I Am Heroin, I Destroy Homes, I Tear Families Apart

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I am HEROIN

I destroy homes, I tear families apart, 
I take your children, and that's just the start. 
I'm more costly than diamonds, more precious than gold, 
The sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.

If you need me, remember I'm easily found, 
I live all around you - in schools and in towns 
I live with the rich, I live with the poor, 
I live down the street, and maybe next door. 

I'm made in a lab, but not like you think, 
I can be made under the kitchen sink. 
In your child's closet, and even in the woods, 
If this scares you to death, well it certainly should. 

I have many names, but there's one you know best, 
I'm sure you've heard of me, my name is HEROIN.
My power is awesome, try me you'll see, 
But if you do, you may never break free. 

Just try me once and I might let you go, 
But try me twice, and I'll own your soul. 
When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie, 
You do what you have to - just to get high.
 

The crimes you'll commit for my narcotic charms 
Will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in your arms. 
You'll lie to your mother, you'll steal from your dad, 
When you see their tears, you should feel sad. 

But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised, 
I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways. 
I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, 
I turn people from God, and separate friends. 

I'll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, 
I'll be with you always - right by your side. 
You'll give up everything - your family, your home, 
Your friends, your money, then you'll be alone. 

I'll take and take, till you have nothing more to give, 
When I'm finished with you, you'll be lucky to live. 
If you try me be warned - this is no game, 
If given the chance, I'll drive you insane. 

I'll ravish your body, I'll control your mind, 
I'll own you completely, your soul will be mine. 
The nightmares I'll give you while lying in bed, 
The voices you'll hear, from inside your head. 

The sweats, the shakes, the visions you'll see, 
I want you to know, these are all gifts from me. 
But then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart, 
That you are mine, and we shall not part. 

You'll regret that you tried me, they always do, 
But you came to me, not I to you. 
You knew this would happen, many times you were told, 
But you challenged my power, and chose to be bold. 


You could have said no, and just walked away, 
If you could live that day over, now what would you say? 
I'll be your master, you will be my slave, 
I'll even go with you, when you go to your grave. 

Now that you have met me, what will you do? 
Will you try me or not? It's all up to you. 
I can bring you more misery than words can tell, 
Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell. 

- Samantha Reynolds published in 2000 the poem "Ms. Crystal Meth", but it works well with the heroine epidemic!

  

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Dear Dealer Would You Stop?

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Dear Drug Dealer

I wonder. If you knew the destruction of what you do- would you stop? Would you tum your life around knowing you where saving lives and families by doing so? If you could follow all the little bags, you exchange for cash. on their full journey, would It make you feel remorse?

If you could see the child in fear, hiding in her older sibling’s bedroom while their parents fight? If you could see the children hungry, going to school with no lunch making their own way there. because their parents had handed all their cash to you? If you could see the children that cry themselves to sleep at night, because her parents have split up and they don't see their dad that they were once so close to anymore?

If you could see the wife that cries, because the man she loves with all her heart has lost his way and she can't help him back? If you could see the mother, that gave life to such a perfect child who raised and nurtured them to the best she could. whose heart now breaks as she has to watch that child now grown, on a destructive path she cannot protect them from no matter how hard she tries?

If you could see the father, the protector of his own family. the man that is strong, that worked hard to raise his family right and give them all they needed, the man that promised his princess the day she was born that he would never let any harm come her way so long as he was still breathing. If you could watch that strong proud man cry uncontrollably because his little princess now grown into a beautiful woman has sold her body to a stranger for cash ... just to give to you?

If you could see the young man who once had a great job he was proud or, but has now lost because of the little bags he keeps buying from you, If you could see him selling all his possessions one by one he worked so hard to get, if you could see him break into the elderly ladles home while she sleeps at night, to steal whatever he can to give to you, if you could see the fear that lady lives with for the rest of her life now?

If you could see all the depression, all the pain, all the heart ache, all the hopelessness. all the fear, all the people's lives It destroys?

Dear Dealer would you stop?

(Author Unknown)

 

 

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Poem - My Living Nightmare

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"I wrote this poem when I was locked up. Please do not steal it. I take great pride in my writing but don't share much of it. It is my outlet, one I don't use often enough. Please share the poem all you want but with me Brandon Tyler Bray as the Author. Thank you hope you like it"

My Living Nightmare

I dread waking up
But I force a smile
I try to give a F***
Though I haven't for awhile
All emotion stuck inside
Heart burning as it piles
No one to confide
Worries tuck away like files
Drugs take away the pain
Yet my problems now grow worse
Without them I don't feel the same
My only stop is in a hearse
I hate who I've become
On the inside I scream
I feel the drugs have won
Reality is now my worst dream
From everyone I am shunned
It's all exactly how it seems
No more retirement fund
This is no longer me
Everyday the same goal
No matter what the cost
Even down to my very soul
I've never been so lost
Scared of the sickness
Always feeling hopeless
Lost in the thickness
Of never being dopeless.

-Brandon Tyler Bray

We wanted to share a poem someone sent us here.  Feel free to message us on Facebook or email us at the bottom of our website here if you have something you wish to share.

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To: Anyone Who Has Lost A Loved One To Addiction - A Letter From Heaven

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To: Anyone Who Has Lost A Loved One To Addiction - A Letter From Heaven.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Words can’t begin to describe how sorry I am. I’ve put you in a position that no parent should ever face. I left – before you. It wasn't supposed to be this way. The natural order of things was skewed by my addiction. I can only imagine the agony you must be in. I know you’re angry, enraged and sad, all at the same time. If only you could reach back in time and pluck me from the path I’d chosen, but you can’t. You never could. God knows, you tried. I wasn't completely oblivious, to all that was being done for me. I always believed I had time and the truth is – I was too dammed smart for my own good.

I underestimated the power of my disease.

I know you tried to tell me this. But I wouldn't listen. After I began using drugs I became desensitized. I thought I was immortal. I liked living on the edge. I felt so alive! Drugs filled a place in me that nothing else could. With them I was King. Without them, I was just, well, me.

Maybe that was part of the problem.

I never did feel right, about being me. I always needed something more. At first it was candy, and then video games and eventually, girls. I adored money. I felt entitled to nice clothes and nice things. I wanted the best. I hated waiting for anything. When I wanted something, it was all I could think about – until I got it, and then, I wanted something else. There were times I felt guilty for the stress I created in our family. But it was fleeting. The burning need inside of me was stronger, than anything else. This need had no conscience, integrity, or morals.

This need – was my addiction.

I know I hurt you. I rejected your love. I rolled my eyes at you. I called you names. I stole from you. I lied to you. I avoided you and finally, I left you – for good.

I was so smug.

There wasn't anything you could have said, or done, to prevent this from happening. I thought I knew it all. Death by overdose was something that happened to other people. Foolish people – people who didn’t know sh#t about using. It wasn't going to happen to me, no way, no how, not ever.

You begged me to stop. I tuned you out. Your words were like angry wasps in my ears. Although they stung, they were nothing more than an annoying buzz. When you cried, I cringed. When you put your arms around me. I wanted, away from you.

And now – I want back.

But there is no back. There is only forward.

Please bring me forward.

Tell my story. Say my name. Have conversations with me. Include me in your celebrations. Rejoice in the time we had together. Cry, if you must, but not all the time. I know you’re sad. I know you miss me. I know you love me. I know you did your best. But you were never stronger than the disease of addiction, and sadly, neither was I.

