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.”

The Mess You’ll Leave Behind


Dear active drug user,

I know you believe it’s your life and you’re only hurting yourself. You’re wrong. I know you believe you’re indestructible, that what you’ve witnessed happen to so many of your friends won’t happen to you. You’re wrong again. Sooner or later it will.

Here’s what will happen after you die.

First, someone will find your body. Maybe you’ll die at home and your Mom will find you and start screaming. Maybe you’ll die in your bedroom; maybe in the basement that your Dad rebuilt so you and your friends would have a place to chill. 911 will be called and first responders will come. Paramedics will cut off your shirt, put the paddles on your chest and try to shock your ass back to life, but it won’t work and one of them will turn to your Mom or Dad and say, “I’m sorry, he’s gone.”

Your family will be ushered outside, the police will string up that yellow “crime scene” tape and start their investigation. Your cell phone will be confiscated and your parents will probably never see it again. Hours later, while neighbors start gathering on the front lawn, they’ll put your body in a bag, put the bag on a stretcher and wheel it out to a coroner’s van and take you to the morgue. Maybe they’ll cut you open, take out all your organs, weigh and measure them and them stuff them back inside you and sew you up. More likely, they’ll just draw some blood and urine to do a toxicology screen.

Hopefully, you won’t die in your car. If you do, I hope you’re not driving at the time. I hope the last thing you do on this earth isn’t crashing into and killing someone else, maybe more than one person. I pray that’s not your legacy. If you don’t die at home, your parents will get a visit from the local cops and a ride down to the coroner’s office so they can identify your body.

That first week after you die will be a busy time for your parents. They will need to figure out who in what was your life needs to be notified; the rest of the family, your friends – that will be difficult because the cops have your cell phone so all they’ll be able to do is tell one or two of your closest friends; most of the rest will hear about it pretty quickly, but some won’t learn for weeks — your employer, your school. Lots of tearful phone calls will be made.

Your parents will have to pick a funeral home, arrange for your body to be shipped from the coroner’s office to the funeral home, pick out a casket, find a cemetery, one close by, so your Mom can visit you every day; pick out a nice four by eight foot plot, maybe beside a tree, and buy the only piece of real estate you will ever own. Your Mom will have to pick out the suit you’ll be buried in and deliver it to the funeral home. Your parents will need to decide what your obituary should say; should they acknowledge that you lost your battle with addiction or simply say that you died quietly at home.

Your Mom will go through all of this in a fog because she will be out of her mind with grief. Maybe she’ll carry one of your unwashed shirts around with her for the entire week, holding it to her face so she can smell you. Maybe she’ll sleep in your bed with your shirt and a framed photograph. And she won’t stop crying. Everywhere she turns something else will remind her of you. The leftovers from the last food you bought; the stale remnants of the last soda you ever drank.

One of the women in the neighborhood will organize folks to deliver casseroles and other food to your parents and neighbors will stop by once or twice a day for a week or so bringing food. Preparations will need to be made for your funeral. The church or hall will have to be decorated. Your Mom will want lots of pictures of you and each one she picks out will cause her to cry again. Eulogies will be written and delivered, maybe by your father, maybe by your little brother, maybe both. Your family will stand in a receiving line and will have to hear, “Sorry for your loss” and say, “Thank you for coming.”

After the service, your coffin will be carried outside to a hearse; maybe your little brother will be one of the pallbearers. The hearse will lead a procession of cars, all with their lights on, to the cemetery where there will be more tears, and a prayer will be said before your casket is lowered into the ground. Not everyone will have gone to the cemetery. Someone will volunteer to go to your parent’s house directly after the funeral to set out the food your neighbors have brought for the mourners who will come over after the funeral.

In the weeks after your funeral there will still be more matters to attend to. Your parents will have to wait for the toxicology report to be sent to the coroner’s office so that final death certificate can be prepared. Your parents will need lots of copies so they can notify your creditors, close your bank account, cancel your auto insurance, maybe notify your parole officer.

