by Bart Bright
On August 14, 2018, my son, Kevin, died by suicide. He was 29 years old. Kevin suffered from depression and cannabis-induced psychosis, (a diagnosis in the DSM-5).
Kevin told my wife and me about his cannabis use at 15
He agreed to get help. Over the next 14 years, Kevin participated in many recovery programs. He experienced periods of health and happiness while in recovery. Unfortunately, after a while, he would go back to his drug of choice, high THC cannabis. As he increased his cannabis use we started witnessing psychotic behavior. (We learned, after Kevin’s suicide, about cannabis-induced psychosis. We read about it on the Johnnysambassadors.org website.)
One of the last articulate things Kevin said to me was, “Cannabis has ruined my life.”
About 15 months before Kevin passed away, my wife and I flew to Spain to walk the last 80 miles of the Camino pilgrimage. We were spiritually and emotionally exhausted! We made our way to Sarria, Spain, and stayed overnight. The next morning we started our eight-day journey to Santiago de Compostela. I anxiously asked God for guidance. I didn’t feel or hear anything.
The next morning I repeated my request and again, all I heard was the wind rushing through the trees. The third day began like the first two, however, I LET GO of any expectation and focused my eyes and attention on my feet. That’s when I heard, “STEP AWAY.” I raised my head, looked around to find the source of the two words I heard, no one in sight. That’s when I realized God had answered my prayer. In my Al-Anon and Mar-Anon meetings I read and hear the sayings, “Detach with Love” and “Let Go, Let God,” now I know what those words mean.
After Kevin took his life I felt empty again.
It was as though God had stayed in Spain and I was on my own. I started drinking more, thinking I could fill the emptiness inside me. After realizing I was going in the wrong direction, thanks to my wife’s help, I started another 12-step program. My soul began to heal as I reached out for help.
My sponsor said something that changed my life. I don’t recall his exact words however, I do remember how his words made me feel. I had hope again. His message was: If you can’t find God, help others and God will find you.
God and Kevin are in my life again
I can’t see them but I feel their love every day.
Thanks to my wife, Anne Moss Rogers, and many others for encouraging me to dig deep and help myself and others. And thanks to my Higher Power for two words,
“STEP AWAY,” and for being there every step of THE WAY.
- Free eBook: Is Your Child or Spouse Using? Signs of Drug Use
- Support: Johnnysambassadors.org/parents– resources on how to find help for you and your child
- Support: MarAnon and MarAnon Meetings– Support for family members who have a child using THC
- Information/Resources: Substance Misuse/Addiction resources
- Information/Resources: Everybrainmatters.org
- Information/Resources: iasic1.org– Iternational Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis
- Study: NCBI- Cannabis-induced psychosis study
- Study: Harvard Health Publishing- Teens who smoke pot at risk for later schizophrenia, psychosis–
- Article: Very Well Mind- Can Marijuana Cause Psychosis?sis: A Review
- Article: Marijuana: Facts parents need to know (National Institute of Health)
- Article: Does marijuana use increase teen suicide risk?
- Article: Mental health care fails at addiction treatment, Part 2
Free ebook: Signs of Drug Use
Learn what I wish I’d known before I lost my son to drug-related suicide. By Anne Moss Rogers
The video below focuses on real life stories on cannabis induced psychosis. Heidi Swan’s presentation on marijuana and addiction.
10 thoughts on “Step Away”
Thank you for sharing this incredibly difficult and painful experience, Bart. My son was a teen 25 years ago. I was a Single Mother. I confronted him and told him he would have to decide between living with me and continuing to do drugs of any kind. He told me I was terrible because I knew he had no other place to go. (I agreed; he was right, and it was my bargaining chip.) Thankfully, it worked. The drugs/alcohol themselves can be the culprit; and sometimes there is mental illness behind use of those substances. Your sharing can help others avoid such experiences. Thank you, thank you!
Thank you, Ilene.
My son was self- medicating with high THC Cannabis for many years. My wife and I noticed our son suffering more mental illness symptoms when he was using large amounts of THC. He also experienced many episodes of cannabis induced psychosis.
Your courage to hold a healthy boundary was a gift to your son and to you.
Thank you for sharing with us. I am so sorry for your loss of your son. I lost my son, Gage, in April 2019 to suicide. He suffered from alcohol addiction for over twenty years and although at the time of his death he was only two days short of two years sober, I feel that the root causes behind his addiction and possibly still fighting the addiction all became too much and a loss of hope brought on his choice that day. Our soul’s journey of learning to live with our children’s loss is a powerful and often dark one. I agree that God (and our children) find us in those moments and we are able to once again find joy amidst times of sadness that still come to us. May we all be blessed with comfort and peace.
Thank you for your kind comments, Cecelia.
I’m sorry you lost your son, Gage. I know it’s very difficult and believe you are already honoring your son by sharing his story.
Thank you for sharing your story. It really resonates with me because my son Kevin, 33 years old, also died by suicide. His mental illness followed by alcohol addiction, which led to his suicide. I am glad you found your purpose after “stepping away”. It would be a year on February 28 since I lost Kevin and its brutal. I am still looking for my purpose to honor Kevin. Grade and peace.
I’m sorry you lost you son, Kevin, as a result of mental illness, addiction and suicide. I am praying for you and your family. You are not alone. Please continue to reach out for support.
Dear Bart and Anne Moss,
Thank you so much for sharing your sons Kevin and Charles with all.
I feel it is so important that we share their cautions with other families, help our sons speak to those who need to hear them.
My son Andy is with Kevin and Charles in spirit, his death a marijuana induced suicide in 2014.
Our boys live forever through our helping them help others.
Thank you, thank you.
Thank you, Sally.
Your love and support helped Hazel and I find the courage to move forward.
I agree… Andy, Charles and Kevin are supporting us in this journey.
This is such an important story. Thank you for sharing. We lost our son, Luke, to depression/anxiety and high THC addiction in 2018. Despite being in the mental health field myself, providers were uninformed and dismissive of my concerns regarding watching my beautiful, smart, funny son lose himself to addiction. Sending you love and light for sharing.
Thank you, Sarah.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
I agree, I have heard from, (received emails from, etc) many parents who have similar stories. Thank God, not all their stories involved the death of their loved one, however, all of them wish they had known about Cannabis Induced Psychosis.