pawn shops and addiction

“Mom, I have nothing.”

That phrase weighed heavy on my heart when Charles said it over the phone on Monday, June 1, 2015. The feeling it inspires now is the same–my own despair.

He had pawned his computer and his bike. He especially loved that bike and he never rode with a helmet. Funny, how I worried about a head injury when what I needed to worry about was the enemy living in his head.

The bike was just a possession but it was his last possession and I felt its significance. How desperate do you have to be to sell your last possessions? Addiction is such a vile disease, heroin such a demonic SOB.

From Stuart Court Apartments on Monument Avenue where he’d been staying, it was a twenty minute walk to the Golden Goat. But on the way there, he rode his bike for the last time. I knew none of that then. It would be years before I pieced all of this together.

When Charles called that week, I thought he was headed for rock bottom. And he was.

But his definition of rock bottom and mine were not the same. Somewhere in my head I knew that.  I wish I could have translated the dread I felt. But I couldn’t because the volume on suicide wasn’t turned up on my radio in 2015.

After Charles’ shocking suicide we had to go get his remaining possessions–his backpack, and the clothing he wore when he died which were stored in an unassuming brown paper bag.

As we went through his backpack, we found pawnshop receipts from the Golden Goat for his bike and his computer.

So there we stood. Three women in a pawnshop

My mother was one of them, my best friend, Martha the other and we were an unlikely trio standing there.  We would not have stood out more if we’d been wearing neon green fluorescent pantsuits.

The man at the counter looked at us, then at me, and then down at the pink slip I held in my hand. It would be the last time he made eye contact with me.

He took the pink slip for the computer and asked no questions because I think he knew the story. I don’t think we were the first misfits to come collecting our loved one’s last possessions after a drug-related death.

When he came back with the computer, I handed him a credit card and he had to tell us that they didn’t take plastic. Cash only. Of course.

So we left and went to an ATM and withdrew the cash and came back. Well, my mom did.  It felt grimy to be there. It’s a place that wreaks of desperation.

I could only get the computer because the bike would not fit in the car and Randy would come get that later.

Every time I see the Golden Goat, my heart seizes because, in my mind, it goes with the phrase, “Mom, I have nothing.” Maybe writing about it will diminish some of the shock of seeing it through my car window.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

20 thoughts on ““Mom, I have nothing.””

  1. Gosh Anne
    I read and reread your story. My son was a heroin addict. After spending some time in prison he came out filled with new life. His problem or one of them was pain. After getting a great job in nags head he slipped in the restaurant where he was a chef fell and broke his arm. No meds that he could take could help. So….. he sought something he knew would help for at least a while. Unfortunately the heroin was laced with fentanyl and he never saw another day. I will never get over this because he was at a good place in his life. Heroin is bad enough. Why would someone mess with it with fentanyl?

    1. Oh Tanya that is so heartbreaking. We have got to think of something better for managing pain because there are a lot of people in recovery who cannot take those opiate pain medications. I’m so sorry. That does carry a special dagger to the heart since he was doing so well in recovery.

  2. I, too, am sorry to say I am familiar with pawn shops. My son actually took my wedding ring and pawned it — I thought I had lost it. Thankfully, he got it back and returned it to me. One of his friends took my deceased mother-in-law’s wedding ring and I was never able to get it back. And, yes, demonic SOB is an apt description of addiction. Wish I could come up with something even better (worse) to describe it. Thank you for baring your heart and soul again and for all your hard work to address the issues of suicide and opiate addiction.

  3. I drive by that establishment every day on the way to work, and I will now never think about it the same. It will be a daily reminder for me of you, Charles and the difference you are making in the world. Thank you for al you do.

  4. Heart-wrenching, Anne Moss. I Can Only Imagine The Dread you and your mom felt being in that pawn shop. Maybe one day you’ll go by it and it will no longer be on your radar. ((Hugs)) to you.

  5. I’m so sorry thank you for showing strength to me and any other person dealing with these demons you deserve the world❤️

    1. Thank you Ada. This one was hard. Lots of tears writing it. And those enduring demons deserve more credit than they deserve. Fighting your own brain on a daily basis is exhausting. Thank you for commenting and for being here and fighting for yourself.

  6. Here’s a selfish and seemingly insensitive thought: I wish I couldn’t relate to what you’re going through. But, I can.

  7. I have often thought about stories attached to things at pawn shops, but never this. Hoping that his computer had some of his beautiful and painful writings to retrieve. Thank you for this….xx

    1. You know he wrote mostly in notebooks by hand. So when I was writing the book, I had to type in all his songs. The computer did give me his facebook and youtube logins so I could see his messages. That did help.

  8. Your commitment to share even the hardest parts of Charles’ life and your grief process is beautiful. I know it’s hard, but I truly believe you are making a huge difference. Hang in there, AM.

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