AN UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE

Anthony Fiore

Before he died from heroin on May 31, 2014, I would often refer to my son Anthony as “a work in progress.”

He could be mean, rude and selfish. But he could also be generous, kind and loving. And he was working on becoming more of the latter and less of the former.

He just needed more time to get there.

He had serious anger management issues. He would often fly into a rage when he didn’t get his way, but he would always apologize for his outburst later. And he was learning to control his outbursts and was working on being more patient.

He just needed more time to get there.

He had a substance abuse problem. It didn’t define him, but it dominated the last six of his 24 years of life. He would get clean and then the siren call of heroin would lure him back one more time. He was learning what he needed to do to stay clean and he was getting closer to recovery.

He just needed more time to get there.

Tragically, he didn’t get that time. He went back to heroin one time too many and it killed him. Continue reading “AN UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE”

Dear Mom: A Response to ‘I raised an addict – what could I have done differently?’

The below letter was posted as a response to my article  I raised and addict – what could I have done differently?the author, Stephen Gambale, has graciously allowed me to share his beautiful words. Thank you Stephen. ~ Trish
Mom and Stephen

Dear Mom,
I want you to rest assured that you were the best parent a son could ever ask for. I’m sure a million questions swirl around in that beautiful mind of yours on a daily basis. What could’ve been done differently? What you should’ve done? Would’ve done? Could’ve done? The answer is quite simple –  you did your best. And as your son, I am forever grateful for that every single day I put my two feet on the ground.
Did you not teach me right from wrong? Did you not teach me the lessons I needed to be taught when you caught me from “falling”? Did you not console me when I needed consoling? Did you not teach me selflessness through your actions? It is a maternal instinct to love and protect your child. That is your best conscious decision making, and it is made through LOVE. What I did was made a conscious decision to ignore everything you taught me through action and word, use my ego to lie to myself that I know best and put my comfort at the forefront, disregarding the sacrifices you made for me growing up. Why? Because I’m selfish.
There is nothing you could have done differently that could have gotten me out of my OWN way. Continue reading “Dear Mom: A Response to ‘I raised an addict – what could I have done differently?’”

Addiction is a Family Affair. We All Need Recovery

On August 6, 2015 my husband and I watched our son Kurt, a recovering heroin addict, receive his 18 month chip. He chose to go to the alumni meeting at the place where he had started his recovery, the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital – CeDAR. We sat in the same room where we first reunited with Kurt three weeks into his recovery. At that time we were all exhausted and still feeling raw and overburdened with the weight of the past we were wearing – a leaden cloak we thought was our armor, but was mostly woven out of sadness and fear. Eighteen months later there we were, in that very same space, watching our son address alumni as well as present clients of CeDAR – some just starting their program, others receiving their 30 day chips and a few close to completing their 90 day program. It was his moment. We went to witness and support him in his moment. We are proud for him, rather than proud of him. He earned that chip for himself by slogging through his program one step, one day at a time. He had to pull every thread of that leaden cloak out and study it. He unwove it through hard work and perseverance during some of the most difficult months of his life. He forged his path and he stayed on it. For those in early recovery, 18 hours seems impossible and 18 days a distant goal. For eighteen miraculous months Kurt has been working hard every day.

Continue reading “Addiction is a Family Affair. We All Need Recovery”

Drug Addiction: Maybe My Kid

When my oldest was about a week old I remember looking down into his beautiful eyes and being struck by an overwhelming sense of fear. Icy terror washed over me as I realized the full weight of my responsibility for this tiny human. How was I going to do this right? What was I going to do wrong? I knew I’d do something wrong, would it scar him for life? I was the one who would have to teach him to navigate a world I was not sure I fully understood myself.

We are parents. We have all had this moment, and the fear stays with us……forever. These tiny beings may grow taller than us, they may move across the country and have tiny beings of their own someday – but they will always remain our innocent, irreplaceable miracles, and we will always be their parents.

Those early years we get to be their protector and gatekeeper to the world. For a short time, we are super heroes. I still remember my children’s chubby little arms squeezing my neck so hard it felt like they wanted to crawl inside me. There is no other feeling like that on earth. Simply nothing compares to being your child’s everything. Each of my children told me at some point they were never leaving home. I smiled, loving every second of it, knowing it wouldn’t last. Kids grow up. Continue reading “Drug Addiction: Maybe My Kid”

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.”