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


Marc Alberts: Our little brother

5/11/1989 ❤ 6/2/2015

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’.

Continue reading “Heroin. Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation.”


JPL color dock version

Life’s on the line, each time’s a risk,
Yesterday we lost Lance Fiske.
I’ll say my peace and shed a light
To a disease which many fight.
I won’t expect you to connect,
Please just listen, & show respect.

Summers ago we played baseball,
Seen him in the halls each fall.
Sacred Heart, East Junior High
Amiable, our last goodbye.
Although his life came to an end,
I’m glad to say he was my friend.
Unless you have been to this dance
You’ve got no idea what took our Lance.
A life of suffering, a life of pain
He’s in the sun, out of the rain.
R.I.P. Lance Fiske (9/23/86 – 8/23/09)

How long can I carry this burden?
Life’s full of triggers, relapse is certain.
The music, the T.V., the friends & the town,
The guilt & depression start bringing me down.
Each time I slip, the less you pity,
I find my answers downtown in the city.

I need your love now, much more than you know
But I have no strength, to tell you ALL so.
All it will take, to end this long war,
Is one lost fight, & you’ll see me no more.
I wish this pain, would go away
I hope that things, will end ok.

Truth be told, my body’s cold
This disease of mine is getting old.
I’m Helpless, without friends & fam
Struggling, to hold on to, who I am.

I don’t know why, I don’t know how
I’m supposed to deal, with all this now.
So time will tell my story now
I’ve lost the strength to help myself.
I’m Helpless.
I’m Helpless.
I beg to have, a normal life
Friends & fam, one day a wife.
Yet I am plagued, by sins & lies
It’s my own friends who now despise
The man I am, what I’ve become
No faith in me, to overcome.
A broken bond, a choice all theirs,
Friends who had, justified fears,
I understand, No right to judge
It’s me who sinks inside the sludge.

Your backs are turned, you’re eyes are closed
It’s all my fault, this life I chose.
The blame is cast, I’ve been shut out
for my mistakes, my different route.
No sins forgave, no lies ignored
They split from me, on their accord.

I never chose to cross my friends,
but they’re still gone, & now I fend,
All by myself, try not to cry
I carry on, but rather die.

Inside I shout, inside I scream,
You do not know the hell I’ve seen
No one to share my sorrows with,
No one to split this Henny fifth.

I don’t know how I’ve come this far
Restless nights, under the stars.
I’ve slept some nights out on the street,
I’ve sometimes slept up on my feet.
The things I’ve seen, the things I’ve done
Not much to boast, life on the run,
When sunlight shines, I want to stay
under my sheets and fade away.
I want to quit, I really do.
But everyday I have the flu.
Each day alive, worse than before
All muscles ache, whole body’s sore.
I get on up & get the cure.
I guess tomorrow, I’ll stop for sure.

My life comes first, before my feelings
Self-medication for instant healing
This is my life, but hope I’m wrong
A bad nightmare which last too long
I hope I wake, make an escape
I do not know if I can take
Another day full of this shit.
I’m really sick, & sick of it.
An imploding body, my head might explode
If the cycle don’t end, then death I forebode.
I wish this pain, would go away
I hope that things, will end ok.

Truth be told, my body’s cold
This disease of mine is getting old.
I’m Helpless, without friends & fam
Struggling, to hold on to, who I am.

I don’t know why, I don’t know how
I’m supposed to deal, with all this now.
So time will tell my story now
I’ve lost the strength to help myself.
I’m Helpless.
I’m Helpless.


