Weekend Adventure

Thursday night after I got out of work Kyle, Lauren, Mike, Jess, Johnny, and I all set off for New Hampshire! Three and a half hours later we arrived. Growing up I spent almost every weekend at that house, until I reached the age of wanting to spend more time with my friends than family. Now, as a twenty something year old wanderlust, I find myself wanting to spend more and more time there. The house is cozy. Set far enough away from the neighbors into the woods among the bears.

Thursday night was a short night since we didn’t arrive until 11:30PM. After setting up the house and bedrooms for our weekend get away, we relaxed until we were too tired to stay awake. Friday morning the guys collected and cut wood for the nights fire while the girls got ready. We went shopping in North Conway, grocery shopped for the rest of the weekend, and went to dinner at the Shannon Door. Friday night consisted of drinks and games.

Saturday morning Johnny and Jess left early to make it home for a birthday. Kyle, Lauren, Mike and I sat around the house not doing much for the day, just enjoying the nature around us. Late afternoon we went to Cathedral Ledge. The view is so beautiful from up there.

view

Cathedral Ledge

Kyle pushed his limits by hopping over a fence and wandering down the rock to get a better view. Needless to say I walked to the entrance and waited anxiously for him to return.

kyle

That little black dot is Kyle. I nearly had a heart attack!

We left Cathedral Ledge and went home so I could start cooking dinner. We lit the wood burning stove and the whole house smelled like warm apple cider, cookies, brownies, and BBQ chicken. We sat outside by the fire and relaxed for our last night there.

Sunday came quick and we decided to take the Kancamagus Highway home. Breathtaking is an understatement. Especially in the fall. Since I didn’t have my camera with me I need to make another trip soon.

One weekend is never good enough. I always say I want to move down south, but I think its up for debate. Another weekend of great memories with wonderful people.

xo.

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THANK YOU!

It has been two days since I posted my “Loving an Addict” series and I have 6,787 views and rising! I just want to take a moment and thank each and every person from the bottom of my heart; who has read or shared my story, followed my blog, or given me feedback. I appreciate all of you more than you will ever know. The amount of love, support, and stories I got in return is amazing. I love hearing peoples recovery stories and I encourage anyone to not be ashamed and tell the world. Once again, thank you all so much! I’ll see you in my next post.

xo.

Loving an Addict (Part 4)

We waited anxiously for the six hour surgery to be over and get a phone call telling us he was okay. Almost seven hours later we got the call we were waiting for. He was out of surgery, he was awake, he was stable, and everything went exactly as planned.

Here is where I was going to insert pictures from after the surgery. I decided I wasn’t going to because that’s not how I like to picture him.

Two more months of recovery, a pig heart valve, a pace maker, and a different rehabilitation center and Lorenzo was finally able to come home! It had been 5 long months of hospitalization. I went with his family to bring him home and it was the happiest day of my life. Everything was going to be wonderful now. He was sober and healthy. We celebrated his birthday and our one year anniversary, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas. I moved in with him and his family and everything was great. We went out places together, over friends houses, to parties, and for walks with the dogs. Everything was amazing and I was so proud of him. Though he had gotten sick, he got sober all on his own and was so determined to keep it that way.

A year of recovery went by, a year and a half sober, and another birthday. We were getting ready to celebrate our two year anniversary together. November 19, 2014 at 12AM my world changed forever. I was downstairs cooking with Lorenzo’s sister when we heard a loud bang. I rushed upstairs to find Lorenzo on the bed gripping his heart unable to breath. We called an ambulance and after rushing us out of the room and into the kitchen they took him away to the hospital. I called my dad and he came and got me. We rushed to the hospital and waited for his dad and sister. I had this sinking feeling in my heart and stomach, but my dad told me to stay positive. Did he relapse? Was it because of drugs? Is he going to be okay? So many emotions were running through my head. Once his dad and sister arrived the doctor came in. “We did everything we could….” That’s all I heard. I think I screamed. I don’t really know what happened, at that moment I think I blacked out. When I came to, I was on the ground crying in my father’s arms. “You can come back to see him, just know that there is a breathing tube in we can’t take it out until the coroner gets here.” He had the breathing tube in, his eyes were open with tears in them, they had already glossed over. He was gone. Two days before our two year anniversary, too soon. It was all too real. To this day I picture that night, everything about it. Like a play by play movie in my head. I dream about it. It’s something I’ll never forget.

When we recieved the autopsy we learned there were no drugs in his system. The cause of death is still unknown. It could have been a blood clot, the pace maker could have given out, we don’t know, but what we do know is that he didn’t relapse and to me that’s all that matters.