Please don’t blame yourself, or me. It will only make things worse. We all did the best we could. You must believe this. If you don’t, it will be like me dying all over again, each and every, day. We will all stay stuck and that would be a tragedy.

I hope you take all the love you have for me, and put it into the rest of our family. Every time you want to hug me, grab one of them. Then it will be like I'm part of the hug. Give them a great big squeeze and I promise, I’ll feel it, all the way up in heaven.

May you find peace in knowing I'm free, in a way, I never before was.

Up here, there is no addiction. There is only love.

The kind of love that is greater than any of us will ever know, below.

You might tell yourself that I am gone. But you’re wrong. I'm right here.

I’m the wind on your face, and the stars in the sky. I’m the raindrops, falling, outside your window. I’m the song of a bird, and the dawn of each new, morning. I’m the rustle of a leaf. I’m the clouds and the sun, and the waves in the ocean.

We will never be truly be parted from one another. For love breathes life, even, in death.

I am flesh of your flesh.

Standstill - and you will feel me.

 

Love always, your Son.

Lorelie Rozzano
www.JaggedLittleEdges.com

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The Price of Addiction: So Much More Than Dollars and Cents.

MattKlosowski

37-year old Matthew Klosowski died from a prescription drug overdose

In every conversation I've ever had regarding the disease of addiction somehow the topic always found its way back to the cost. We've all heard the horror stories of how pricy these resort style rehabs are. I can only imagine the dollars spent on advertising. The glossy photos that would appear on my computer screen looking like something I would book if I was searching for a romantic get away with my husband. The beaches, the palm trees and the pools all waiting for the arrival of our addicted sons and daughters. All promising they were the best. They had the best, they provided the best and so on and so on. I would scroll through and think damn, I should start taking drugs just so I could attend one of these fabulous places in the sun.

I closed my eyes and had this flash back from my early nursing days. Working as the charge nurse on the floor of a popular nursing home. The pamphlets show all the beauty. The common rooms and the gardens, all looking like something advertising luxury living. Hiding the smell of urine. The people strapped into Geri chairs, drool running down their shirts. Left to their own devices. The horror that lay behind those beautiful rooms for only the staff to see. How can the owners of those homes deceive the public and charge exorbitant amounts of money for such inadequate care.  Could another industry be as deceptive in their marketing of providing safe, effective care in a beautiful setting and continue to stay in business. I'm afraid they can.

I've lived the experience that so many other parents share. We had faith in the recovery system. We believed the brochures and those caring people that lead us to trust that our child's recovery was utmost on their mind. They tell us they care and will do everything in their power to ensure our addicts are kept safe and sound. They give us a false sense of security allowing us to take that breath and feel we are sending our addict to the best place possible. 

Then they hit us with the price tag for this most amazing care. As parents we are emotional wrecks. We will do anything and pay anything to have the nightmare that our child's addiction has inflicted into our life's come to a end. So we drain our savings, deplete our retirement accounts and remortgage our homes because we are desperate to believe these so called addiction professionals hold the keys to a world that will save our children.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is characterized by intense, uncontrollable drug craving. So why do these so called experts allow our kids freedom to leave the grounds and explore these new surroundings unsupervised. Matt had been accepted into a rehab in Florida, after I came up with three thousand dollars. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang at ten p.m. and it was Matt. Hi Mom, I'm walking to the beach. You're what? Yeah I'm just checking out the beach. Seriously, you are unsupervised on your second night in rehab and you're out and about? So now that familiar feeling of anxiety bursts through the false security I'd been fed by the owners that were more than happy to cash my check and allow my son more freedom than he ever had at home.

Unfortunately this seems to be a common practice. Another mother also bought into the promise of a safe place for her heroin using daughter. After spending eight thousand for a months stay at a luxury rehab, she received the same shocking phone call. Hi Mom, I'm at the gym. You mean the gym in the rehab, no mom I'm allowed to go to the gym, pharmacy and grocery store. My question is, just what services are we getting for our thousands of dollars. Why are addicts permitted freedom when the research shows that being drug free for a few days is not a cure. Addicts require long term care in a safe, drug free environment to have the chance of achieving the goal of sobriety.

If the research is available for parents to find and read why aren't these professionals educated in the basic fundamentals of caring for newly sober addicts. Why do their programs allow the freedom to enable our kids to return to the only way of life they know. It's no surprise that both our kids relapsed. It's no surprise that both these rehabs in Florida offered their help again after we spent a few more thousand dollars for a higher level of care. So in reality all we got for our money were random urine drug tests and broken promises. Our kids were set up to fail by a system that says one thing but does another. Placing three addicts at varying levels of sobriety in a cramped apartment. No formal counseling or one on one sessions as promised.

What are parents supposed to do. We are thousands of miles away from our kids. We trusted a system and the self proclaimed professionals responsible for overseeing their treatment and we were failed. These rehabs throw addicts out into the streets if they are caught using. I get the fact that the using addicts must be removed from the general population. I get the fact that rules were broken. What I have a hard time with is for the thousands of dollars they take in monthly why is there no back up plan for relapse.

As noted by the NIDA, the chronic nature of addiction means that relapsing is not only possible but likely. So again my question is why don't these professed addiction professionals expect and know how to safely respond to a relapse. The streets are not the answer. According to a report in Prescription Drug Abuse, Florida has the 11th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Yet these rehabs continue to advertise and give parents like me false hope that they will give our addicts the best shot at recovery.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. The lawmakers in Florida had knowledge that both rehabs and sober houses have been kicking addicts to the curb for years. They have chosen to turn their backs on this unacceptable practice until recently. Florida Association of Recovery Residences also know as FARR has stepped up. It's goal is to regulate this broken industry. To get rid of the vultures that rob us of our money and our children. Sadly, because of Florida Homestead laws most of these unscrupulous sober living home owners will continue their practice of making a living off of and then throwing our kids away like the disposable income they are thought to be. Florida law will not allow the regulation to become mandatory. I really don't think any of these places will step up and allow regulations to rob them of easy money.

While these regulatory bodies are well intentioned and might have the potential to start a change toward the treatment of addiction, it's too little too late for many parents like me. Matt died of an overdose in a Florida motel after being kicked out of his sober living house by the owner. Many briefly sober addicts are back at it, except now they are using on the streets of Florida where they were dumped by those recovery professionals that cashed checks, told lies and took advantage of parents desperately seeking help for their addicts.

Two industries preying on a population that can't defend itself against abuse. The shiny brochures all hiding the ugliness of reality. Families spending thousands of dollars believing their loved ones are being looked after by professionals who care. I don't know about you but I smell a rat!

Marybeth Cichocki 

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What Life Is Like When You're In Love With A Heroin Addict

    LoveAnAddict

    To fall in love with a person after you've been hurt multiple times is a pretty hard task as is. You will always have the fear of being hurt all over again and your trust won't fully be there. But to fall in love with somebody who later on becomes addicted to heroin seems to be at the top of my list of fears. Although I am living through this fear now and am at battle with it almost every day.

    fear many things when it comes to this evil drug that is killing many. Every day I see on the news or on Facebook that another loved one has overdosed and died. But what I also see is the attacks people are sending towards this brand new angel that was captivated by heroin. "He deserved to die." "Good one less drug addict off the streets."

