Friday, June 27, 2008

Amateur Research

Even as a young adult, I did not know too much about drugs and the different effects that they have on a person. I was not surrounded with alcoholism or drug addiction when I was young, nobody in my family had any addictions. The occasional glass of wine or a beer was about it. I actually thought my ex-husbands family was so fun and so much different then mine. They always knew how to whoop it up.
In high school, I tried smoking weed and found it only made me feel stupid and sleepy. The occasional hit of speed in school, remained behind me. I tried cocaine once with my ex and knew it was not for me. I had no further desire to continue regularly with any of these things. I did not understand why people were addicts. Until it affected me and my life, I didn't even give it any thought.
After many turbulent years fighting a dead end battle, I realized Robby's dad was not going to ever stop abusing drugs, I never tried to find out why. I already assumed that I knew the answer. He was selfish. He did not care about anyone but himself.

I always half way had it in my mind, that Robby could possibly become an alcoholic or an addict. His fathers drug of choice was cocaine and crack. I don't think I knew that there was any other drugs that someone could get addicted to but those. My stupidity led me to believe that if I took him out of the 'environment' he would go on to lead a healthy fulfilling lifestyle. I was a fool to think a lot of love and a good home life would be all that it would take to shake that 'gene factor'.

After over a year of intense reading, researching, and talking with countless recovering addicts, I now understand how idiotic my thinking was. But when it all first catapulted into my lap, my lack of knowledge was frightening. Knowing my son's life may be at stake, the questions flooding my brain had to be answered.

Why was Robby doing this? What was the appeal? What was it about these pills that made them addictive? Why couldn't he just stop!? Why was he so hateful? What had made him change so drastically in the last year? Was it really these pills? Could they be making him crazy? It had happened so
gradually. Or had it? The past months flooded my mind... when did this get like this? He was so angry now. So hateful towards me. He had always been so loving and caring. Now he had absolutely no conscience, no motivation, no compassion for the pain he was causing me or himself. And he had no desire to change this behavior. Basically, he did not give a shit about anything. NOTHING but sniffing these pills.

Was it because of Oxy's? What the hell was my son doing taking Oxycontin? First he said it was perc's then it was oxy's. Were they the same thing? And where did the whole heroin overdose ten months prior fit in to all of this? That overdose should have been my wake up call but it wasn't. Why! why! why! did I not do something back then. How does heroin have anything to do with pain pills. Boy was I dumb. The hours passed as I searched the Internet. I started to learn about these powerful prescription pain pills and the number of people addicted to them was mind blowing. I felt so inadequate once again. I was so NOT educated in the field of prescription drugs.

The first thing I set out to do was find out what these prescription drugs were doing to my son. How he was getting 'high' from them. What was the appeal? I still only thought of these drugs as a painkiller yes, but one that just made you pass out cold. Take away your pain and make you sleep.

Percocets....Oxycontin.....Roxy's.....morphine.....opiates.....the poppy plant.........heroin.

There it was. I felt like a complete fool. I was an idiot. There was never any reason for me to know or educate myself about opiates prior to this. But now it was my addiction. What where these drugs, all in the opiate family, doing to my son and what could I do to help him stop.

Poppies.....the Wizard of Oz.......that's about how much a knew.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Necessary Course

Digging into the world of drug addiction was not something that came naturally to me. But digging into something that was hurting my son was.

It had taken me another precious year to realize that my son had a life threatening disease.

I had to go through the motions that most parents or people go through before the "reality slap" cracks you across your face and sends you reeling. Accepting that your child or loved one is an addict is something that takes way too long.

While in the hospital the second time when Robby was going through the detox, doctors had talked to us and highly recommended that my son seek professional help. I did not hear their words because I did not want to believe that my son was addicted to pills. Who gets addicted to percocets? I had taken them before.... they just make you go to sleep.. what fun could that possibly be? He's not addicted to could someone become addicted to percocets.....if they had told me crack cocaine..... well, this was his fathers drug of choice.
I was so stupid.