– Written by Jeffrey P. Lane (2/20/85 – 4/29/16)
– For Lance Fiske (9/23/86 – 8/23/09)


About Jeff Lane (written by his sister Tara Lane)

To say Jeff loved music is an understatement. His passion for the art was insatiable. He was such a naturally smart, unique soul and this shined through anything he did. Jeff understood the power of using music to bring joy to others lives or as a way to speak to them in a way like no other. I have always been blown away by his vast knowledge of every genre and his ability to know exactly what someone wanted to hear or what song they were talking about.  Using that power, he learned to DJ at a young age and it was no surprise he then later taught himself how to read music and to play the guitar. He was always writing in his books, whether it was song lyrics or actual melodies.  He could never learn enough about music, whether it was how to write it, how to create it, the meanings behind songs or even just about the artists or bands themselves. So much of our time spent together consisted of him having me listen to something or watch something on an artist or band he loved. Prince and Slash are the reason he wanted to pick up a guitar in the first place and I cannot tell you enough how many times I saw the movie Purple Rain or was made to watch a video of Slash. Jeff was so passionate about things that it was infectious. It was impossible to not gain the same love for music. I’ll never forget the day we drove somewhere together and I went from current hits, to 50’s oldies, to EDM, to Rap and probably threw in some rock and he looked at me when we parked and said, “I’ve taught you well my young disciple.”  We laughed so hard. He made you want to listen to anything he was interested in. He was known for putting a song on and staring at you until you realized what he did-whether it was an inside joke or he wanted you out of the mood you were in-or just making fun of the mood you were in. He could turn moods like I’ve never seen! I will never forget that stare 😊

After an off and on battle of almost 10 years, Jeff lost his life to his addiction in 2016. Coming across pieces like this that Jeff wrote is such an amazing gift. He had such a way with words to have something so real and painful turn into something so beautiful. That is true talent. Writing this back in 2009 when he was at his worst, overdose rates were not nearly as high as they are today.  The stigma on addicts was so tough that there was not as much interest in reading something like this or in helping make changes. Now in 2017, addiction touches almost every household in America in some way.  Now people WANT to read something as real as this that sheds light on a disease that is killing so many.  Now people WANT help in understanding this epidemic. There is barely any room in programs for people who do want help, and if there is, many are turned away because they cannot afford it. For those who do get help, it is a life long battle to stay sober and this is where many struggle. There are many who do understand the depth of this daemon now, but there is a long way to go until real changes are made in the way we treat addiction. 

If there is one thing that Jeff always knew, it was that music speaks to people. I know he would be so happy if even one person was affected by something he wrote. Whether it was to better understand or to help someone not feel so alone. People do not realize how much it might mean to someone to read something so true to what they are dealing with, showing them they are not in this by themselves. This gives them something to live for and for some that is all they need.  ~Tara

 Here is a link to the tribute to Tara wrote for Jeff written shortly after he died.

About Lance Fiske 
Lance, a 2005 graduate of Brockton High School, loved playing baseball and basketball in high school. He attended the former Sacred Heart School and East Junior High School. To read more about Lance please check out the links below.


“What if your child becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol?”

child artwork

Oh no! – The question.

Silence – The answer.

“Not MY kid!”

“I won’t let this happen to MY kid!”

“MY kid is too well behaved for drugs!”

“MY kid won’t hang out with THOSE kids!”

“OUR family is different than THOSE families.”

“MY kid goes to a great school…he gets good grades.”

Though those answers weren’t on my list of responses when asked the dreaded “what if” question, I had my own naive thoughts.

I sat silent for a while.

Ok, a long while.

Ok, I still haven’t shared my thoughts.

That is, until now.

Those thoughts went something like this…..

“Nooooo! He will play with Legos, get excited over finding nickels in the couch, eat yogurt tubes, suck juice boxes dry, sleep with “wolfie” at night and laugh at Sponge Bob for the rest of his life!!!”

That folks, is what I came up with.

Naive mom brain, if you will.

Reality check.

My 8 yr old will grow up and, in today’s society, fast!

Addiction is real. I know all too well.

So, what is my answer. “What if…”  Hello? Are you there? Jenn?

**deep breath**

Reality is harder than projecting on the ‘what if’s’, but through my own addiction, here are my thoughts……here it goes…

If my child is an addict….

I will love him no less.

Worry more.

Pray harder.

Reach out farther.

Talk to others.

Talk to him.

Not miss an opportunity to hold his hand.

Give him hope. Encourage him.