    I guess it all started for me last year. I met this absolutely amazing guy with so much ambition, love, and fun put into him. I loved everything about him. And when I found out I was carrying his child, I loved him even more. I still do. It wasn't until he was coming home with pin point pupils, itching himself, and hardly sleeping at night that I realized he had a problem. And for all I knew, after growing up around opiate users, I figured it was just Percocet that he was high on. I shrugged it off until the night I became scared of waking up next to somebody cold and lifeless.

    I was sleeping and woke to a sound of him sort of choking out his last breath. It was the noise you hear when somebody does a whip it, and loses oxygen to the brain. Usually, in those times, I see people pound their fist on the person's heart reviving them. So I yelled his name and did exactly that. Nothing had happened. Once a person overdoses I can tell you, it is one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. Being inexperienced and not knowing what to do while the love of your life and father of your child is lying there struggling to live is horrifying. But he also looked as if he was in a peaceful state of mind, feeling warm and not wanting to wake up. It was truly terrifying. As I couldn't bring him back, he started turning blue. His lips were blue, and his face was grey. Just like my brother looked laying on a hospital bed. I also noticed his heart was beating very fast and he was sweating profusely. Cardiac arrest was soon to set in, I imagined.  After I couldn't do anything to help him, I got help from his father. He did chest compressions on him as I called 911. Soon he regained consciousness but fell back into a peaceful slumber shortly after. We finally got him fully up when the police showed up and he was confused as to why I was crying like I was and why there were police at our home. We then talked that night after he refused the hospital. Talking was the only thing I could do to make sure he wouldn't fall asleep. He promised not to do it again.

    Now promises go a long way when you actually keep them. But we live in a world where the word promise is simply just a word. He stayed clean for quite a bit. I thought the worst of it was over. Until he came home high, a couple more times. And then a countless amount after that. Soon he overdosed again. We were able to get him back a second time.

    To love a person with a heroin addiction is the constant fear that one day you're going to wake up next to them, just to find out you have made it but they did not. You live in constant fear that whenever they make a noise, you shake them just to find out it was a snoring and not another OD. When they don't answer your texts or calls you fear they have overdosed in their car or in their bed while you're at work. You fear you won't be with them the next time this happens, and you won't be able to help them. You fear your son or daughter will have to grow up hardly knowing their father, and that kills you and puts a knot in your heart more than anything. You fear if you chose the alternative and leave that you can't help this person when it happens again.

    You check their skin in the morning when you wake up, you feel their face and make sure it's warm. You check their chest and see if it's moving whether you have to stay up all night or when you wake up that morning. It doesn't matter how many times you tell a heroin addict you're going to leave, and it doesn't matter if you leave. This drug is so evil they will continue to do it until they say it's time to stop, and by that time it could be too late. People ask me all the time why don't I just leave? Why don't you leave and find somebody new? Simply because if this was me and I was struggling, would you give up on me?

    Now to be honest with you, If I could see the future when I met him a year ago, I would have looked the other way and wouldn't have even acknowledged him. This may sound selfish, but to live in constant fear every day is something I wouldn't want anybody to ever have to do. Now don't get me wrong. I am so happy to be starting my life with such a loving, caring, ambitious guy despite the addiction. I am head over heels in love with him. He goes above and beyond for me. He doesn't hurt me physically and the only way he hurts me emotionally is lying. I am glad I did not turn the other way though because I would have missed out on an amazing 9 months with somebody that I love so much. I'd also miss out on forever with him and our daughter.

    He is going to be a great father and husband regardless of this disease. Because that's all it is, a disease. A disease that can't and won't stick around forever


    by NICOLE DESHAIES

    Shared from the the orginal post

     

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You Say You Don't Believe in Hell? Just Look an Addict in the Eye.

EyeOfAnAddict

You say you don't believe in hell? Just look an addict in the eye, You'll think I'm safely at a friends- while I'm in some dirty bathroom getting high. I've always had high morals; Standards stacked against the sky, You sit watching as things disappear, but are too scared to ask me “why.” I stand there, right in front of you, so frail with bones so gaunt, You still don't know the lengths I'll take, for that one thing I so badly want.

Its getting harder to catch my breath, I'm drowning slowly in my soul, Spiraling. Swerving. Plummeting. I have completely lost control. Sputtering. Stuttering. Breath wreaking of decay- When will you finally hear the words that have been so hard for me to say!?! Perpetual exhaustion: I am awake yet sound asleep, A jaded narcoleptic- why am I always the blackest sheep? Scabs form on my skin- oozing thickly, with gangrenous decomposition, Isn't that offensive smell starting to throw up some suspicion? You've found me strung out on the floor, more times than you can even count. Eyes pinned. Drooling. Slurring. Another night for which I can't account.

I always seem to have the flu, you think my immunities have gone to hell, But how quickly you see me turn around once my body gets that hit. I have always had that mindset- to never live with much regret, Not even though I'm bankrupt- and to so many emotions, I'm in debt. I've lost all of my possessions- years of hard work right down the drain- I'll always curse the day I made the choice to stick that fucking needle in my vein.

- Ashleigh Campora

 

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People who suffer from heroin addiction – and their suffering is unimaginable - from this evil disease are not bad people.

JoshuaJanneSandkuhler

Dear Family, Friends, Neighbors, Acquaintances, Co-Workers, Music Associates, and Our Heroes in “The Program,”

In the early morning of December 10, 2015, our son, Joshua, died from a heroin overdose. We believe his addiction started about 12 years ago but it’s hard to say for certain because this disease of the Devil entered our home as slowly and quietly as a snowflake hits the ground. Over time, we came to realize there was a lot of snow on the ground.

You may be wondering: Why in the world would anyone want to share such a dark family secret…expose the “Scarlet Letter?” There are several reasons.

Joshua’s life cannot and will not be defined by his addiction. Josh had this evil disease but his disease is not who he was. So, who was Josh? In his “professional” life, Josh was:

A brave firefighter and BLS technician with the BCFD
A skilled bridge inspection technician
A prolific and profound guitarist-singer-songwriter
An extremely talented engineer and producer of music for live performances and studio
A creative writer of stories
An aspiring photographer, woodworker, jewelry maker

All these things greatly impacted many people. All are now discontinued. This is WHAT addiction stole from the world.

But these things were his occupations, hobbies. Although they offer a glimpse of who Josh was, we don’t believe Josh, any addicted person, or any person, really, should be defined by their occupation. So, again, who was Josh?

A strong believer in, defender of, and evangelist for his Catholic Faith (Yes, you can have ugly faults and still remain true to your Faith.)
A loving, caring son, brother, uncle, nephew, and cousin (He always ended his phone conversations with “Tell everybody I love them very much and give ‘em a big hug for me.”)
A loyal friend to many
An empathic listener to anyone
A believer that “Right” was right and “Left” was wrong (I had to steal this line.)
A gifted storyteller and always an entertainer

Those of you who knew our son could testify to this being Josh. (Many already have on social media.) All these things greatly impacted many people in a positive way. But they are all now discontinued. THIS is WHO addiction stole from the world.

People who suffer – and their suffering is unimaginable - from this evil disease are not bad people. When not recovering, they are dreadful but it’s not who they really are. They are like our Josh. They are somebody’s mother/father, son/daughter, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew, cousin. Those with substance addiction have a devastating disease that requires intensive medical care, tough love, and an unearthly measure of patience and understanding. It’s very hard to look into those glazed eyes and recognize there’s a breathing human being inside. We know. We have looked into the eyes of our son but couldn’t see our beautiful Joshua. But, yes, sadly, it was. And as long as any one of these suffering people is still breathing God’s air, there is Hope, Hope for recovery that the person can again be who they are, not what they do. Hope is, many times, all they have left to lose. Hope is the last line of defense.

