Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Date Published:October 19, 2021
The true story of a son’s battle with addiction and a mother’s struggle with loss.
David is only fifteen years old when he first feels morphine flow through his veins after his foot is crushed in the hydraulics of a Bobcat. From that moment on he chases the feeling for the rest of his life. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine – he goes through drugs like candy, but it isn’t until he finds heroin that he is satisfied.
Through his personal correspondence and essays, David’s story unfolds as he goes from being an average American kid who loves sports, racing around on his skateboard, and writing stories, to being a heroin addict. His heartbreaking journey deepens as he takes his family with him down the dark and dangerous road of heroin addiction.
In 2014, David loses the battle, leaving his mother, Pat, to cope. Grieving a death from addiction is two-fold. After already losing her son to addiction, Pat has to find a way to grieve his death.
The Last Stop reveals intimate and detailed scenes of living the life of an addict and explores the mistakes and ways for families who love the addict to cope. David’s story gives hope for families immersed in the life-altering aspects of active addiction and empathy for those left behind when recovery stops being a choice.
I now know things I never wanted to know.
I am writing this memoir to share my son’s addiction1 story, as well as to give support and recognition to all of the families of addicts, who continue to struggle daily with a loved one’s addiction. This memoir is dedicated to all of the mothers who get up each day, often after a sleepless night, only to wait, worry, and wonder if their son or daughter has lived through the night.
After one such night, I wrote in my journal:
“Nighttime worries are the worst. I lay there and think and think . . . and accomplish nothing because there’s nothing I can do and no one to talk to, not the one who matters, anyway. And even if he were here, he wouldn’t listen to me and wouldn’t want to talk unless I could give him what he wants . . . what he needs. Chances are, he isn’t sleeping either, unless the last hit is still calming, but it will wear off and he will be miserably awake soon, but not worried about me. He will only be worried about his next fix, where it will come from, when, and how. He loves the process of getting and using heroin almost as much as the drug itself. I know I sound harsh. I feel harsh. I am angry. I am sad. I want the hurt to end but I don’t think it ever will . . . maybe I deserve this.”
My son’s name was David. His drug of choice was heroin, but that’s not where he started. His first taste of an opiate came from morphine, which was administered in a hospital when he was 15, to relieve pain caused by an injury. David started using heroin regularly when he was in his mid-20s. During those years, he drank alcohol and tried a variety of drugs, but heroin was the love of his life.
Addiction is cyclical. For 15 years, David rotated through active heroin use, recovery, and relapse many times over. When he was an active user, he would assure me that he could stop whenever he wanted to. He just didn’t want to. When his heroin use caused him to go to jail or treatment, he would stop using for a while, transition into recovery, and promise never to use the drug again. Then, he would relapse back into what he called “full blown heroin addiction.” Most of the time, all it would take to relapse would be one hit of morphine or heroin. Sometimes, he started with alcohol and prescription drugs. Either way, he always relapsed.
David’s was not a fate anyone would have anticipated had they known him or our family in the early years. We were an average suburban family of four: mother, father, David, and Bill, an older brother by three-and-a-half years. David’s father was a police officer, and I worked as a secretary at the boys’ elementary school. Our lives centered on our community and the boys’ activities. After 21 years of marriage, my husband and I separated. Bill had already moved out and on to college; David was 17 and about to enter his senior year in high school.
As a young man, David became a licensed barber, studied philosophy, excelled at chess, loved sports, and wanted to become a published author. He would have been leading a “normal” life had his drug use not led to numerous arrests, mostly for traffic violations and drug possession, which led to multiple jails and treatment programs. Still, he managed to fall in love, and at the age of 32, David married. Unfortunately, his marriage didn’t correct his path or save his life. Nothing did. This memoir begins with a vivid memory of David in his highchair. It ends with his death at 39.
About the Author
Wanting to help other moms who are living the nightmare of addiction with a loved one, Pat gathered the emotional courage to compile her son’s story, The Last Stop, with his short stories, poetry, and essays.
Addiction changes the addict and those who love the addict. Pat is a different person today, but she still enjoys a good book, a lively tennis match, the clicking of MahJongg tiles, weaving baby blankets, and long walks with her little terrier mix who rescued her two years ago.
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