When I finally allowed myself to look back even further, all the warning signs were there. I could see them now... bright as a full moon on a streaker. It was all so "in my face". The moodiness, the bad grades, quitting sports, different 'new' friends, wrecking his car..... falling out of his friends car and landing on his head.... drunk. When this incident occurred, the doctors who examined him told me then that he had drugs in his system along with marijuana, and alcohol. They told me to seek counseling for him.

This was maybe the beginning of Robby's "road trip" into hell. I wanted to stab myself in the heart for not taking these teenage boy 'incidents' seriously and doing something about it sooner. I just kept telling myself that he was just doing what all kids do. Especially all boys. His words would soothe my worries... always telling me he was fine.. just having fun with the guys. Telling me his school sucked and he hated the kids there and that's why he was having so much trouble with his classes. He even told me that other kids were interrupting the class and he could not pay attention. I was angry with the teacher for allowing such unruly behavior to disrupt Robby's concentration. After many meetings with teachers and staff at his high school, I knew he was riding on thin ice. If he missed seven more days of school he would fail. He assured me he would graduate. The day I found out he had not been in school for the last two weeks I felt completely defeated. Again, I blamed the school. Why had they not contacted me until now! Apparently they were not in 'denial'....there was no intercepting Robby's mission to self destruct. He had given up long before this. He only had 3 months left when he officially dropped out, unfortunately it seemed to him that it would last a lifetime.

What does it take for the addict and those who love them to understand that he (or she) is an addict? There is really no way around this process. You beat yourself up when you look back and ask yourself why you did not do something sooner, why you did not know it or see it sooner. Does "catching it" sooner make a difference? I believe that it might. But the bottom line is that an addict does not think he or she is an addict, until... they are an addict. So they will fight you. They will reassure you, they will reassure themselves. They wont even question how strong (or weak) they are. Unfortunately, from all I have learned and all I have researched and all the recovering addicts I have talked to...... It is a process that will not be hurried along. NOTHING makes it come and go faster. A series of necessary events that lead you to your destiny. It is a course that sadly must be taken.

Robby had professed his innocence. All the words he spoke were the ones I wanted to hear.
"This was an isolated incident." "He would never do it again." "He had learned his lesson." I was so grateful that he was alive that these words were good enough for me. Robby was a smart kid. He knew he did not want to live the life his father did. He was weepy and remorseful. He had scared the shit out of himself and it was over. But Robby was on the 'road' that needed to be traveled.

With all that I know and all that I understand now, I still blame myself sometimes. In my case I think..... it was my maternal instinct that would not except that I could not save my child from anything and everything that was threatening him.

Tough Love!....I think..

Over the next year I remained blind. Robby worked here and there, but would always lose his job within a couple weeks. I can guess now, but at the time I could not understand why he kept losing all those jobs. I never once questioned what he was telling me..... "They did not have enough work for him"... "The pay sucked and they were taking advantage of him so he quit."...... "He could not stand the guys he worked with" (that one pissed me off) But I actually found myself feeling bad for him and mad at the company that let him go. I continued to convince myself that he was just going through bad times.
He had a new girlfriend and they spent a lot of time together. They seemed like a good fit. I was real happy for him. She was the only thing right now that he felt good about. I let them spend as much time together thinking he really needed someone to lift his spirits.

As the months passed, I was starting to get irritated. I would hear Robby and his girlfriend into the wee hours of the night talking, laughing, watching TV. Going up and down the stairs constantly. Opening cabinets, cooking food..... It would be close to 3am before things would quiet down. The next day, I would open his bedroom door and his room was a mess and smelled like dirty laundry and stale ashtrays. In my frustration, I would try to get him up. His girlfriend had left for work, it was time for him to start looking for a job. He would just role over and tell me to leave him alone, he had not gotten much sleep. Around 4pm he would get out of bed and start this routine all over again. He was grumpy and miserable looking. He would lay on the sofa watching TV until his girlfriend got off work. I tried to talk to him but this would just set him off. I knew he was frustrated with losing his jobs and I tried real hard to be sympathetic. But things were not getting any better. As long as I let him alone, things were quiet. But I was losing my patience. I had no idea how to handle this. We were fighting out of my frustrations and his lack of ambition to do ANYTHING at all. He was 18 years old now and was doing nothing. Sleep all day, up all night. It was now the norm. The more I tried to talk to him, the nastier he got. The things he started to say to me would crush me. He was becoming hateful and verbally abusive. I would just cry now out of pure desperation. Sleeping all day, up all night.....

