What I Wish I Had Known

 
 Only a littel glad your home MaureenSo there I was hiding in the corner as my addicted daughter slammed glass candles into the wall because I refused to allow her to go to a concert on a school night. For months her behavior had become increasingly brazen, even jumping out of our moving car when we refused to give her money for something. She’d broken down doors, slammed her body through windows, and threatened us with terrible bodily harm if she didn’t get her way. She’d stalk me like a cougar, hours upon hours, her voice bellowing for all to hear, “Give me money now!” I hated the drug that was inside her, hated it more than anything I’ve ever hated in my life, even hated her at times, until I once again reminded myself that this was a disease, a horrible, crisis creating disease that would show it’s evil face every day until she either got better or died. When dealing with an addicted child, every single day can bring about a crisis. My daughter’s rage was so bad the cops became accustomed- and dare I say- tired-of coming to our home to tackle my daughter and bring about submission.

“I’m crouching like the girl in the crazy movies,
                                 in a corner, head down, shaking, crying, screaming,
                                            scared I might stay here forever.
                                         It’s the only place I feel safe today.” Continue reading “What I Wish I Had Known”

Hate, Stigma, Orlando and Social Media: “No More Hurting Each Other.”

heroin graphic leidy

I have been struggling lately. Every time I read a news report of an overdose death the comments are filled with ‘die junkies die, you got what you deserved’ kind of statements. When Prince died, arguments ensued on social media – ‘how dare you say he was a dirty drug addict?’ Then there are those who speak so confidently, ‘Know where your kid is, who their friends are, what they are doing’, in other words – bad parenting creates drug addicts….. There are those who don’t want to ‘waste tax dollars’ to add treatment beds or any kind of program to help ‘those people’. Continue reading “Hate, Stigma, Orlando and Social Media: “No More Hurting Each Other.””

SHARE THIS POST – YOU COULD HELP SAVE A LIFE

Anthony Fiore

June 7, 2016

Exactly two years ago today, Valerie and I buried our son and Nick’s brother, Anthony one week after he died from heroin. Before we carried his coffin out of Warrington Fellowship Church, rolled it into the hearse and drove two miles southeast on Bristol Road to Neshaminy Cemetery and the only piece of real estate he would ever own, I read the eulogy that is reprinted below.

In writing the eulogy I felt led to address the young people in the audience – the friends of Anthony and Nick – some of whom I feared were traveling the same road Anthony had traveled. I hoped to strike a chord within them that hadn’t yet been struck before their parents had to purchase a similar tiny plot of land. Continue reading “SHARE THIS POST – YOU COULD HELP SAVE A LIFE”

Honoring My Child: Understanding Substance Use Disorder is a disease.

 

Jason and me

To Whom It May Concern – in other wordsEverybody,

On December 23, 2015 my world changed forever. Our 29 year old son, Jason, died in our home of a Heroin overdose. I now see the world through a veil of tears and struggle to find my footing each day when I wake and realize again, that it is real. The several years of battling his addiction caused so much pain for him, as well as our family. He felt shame, remorse, failure and regret. We felt lost, horrified, let down and confused by the American government and medical system. He worried about everything. He was in and out of rehabs, jail, IOP, NA meetings and a halfway house not worth mentioning. My secret society of Nar Anon members each suffered as I did. Each week we would share our frustration, pain and confusion as to why professionals just did not get what was needed to help our loved ones help themselves. As my co-workers slowly found out (I worked in a hospital) what had happened, they couldn’t believe that MY child was an addict. Continue reading “Honoring My Child: Understanding Substance Use Disorder is a disease.”

Disease or not, he always said if it was any other health issue he would be treated with respect.

 

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Below are the last words a sister posted for her brother who passed April 29th, 2016 from a heroin overdose at the age of 31. Just three years apart, they were not only brother and sister, but best friends.  After battling addiction for years and becoming sober, her brother passed into eternal life after a recent relapse. She’s shared her last words to the public in hopes to not only honor her brother, but to speak truth to how addiction does not discriminate.  Tara hopes to continue sharing her story to shed light on the problems behind addiction and to remind others that we need to spend less time judging and stereotyping, and more time working together to understanding this epidemic that is taking away so many of our loved ones.  

 

I’ve held off on writing my last words or making a speech in front of everyone about my brother, because I still cannot believe this is real. But it has finally hit me just how real this all is. That I will never laugh with him or see him again. But I’ve felt the need to share these words. How do you go on to write about the greatest person you have ever known, and get it right? As he would say.. Here comes the Novel!

I think it’s fair to say Jeff was one of the most unique human beings we have ever had the chance to know. His sense of humor, loyalty, huge heart, protectiveness, patience and craziness is what attracted so many people to his life. He was probably the only one calm enough to deal with half of his family/friends. As he would say,

“This is my family?”

“These are my friends?”

He was always the voice of reason, diffusing any situation with love and laughter. For those that know the real Jeff, you know he was one of the most selfless people. He would drop anything to be there for someone he cared about, no matter if the circumstances were in his favor or not. He always told me I did too much for those who didn’t appreciate me,  but to never lose that about myself because that is what made me special -to always know my worth. He was someone who always had the right intentions and knew what he wanted in life and who he wanted to be …. naturally smart and socially inept….always the biggest heart, a dreamer with a deep crazy soul and an undeniable love for music. I have always admired the person he was. Continue reading “Disease or not, he always said if it was any other health issue he would be treated with respect.”

For the Alberts Family One Year After Heroin Stole Your Marc

Marc with his sister Elisa

Marc Alberts

May 11,1989 – June 2,2015

One year ago today a friend I had not seen in years lost her son to heroin. His death was the catalyst for launching this blog with the article Heroin.Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation.

In the year since Marc’s death we have watched as the Opioid/Opiate Epidemic has made headlines and CARA has (finally) been passed in DC. Unfortunately, the death toll is still rising and I fear that 2016 may be the deadliest yet. As Washington debates what needs to be done and how much money should be spent to curb this epidemic 129 people are dying each day.

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE A DAY!

Every one of the 129 souls lost each day leave behind a shattered family who must move forward with a hole in their Universe. Today, I am sending my love to one of those families. Pauline, Elisa and Mike Alberts my thoughts and prayers are with you on this day and every day. ❤

Below is a letter written by Marc’s sister Elisa. She never had the chance to give it to him. Elisa chose to share her letter to the  CAASA: Canton Alliance Against Substance Abuse  Facebook page just six weeks after she lost her brother in the hope that her words would help others:

“Here’s a letter I wrote to my brother before his passing. Unfortunately this was one of the several letters I wrote hoping to change his life. I was not able to give it to him because of everything that had occurred. Maybe this will help someone from realizing what their addiction means to their family members.

Dear Marc,
You probably don’t want to read this letter, or talk to me because of my actions toward you lately. I understand your hatred and frustration of living at home with two women who constantly remind you of your mistakes. Even though I have not lived in the shoes of your own, I still try my best to find out where you’re coming from. It’s very difficult to agree and stand by you after this long journey but that doesn’t mean that I’ll ever lose my love for you. Forever we will be family members and I will always remain to be your little sister. Continue reading “For the Alberts Family One Year After Heroin Stole Your Marc”