Plant the seed.

Hug him tight.

Answer his calls.

Say “no” a lot….a whole lot.

Tell him my story.

Tell him many stories.

Be strong in front of him.

Fall to pieces behind him.

Kiss his forehead.

Count his freckles.

Daydream of better days.

Cry  for him.

Cry for me.

Cry for my heart.

Cry for his heart.

Hate addiction all over again.

And one thing is for sure, without a doubt, I will have faith. As hard as it is to trust anyone with my child, my faith will have to be strong. As an addict, one thing I know for sure is addiction is too big for any parent…mom or dad; sibling; spouse; best friend; child. You can love them with all you are…all your being…but you can’t love them sober. If so, ALL addicts would be just that: sober.

I was asked the dreaded question: “What if my child is an addict?”

So in response, all I can do today is this.

Love him with all my being.

Hold him.

Count his freckles, watch him sleep, lay out his clothes.

Cut the crust off his sandwich and play the part of Santa, the tooth fairy and Easter bunny.

Today I can giggle with him. Help him cope with a bad day in 2nd grade.

Make memories.

Beautiful, innocent memories.

Today is all I have….the only time I have to teach him what I know about life, which isn’t really anything more than you. I’m just a mom who wonders what other parents wonder: how to protect my child.

Yet in the world of addiction, I wonder a bit more. Will he be?

Then again….maybe he won’t…

Originally posted on the Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation’s Facebook page.

Jake Koenigsdorf Foundation is a non-profit foundation that helps addicts, alcoholics and their families find support and treatment.

About Jenn Stottlemire:

Hi from Columbus, Ohio! I’m Jenn and, along with my son Jackson and my husband David, we are quite the trio!

I am passionate about passing on my experience; to give hope to the ones suffering and rally behind the broken.

Heroin took me on a wild ride straight to hell, but it wasn’t my only demon.

Through recovery, I have found the tools to tackle my hurts; build character and integrity.
Through God, I have found peace, forgiveness, serenity and strength; a foundation of faith unshakable at times.
And through both, I’m able to love the life I live.


I loved you to death and I love you beyond it. – Newest post on The Heroin Diaries

To the boy I spent years trying to save but couldn’t & for anyone who has ever lost an addict, I loved you too much for my own good. I spent nights awake staring at my phone with heavy eyes, praying the reason you hadn’t come home or called in days was for any other […]

via I loved you to death and I love you beyond it  — The Heroin Diaries

Motorcycles and Heroin: shattered ankle, shattered lives



As I write this, tears are welling up in my eyes. I still can’t believe my son is gone. The months after his death were a fog filled with heartache, guilt and unbearable pain. I will never lay my eyes on my son again, I will never hug him or have my heart filled with joy at the sound of his laugh. The ache in my heart is a physical weight I carry with me every second of every day.  Everything I do, everything I am, carries with it the ghost of ‘what should be’- because my world has changed. It is a new world with empty spaces my son Josh used to – and should still – fill with his indescribable glow of energy, joy and life.

A shattered ankle killed my boy. It would take six years, but the stage was set the day my young, handsome, full of life son lost control of his dirt bike. Josh instinctively put his foot down to keep from crashing the bike and shattered his ankle; leaving his foot detached from his leg.

This is Josh’s story. It is also the story of so many other victims of the Opioid/Opiate Epidemic ravaging our country today. I tell his story to honor him and to help raise awareness so others can know the dangers of these medications prescribed for pain. Awareness and education are the keys to prevention.

My first son Joshua was born on June 5, 1983. He was small – only 4lbs 12oz. From the very beginning Josh was a fighter who caught up in no time and grew to be a 6’ 5” strapping young man with a smile that would light up a room.

Josh was always ready to take on the world and had many passions, motorcycles being at the forefront. His dad bought him his first quad when he was 3 and he was hooked! He later went on to race dirt bikes, and even built his own Harley.