One night, something woke me out of a dead sleep. I made my way downstairs and heard Robby moaning and groaning in the bathroom He was sitting on the toilet while vomiting in the trash can. Worried, I waited outside the bathroom door. He told me he just had a stomach bug. I went back to bed after getting him some water and doing what I could for him. But something made me get back up again. I sat on the edge of his bed watching him writhe in pain. I suspected something more then the 'bug' and he finally admitted it too me. He was having severe withdrawal from painkillers...... We spent the rest of the night and into the morning at the ER. They let him detox while checking his vitals and we were sent home.... He promised it was over. He had gone through the worst of it and he was not going to do it again....

Painkillers? Oxycontin..... Percocets.....? Why would he be taking pain pills? They make you sleep. I was not educated in any of this. I thought people got hooked on things like cocaine... or crack...Where did the pain pills fall into play? I just did not get it....But he said he was done... he went through the withdrawal thing. It was all out of his system, it was over now.

More months passed..... nothing changed. Up all night, sleeping all day. He was mean, nasty, disrespectful and didn't seem to care about anything. His room even had an odor coming out of it. He was verbally abusive to the point that I would burst into tears and he would laugh at me...he attacked every decision I had ever made in my life. He put down my career choices telling me I did not make any money and was at a dead end in my life. I fought back,.. defending myself. I reminded him that my career choice had supported both of us for the last 10 years with no child support. He told me I should never have had a child if I could not support him. Insane arguments that ended with me crying and him storming out of the house. We tried counseling.... he snickered and sneered at me when I poured my heart out to him hoping the counselor could shed some light on what was happening to us. My heart was breaking. Why was he being so mean? This was not my Robby... what had I done to him to make him feel so volatile towards me? The counselors told me they could not help him. He was an addict and needed professionals that specialized in addiction. I was angry with the counselors. I did not understand what was happening. When did this all go wrong? Obviously, I know now, I was still in denial. How could my son be an addict. He was not an addict, he was just going through 'something' that would pass. The word "addict" was just too harsh. I kept pushing him to try. Encouraging him....helping him get through this rut he was stuck in. Anything I could do to help I did. Anything positive that I saw, even the slightest thing, would thrill me. My hope was not lost. I relished in these moments. But that is all they were...... moments, then my hopes were smashed once more. I wanted to do it for him, I wanted to force him to do it. I ran circles around myself trying to make him better. I was becoming mentally and emotionally exhausted.

Then the inevitable happened. I finally cracked. I could not watch him continue to be this way. The fight happened between us that I never in my wildest dreams thought would happen. Things were being thrown, words cut like knives, I exploded..... and he exploded right back. He left in a heated rage... I told him not to come back. It took me 4 hours to clean up the mess we had made during our fight.

So this is what "tough love" is? I sobbed for days.... I needed someone to talk to... I did not know who. Nobody I knew had been through this. Nobody. I was so blown away by what was happening. I was embarrassed of what my son had become. I was scared to death for him. What had I done? I threw him out! What had done?!! I felt so alone.... Who could I turn to? I walked around in circles I'm pretty sure, for days. No answers... no comfort. I did not feel good at all about my decision. I acted to hasty. Where was he? I made it worse! Had I destroyed what little hope he had? Had I sent him into a frenzy of despair... Had I kicked him when he was already down? ....The doubt in my mind was excruciatingly painful. I replayed the fight over and over in my head. I think Robby was right! I WAS a crazy lunatic! But this had been going on for almost a year.... What other choice did I have? I could not control myself, my thoughts, my grief, I was losing it. I turned to my computer..... I needed answers. I needed to ask questions.... I sobbed as I typed in random words..... I did not even know where to start.