I’ve learned that addiction is the hardest thing anyone will have to go through. Be patient and kind. There’s a reason that person turned to drugs. Yes it’s a choice they make in the beginning, but usually that choice is to help cope with something in there life they want to get rid of. (depression, anxiety, etc.) If you love someone who suffers from addiction then you know how hard it is, but you also know the hurt of judgement from others. If you are a recovering addict, I wish you the best of luck in your journey. If you are a former addict, congratulations, my friend, you made it! And, if you are currectly suffering with addiction, PLEASE, PLEASE, ask for help. It’s never too late to turn your life around. People DO love you.

Lorenzo and I shared something special. So, what was it like loving an addict? Hard sometimes, but most of the time you’re so focused on loving that person, you forget they’re an addict. My relationship was just like yours. We had a couple bumps, a couple fights, we kissed, held hands, loved, dated, goofed around, watched movies, snuggled. Our relationship was just like any normal relationship, we were just a lot stronger than most. Lorenzo was truly a magnificent person and I’m lucky I got the time I did with him. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I don’t want to try and change your mind about addiction, or glorify it by any means, but the next time you call someone a junkie or judge them based off a drug they take. Just remember they’re someones whole world. Someone loves them because they’re an amazing person who just lost their way and needs help.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Remember to love hard, stay humble and kind because you never know who might need a smile.

The End xo.

Loving an Addict (Part 3)

A few months went by and our relationship was beyond perfect. He was clean from heroin and we were happy. When you date a recovering addict it can almost be just as stressful as dating a current user. Every time he went to the bathroom I felt the need to question him. What were you doing in there? What took so long? Let me see your arms! Trusting someone in recovery to not use is very hard to do. Will he use when I’m not here? Will he tell me? Will he lie to me? Lorenzo never lied about when he used. We made a deal that I would not ever get mad at him or degrade him when he used. It was safer for him to tell me so if anything happened to him I would know exactly what to tell the police and EMT’s.

Mother’s Day rolled around and he was a few months clean. He started feeling sick and didn’t know what was wrong. He said it felt like he was going threw withdrawals again, but he promised he didn’t relapse so we didn’t know why. I wanted him to go to the hospital, but since it was Mother’s Day he wanted to spend the day with his Mother. He promised if he was worse tomorrow he would go to the hospital. By the next morning he could barely move. He was stuck in his bed and could barely lift his arm. Time to go to the hospital. It took 3 grown men to carry him down the stairs and put him in the back of my jeep. Lorenzo, his father, and I pulled up to the emergency room and the immediately took him back when he told them he was a recovering addict. After 20 minutes in the waiting room we were called back. We learned that night if he hadn’t gone in he would have passed away during the night. His body was so septic from infection his body was shutting down. He was stable for now and his father and I were sent home. The next day I went to visit him and the doctors explained what had happened. They put him on a large combination of antibiotics and slowly he started looking and feeling better. He’d be coming home soon! Or so we thought.

After a month the antibiotics stopped working and they transferred him into Boston where they had better variety of medication. By the time he got there they put him in the ICU because his vitals were low and he was no longer stable. We learned not only was he septic, meaning infection was coursing through his blood, but because of the infection his heart valve had become infected as well. This meant that instead of pumping out healthy blood into his body he was pumping infection all over the place. They also told him he had gotten Hepatitis C. They started him on a new combination of antibiotics and inserted a pic line into his arm straight to his heart. We were told that if this medicine didn’t work he would need a heart valve transplant. Luckily after a few weeks he was getting better again! Boston Medical Center then had his transferred to Tewksbury state hospital rehabilitation center since he didn’t need to be on IV all day long.

Everything was going good and we almost had a set date he got to come home! After 3 long months in the hospital we were all ready for him to come home. Unfortunately he started feeling sick again and once again antibiotics stopped working. They rushed him to Lowell hospital where they stabilized him and took him back to BMC. After being in the ICU for two days they decided he needed surgery. He was going to have the heart valve transplant. My heart sank and my stomach was in knots. The next day he was scheduled for surgery. His family and I drove into Boston at 430 in the morning to see him off. Once they wheeled him past the doors it was time for us to go home and wait.

To be continued…

Loving an Addict (Part 2)

In October of 2012 I had just started taking classes in Boston to be a Floral Designer two nights a week. After class I would come home to hang out with friends. One of those friends being Lorenzo. Everyone knew what Lorenzo had gotten into, but I didn’t fully understand it. Heroin wasn’t something anyone talked much about in our little town, but when they did the stories never ended good.