Josh was very mechanically inclined and went to a technical high school where he studied HVAC. After graduation, he decided to join the Air Force… we were all so proud! When Josh returned home from the service, he became an HVAC mechanic and continued his hobby of buying and restoring motorcycles. Being a mother of 4 boys, someone was always getting hurt Josh definitely had his share.

In May of 2009 when Josh was 25, my son Zach called to tell me his brother had crashed his dirt bike. I later learned that the neighbors came out and put a pillow under his head in the middle of the street until the ambulance arrived. I will always be grateful for their quick response and the kindness they showed my son on this horrible day.

Josh would go on to have multiple surgeries. A piece of his hip was grafted into his ankle, which was also pinned and screwed. He had to deal with a case of MRSA, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. MRSA is difficult to treat and extremely painful. Eventually the ankle was surgically fixed in place. He dealt with incredible pain daily and was told by his doctors the only real way to deal with the pain would be to amputate.

Eventually, his doctors took him off all pain medications – but it was too late. Josh was addicted. He went to the streets to find medication for his pain. When the pain pills became difficult to afford, he ended up on heroin.

My husband, Josh’s step-dad, told me that one of the last times he and Josh had a heart-to-heart, Josh told him how very sad he was. He wanted to get and stay clean, but it was too difficult. He felt ashamed, depressed and hopeless.

Josh started seeing a counselor and we all thought he was on the right track.

The night before Josh died, he had complained to his dad of a terrible case of heartburn that wasn’t getting better. Josh’s bedroom was in the basement of his father’s house and the next morning, knowing that Josh didn’t feel well, his dad wasn’t concerned when he slept late. It was close to noon and his father starting calling downstairs for Josh to wake up. He called several times, but there was no answer. His father finally went downstairs to find Josh kneeling with his face on the bed, as if he was praying. His dad said, “what the heck are you doing”, but again no answer. He lifted his head and Josh was blue, he was gone. There was a pack of cigarettes on the floor next to him, and a syringe.

I received a phone call early afternoon from Josh’s Grandmother. I was downstairs in my office working and my husband called down to say the phone was for me. When I finally understood what she was telling me, my legs gave way and I fell to my knees and screamed, “Oh my God, Oh my Josh!!!” My son was dead. My head was swirling. This couldn’t be real. I couldn’t breathe. How? Why? It must be a mistake!  I just wanted to see Josh and hold him-  but I couldn’t – because it was real, and I would never see my beautiful boy’s face again. The next few days were a blur filled with agony and disbelief. All I could do was cry and ask ‘why?’.

The funeral was planned and my job was to do the memory boards for the wake. It was very difficult for me to look through 31 years of pictures. So many images of my blond, curly headed baby – Josh smiling proudly in his Boy Scout uniform, playing baseball, riding his motorcycles and turning into the handsome man he had become in his Air Force uniform. Today, almost two years later, I am unable to take those memory boards out of the bag I placed them in to bring home after his funeral.

Josh was cremated and his ashes were put into a marble box. A picture of him in his Air Force uniform was placed next to the box. The priest came, several people stood and talked about Josh, we laughed, and we cried.  Then it was time to move to the cemetery for a military burial.

As they played taps, my body trembled and I couldn’t stop crying. I was surrounded by my three sons, my husband, my sister and other family members. After everything was said and it was time to leave I went to the marble box with my son’s ashes and said goodbye, told him that I loved him and kissed the top of the box. No mother should have to kiss cold marble and walk away, leaving her 31-year-old son at the cemetery because he broke his ankle.

These senseless deaths have risen at an alarming rate over the past few years. In 2015 (the last numbers released) there were 52,404 deaths due to drug overdose in the US – averaging out to 144 deaths per day.  (Addiction Policy – Understanding the Numbers)

It took almost a year to get the autopsy results as they are backlogged with the overwhelming amount of deaths due to drugs. The cause of death was a heroin/fentanyl overdose.

In honor of my son, I have started the Joshua’s Tree Memorial Fund. I am a producer of a local TV show and have been nominated for two New England Emmy’s. Joshua’s Tree is a memorial fund to raise money to help in my dream of making a documentary on drug addiction and how it touches everyone. I believe that prevention is the key and my hope is to have it shown in classrooms at an early age to educate, raise awareness and help in the prevention of addiction.