Warning to parents: Your children are the Devil’s target. If you don’t believe in the Devil you need to know, nevertheless, that your children are particularly at risk. If you have young children, don’t give them too much slack on their tether line. Discipline them with your love without destroying their spirit. Pray with them. Talk with them about drugs (and sex, too). Have meals as a family - - - daily. Monitor their use of the internet, facebook and the social media du jour, television, and the like. Although these are today’s sources of knowledge, communication, and entertainment, you must know they are also the world’s tools that, very insidiously, advocate all of the seven deadly sins and addictive behavior and lifestyles. Sure, we did all these things and, as it turned out so well for us, where’s the value in our advice? At some point in your childrens’ lives they will choose their own path. You’ll want to explore your hearts for some peace that their chosen path, especially if it’s not a good one, was one of their choosing, not a result of your ambivalence or negligence.

We thank all who have offered kind condolences, cards, gifts, and most of all prayers. Eternally love your family and live with the Faith that God keeps you all, always, in His Loving protection.

 

With Love,

Steve and Linnea Sandkuhler

 

#AskMeAboutMyAngel #HeroinMemorial #GoneToSoon

www.HeroinMemorial.org   www.HeroinSupport.org 

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Most Drugs Ruin Your Life. Heroin Ends it in the Case of My Brother Chris.

drugs

It started out a regular day as he woke up and went to store for a pint of vodka.  Hwas off work but it was pay day so he left around 1230pm to go to pick up his two day check.  He got back around 130 pm and he and I finished the pint.  About 20 mins later he was slurring his words.  I looked at Matt, my friend, and mouthed to him that my brother Chris is on something and Matt shook his head yes.  So i had Matt go in and I asked my brother "what you on brother?"  

"What you mean? I just drank that vodka to fast and then the joint."  We came in together and I said you act like your on that heroin again.  "I aint on nothing different" he said.  "Well you look messed up" is what I told him. "What do you mean you got me worried." he said. He looked at himself in the mirror.  His lips were purplish and pale face.  He said "take me to the store so I can get gas to cut the grass."  I said "mom aint gonna let you on the riding mower if you are that drunk go lay down and sober up."

ChristopherCook1

He went and laid down for a couple hours.  Around 9pm I pulled my mom outside and told her that he was on something and I was going to listen for him to puke because thats a tell tale sign he would of used heroin.   "If he ods again I am going to cut your sons throat.  I am not going to save him again" I said to his mother.  Five minutes later he came out bedroom bouncing off the walls and my thought was you big drunk.  He went into bathroom and I could hear him puking.  I hit my moms door and said hes puking his guts out.  I went out back and called my friend Matt and 2 mins later I heard mom banging on the door yelling for Chris to open the door.  I threw the phone down and told Noah to go hide.  I grabbed a coat hanger and popped the lock on the door.  

Chris, my brother, was face down with clear vomit all over his face.  It took mom and me all our strength to roll him over.  We had called 911 and I started giving him CPR.  The clear vomit just wouldnt stop coming out his mouth.  I had to scoop it out before every breath I gave him.  It was running into his eyes which were open.  As the ambulance pulled in driveway I felt for heartbeat and I had a flutter and then felt nothing.  I was about to do compressions when the paramedic grabbed him and drug him into living room.  They worked on him for 30 minutes and never got his heartbeat back.  Heroin ended my brother's life right in front of my family and me that night.  

You can read my memorial tribute to Chris by clicking here.

ChristopherCook2

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Heroin Addict for 12 Years But Now Life Is Good

This is me in active addiction.

Eli Scott1

I've been a Heroin addict for 12+ years now and 5 months away from completing a Level 6 Therapeutic Community in Denver, CO. Oh my, what a crazy road I've been down. I got clean in 2011 till the end of 2013 and seemed to be doing great until the devil reeled me back in one day. Within a week I was right back to the vicious cycle of being a Heroin addict. I got a beautiful lady and put her through the mess with me. I remember one day we went to go pick up for me and she had NO CLUE what was going on and met up with my buddy at a 7-Eleven and shot up in the bathroom. I ran out and jumped into the drivers seat and took off driving down the road and the only thing I remember was opening my eyes to my girl shaking me in a frantic screaming my name saying WTF is going on, and the car was pulled over to the side of the road somehow. Oh my god, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

This Level 6 TC has shown me how to set boundaries once again, deal with adversity in a civilized manner, have more compassion for people because I had NONE for NO ONE, have empathy for people, so many things I could just go on and on! And here we are today, she has stuck by my side through this whole thing and she hasn't even touched drugs in her life! She has raised my son for me while being in this facility and she has probably suffered more being away from me than me being away from her. She and my family are a huge support in my life and want to see me strive to be the best! And that's what I'm here doing today!

All I can really say is to keep on fighting the battle and no one says that it's going to be easy. But how bad do you want it is the question? You put up such a fight during your addiction to get your next fix. So now it's time to put up that same fight but in a more positive aspect and fight for your recovery!  Anyone can find me and we can talk if you're struggling! I will hold anyone accountable and I would expect the same if I were struggling.

Below is me 14 months clean!

Eli Scott2

Keep heads held high and fight the fight!

Thanks for letting me share!

#RecoveryRocks    #HeroinSupport    #DontGiveUp

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No Hell Like Watching Heroin Change Somebody Into Somebody You Don't Even Know

HeroinHellWeb

There is no hell quite like the hell of watching HEROIN change somebody you love into somebody you don't even know.  How many of you have lived through the hell of watching the disease of addiction destroy an addict's life and the lives of those around them?  I am sure most of our readers have been down this road of hell with your addict as they fought or continue to fight this disease that has totally consumed their mental and physical health and also that of those around them.  

I talk daily to family members, friends and addicts themselves who struggle with how to but this monster called addiction in its grave.  It's a living hell for the addict 24/7 just like it is for those of us who sit and watch their struggle and wonder how we can pull our loved ones from the depths of this hell.  Addicts become zombies who look to feed their evil craving of addiction regardless of how or who it affects.  These zombies aren't like the evil ones portrayed in movies but they are our loved ones who are suffering from the consequences of a bad choice to try heroin for what ever reason.  

These reasons range from maybe a friend introducing them to heroin after school or maybe they became addicted to the painkillers they took for an injury and couldn't afford them any longer so then heroin stepped into their life and said "I am cheap, so give me a shot".  The list of possibilites of why someone became hooked on heroin goes on and on.  I have heard many of them but the one thing I don't recall hearing from anyone is that the addict wants this disease of addiction in their life.  Have you ever heard someone growing up and say that they want to be an addict for a living?

The stigma of addiction has also made the life of an addict and those around them worse.  Think about it.  If you were addicted to heroin and people constantly referred to you an a "junkie" or "loser" or maybe a "dopefien" would you be inclined to seek help for your addiction or would you be shamed by the stigma and continue to run instead of seeking help?  Remember these are addicts we are talking about and their mental thought process is severely affected by their addiction. For these addicts to be badgered, belittled and exiled because of our social values we uphold because of the senseless stigma that comes from people who don't fully understand what addiction means is a true crime right here in America and addiction continues to sweep under the rug.

