Heroin Support Blog

Our goal here is to provide our readers with the latest information about the signs of heroin addiction, support groups, treatment options, life in recovery, prevention & advocacy in our communities, and how to deal with the grief of a lost loved one. If you have ideas or suggestions that you wish to share with us here please use our "Contact Us" page at the very bottom of this page to email us.

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.

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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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2015 Year End Memorial Tribute Video of Memories Shared With Us

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Here is our 2015 year end memorial tribute video produced by us from the memories shared with us.   We hope by sharing this video we can help break the #STIGMA of addiction.  We also hope to put "faces" on the human lives that heroin ultimately took in the end because our loved ones deserve to be remembered for their struggles with the disease of addiction.  They were NOT "Junkies" or "Dope Fiends".  They were our loved ones who we shared vacations, holidays, birthdays with each year.  They were the ones that made us laugh & cry.  They are the ones portrayed in this video.  

Note: If you would like your loved one included in this video and others in the future please submit your memorial tribute by clicking this link.  You can also join our private grief support group at www.HeroinMemorial.org which membership is restricted to only members who have lost a loved one to heaven.

 

"Ask Me About My Angel" is the new slogan our grief support group has come up with to help with our nonprofit. You can support our nonprofit by purchasing one of our wristbands at by clicking here. 

PoemExplain

 

#AskMeAboutMyAngel      #HeroinMemorial       #GoneToSoon

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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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