For my son’s birthday in heaven, I got a tattoo

by Kerry Rhodes

So if you know me, you know how much I disliked Taylor having tattoos. When he turned 18, he begged to get a cross on his chest with Frank Woolwine’s name on it. Frankie was his good friend who was killed in a car accident the year before.

I knew better than to think I would stop Taylor once he was 18, so I said let’s go with something small. He agreed and I paid for it for his birthday. If you give Taylor an inch, he could sometimes take a mile. So that one tattoo turned … Read more...

Video: Amanda talks about the dangers of Adderall and Suicide

This video was originally shared with me by Tara’s mother, Catherine McMahon Miles who lost her daughter Tara Marie McMahon (12/18/98-2/21/21) to depression that was complicated by an Adderall addiction which led to her suicide. Tara had been off Adderall for a year but had self-medicated her depression with it previously and she had called Adderall her “death certificate.”

In Tara’s journals, she asked her family to share her story to help others and the video was created by her best friend in college, Amanda, and originally posted on Facebook to warn others who might be thinking that Adderall … Read more...

Love and let go is the antidote to insanity

We translate a lot of these terms we hear into what we think they mean.

Love and let go to one person could mean kicking a kid out of the house due to his substance misuse. Sometimes it does come to that but that isn’t the definition of the phrase.

Love and let go to another might mean simply seeking to allow a brother to experience consequences instead of loaning money as one did in the past.

When you file through the inventory of all you’ve done due to a loved one’s addiction or mental illness, it’s natural to gravitate … Read more...

Step Away

by Bart Bright

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bart-and-family.jpg
Kevin Bright is on the right

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 … Read more...

Stories over Stigma. Share Yours

The Central Virginia Overdose Working Group is a collaboration of stakeholders joining forces to coordinate efforts to identify gaps and develop real solutions to the overdose epidemic. These stakeholders continue to work with families and advocates to change the false narrative that substance misuse is a choice. The outdated word, drug addict, and that concept should be erased.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a medical condition–a disease linked to biological predispositions, mental health, isolation, community negligence, recidivism, and suicide. It’s time to erase the stigma and be Silent No More when it comes to tackling substance misuse and encourage life-saving … Read more...

Overdose is not the only way those with addiction die

While overdose dominates headlines, those who struggle with the disease of addiction die from many different drug-related causes. These are just the few I know about.

Suicide

We don’t really know how many overdoses are intentional but scientists believe it could be as many as 25%. For it to be ruled a suicide, there has to be some evidence of intention such as a letter indicating it was self-inflicted. Otherwise, we don’t know. We do know that addiction itself and all the relationship, legal, health, and financial problems it creates, along with withdrawal, relapse, and even recovery can drive a … Read more...

Audio version of Diary of a Broken Mind

Voice by Lisa Williams. It took a while but the audio version of the book is out. And of course, paperback and kindle as well. Audible audiobook is on Amazon.

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It’s the helplessness

After Charles died, helplessness and I had a come-to-Jesus moment. I couldn’t make it budge, reverse engineer it, or even make it change its mind.

It stood stubbornly in its place reminding me that I couldn’t change the outcome. That I was a victim to the emotion to which I was now facing. I didn’t want to do grief. I wanted to back out of it. But it swept me away anyway. I had no choice.

Helplessness and I first met when a loved one started using drugs and alcohol as a teen. I couldn’t stop it, change the course, … Read more...

In April 2020, my life almost came to a halt

by Jessica Donovan Amend

Sitting in my bathroom, with my then fiancé asleep in our bedroom just a few feet away, I sat with tears streaming down my face. I literally fell to my knees praying that God would help me figure this out, help me through this agony that I felt so deeply in my soul.

Now I’m not going to say that YOU need to believe in God and I’m also not going to say that I know anything for certain, but what I do know is that this night, God showed up for me. That night I … Read more...

You’ve helped me give away 63 books

It all started with Ryan. He is a young man, a student, studying in the funeral director’s track and had lost his dad. While I have donated books, it’s usually in person at events and I can’t afford to lose money on it. Buying my own books and then shipping them gets costly. But it got me to thinking.

How many who were not able to afford it right now, want it? I figured no one would be interested in gifting someone else a book or getting one. I don’t know why. And I feel awful for underestimating your generosity … Read more...