So I ask you.  Do you understand the true meaning of addiction?  Will you look at an addict differently after reading our thoughts in this article?  Are you ready to "Take a Stand Against the Stigma of Addiction"?

- Heroin Support Inc

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People need to get educated on addiction, so we can change the stigma surrounding the social label of ‘JUNKIE’

JunkieStigma
“People need to get educated on addiction, so we can change the stigma surrounding the social label of ‘JUNKIE’.  Addiction is a brain disease.  It’s not like they can just make a choice to stop and it’s over.  This disease changes the functionality and structure of the brain.  Most of them hate the life they live each day as they are labeled “a social outcast who grow up wanting to be a junkie”.  They have a hard time finding affordable and available treatment beds.  With other diseases we are quick to make life better for those people but why not for addicts who suffer from the disease of addiction?  Addicts are good people with a disease and deserve to be treated the same respect and understanding as you and I are in life.”
 
- www.HeroinSupport.org
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Heroin: Myth vs Fact - From the Eyes of a Mother Who Lost Her Son

HeroinTrustMe

In honor of what would have been his 22nd birthday, I wanted to share what my son taught me about heroin: myth vs. fact.

Myth: Heroin is cheap.
Fact: Heroin is not cheap. It cost my son numerous X-Boxes, Play Stations, TVs, furniture, IMacs, expensive watches, I Phones, even his beloved Charger. It cost him his dignity, his self-esteem, his self-respect. It cost him a decent apartment and all of it's furnishings, his German Shepherd, the love of his life, and their daughter. It cost him his life at age twenty one.

Myth: You can use it once in awhile and be fine.
Fact: There is no such thing as a recreational heroin user. It is not to be confused with a joint or having a beer. Once Pandora's box is opened, less than 1% of people are able to get it closed again.

Myth: My friend gets it for me.
Fact: Your heroin dealer is not your friend, he is a heroin dealer. If he were your friend, you would be alive to talk about it. If he were your friend, you wouldn't have gotten started in the first place because friends don't want their friends dead.

Myth: Heroin dealers look like thugs.
Fact: They can also look like a choir boy, be well-spoken, well mannered, very charming and come from a decent home just like you did.

Myth: Heroin is the ultimate high.
Fact: While the rush lasts minutes, withdrawal symptoms are always waiting for you. They include muscle and bone pain, diarrhea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, insomnia, restlessness, runny nose, cold flashes and goosebumps, sweating, involuntary kicking motions, racing pulse, high blood pressure, increased respiratory rate, and severe anxiety.

Myth: I can handle it.
Fact: Tyler Andrew Addison 9/25/1993 - 11/03/2014.

- Gretchen Miller-Addison, mother who lost her son Tyler, 21, on November 3rd, 2014 to heroin.

You can read his memorial tribute by clicking here.

 #AskMeAboutMyAngel   #HeroinMemorial   #GoneToSoon

tyler

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To My Son's Heroin Dealer

dealersdontcare

To My Son's Heroin Dealer:

I want to explain the desolation and ruin you left behind because of your greed and complete disregard for human life...unless they had money for heroin. You were supposed to be his friend. What does it feel like knowing you were the one who sold my son his fatal dose of heroin? How do you live with yourself?

I remember the doctor telling me I could only touch his face and hair. I couldn't touch the breathing tube they had inserted, I couldn't touch the numerous IVs they had placed trying to save his life. I remember walking into that cold, sterile room to see my son lying on the table, still and quiet. His jeans were cut on his leg because they tried bring him back with Narcan four times at the scene. I remember seeing the blood stains in his teeth and mouth from when they tried to revive him with chest compressions. I remember hearing myself scream and sob until they told me it was time to take him to the morgue. I begged them to let me go with him and stay with him because he didn't like being alone.

In the days that followed, I experienced what no parent should ever have to experience. Ever. I numbly went through the process of selecting a funeral home. I remember sitting there with my friend, who walked out of a meeting and flew half way across the country to help me, and just let him do the talking. I sat there listening to them write the obituary for Ty, discuss a charity, and go over service times . Then came the time to pick out his casket. I had to choose a casket in which my one and only child would be laid to rest forever. After what seemed to be an eternity I chose the metallic silver, the same color as his beloved Charger. You remember that Charger, don't you? You rode in it quite a few times. After we left the funeral home, we had to buy him the last suit he would ever wear. I just stood there in the store helplessly, suffocating from disbelief. I couldn't stop sobbing and knew that people were staring but I didn't care. Nothing mattered anymore.

Many of his friends came to pay their respects to him during calling hours but not you. I was waiting for you. I wanted you to see what you had done. I wanted you to see the agony and insurmountable suffering you inflicted on our family and friends. I wanted you to look at your friend lying in his casket who died because you sold him heroin. Most of all, I wanted you to look me in the face and tell me why you left him there to die alone. But you are a spineless coward. You prey on those who lack street smarts as long as they have money. You are a disease and I will tell everyone who will listen about what happened to my child in hopes to one day put you and your fellow drug dealing associates out of business for good.

- Gretchen Miller-Addison, mother who lost her son Tyler, 21, on November 3rd, 2014 to heroin.

You can read his memorial tribute by clicking here.

 #AskMeAboutMyAngel   #HeroinMemorial   #GoneToSoon

tyler

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How The Lure Of Heroin Led To My Most Destructive Relationship

fighter

When I first met heroin, it started off as a casual thing.

“Only on the weekends,” I told her.

I made it very clear.

My mind was made up, especially since I had so much to do during the week.

She understood her place at that point in time.

Then, I realized she made me feel unlike anyone else had made me feel before.

She made all my problems go away.

In a world that seemed so crazy and hectic, she made it sit still.

She had a thing about her, a mysterious side I wanted to know more and more about.

Our relationship became serious over the ensuing months.

To some, this is nothing. To me, this is a look into the darkest part of my life.

It reached a point where I would see heroin every day.

I craved her.

She knew she had me wrapped around her finger. I would do anything and everything just to get a taste of her.

I wanted to feel her slow my mind and body down, to feel those chills she would shoot throughout my body.

When she was with me, everything felt normal.

Having heroin in my life created a new normal for me.

One day, we both were caught.

It was that same day I lost seemingly everything.

She was a manipulative girl.

She tricked me into believing if I only had her, nothing else mattered.

She isolated me as I continued to lose all I had once known.

I became obsessed with her. Days turned into months, and months turned into years.

Heroin was an expensive woman.

She demanded hundreds and hundreds of dollars, or she demanded I steal from those who trusted me.

On another day, our toxic relationship took a turn for the worse.

The woman I loved so much got the best of me.

One moment, I began coughing profusely, as if I had water in my lungs.

The next thing I knew, I woke up in a hospital bed.

People around me were hysterical, crying and yelling. I had no idea what was going on.

The doctors hovered over me, saying, “It’s going to be okay, kid.”

After I was released, I wanted to see her again.

My entire being craved her.

My mind was fixated on her. She was the girl of my dreams.

Yeah, she had almost taken my life, but at that time, this was the type of love I would have died for.

It took another near-death experience to realize this relationship did more harm than good.

I laid motionless in a closet, my eyes closed and my hands twitching.

My body felt as if it was lifting, rising to another realm at a velocity I had never experienced in my life.

It was then I realized the painful truth: She was no good for me.

She manipulated, isolated and took all that I had.

Heroin was not the girl I thought she was. She was a monster who was destroying my life.

