The three most dangerous words a parent can speak is: "NOT MY CHILD!" Michele and Lisa know first-hand that addiction does not discriminate. We also have come to know that AWARENESS is the first step in fighting the drug epidemic. We heartbreakingly and painfully each watched our charismatic, intelligent, kind and loving sons battle the affliction of Substance Use Disorder and even more tragically both buried our sons - less than a year apart. It has been a very painful and often very lonely journey. But, together, we have united and we are turning our PAIN into PASSION. We will fight to remove the shame and stigma that surrounds addiction and provide outreach, care and support for family members and loved ones of those suffering from addiction or who have lost their lives to drug related deaths. No one is ever alone. We have walked in your shoes!
Here are our stories...
Michele is the mother of two boys, Clayton (Clay) and Bradley. She raised her boys in small-town Waynesville NC. Both boys excelled athletically, having a particular passion for baseball. Although she and their father divorced when the boys were quite young, they co-parented well and the boys were blessed with loving step-parents. Life in their middle class, close-knit Christian home was pretty normal and when the boys were growing up, Michele never imagined that drugs would not only enter their family, drugs would ultimately shatter their world by taking Clay at the young age of 29.
Throughout his teen years, Clay had chronic sinus infections. In his early 20s the ENT said it was time for surgery. It was a routine outpatient surgery. Clay was prescribed Percocet. When he ran out, the doctor refilled it. Then refilled it again. Unbeknownst to his family, Clay had become addicted and dependent on prescription pain medication. When the scrips ran out, he started buying pills on the street. He reached a point that his addiction was so expensive, he could no longer pay his bills, including his mortgage. That’s when he asked for help. Thus, began a 6-year cycle of going to rehab, getting clean, relapsing and starting over again. Every time he relapsed, it seemed to get worse. In 2015 or 2016 Clay was introduced to heroin by a drug dealer – it was cheaper and easier to get.
On October 31, 2017, Clay checked himself into a detox and rehab center. From there he transferred to a long-term treatment facility. He was clean for 4 days shy of 11 months when he felt strong and confident enough to move out and into an apartment. His first night in his apartment, Clay relapsed, contacted a local drug dealer and bought what he thought was heroin. It wasn’t. At 3:53pm on Friday, September 28, 2018, Michele received a phone call that stopped her world from spinning. Clay had been found passed away in his apartment of an apparent drug overdose. It wasn’t until the autopsy results were given that the family learned that Clay’s cause of death Fentanyl Poisoning.
Clay loved helping others and had a true servant’s heart. In his loving memory, his mom, Michele has vowed to help others by being a source of support for family members affected by the horrible drug crisis. Her goal is to be a part of the solution by bringing awareness, eliminating the stigma of addiction and most of all helping to ensure that no other mama should suffer in silence the way she did through her son’s addiction and her family’s tremendous loss to the opioid crisis.
Lisa is the mother of two boys, The younger struggles with active addiction. Sam was the oldest. He passed in 2019, due to an overdose. He will forever be 27. Sam was the creative one in the family. He was a self-taught knife maker and built a following that was known world-wide. Sam became addicted in the later teen years that were full of anxiety and stress. It started by hanging with the wrong crowd. Good ol' fashioned peer pressure. His first drug of choice was marijuana, then pills and then on from there. He was sober a good many of those years, with help from medical assisted therapy, but when he decided to try and get clean even from that, he had a relapse. Again, he started hanging with the wrong crowd and never fully regained his sobriety. Right before his passing, he was sober and looking forward to rebuilding his business, even though he knew it would be a long road ahead.
Unfortunately, he let the struggle of the uphill climb overtake his resolve...and that's all it took.
Lisa is determined to not let his death be in vain. She wants everyone to know this crisis is real and this epidemic does NOT discriminate. Addiction does not only happen to certain people. It can happen to anyone.
Lisa's passion is health and fitness and would ultimately like to focus her attention on the addicts recovery and the role exercise can play in the mental health of the addict.
A Mother’s Pledge
God picked me to be your mom
And although you’re gone, my job is not done
I will always work hard to make you proud
When you look down from above the clouds
I will try to be stronger, laugh louder, even sing
For you, my angel with God-given wings
I will never let your sweet memory die
Even though in this world, we had to say goodbye
Your last words to me were “I love you, goodnight”
And that’s the night you lost your fight
Sometimes I get angry and just want to know why
Because you battled so hard – you prayed and you tried
When I think of your love and how you helped others
I couldn’t be more proud that I am your mother
So I will share your memories and I will tell your story
Because if it helps just one, WOW! What Glory!!
You wanted everyone free from the grips of addiction
I will champion your cause to disarm this affliction
I will work hard and with passion, determination and love
Because I know you’ll be leading the way from above
You will be my strength when I am tired and weak
You will be the words when I struggle to speak
I know you’ll be with me as I fight this tough fight
You’ll forever and always be my bright guiding light
One day at a time, that’s what we learned
One step at a time is how victory is earned
So, with you by my side and holding my heart
Today is the day that my battle starts
I will do what I can to bring awareness and teach
I will help spread the word to every person I reach
I will help end the stigma so others may learn
This demon lurks around every corner they turn
Addiction is real and can touch anyone
No matter who you are or where you come from
No one chooses this horrific disease
It attacks with no mercy and its grip won’t release
But this mother promises all my remaining tomorrow
To help prevent another mom’s sorrow
I will pray for guidance, wisdom and knowledge
For you and all others, this is my pledge
By Michele Rogers (December 2019)