In the months and years that follow, things won’t get any better. Every holiday will be a time of sadness instead of joy, because it will remind your parents that you’re gone. And now they have another anniversary to make them sad, the anniversary of your death.

I can tell you for a fact that your Mom will never be the same. Some things she used to do joyfully she will no longer be able to do because they are too painful. Remember how she used to like to surprise you with special treats she bought at the food store? Well now she can’t go food shopping because everywhere she turns in the store she sees something she remembers you liked to eat. Those gardens she was so proud of in the front lawn. They’re forgotten now. The only garden she cares about is the tiny one around your grave that she tends almost every day.

So don’t think, and don’t say, that it’s your life and you’re only hurting yourself because that is simple not true. Your actions have consequences and they can be irreversible for you and can destroy the lives of people who love and care about you. Please, please, please, get clean, if not for yourself, then do it for them.


Cris Fiore lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Valerie are working tirelessly to help save other people’s children in the name of their beloved son Anthony. The Fiores ask that you PLEASE sign and share the petition for Anthony’s Act , a request that the Affordable Care Act be amended to provide for a minimum of Ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment up to a maximum of One Hundred Eighty (180) days per year at a facility certified to provide such care by the Secretary of Health of the state in which it is located.

Facebook page – Anthony’s Act.

Please click on this link to sign the petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act


The Winding Path to Heroin Part II: Emily

IMG_2802Editor’s note:   This is the second installment of The Winding Path to Heroin. The first installment can be found at this link: The Winding Path to Heroin: Part I

The recent viral shares on social media with videos and photos of people overdosing  have fueled an onslaught of judgment and ugliness.  The comments accompanying these posts speak to the herculean task we still face trying to educate people about this epidemic. Many post threads devolve into name calling and arguments of  about disease vs choice. I have read recently many posts, some by those in recovery, that we need to stop making those with Substance Use Disorder victims. They have accountability in all of this, and we need to take away the ‘excuse’ that this is a disease as it allows them to remain victims. Yes, we are all accountable for our actions. SUD is not an ‘excuse’, it is a fact. It explains why some people can drink socially and can ‘dabble’ with substances and others become addicted. Beware with the opioids, however, because even those who never had a problem can become physically dependent on these powerful chemicals. As the medical community is taking steps to limit how they use these meds, I hope they begin to put into practice a concrete weaning schedule for those who have been taking opioids regularly for even a few weeks after a surgery.  This is the practice with so many other medications, why not opioids?

Every person I have met who speaks to me of their recovery talks about how they had to take ownership of their choices and all that followed. It is the only way to heal. Many have loved ones who will not forgive them for things they did in the throws of addiction – and a part of their recovery is to accept that fact. Healthy recovery means taking ownership of their actions.

The name calling on social media has become so poisonous it makes me want to go offline. Without Facebook this blog would not exist. Yet going online is sapping me of energy. Judgement and hate, insults and smugness seem to be the norm these days. How can the next generation not be affected by everything they are seeing and reading? From Facebook flame-wars to this horrifically nasty election, we are modeling toxic behaviors to the impressionable minds that are our Future. Anti-bullying campaigns will have little to no effect on today’s youngsters if the adults around them are not practicing what they preach. 

Misunderstanding Breeds Contempt

There seems to be a LOT of misunderstanding these days.

Keep Shouting

Stop the Silence

And please –  Be Kind


Emily’s Story

Every time I read an article, or a post on Facebook regarding the way a person feels about addiction and all the negative things they say, I can’t help but fuel up with rage and anger.

“You don’t know what it’s like”, I think. “You don’t know how it feels”, is all that my mind can say in that first moment. But then I remember what I’ve been through, and I hope you never have to feel the pain of addiction like I did or any one of my fellow junkies did. I pray that a bigoted, close minded person like you will never suffer from this disease. Not just because it’s traumatizing and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but because I don’t think you could make it out alive. It takes a special kind of person to put down the needle and change who they are, and unfortunately not everyone can do it. But by the grace of God, I was one of those people that can finally say I put that demonic drug away to never be used again.