On the night of Halloween we were at a costume party. Lorenzo showed up straight from the hospital with a wick in his arm to drain infection. He told everyone he got a spider bite and it got infected. We knew better, but we weren’t going to argue with him. We hung out the whole night and talked about life and our goals and what we wanted to do with our lives. I was confused. I knew he was an addict, so why didn’t he act like one? Why was he kind, loving, funny, and smart? You can’t be any of those if you’re an addict, right?

We started talking and hanging out more. One night, a few weeks later, I picked him up for another party. An hour went by before I realized he wasn’t partying with everyone. I found him in a friends room and he didn’t look good. He was sick. I sat with him as he threw up from withdrawal. He told me to go back to the party and not to worry about him, but that’s the only place I wanted to be. He admitted to me that night his addiction and told me he was tired of depending on a drug in order to not feel sick. Most of his friends had either abandoned him or were doing the drug themselves. I told him I would help him in anyway possible. A couple days later he asked me to be his girlfriend. I said yes. To me he wasn’t just an addict anymore. He was a gentle, fun loving, amazing human with a problem.

In the beginning it was difficult. I would go to his house to hang out and he would disappear into a bathroom or bedroom. I knew he was using behind closed doors and that frightened me. What if its bad? What if he does too much? Should I go in there? He never let me be around it. I never witnessed him putting the needle in his arm and for that I am thankful. Witnessing the aftermath was enough. We’d try and watch a movie, but he would nod. He became so dependent on this drug that we barely left the house.

“Why are you doing this, Sheridan?” People would ask me. All I knew is that the person he was when he wasn’t high was the most amazing person I’d ever have the pleasure of knowing. I was falling in love with him, every piece of him, including his flaws. His addiction was never an easy thing to deal with. I learned that arguing about it would only make it worse. I learned he needed to quit when he was ready and I just needed to be patient. That’s the hardest thing with heroin. Being patient isn’t easy when your constantly worried about the life of the addict. I finished school and our relationship was better than ever. He told me he loved me and everything was great. Heroin was the only thing holding us back.

Finally he was ready. I promised to stay by his side and help him through the most difficult weeks of his life. He went from using upwards of 10 times a day, to twice a day, to not at all in a matter of days. Watching someone withdraw from Heroin is the saddest thing to have to watch. He was vomiting, sweating, shivering, shaking, and uncomfortable for an entire week. I stayed by his side. I knew he was strong enough to get through it because not once did he ever complain. I cleaned up after him. Some days he told me to leave. I didn’t. He got through it. The physical withdrawals were over. Now he just had to get past the mental cravings.

To be continued…

Loving an Addict (Part 1)

For the past two years I’ve though about writing this, but could never find the right words to start. September is National Recovery Month and seeing the multitude of recovery stories on social media, has given me the frame of mind to start.

We all know someone with addiction whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, owning too many shoes, or eating more than you should. Most addictions are seemingly harmless so people overlook them as addiction, but when it involves heroine, coke, crack, or any hard drug people are more likely to start to judge. I was one of those people that judged because to me any addict was a disgusting human who didn’t care about anyone else or even themselves. I would later learn that my opinion was so far from the truth.

I was first introduced to addiction when I was fifteen. My best friend had developed a habit of taking Ecstasy. At the time I was naive to what addiction was, but I knew she had a real problem. We’d make plans to hang out and have a sleep over and she would show up late coming down from her high. “I took 2 triple stacks today, threw up everywhere, and rolled so hard. I’m exhausted.” She’d tell me as she climbed into bed to go to sleep. This was a regular weekend thing for us. My best friend, who I needed to talk to about life, boys, family, and anything else, couldn’t give me one night of her time. She’d fall asleep and when I woke up she’d already be gone to hang out with her other friends again to get high. I was hurt, worried, and didn’t understand why she couldn’t just hang out with me without the drugs. I told her numerous I was worried and that I didn’t like it and she didn’t seem to care. I had, had enough. The last day she left my house I woke up and messaged her on Myspace telling her I was tired of worrying and if she wasn’t going to stop I couldn’t be friends with her. That was the hardest thing I had ever done.

After 6 months of not speaking to my best friend my father came to me and said they had talked and she hadn’t taken ecstasy in about a month. I was happy our mutual friends and my father kept in touch with her at the time that I couldn’t. I needed to know she was okay even if we weren’t speaking. A few days later we talked and she apologized. She got the help she needed and our friendship is stronger than ever. That year was the hardest year of my life and I was so glad it was over. Without even realizing it I had my first encounter loving an addict. I never thought it could get worse.

Years went by and my knowledge of addiction grew as friends dabbled in different pills and alcohol. I hated it. I judged them. I had formed an uneducated opinion about all addicts. They we’re liars, thieves, dirty, and I wanted nothing to do with them. That was, until I fell in love with one.

To be continued…