Perhaps the hardest thing I had to do was leave her.

Leaving the woman who I thought was the reason for my new normal and my new happiness was going to be hard.

It was tough. I ran back to her, time and time again.

Finally, I got the courage to say, “Enough is enough.”

On that day, I took a stand against her.

She has gone, but she has never fully left me.

I touch my arms and feel the holes where she would meet me.

Smells of pizza fill my nostrils and remind me of her.

Rubbing the back of my veinless and smooth hands remind me of her.

Pictures, the letter “H” and houses in the Paseo Arts District flood back the memories we shared together. They were numbing and time-slowing recollections.

She was, at one point, my everything.

Heroin is a vengeful woman. Leaving her made me feel uncomfortable.

Sneezing, cold sweats and not being able to sit still or be comfortable were the signs this breakup would be messy.

Her signature move — her go-to that would make me want to run back to her again — was making me throw up.

I would feel so weak, I did not know who I was without her.

I needed her now more than ever.

It seems simple to have a quickie with her. I’d just have a one-night stand, and then I’d never see her again.

This is how she would trap me again, isolate me, wrap me around her finger and take all of my money and my life again.

Being a fighter and a true advocate of what you preach are the keys to achieving and conquering anything you set out to do.

This is the hardest thing I have ever encountered or had to deal with.

I have come to terms with the fact heroin’s memories may never leave me.

But, I have the upper hand on her.

I have ambition to leave a legacy of greatness and triumph that will keep her shut out of my life for good.

Three years down the line, I am not turning back.

It’s been tough lately, but I remember how I felt when she put me in the hospital.

I never want to feel like that again.

We all struggle, but it is the size of your fight that determines whether you can make it or not.

Be a fighter. Be a warrior.

 

-Ezekiel Wariboko

Origninal Article: http://elitedaily.com/life/heroin-destructive/1260591/

 

#RecoveryRocks | #HeroinSupport | #HeroinSucks

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I Am Not an Addict and Have Never Done Heroin But it Has Affected My Life in so Many Ways

Paul2

Hello my name is Kelly and I'm not an addict and have never done heroin but it has affected my life in so many ways. I just lost my fiancé August 24th 2015. He was found in a waiting room bathroom at the hospital in Camden, New Jersey (where heroin is a huge epidemic right now). He didn't sign in to be seen he just walked in and asked to use the bathroom. He was clean 90 days. He was doing heroin for a year if that but they let him use the bathroom and didn't even check on him. After 15 minutes finally someone knocked on the door and he didn't answer and then someone got the door opened and found him unresponsive on the floor.

The doctor called his mom and she called me so I raced to the hospital. The hospital actually called his mom back and told her he was dead. I still didn't know I got there and the doctor asked me if I had a picture of him because even though he had his health insurance papers and an envelope with a picture of him on it from the county (they had him as a John Doe) jail. He was out of jail as of that day not even 24 hours but before that he did almost 3 months. After waiting in a room for over 2 hours the doctor came back and said ok so u know he's dead right and I said no I didn't. The doctor said he worked on him for over 40 minutes and nothing helped. It was too late.

So heroin has taken the love of my life away, a father figure to my son, and an amazing person in general. Paul Maluk changed my life in so many ways. Paul is my very first true love and I'll forever be grateful for that (he always will be) and I'm 36yrs old. When the weather breaks I'm planning a walk/run in Paul’s name and set up a scholarship fund in his name for EMT and firefighters who are just starting out. Paul was a lieutenant firefighter, trustee, and an EMT. I will do whatever it takes to raise money in Paul’s name one day.

I recently found out who sold him that one by that day I have his number, and dealer’s text messages. The cops didn't even keep his 2 cell phones to investigate but told me it was an ongoing investigation and I wasn't allowed to see me before they zipped up the body bag.

My younger sister who is my Irish twin is a heroin addict and has been for my years she's in and out of jail for unpaid fines because of stealing to support her habit her life is ruined so heroin has not only took the love of my life but has also taken my sister away from me because we aren't close anymore and every night I pray to God to keep her alive and not take her away from me like heroin took Paul. Heroin has also took my best friend on October 9th, 2015. She was found dead from an overdose in her bed and leaves behind a 4 year old son. So that's how heroin has affected my life and I'm not even an addict. My son who no longer has a stepfather/father figure.

I just keeping picking myself up and fight through this because I know that's what Paul would want. Right now at this point in life I have no reason to smile, be happy, or feel like my old self. After I lost Paul my friends are nowhere to be found and not one has been there for me. I've never felt more alone in my entire life than I do now and heroin is to blame.
So that's my story I'm not an addict and have never done heroin and have no desire to.

- Kelly

Paul Stephen Maluk
DOB: 06/08/1977
DOH: 08/24/2015

Paul1

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My Name is Called “Addiction”

addiction
ADDICTION

My name is called “Addiction”
And I want to be your friend
And have a good time while we’re together
And tomorrow, it can end.

I come in many flavors
Each is yours to freely choose
Try me only for amusement
What have you got to lose?

And when you taste my precious venom
I’ll become the one that you adore
And you’ll come back to me, just one more time
For more and more and more.

Your friends will no longer matter
Your family, put to the test
I see the bad that hides inside
They only see the best.

I will destroy what you hold sacred
I will defile what you hold dear
Any self-respect that you have left
I will make it disappear.

I only have one weakness
And that is your “Willingness to Fight”
Will it be a minor skirmish
Or a War with All Your Might?

And if somehow I am defeated
And your willingness prevails
I will take you back with open arms
And I will put your life through Hell!

Written by : Lonnie Budro
Copyright 11-13-2015
All Rights Reserved
email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dopeless Hope Fiend: A Recovering Addict's Manifesto

ryan

You never had a problem with buying weed from me in junior high. You seemed to appreciate my proclivity for procuring high quality acid in high school. But when I started smoking meth during my senior year, you called me “a worthless tweeker.” When I missed the SATs because I partied too hard the night before the test, you pointed out how I failed more times than most have tried. When I sunk into a deep depression because my friends were walking out of my life, you said it was because I wasn’t “ever going to amount to anything.” It still hurts that you wrote me off because you thought I’d never get clean. I internalized your beliefs about me. I could never shoot, snort, or smoke enough dope to silence the memories of being shunned for having a disease. You looked down upon me from your socially acceptable, stable perch. You went away to a four year university, and I set my sights on becoming a big fish in the drug dealing pond. You turned a blind eye as I sunk lower and lower into the grips of addiction. Strung out and suicidal, my disease had progressed to mainlining a mixture of heroin and cocaine. I had hoped that you would give me a call, or maybe even stop by my house to let me know that you still gave a sh#t about me, but you didn’t. After all, I am just a lowly drug addict.

You screamed, “You could stop if you really wanted to!” Heck, I was even convinced that I could quit whenever I wanted. I am sick with a disease and it is called addiction: an obsessive-compulsive pattern of using something outside of myself to change the way I feel. I couldn’t stop using, even when I had the desire to. I didn’t enjoy the rush of experiencing the nearly fatal cardiac arrests which accompanied a string of coke overdoses, and I didn’t possess anymore superhuman energy when my meth habit turned me into a meager little 115 pound tweeker, and there surely wasn’t anything chic about my dependence on heroin after numerous injection site abscesses cost me one of my lungs, a body riddled with scars, and 9 months in the hospital. Being a drug addict stopped being fun for me before we ever parted ways during our senior year. I kept using, despite the consequences because I was trying to escape the pain of childhood trauma: sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I needed a way to shut up the voice in my mind that constantly tells me that I am unlovable. I am an addict and my story is not uncommon with those that are affected by our affliction. The disease of addiction cannot be cured; however, it can be arrested and managed with adequate support and development of healthy coping tools. 