I write this for you. The people who don’t understand. To the people who have a loved one in this disease and want to understand why. To the addicts reading this, I hope you reach out for help. To the recovering addicts reading this, thank God that you can wake up everyday without a substance.

This disease does not discriminate. It’s hidden everywhere; in places you would never expect. It does not matter if you live in a mansion or in low poverty. It’s got its grasps on your teachers, your family members, your friends, the bank teller, the financial adviser, the nice woman at the grocery store, the engineer… It has no preference for race, economic status, appearance, or gender. It will come for you when you least expect it, and when it came for me, I never saw it coming.

All my life I liked to experiment. I never knew who I was, or who I wanted to be. That’s normal for a pre-teen girl. But I felt anything but normal. I partied through high school, throwing away my intelligence to be the “cool girl”. My family was always supportive of me, and they failed to see their baby girl was spiraling out of control.

Being the cool girl meant too much to me. It had too much of an effect on my ego. I liked being the girl everyone wanted to be around. Until the moment they grew up, and I didn’t. I dabbled with drugs, had my fair share of alcoholic nights. But it was never a problem, never a habit that stuck. It wasn’t until I picked up my first opioiod that my life began it’s downward turmoil.

A boy. A boy liked me. And I mean really liked me. And I wasn’t used to feeling loved. He wanted me, and I would do anything to keep that. My insecurities were starting to get covered up with his affection, until it wasn’t enough.

I found that release in Percocet. I found a way to numb my emotional problems that was easier and felt better than anything I was ever used to. My life started to change. I thought for the better, but I didn’t know where it was going to lead me.

It was okay for a few years. I managed a job, I was making my parents proud by paying all my own bills. On the outside, I was a perfect daughter. But inside, the gaping void was being filled more and more by a drug that fueled my addiction.

At some point, I don’t remember when, but I couldn’t wake up or get through my day without it. It started gradually, and progressed with time. And when the Percocet became too expensive, heroin was my next love.

It didn’t take long for my life to go to shambles. No one trusted me, and I couldn’t even trust myself. The job I had for three years was gone, the boy I loved was gone, and my family support was hanging by a thread. I wasn’t a human anymore. I had no emotions anymore. I didn’t care who I hurt, and I didn’t even care about myself. Hurt people hurt people. And that’s what I became good at. Manipulation became my bestfriend. It wasn’t too soon after my first bag of heroin that I lost everything I held dear to me. I needed my life back, and my parents deserved to have their daughter back.

IMG_1987Recovery was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m starting to live life like a normal human being. But please, don’t think this is easy. It’s anything but easy. So I want the people on the outside, the normal people, to try and see this in a different light. The stigma needs to be demolished. It could happen to anyone. It takes one bad decision, one accident that requires pain management, to start this road that you may not be ready for. So before you voice your opinion, try and be a little more sensitive, a little more open minded. This isn’t just for the homeless junkies you see on the side of the street. Addiction can affect anyone, and the minute you let your guard down is when you’ll be enslaved just like millions of us have been.



I just came across this young author’s site. He is Shouting at the top of his lungs and advocating for change.

I don’t often share other blogs, as I feel my blog will then just become another Facebook feed – and I already have one of those.

This young man’s writing is so fresh and so real that I feel it is important to add to my blog because:

  1. You will learn about him and read his posts today
  2. If you have found this site at a later date and are trying to find some understanding of both addiction and recovery you have the opportunity to read this young man’s powerful words.

Please click the link Choose Freedom link to read his blog and share his writing. He is a powerful voice in this fight to Stop the Silence. Tell him to Keep Shouting.

I have chosen to share his most recent piece but please check out his other posts as well.

You will thank me.