I soon found and joined a forum and started to talking to others going through similar problems. "Troubled Teens" is where I started. Knowing now the word 'troubled' didn't even begin to scratch the surface of what I was up against. But I had to start somewhere and the final stage of denial that I was in led me to believe that my son was just 'troubled'.
I found a small amount of comfort... it was the only thing I had. I typed and sobbed out my story to complete strangers....

These strangers saved my sanity.

And so began my journey into reality. I was not prepared at all to hear the answers to my questions. It was a jarring reality that would bring me to my knees.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I'll never do it again"

Robby "died" that night,....
But the paramedics were able to 'bring him back to life' with a shot of a drug called Narcon that neutralizes/reverses the effects of heroin. His friends called 911 and administered CPR until help arrived. They saved Robby's life, and for that I will forever be indebted.

When I got to the hospital he was resting comfortably. At least five hours had already passed by time I got there.

When he saw me he let his head fall back on his pillow. He squeezed his eyes shut tight to hold back the tears. I hugged him and cried and then I hugged him some more. This kid was my life. The thought that I could have lost him that day was hard to swallow. I could not bring myself to think too long and hard about that. I shut the thoughts out as soon as they entered my mind. But the reality of it was still there and it was the most frightening, sick feeling I had ever had in my life. Even as a 17 year old young man he was still my little boy.

My questions came slowly.... I did not understand any of this. Why Robby? What happened?
My feelings and lack of answers were overwhelming. I wanted to slap the shit out of him for being so stupid! I tried to keep my calm and just thank God he had not killed himself. The mixture of emotions, trying to stifle myself and remain calm for my son's sake were just about all I could do. He was remorseful, and did offer some information... the information I know now, was what he knew I needed to hear. Or maybe just what he wanted to tell me.

"I only tried it once."
"I did not know what it was"
"Do you think I would be that stupid?"
"I sniffed it up my nose"
"I'll never do it again"

All the things a parent needed to hear? Maybe not the ideal conversation with your child, but given the circumstances.... it was the only thing and the only words you could hope for.

I would keep my eye on him. In my heart I wanted to trust his words. My head was not comprehending any of this too well anyway.
"When I was a kid" we tried stuff... sure... smoking weed, taking hits of speed, the occasional Quaalude. And then there were the really crazy kids that would talk about 'shrooms' and hits of LSD which no one dare to take more than 7 times because then you were 'legally insane'

But heroin?......MY GOD!...... Why would a kid try heroin?


Fentanyl powder seized by a Lake County Deputy Sheriff in Painesville Ohio, where a male subject had been discovered unresponsive and struggling to breathe.
Generally, if something is not effecting our lives, we hear it, but we do not process it. "In one ear and out the other" as they say.
If you watch the news, and especially if you live in the North Eastern part of the United States, you have most likely heard of Fentanyl.

"Fentanyl is a powerful opiod analgesic with a potency approximately 81 times that of morphine. Due to its potency, its ability to subdue pain in a short period of time has warranted it a Schedule ll drug in the United States.
Schedule II drugs are any drugs that have a high potential for abuse, are accepted for medical treatment in the U.S. or any drug that may lead to severe physchological or pysical dependence."

"Fentanyl was first synthesized by Janssen Pharmaceutica (Belgium) in 1959. Fentanyl was introduced into medical practice in the 1960s as an intravenous anesthetic under the trade name of Sublimaze."

This, and more information can be found at Wikipedia's website

"In its legal form, fentanyl has been around nearly 50 years.
It is still commonly prescribed as a skin patch, lozenge or intravenous drip for patients with cancer and other chronic pain."