At first, you cringed when I publicly spoke of it. You whispered to your friends, “How in the hell could anyone be so proud to be in rehab?” Nobody believed that I would actually stay clean. You gave me two weeks at most before I had a needle in my arm again. You asked, “What is this guy talking about?” My emotions were raw and I couldn’t keep them bottled up anymore. You laughed and wondered just how many brain cells I had fried. You were cautiously optimistic when I took that first step by admitting that I was powerless over my addiction and that my life had become unmanageable. I proudly showed you my clean time key tags and boasted about my progress with undoing years of wreckage. 

You never understood how hanging out with a group of addicts could help me stay clean. You pictured us meeting in a dimly lit room reeking of stale cigarette smoke while we sobbed over the opportunities that we squandered away. You didn’t realize that being an addict in recovery is the ticket into an elite club. The price of admission is quite high, as one must hit rock bottom before gaining full entry into a fellowship of soulful fighters, strong-willed survivors, and humble spiritual gurus. My pain and embarrassment were well worth it when you consider the company that I now get to keep. My inner circle consists of creative geniuses, unstoppable overachievers, tireless doers, and kind-hearted helpers. You don’t believe me? That’s because you’ve never met Jason, the English literature student who is more intelligent than most of his Sonoma State University professors, or Kendra, the self-made real estate mogul and big pharma consultant. These are the addicts who took me under their wings, and showed me how to sublimate my addictive nature into a healthy, productive means of operating with success. They embody the recovering addicts’ mantra: “We keep what we have only by giving it away.” 

The recovering addict has a tool kit of effective life skills which most normies never develop. We dedicate our lives to being of service to others. But first, we must dig down to the deepest depths of our wounded spirits, make peace with our past, understand ourselves to the best of our ability, and correct any personality defects which affect our relations with others. The final step of the healing process requires us to make amends to the people we have harmed. To sufficiently maintain our newfound serenity, we inventory our relationships, feelings, and behavior on a daily basis in search of areas in which we can improve. This is our recovery program and it is a lifetime of cyclical work. We are given a set of moral principles to guide our lives and we do our best to apply them in all of our affairs. 

I can’t keep myself from laughing when I hear you say “addicts lack drive and ambition.” Apparently, you weren’t paying attention when that addict hustled you into buying their next bag of dope. A using addict will lie, cheat, steal, or deal drugs to feed their habit. Did you really think that we lost our street smart mentality when we got clean? The recovering addict now lives by a strict spiritually guided code, but we use our dope game survival skills for more socially acceptable objectives, such as excellence in education, fitness fanaticism, or skyrocketing success in our chosen profession. You failed to recognize that the core of our disease is obsessiveness; it's our gift and our curse.

I gave up the title of being the biggest f#ck up from Rancho Cotate’s Class of ’98 a few years ago. I’m something entirely different now: the resilient, hard-working, straight A college student. You call me “a miracle.” However, I’m really just a typical addict in recovery. It happened as quickly as it all started; you turned your back on me twenty years ago like rats fleeing from a sinking ship; now you flock to me like I’m a mid-western suburban heroin dealer and hang onto to my uplifting words like Tea Partiers with Donald Trump’s rhetoric. 

Are you ready to admit that you were wrong about me and addicts in general? I won’t hold my breath while I wait for an apology. I’ve worked on my resentments, so I’m not going to hold your misconceptions against you. It’s great that you root for me, but be honest: you needed for me to recover. As I pulled myself out of the gutter, I motivated you to overcome your own troubles. You told me, “If you can do it, so can I.” You failed to realize that I can do it because I am a recovering addict, not despite of it. You’re in awe of our inner-strength, centered peacefulness and ability to accomplish almost anything, no matter what the circumstances are. I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have a hard time keeping up with an addict in recovery. It’s too bad that your normie status doesn’t allow you the opportunity to join my tribe. We’re a generous bunch, so we will share some of our insights with you. Who would’ve guessed that the worthless junkies would become the source of inspiration and sound advice to the same folks who shamed them? It’s cool- we’ve all made mistakes and we don’t mind being your hope dealers.

-    - Ryan M. Sansome‎ (Santa Rosa, California)

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Heroin. Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation.

KurtToday

A boy from my old neighborhood died this week. He was no longer a ‘boy’, he was 26, but to me he was still one of the kids. They ran around in the summer as a pack. You could tell where they were by looking for their pile of bikes. Scenes from those days of innocence keep flashing through my head – when they went from one house to another, rode their bikes to the playground or to the store- images of boyhood youth. Now he’s gone. Heroin stole him. My heart is breaking for his mother and siblings. They have already been through so much, having lost their husband and father to cancer four years ago. I’m sure Addiction has also stolen years of this family’s life. I know how Addiction takes over a home, because Addiction has been an unwelcome member of our family for the last ten years.

Addiction is stealthy. It hides in basements and bathrooms and bedrooms. It steals children and decimates families under a cloak of silence. The addicts themselves are embarrassed and guilty and are afraid to ask for help. Parents feel inadequate, trying to figure out where they went wrong, what could they have done better. I was a stay at home Mom for God’s sake, and my firstborn is a heroin addict. What does that say about me? Guilt, silence, embarrassment – these are Addiction’s wingmen, giving it the wind needed to kill our kids, gaining strength in whispers at book clubs and coffee shops, ‘he’s an addict you know’.

speak

It’s time to Stop the Silence. It’s time to Speak the Truth. My son is a heroin addict. I want to wear a t-shirt, a hat, a pin, something. I want a suffering family member or addict to see me in the grocery store and be able to walk up and say ‘me too’. I want families to not feel isolated and alone in this hell that is Addiction. It is everywhere, and we are hiding it because we feel guilty and ashamed. I have seen in people’s eyes in the past that they knew my son was an addict. But they also didn’t know if I knew, and I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops. So the elephant was with me everywhere I went. We lived in a small town. I was sure everyone knew. I was sure my son’s name was whispered when I wasn’t there. Yet I stayed silent.

My son is in recovery. He has been clean and sober for 16 months. It’s a miracle he’s alive. That miracle cost us a small fortune. True recovery is not cheap and it is not easy. It is not five days of detox, have a nice day. It is not a thirty day stint in rehab, have a nice life. It is a slow, slogging, exhausting crawl out of the muddy nasty pit Addiction digs under you. My son spent thirty days full in-patient, sixty more days at the same hospital in a step down program, and then five months in transition housing and treatment. He moved to a sober house where he has been for the past eight months. None of this was easy for him. He dug deep and worked hard. He would not have been able to do this without the support he had along the way. He recognizes that he will need that support for a very long time if not forever. He is beginning to see light and a future, but it certainly didn’t happen during his first thirty days – or even the next ninety. Time is the key, and time costs money. We spent a huge chunk of our life savings to buy him the time he needed.  It was a scary gamble for us, but we chose to bet on our son. We’re grateful and thankful he chose to double down on that bet for all he was worth.  We were lucky we had the ability to throw those dice. A huge percentage of addicts don’t have anyone (or have burned out the people they used to have) with the resources to get them the help they need.