My name is William Marotta. I write the blog called Choose Freedom. I hope that some of you are reading this for the first time. I hope that there are some of you that have read every single post of mine in hopes to find some freedom of your own. I have never posted entries this close together. I have never once sat down in the emotional state that I am currently in and wrote something for the general public to read. I am exhausted, angry, irrational & most importantly, #Lost. I took a few hours today to go back and read everything I have written on this blog & i think what has created so much thought in my mind is the titles of each post. I have been unchained from addiction. I believe as a generation we are at war & completely undefined. I have shown the world Ryan, Amanda & Brandon. I speak up. Our system is broken. I continue to scream & definitely fed up. So I ask just this once, is this thing on? Can people hear me?

Source: #Lost

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(Guest Post) Inducted Member

This is THE most powerful description of what it is like to be the parent of an addict that I have ever read.
I was breathless as I read it. Thank you Tracy Faye for writing this.

Caged Moments

The following piece was written by my beautiful friend Tracy. I have been lucky enough to know her for 19 years. She is the mother of three amazing children. She is the most compassionate, loving, nurturing and gentle mom I know. My youngest daughter once said “I wash Tracy was my mom.” Not because she was mad at me, but because she is so incredibly soft and gentle. She is hurting. She is proud. She is strong. She needs the world to be gentle with her. And, she needs other moms to hear her. I share this here for her with love and pride and support. Please leave comments for her to read.-Heidi xo

To Join Tracy’s Closed Facebook Group visit Mothers of Addiction-A support Club for Moms Who Love their Addicted Child


I have had this echo of a song inside me for all…

View original post 3,351 more words

A Message from Elizabeth Anne Grundy, ‘The Junkie’s Wife’


You can take the situation out of the codie ( and I do not mean that in a good way) but you can not take the codie out of the girl. I wish so much that I could reply to every one of you, but I have severe ADD and I already drank 3 diet cokes today😊

Here is what I want to say to each and every person who has messaged me about someone they love with all their heart and can not live with out. Someone they are worried sick about. Someone who is so integral to their very existence, simply, I understand.

Each and every story, while different in their own way all have the same bare bones.

I would never ever think that I have the audacity to channel the voice of a mother,a father ,a sibling , a child; My experience is that of a lover and a partner and that is the point of view that I can speak on, but I do know the gamut of emotions that most of you have run through while dealing with active addiction.

I know your fear, your sadness, your anger. I know your disappointment, your dashed and renewed hopes. I know the messes you have tried to clean up, the money you have spent, the oscar winning speeches you have given, the tantrums you have pulled. I know the gps trackers you have installed, the sleepless nights, the 3 am searches in the worst neighborhoods. I know the bargaining, the pleading, the manipulations and the monumental screaming matches. I know you have threatened drug dealers and knocked down doors in a pair of size 5 flimsy converses. I know when it comes to trying to protect the person you love you are 5ft 2 inches of pure terror( ok, lets face it, I am talking about me on this one😊) ( I am also not suggesting this is a good idea)

I know the birthdays that have been ruined. I know the holidays that have been even more ruined. I know that verizon probably wants to institutionalize you for the 96 phone calls and texts you sent in an hour. I know that you sometimes wish you really were institutionalized. I know the endless support you have given and how you wish for just one day that it could be about you. I know you have panic attacks. I know you look like shit and feel like shit. I know you are trying like Hell to fake like everything is fine. I know you have said things you regret. I know that there were things you wanted to say that you never got a last chance to.

I know that you have turned into someone you don’t recognize; someone bitter and oozing pain from every pore. I know that you feel alone. I know the plans you are afraid to make , because you don’t know where your loved one will be in sobriety on that day. I know you have lost friends. I know people are sick of hearing it. I know you have finally begun to suffer in silence because said people are sick of hearing it. I know you are embarrassed. I know you have lost your shit so epically, many times, that you made Britney 2007 look like an amateur.

I know you have deleted phone numbers, hidden keys, locked up valuables and slept with money on your person. I know you watch breathing patterns. I know you are tired. I know sometimes you wish you would die. I know you have no spoons. I know you do not feel like you can face another day.

More importantly; I know your unconditional love. I know you are doing the best you can do because of that love. I know you don’t know what the fuck to do anymore. I know that watching the person you love turn into the person both you and they hate is tearing your heart out.