"In the late 1970s and early '80s, outlaw chemists developed a new, more powerful twist on fentanyl in private labs. They called it China White, a name given high-grade heroin. This was no accident. It mimicked heroin's high and satisfied the same cravings. Its staggering potency made it attractive for street sales.
But powdered fentanyl is so powerful, so toxic, an extra grain or two can render a dose lethal. Some people who shoot up can't even slide the needle from their vein before they die.
Every couple of years, street fentanyl kills a dozen or so addicts somewhere in the United States.
The outbreak that quietly began to percolate in northern U.S. cities in summer 2005 and would reach a crescendo in May 2006 was beyond anything law enforcement and health officials had seen.

By April 2006, emergency workers in Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., and Delaware were swamped with overdoses. Heroin laced with fentanyl and sold as Al Capone, Flatline, Rest in Peace, Rolex and Exorcist was dropping addicts everywhere.
Across the river, New Jersey was also counting dead bodies. Emergency responders were handling 60 overdoses a day, compared with the usual 10 cases."

Read the full article:

Learning about a few junkies dropping dead is something we hear on the news or read in the newspaper. Most likely and understandable our response might be, "Well, they asked for it"

Honestly, I felt the same way. You sow what you reap.... you get what you deserve..... you play you pay.....

But now it was my son. My beautiful son. He was my life.....and I had almost lost him.

Excuse me....Did you say HEROIN?

That night in the hospital when I was finally told that my son had OD'd on Heroin, I barely processed the doctors words.

HEROIN! What? what? what? WHAT did you say? HEROIN? No..... NO he did not...! What the FUCK are you talking about! There must be some kind of mistake! Where would he get heroin? Heroin is BAD! No it is REALLY bad! This is wrong! Something is VERY WRONG!
Really bad people use heroin.....Junkies use Heroin......My son is not a junkie!

There was no question in my mind, someone must have slipped him heroin.... He could not have had any knowledge that what he was doing was heroin. He was with his friends. These were really good friends. One of the boys I had known for years. They were all good kids.

And what the hell is fentanyl?

A bad batch of heroin? I did not think anything could be worse than heroin, and now they were telling me there were 'bad' batches going around. Apparently there IS a difference between good and bad heroin.... and my son had gotten a 'bad batch.'

Heroin: n. A semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy. It is the 3,6-diacetyl ester of morphine (hence diacetylmorphine). The white crystalline form is commonly the hydrochloride salt diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, however heroin freebase may also appear as a white powder.
As with other opiates, heroin is used both as a pain-killer and a recreational drug.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Just about 3 years ago, a chain of events began that would impact my life in a way I had not prepared for. These events would force me to take on a whole new direction. Force me to look at life in a whole new light. Deal with life in a whole new way. Had I known what was in our future I would have made changes years ago. Would it have made a difference? I will never know, but I still think of the past almost daily and wonder what I could have done differently. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and it sucks.

The guilt that consumes you is almost debilitating. How did this happen and what could I have done to change it? Why did I not see it sooner? How could I have been so stupid?

It is called 'denial'.

That ugly 6 letter word that keeps coming back to bite me in the ass.

Before I began my search for answers, I had no idea of the thousands and thousands of families and people that were haunted by addiction and fighting to save their child or loved one. So many family's. Different lives and upbringing, different genes and DNA, different race, different religion, different cultures, different traditions. But we are all the same. We are bound together by our love for an addict. The disease does not discriminate. It rears it head and attacks us all in the same manner; it then unites us in a way that others will never understand. These 'others' are the lucky ones. The ones that just nod at you and give that sympathetic look..... not knowing or truly understanding your pain and agony. They will never know how lucky they are to have escaped it. We are in a select group but a larger group then I would ever imagined.

