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Forever in my heart

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Forever in my heart

My story is about my brother John. Growing up we would have a blast up @ our cottage in Northern Wisconsin. We fought like every siblings do on trips when we were @ home & my mom always told us, "you guys will love each other some day". Of course we didn't believe her @ the time but she was right. I loved my brother very much. I found out in 1997 that he was using heroin. This was a huge shock to me as I had no idea. I just thought that he was smoking some pot here or there. It turned out that he was a full blown heroin addict that was shooting up a few times per day. Looking back on it now I should have known something was terribly wrong since he was 6'3" & probably weighed 130 lbs! He went on methadone for awhile & we thought he'd be good. Then he tried to get off of it & just relapsed. He went to rehab a few times but he'd always go back to heroin.

He was in jail & detoxed w/nothing & came out & continued to use even after my mom kicked him out & he had no place to go. This lasted for a few weeks. He ended up going to rehab again & this time it worked. John was clean for many years. I still think he smoked pot & did coke & maybe even heroin but he hid it so well. He never got to be as bad as he was in '98.

He didn't really have a job either because he just wasn't motivated to get one. I mean why would he with the amount of money he made dealing. We all knew this is what he was doing but never said anything for fear that he might kill himself or get mad. It was pretty stupid now that I look back at it. We never had a "normal" brother/sister relationship as adults because of drugs. He never just stopped by or came to dinners.

Then on March 12, 2009 our world changed forever. My dad called me to tell me that John was dead. My dad had to break down the bedroom door & found him on the floor. We were all very confused because he wasn't using before he died but yet here we were dealing with the death of a brother & son. It was very difficult for me because I had to be strong for my mom since this was her only son & I couldn't imagine losing a child. I will never see him get married. I will never have any nieces or nephews. I spoke @ his funeral because I thought I wouldn't be able to say the things that I needed to say again.

Heroin did this to my brother. Heroin had a hold on him & after using it off & on for almost half of his life it finally took him. He's @ peace now. We don't have to worry about getting that call anymore that he's dead. As bad as this sounds a weight has been lifted off of our shoulders. As bad as it was for us, I can't imagine how hard it was for him to deal with it everyday of his life. He's been gone for almost 4 yrs & I still think of him everyday. I've actually spoken @ a few drug forums & to students & told our story. I couldn't save John so hopefully I can try to save someone. I've also been involved in a few groups to try & do anything I can to make people aware of the dangers of heroin. I will continue to do what I can so the young kids & even adults know the dangers of heroin.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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