My son had an Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO plan. It listed addiction recovery as something they cover. It listed detox and hospitalization as something they cover.  I have in my possession a letter that states the diagnosis is heroin addiction and can be treated outpatient.  Detox, denied. Inpatient rehab, denied. Anthem’s medical plan did not pay one dime of his treatment costs.

Recently my son accompanied someone who asked for help to the ER. He had relapsed and wanted to get into detox. There was not a single bed in any detox facility in the state, for any price.  He had to wait almost a week for a bed to open up. In that week this young man stayed safe by staying on the couch in my son’s sober living house and not spending one minute alone. Kicking addiction takes a village, but addicts need a ticket into that village, and they are few and far between – and very very costly.

How are we to deal with this epidemic if we as a society leave these addicts out there to die? We all pay the price of this epidemic. Banks, gas stations, convenience stores are being robbed at gunpoint. Home invasions, car break-ins, shoplifting, and credit card fraud are all ways addicts are feeding their habit. For the families of addicts, we get to go looking for stolen possessions – sister’s jewelry, brother’s amp- at pawn shops, or we reach to pay for something only to find our money is gone. Let’s not forget the children of addicts. They pay the highest price.

The news tells us to worry about terrorists and Ebola and whatever else they think will increase their ratings. I understand that these threats are real, but our society is quietly rotting in basements and bedrooms across America. Opiates and methamphetamines are destroying this country from within, stealing the next generation right out from under our noses. Kids who should be going to proms and football games are stealing from their parents, dropping out of school, and starting on a path that ends with jail or death. They are our future, and we need to start fighting for them.

The front line of this fight is to Stop the Silence. Scream the Truth. Let people know that Addiction is in their own towns. It walks the halls of their schools and sits beside them in their workplace. It is teaching their children, driving their buses, policing their streets, and killing their neighborhood children.

If we stop the silence, people will start fighting this battle together instead of feeling ineffective, isolated and alone. If we speak the truth, society will begin to recognize the crisis we are all facing as this epidemic of Addiction stops hiding behind walls of silence and is driven into the light. If we start the conversation, we as a society can put our efforts toward a solution.

Share your story. Let people know how Addiction has touched your life. It has probably touched their lives as well. Help save our children.

My son is a heroin addict.

 

Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation.

 

- Patricia Byrne is from Canton MA and lives in Westminster CO

 

Follow "Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation" on Facebook and on their blog.

 

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Addicts Disappoint. It Is What We Do

Addicts Disappoint.  It Is What We Do

My name is Tyler.  I am an alcoholic.  To declare that to a large audience, to strangers, to non-alcoholics, to people that know me but may not have known this fact, it is intimidating. For a long time now I have been open and honest about being a recovering alcoholic.  I do not feel it is something that needs be hidden. Yes, I have done things that I am not proud of and possess a long mental list of actions I regret. In the past two years I have strived to make those things right, rendering amends for all the wrong I have done.  I continue that mission and I also have set upon a quest to ease the pain of all the addicts I can.  As an alcoholic, I am an addict.  I have been in recovery for two years now, having taken my last drink on March 23, 2013.

It has been a journey of mental, emotional, and spiritual rehabilitation and I thank God, my family, my friends, my community, Crossroads Church, the organization Shatterproof, Alcoholics Anonymous, and countless others in assisting me in this journey.  It truly takes a village to bring an addict back.  And although I am an alcoholic, I consider myself a brother to every addict.

addict

We find ourselves facing an epidemic of heroin addiction in our nation, in the state of Kentucky, and in the region of Northern Kentucky.   This has caused a vast array of damage to the people, property, and way of life of this region I call home.  Hepatitis C has risen to levels that threaten not just the intravenous drug using population but the public at large.  Families are broken, lives are shattered by jail and destitution, and our healthcare facilities are dominated by heroin related cases.  It is no longer just a problem; it is the most plaguing issue in our communities.

On September 1, 2015, on Highland Pike in Fort Wright, Kentucky,  a forty-eight year old man caused a motor vehicle crash that claimed his life along with three others, those three all being over the age of seventy.  Opioids were found to be in his system.  A tragedy of immense proportions, totally preventable and incredibly brutal, had occurred.  A heroin addict had caused not only his death, but the death of three innocent people.  I have heard this invoke anger against addicts, to call for their jailing and to keep them separated from the public.  It is a sentiment I am not new to.

What happened on Highland Pike was a tragedy.  There is no two ways about it.  And an individual has been declared responsible for it.  Individuals are responsible for tragedies every day.  I feel deep remorse and sorrow for the families and communities of those involved.  This could have been prevented.

On December 23, 2012 I was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Alexandria, Kentucky with a blood alcohol content nearing twice the legal limit.  I could have caused a tragedy.  I could have cost myself and innocent people their lives.  By the grace of God, I did not.  I am responsible for my actions and I am responsible for that DUI.  I make no claim that I am not liable for the numerous mistakes of my past that occurred while I was actively drinking.  But I also know I am not the sum of my mistakes.

Addicts disappoint.  It is what we do.  We have let down so many people, but most of all, we have let down ourselves.  But there is hope.  There are ways to fight it. You can come back from the brink of destruction.

Addiction is a disease.  And yes, it most certainly starts with a choice but so can a lot of diseases (heart disease through lifestyle, lung cancer through smoking, etc…).  We do not turn our back on the diseased.  We do not treat them less than human.  We do not lock them all up and throw away the key.  We treat them.  We educate them.  We support them.

Addiction may start with a choice, but it is a choice to use once.  Then it becomes a habit, possibly rising to a point where it dominates your life.  And guess what?  Once you get into recovery it still is an enormous part of your life.  You need to manage it.  You need to be open to treatment and mindful of your surroundings.  There has not been a day since March 23, 2013 that I have not thought about alcohol.  But I do not need to drink anymore.  I am not the sum of my mistakes.

I feel your anger, I do.  Tragedies like the wreck on Highland Pike hurt our hearts.  Crime is rising, people are being robbed for money to support habits, and children are being neglected and spurned.  But we cannot give up on addicts.

We need to continue exploring new ways of treatment, providing the forms of treatment we have, supporting clean needle exchange, educating everyone from grade school students to adults.

Some people say by getting people in jails we give them access to treatment.  Unfortunately that does not solve the solution.  Addicts need to really want to get better.  There is no magic cure.  Forcing treatment upon us is not effective.  And yes, neither is enabling.

I am not saying that addiction gives someone immunity from the law. It absolutely does not.  And I am not saying we should not try to treat the addicts we have in jails and prisons.  We absolutely should.  But we should not take the approach that jail is the cure for addiction.  That line of thinking comes with high price tag and a lot of broken hearts.

So let us work together as a community to help our neighbors struggling.  Remember we are all here together, striving for the best life for ourselves and our families.  Hate the drug, do not hate the addict.   They are more than the sum of their mistakes.  They are no less than anyone else.  We must not enable them, but we must also never turn our back on them as well.

I urge you to educate yourself on treatment options and the programs and laws that are being implemented and have been implemented to curb this epidemic.  Resources can be found at nkyhatesheroin.com as well as nkypar.org and nkyhealth.org.

I am also more than willing to share my experiences and my passion with anyone wanting to know more.  I can be reached via text or call at 859-653-5909.

By Tyler Owen

 

Orginal Story: http://www.fortthomasmatters.com/2015/10/op-ed-humanity-of-addiction.html

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