I know you have tried every single thing you can possibly do. EVERYTHING except help yourself.

I would not change a single thing about my life
with Ed, I loved him, I adored him and I liked being with him more than any other adult on this planet, but If I could do it all over again, I would have found better ways to take care of ME while leaving the rest up to a higher power( who knew there was one higher than me😊) I could fight beside him, but it wasn’t my battle, it was his. Believe me, I know that is the most frustrating part. We want to do anything humanly possible to keep the people we love safe. If love could have saved my guy he surely would have been immortal.

I would have lectured less, prayed more and just simply loved. Even if at times I had to do that from a distance.

I wish with all my heart, I had answers and soloutions for many of you, I don’t. I can just empathazie, support , pray for and love each and every single one of you who has reached out to me.

I had hope until Ed’s last breath. Where there is life there is hope and I sincerely wish for each and every one of you that hope becomes a reality.

Lots of love and big cyber hugs


~Elizabeth Ann Grundy


Dear judgy lady on Facebook- I hope you never learn about addiction the way I have.


Dear judgy lady on Facebook,

I read the article you shared on narcan. Your opinion and commentary made my pulse pound and my face flush. I was angry, but after a few minutes passed I didn’t want to punch you in the face anymore. My heart softened towards you, because I know you just don’t get it. You are so lucky and I am envious of that. I wish more than anything else that I didn’t get it either. I never wanted to and As much as I think you suck for saying what you did,I hope you never have to.

You see, I know something you don’t know. I have lived it, walked it and most importantly survived it, while you sit on the other end of a computer content in your ignorance. I hear that it is bliss.

I made a decision early on in life not to use drugs or alcohol. It wasn’t because I was a saint, it was because I was scared of it. Not having my wits about me at all times terrified me, so I abstained. I left parties early, I just said no. That old Dare pledge may have been one of the only things I have ever truly followed through with in my life. Well, the second…

I have always wanted the same thing we all want ” True love” The heart racing, soul fucking stuff that roll of the eye inducing movies are made out of.
Lucky for me, I found it and I cherished it, I protected it, I stood by it through thick and thin. It was mine and I was never letting go no matter the cost. Unlucky for me, I lost the human form of the person it was attatched to. It went defunct in a run down apartment five minutes from my house,surrounded by people who did not give a shit about that love. I lost the most precious person to me other than my children without a”goodbye” or a last “I love you”. I lost the keeper of my secrets, my duet partner, the finisher of my sentences and the other half of my heart. I lost my financial stability, my security blanket, my hope, my sanity, my will to live, my plus one and my emergency contact… I lost my home with narcan a truck door open away.

I get it, you think it was his”choice”. You think he didn’t love me or anyone else enough. You think he was selfish ,stupid and weak. You think he didn’t deserve your tax dollars even though he worked harder than anyone I have ever known in my life. If I told you how wrong you are, you probably will not be convinced. He is the face of a million “junkies “to you. You might not care that he poured ketchup all over his fries and ate them with a fork or that he always gave money to the homeless. That he smelled like wood chips, soap and just the tiniest hint of a hotel swimming pool or that he could draw a blue print with his eyes closed. You won’t be moved to hear that he loved my feet, put my coat on me on our first date and ended every text with ” I love you more than all the stars in the sky”, but all of these things mattered to ME. You are basing his worth on an image you have in your head. It just feels so important to me that you know this; there are good and bad drug addicts, just like there are good and bad NON drug addicts. He would never judge you for being such an asshole. If I had gone to him all fired up and read to him what you wrote, he would chuckle and tell me to calm down. He was a better person than you or I combined.

My question to you is simply, what about me? Do I deserve your sympathy and your compassion? Is my pain any less because the person I loved was a heroin addict? Do I deserve to suffer for loving someone you don’t deem worthy? Did he for making one poor choice that led him down the road to hell? Do the obese deserve insulin or a defibrilator? Do smokers deserve chemotherapy? Where does it stop when we start making these kind of calls ?