It is hard to see it coming. It is hard to see the signs in the beginning. They are minor changes. When they do occur, as for our children, we assume or maybe hope it is a natural part of a growing process. We shrug these changes off waiting for them to correct themselves ....we know they will, cause this is just one of those phases. As things go from bad to worse we begin to feel frustrated, maybe even pissed off. The confusion and helplessness comes into the picture shortly afterwards. We turn a blind eye sometimes because we don't want to face it. We cant face it. But it is always there...lingering like a black cloud of despair. We start to feel inadequate and wonder where we went wrong. We feel guilty, ashamed and share our feelings with nobody. All the while hoping things will fix themselves. If we just keep helping them figure their life out. Clean up their mistakes. Make things easier for them so they are not so overwhelmed. This has to be the reason... they are just overwhelmed with life. I will help them get past it. A year could go by before you know it, maybe two....or even longer.

We are in denial.......

Our roller coaster ride has may be anger one day and fear the next. Confusion and frustration, then anger again. The guilt consumes us once more and we sob, then we pray, trying to find answers as to where we went wrong. The answers never come. The frustration returns one moment then we find that we are angry again. We lose our ability to concentrate on even the small things. We eat, sleep and breathe frustration. We are being taken for a wild ride that we did not choose to buy a ticket for.

We become exhausted. We do not know where to turn. Then we see our child (or loved one) doing better one day...We are flooded with overwhelming hope and happiness, only to have it come crashing down soon after. We continue to 'try' to make things better. We know they want to do better.... we saw them try last week. We are now scared and feeling desperate to do something. This could go on for years sometimes.

We are now labeled "enablers".
I had this affliction for at least 2 years.......

Soon enough the feeling of helplessness, hopelessness and complete fear take over our lives. We now need a support group to help us undo all the natural normal feelings that we have. We need to learn to let go of someone that we love with all of our hearts. We need to learn how to step back and watch that person destroy their lives without trying to help. In some cases we are told to cut off that person because we will only hurt them by staying in their lives. It is all so unnatural. It is excruciating pain that is in a class all it's own. If we don't cut them off we could contribute to their death. It is time to except the truth and reset our brains to 'let them go'.

Let go and let them fall into the pits of hell where hopefully before hitting "rock bottom" they will learn all on their own that this is not the life they want. Or....
Let go and hope that they do hit rock bottom so they have no other choice then to seek professional help.
Let go and pray they do not die before they hit rock bottom.
All the while, we must except that what it may take before they see the light is............ death?
How does that work exactly...

Even now, I have to admit, I am still in denial sometimes.

Denial: n. The act of denying: the refusal of a request, etc. a refusal or reluctance to admit the truth of something.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Leaving Addiction Behind

Years ago I chose to break off from an abusive, unhealthy relationship with my ex husband. I was finished living with an addict. I felt I had done everything that I could do. Nothing was changing, things were just getting worse. The first roller coaster ride I was on was not so hard to get off. I hated addiction and I hated the people who so selfishly allowed themselves to get caught up in a world of drugs. They chose a life of this drug induced euphoria over their loved ones and it was intolerable selfishness. I tried to help 'him' change for years. When I left I did not look back. I was all used up. I had no regret when I walked away. The only ache in my heart was for my son. He would never know what his relationship could have been with his father had he not been a selfish addict.

For the next 10 years, we were free of that life. Sure Robby had to see his father on occasion, but due to a court order, it was supervised. He saw what his father was, I did not have to tell him. I raised my son the way I thought best. We did not do too bad I might add.

Addiction was gone from our lives for the most part. We knew it lingered in the background of our reality, but could not touch us anymore. Addiction was not in my vocabulary anymore. It was over, it was behind us now.

Addiction: n. A person who is dependent upon a drug.
vt. To devote or give oneself up to. To practice sedulously


My son was born in the Fall. As most children, he was an inquisitve little being. A daredevil to say the least. He was a lot like his mother.
Unfortune events tossed us into the "Single mom, only son" world. Back in the late eighties there were not too many families that we knew in our situation. Not yet anyway. We seemed like the first ones ever, so I did what I could to make life as normal as possible.

