BENEFITING: Light of Life Ministries
ORGANIZER: Light of Life Ministries
EVENT: 2018 Pittsburgh Marathon
EVENT DATE: May 06, 2018
When people talk about drug addiction or alcoholism, I hear a lot of the same adjectives used: junkie, worthless, scum, stupid, dirty, piece of sh*t, garbage, the list is endless of hurtful judgements. But, I have an experience with drug addiction to share that doesn’t sound like any of those words.
Jacob and I were soulmates, in my opinion. We were perfect compliments to each other. He was the silliness to my seriousness. He was my adventure and I was his homebody. I was his level-head while he was my risk-taker. He supported my every decision. He was my biggest fan in every aspect of my life; and I was his. I was always on his team.
Our love story took a nasty plunge while we were expecting our first child. During one of our nightly soccer games, Jacob injured his back and broke his wrist. Being a nurse, he was able to experience some pain relief through a script written by a co-worker; he was prescribed Vicodin. The Vicodin ran out and he complained of lingering pain. His co-worker now wrote a script for something stronger: Fentanyl. Jacob was hooked, immediately. That sent him to his first attempt at rehab.
2 weeks after our son was born, he failed yet another drug test and found himself at an inpatient facility. Here, he was introduced to the world of heroin. I was scared, confused, naive. I still did not believe Jacob was a “drug addict”. He was simply taking a few extra pills. He could “just stop”. We still lived comfortably; we were educated, with a roof over our heads, food on the table, and loving families to provide support. We certainly were not in the realm of “addiction” as I thought it was.
For years there were lies, there was stealing, and there was betrayal. Holidays and milestones were missed because of rehab. There was relapse and disappointment. But, there were also laughs, smiles, companionship, and sobriety. It was a rollercoaster filled with extreme highs and lows; and my son and I were there every step of the way. Wherever the rehab took him, we visited. We were sending cards, pictures, drawings, gifts, and letters. He was our family; I loved him.
I wish my story had a happy ending. I wish I could share that Jacob overcame his addiction and we were living comfortably and happy together in the way I envisioned. Unfortunately, I will never be able to type these words without looking at the computer screen through tears streaming down my face. On August 27, 2016, I got THE phone call that I was terrified to get for years. The words, “Jacob’s dead” ring through my head every day; and they tear my heart apart. My life has never, and will never, be the same again.
All those nasty words I opened up with, do not even begin to describe Jacob. Jacob was a friend to every body he met. He was extremely selfless. He was intelligent and an incredibly gifted athlete. He was the most natural father; and the void in my son’s heart speaks volumes about the love he felt from his father. Jacob was handsome and, certainly, a smooth talker. He brought so much joy to my life through his constant jokes, unraveled support, and dedication to me and our family. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, and a cousin. He got lost in his addiction, but his addiction never defined him, in my eyes. I knew the love he felt for me and I knew he hated his addiction, even more than I hated it.
THIS is my "why". I have made it my mission for years to educate others about addiction with 3 goals in mind. Increasing education, I believe, will deter others from falling victim to addiction, enable the general public to truly understand the complicated realm of addiction, and allowing us to provide better, more effective support and resources for those suffering from addiction.
This is my 2nd year campaigning for Pittsburgh's Light of Life Rescue Mission because no addict should suffer alone. No addict should feel ashamed to reach out for help. And no service should be forced to turn a willing soul away due to lack of funding or resources. Addiction does not discriminate and it is truly becoming a modern day plaque in Pittsburgh, and beyond. Please consider a donation of any value to this worthy mission. Your support is appreciated in a deep, heartfelt way.