidental drug overdose three years ago. She told News 2 she continues to experience a range of emotions.

“That first year was all about the trauma. The second year was really hard because the support system kind of fades off and they think, ‘Well, they made it through all the firsts.’ The third year, you get really ticked off about what got them there,” said Blom.

(Photo: WKRN)

Both Mabry and Blom have channeled their grief to helping others who suffer from addiction.

Blom is a certified addiction and recovery coach and also helps others through the family business, Blom Guitars.

“We build guitars in memory of him and we give back to helping people who struggle like Eric did, but we are just trying to educate and say hey this could hit anybody,” said Blom.

Mabry works at Addiction Campuses in Nashville and has also been vocal about his personal struggle with addiction.

The family is documenting their journey on a blog as they continue to live one day at a time in sobriety.

If you or someone you know needs help immediately, call Addiction Campuses at 1-888-512-3321.