Please visit my website: The Wish Store where I am selling the Joshua’s Tree necklace. It is a beautiful tree pendant to help raise funds. I chose the symbol of the tree with its branches reaching out with comfort and healing and its roots standing firm as a message of hope and strength.

I hope that whoever buys the pendant will wear it with pride, knowing that they are a part of the fight against this horrible epidemic.

My wish is that no one will have to bury a child due to a heroin overdose.

Please share Josh’s story.  If this helps just one person then my wish has come true.

I love you Josh!

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Helen Ryba has been in the graphic design field for more than 30 years owning the award-winning Design Agency, Spark Design, as well as the producer of the Emmy-nominated “The Chef’s Plate” TV Show. She recently started two subscription box services, Spiced UP and The Wish Store. Through The Wish Store, Helen has set up the Joshua’s Tree Memorial Fund in honor of her late son Joshua Romanski. You can follow her on Facebook at Joshua’s Tree.

Here goes nothing.

Our friend Kali, author of Being a heroin addict…..my brutal truth, has started her own blog!

The Heroin Diaries


Now, keep in mind, I wrote that article with only a couple months clean and only 2 weeks after Dominic had passed. At the time, I really thought I was on top of my shit. I ignorantly believed I had a one up on my addiction. I had just gotten out of rehab for the third time and moved to Chicago. I was staying in a sober living house, going to at least two NA meetings a day and was working the steps with a sponsor. My boyfriends death hadn’t even registered with me at this point. I was just fine, right?

For maybe a month after the article was posted, I did good. I was on a high from all the attention and was still chillin on that cute little pink cloud you float on for the first couple months of sobriety. Life was beautiful… until it wasn’t, until the cravings hit, until I realized my…

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Ellora’s Story

Hope In Understanding

I started experimenting with opiates when I was a teenager and as I grew to rely on the emotional relief I  got from them I formed a bond with this chemical.  Before long it was costing me too much money so I switched to heroin.  After almost five year into this downward cycle I was desperate to get off.  I even tried to use suboxone and booze to stay away from the heroin but I was relapsing once a week.  I didn’t have the mental capacity to reach out for help as I would today.  I didn’t really know what I needed to know so I was ready to kill myself.  I was victimizing myself plus I had a lot of self pity which put me into a sick place Over years of use I had developed a better relationship with heroin than I had with myself. Without heroin I…

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If you think the Opioid/Opiate Epidemic hasn’t affected you, think again.


Anyone who is stupid enough to put a needle in their vein deserves what they get is a sentiment we are reading/hearing all too often lately. Many people think addiction is not their problem if it hasn’t touched their families or loved ones. Whether you realize it or not, we are all caught in the ripple of this epidemic – so it is your problem.

A few examples:

  • Obviously it is touching the lives of anyone who has a loved one with Substance Use Disorder. This equates to time lost at work, or certainly distracted employees.  If the person is in active addiction and is employed, you can bet they are not working to capacity.
  • Our court system is jammed with people suffering SUD. The dollars cost on policing, jailing, probation oversight, court costs…………the list could go on…. is enourmous.
  • Child Protective Services cannot keep up with the amount of children in the system due to this epidemic. These children are growing up in chaos.
  • Police, firefighters, paramedics, and hospitals are all overwhelmed with overdoses and other health issues related to constant drug use.
  • Unscrupulous treatment facilities are falsifying claims and overcharging insurance companies ($1500 for a urine test?!?!?) which are paying out for the wrong kind of treatment while those in accredited hospital facilities where the billing is true and accurate cannot get coverage. All of our insurance rates increase.

Our tax dollars are spent putting out the fires caused by this epidemic. We need to put our dollars to use with a multi-pronged and organized response. The ground work has been laid by many who fought for CARA to be passed. Continue reading “If you think the Opioid/Opiate Epidemic hasn’t affected you, think again.”