As the next few years passed, slowly but surely (just a step behind us) parents were divorcing and his friends learned to except this change in their young lives the way Robby had been doing already. The difference? His father was an alcoholic and an addict. He did not see him too much, but when he did it was turmoil for me. Never knowing if my son was safe..

He seemed to handle these things the best a kid could handle them. I tried hard to keep him sheltered from knowing just how bad his father was. When he asked the questions about his father I tried to stay away from any conversations that might hurt him more.

I always wondered if my son would be threatened with the possibility of becoming an addict like his dad. I would not allow it though. He was not being raised around it. I had told him of the dangers and kids were a lot more educated these days. But I did not understand well enough that all the love and stability that I offered would not be enough. The casual lectures about staying away from drugs and why, were not enough. The D.A.R.E program that his school offered was not enough.

Robby was a daredevil yes, but he was also the most loving kid you would ever want to meet. He was curtious and pleasant. He was helpful and concientious. His room, was immaculate in his early tween to teen years. Everything in it's place. He would tell me regularly "You need to clean your room mom" He loved me and hated to see me cry. He was full of belly laughs and had a zest for life and what it had to offer. His ornery side was a charming as the day is long. When he questioned something, his little eyebrow would go up and down without effort. He charmed the pants off everyone who knew him and the best thing was that he had no knowlegde of these talents.

Not much would bring him down. Mostly just when he was not allowed to 'play' for whatever reason.
He plowed into life and rarely looked up. He did not care what he ran into. If he bumped into some kind of obstacle, he handled it based on the mood he was in at the moment. Nothing upset him too much or for too long. Nothing stopped him, nothing scared him. Nothing seemed too hard to overcome. His many dreams included wanting to be in the Marines or be a Cop or Pro Football player

He played football, baseball, wrestled and was on the swim team. Although he never set the report cards on fire, his grades were good. He made honor roll once and his teachers all loved him for the most part.

He worked part time jobs after school and would soon be driving. Were did the time go!
He continued to hang out with his childhood friends, but as summer came and went, I noticed a change. I noticed different friends. The old ones were not around as much. I chalked this up to maturity. Most of his old friends were younger by a year or so. The new boys he met seemed to be very mature, very helpful. Seasons change..... things change.....

By eleventh grade the signs were there. The struggle, the mouth, the pissy attitude...He did not want to work. He wrecked his car. He dumped his nice girlfriend. I was in the school weekly. Counselors, teacher meetings, detentions, and suspensions. What the hell was going on!

His senior year was agonizing. Three months before graduation, Robby dropped out.

July 4 2006

It was July 4th and it was a beautiful day. It was a day for celebrating the Declaration of Independence. A day for lots of food, fun and fireworks. Relaxing on a boat, floating on the water and having a few beers. I called my son a few times throughout the day to see what he was up to. I missed not having him with me anymore. He was at the age where all he wanted was to be with his friends and would just mope at family get-togethers... you know how it goes.

We were about 45 minutes from home. I could not reach him but knew he was most likely having fun somewhere with his friends. My son Robby was 17. The last thing he wanted to do is hang out with me...

As the day came to a close, I attempted to reach him again. I always had a nagging feeling when I could not get him on the phone for hours and hours. Why wasn't he calling me back?

"You worry too much" people would tell me.

It was late.. sometime between 10:00 and 11:00pm
Still no answer....

I worked up the numbers in my head (I would try his friends cell phone)....what was left from my earlier buzz was making me foggy... butI finally heard another voice on the other end..

"Hi Dave? Is Robby with you?"

Before I even finished my question I heard the frenzied words spewing out Dave's mouth. A lump formed in my throat and my heart started to pound as if it was on 'alarm set' and had been waiting to go off at that very moment.

"trying to reach you all night, .........Robby ........OD'd......... ambulance ..... CPR ..... not breathing......."

My head suddenly felt like it was being squeezed from both sides.....I was going down........falling to my knees in the grass, my body shaking from the inside and vomit caught in my chest. My legs could barely hold me up but somehow I was running to the car......