Still, I know I probably haven’t changed your mind. It seems pretty set , all I can ask is that you honor my pain, just like I would honor yours if your husband dropped dead because he ate a good too many cheeseburgers. I ask that you do because we are all human and we are all in this together.

The junkies wife.

~Elizabeth Ann Grundy


My Dear Child, I Forgive You…

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My Dear Child,
 I forgive you.

There is something you need to know that perhaps I haven’t said. I forgive you; and you need to forgive yourself.


In the beginning, I think we both felt the incredible weight of this disease, and the more angry and frustrated I got, the sicker you became. It took me a long time to understand the truth of why this was happening. I thought perhaps my yelling and screaming and fighting would cure you. I was battling for your life. I knew no other way.Even my sobbing couldn’t move you. Please, know that whatever I did, I did because I thought it might help.


Child, I did blame you at first. I did believe the hype that addiction is a choice, until I was educated and saw the videos and the articles on how the brain is hijacked and taken over by the drug. And even then, I still blamed you. I wondered why you chose to try the drug in the first place? Why you stole and rampaged? Why you hurt everyone in your path?  I didn’t want to accept that you- my intelligent, sports-minded, creative child- could be an addict. I didn’t want to hear the truth of the disease. I needed a scapegoat, and you, my child, were it. Did you make mistakes? Yes…as has every other human being on earth. I forgive your mistakes. None of us are sinless.


I need you to understand that I KNOW you struggled with self esteem issues as a teen. I know that in order to cope you hung with the wrong friends, the ones who made you feel like you were a part of something. Then one small choice to use ended your childhood and started my hell.  I was furious, beside myself! Why would you do such a thing? I thought I had raised you not to abuse drugs.  I not only cursed you, but I blamed myself.


My sweet child, I forgave those teenage errors a long time ago. Haven’t we all done something we regret as a teen? I have, but I was lucky that there wasn’t heroin on every street corner when I grew up. Unfortunately, it was all too easy for you. You were an easy target with a young, vulnerable mind. And a young, immature, impressionable, not yet developed mind is perfectly normal at that age.


I am saying “I forgive you,” not because you need forgiveness, but because I know you hold guilt and shame. I forgive your pubescent mind; I forgive your immature choices; I forgive your low self esteem; I forgive the choices that brought us to this horrible place. I forgive you because I love you, and I want you to forgive and love yourself. Only then will you feel the weight of this monster lift. Once I was able to admit my anger and excuse the normal adolescent things that unfortunately led to you becoming the sacrificial lamb of unseasoned free will, I started to heal.  I started to understand it wasn’t all your fault. You didn’t choose this. I know that now.


You must heal now too. And most of all you must hear my other necessary words. Listen closely. I AM SORRY.


I am sorry for my anger and my tears and my words that would sometimes spear you. I am sorry I was naïve to this disease and to what you were truly going through. I thought you wanted to be an addict; you acted that way. Again, that was the disease talking. I know now that you hated your addicted life and still feel imprisoned by its hold. I am sorry most of all for the terrible pain you are still in and that you are being strangled by the hands of drugs.


Please, go look in the mirror and let the weight of guilt and shame lift up. Release it to the clouds; give it to God, or the wind, or a summer zephyr.  Forgive yourself. I have, a long time ago; I just never said it. I want you to heal. I want you to free yourself of the blame and the remorse. One less burden will allow you to focus on the weight of the addiction and removing it. One less burden will allow you a chance to recover; for I only began to heal when I also forgave myself.


I forgive you. I am sorry. I love you.  Go now and conquer. You can do it. You deserve it.





482566_501832883270530_1593152632_n I am a mom and a believer in hope.

All proceeds of my first book, Beyond Horizon Fall, an emotional journey of poetry and prose written while parenting my addicted child, go to addiction support services.

Visit souljargon.com for more information.

To order the book and help save a life go to this link at Amazon.

~Maureen Fitzpatrick