When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction? Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan, host of the podcast "Avoiding the Addiction Affliction," explores substance use disorders with expert guests. The podcast series is sponsored by the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition.
Original cover art created by
Kelly P. of Kenosha, Wisconsin
Treatment Advocate and Business Development Officer with the Recovery Centers of America
How do you cope with losing someone you love to an overdose death? Jason Fritz talks about the life and legacy of his brother Terry, who passed away with a needle in his lap, alone, in his car, across the street from a police station. Jason is a Treatment Advocate and Business Development Officer with the Recovery Centers of America. Information about he memorial golf tournament Jason talks about is at https://www.terryfritzmemorial.org
[00:00:00] [Jaunty Music]
[00:00:12] Welcome everyone to Avoiding the Addiction Affliction, a series brought to you by the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition. I'm Mike McGowan. You know, there's never an easy way to start a conversation with somebody who's lost somebody close to them and somebody they love to drugs, but I, I just think it's an important conversation to have, if we're ever gonna do something about this epidemic we're facing. My guest today is Jason Fritz. Jason is a treatment advocate and the Business Development Officer with the Recovery Centers of America. But that's business. Today's a little bit more personal and close to the heart. Welcome Jason.
[00:00:50] Jason: Hey Mike, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be chatting with you today.
[00:00:53] Mike: I'm really glad you can make time for us. So I'm just gonna kick it to you. Tell us about your brother.
[00:01:00] Jason: Yeah. Um, so I I'm the oldest of three boys. So, uh, I was born in '84. Terry was born in '87 and my youngest brother was born in '91.
[00:01:10] And I would say we had your typical upbringing, right? Like had a roof over our heads family that loved us. Um, you know, the only turmoil was the three boys fighting every single day, which I think is pretty typical. Um, but Terry was a very, very intelligent, um, person and somebody who was wise beyond his years in some aspects of life.
[00:01:32] Um, and, and in others, um, got a little bit stuck and so. You know, being the older brother, being the, the one that's supposed to, you know, look out for your kid brother and show him how to do things. Uh, it was a little bit interesting because my brother always wanted to figure it out for himself. So, you know, whether it was, uh, his batting stance, uh, when he was playing T-ball or like how to shoot a bucket or how to kick a soccer ball, you know. Any of those things, he would always just be like, I got it, man. Like, don't worry. Like, I watch you I'm good. Um, and even in schooling, I mean, this kid's three and a half years younger than me and could do circles around me with math. So like there was not a lot of, um, help that he took, um, which was a, a very strong personality trait.
[00:02:22] Um, but also. A personality trait that in the long run really harmed him. And, um, when Terry was born, he was born with a hole in his heart. And in many cases that hole closes and in his case, by the time he was about two, um, it was somewhere in-between the size of a quarter and a half dollar. And so, um, I think it was at 28 months old. He had to have an open heart surgery.
[00:02:49] Mike: Wow.
[00:02:50] Jason: Um, and so that was really his first introduction to, to opioids. Right. So, um, You know, very strong painkillers to get through, to get through that surgery and that healing process. Um, and Terry had a rough go of it. Uh, as he grew up there was, there was multiple trips to children's emergency room, um, some different surgeries and, and I don't really know the ins and outs of what was going on.
[00:03:16] All I know is that by the time he was 13, he was exposed to, um, opioids, at least I would say probably six or seven times because of either injuries or something that was going on. And so again, your typical kid, gets into middle school and finally is, um, allowed to play football. Um, you know, given the, okay about the doctors, it was something he always wanted to do. And because of the wires in his chest, he wasn't able to do so. And, uh, really, really flourished. I mean, he was, he was a big kid, a good athlete, again, very caring and intelligent and just like. You know, I look at my kids right now. And if they grow up to be half the kid that he was like, I feel like I I've done a great job as a father.
[00:04:08] Um, and you know, he had an ankle surgery when he was in middle school and gained a little bit of weight and cuz he wasn't able to, to do things and, you know, got picked on a little bit. And I think that that was maybe. A course changing experience in, in his life. Um, and as he got into high school started to hang out with a little bit of a different crowd, not a bad crowd, just, you know, different kids than he was hanging out with, you know, as he was growing up, um, and, and unknown to our family, he started taking pills.
[00:04:45] Um, I think it probably started with Percocet or Vicodin, um, when, when he was in high school, at some point we think sometime around the age of 16 or 17. Um, you know, we, we, uh, we aren't able to ask him, so we, we don't know for sure. Uh, a lot of the information that we have about his early usage was, uh, it has been through friends, um, who thankfully are still here.
[00:05:11] Um, and I will remember vividly this phone call, uh, forever. I was, I was living in Nebraska after I went to school in South Dakota. And kinda lost touch with him, right? Like I'm 22, 23, just finishing college. He's 18 just finishing high school. When I would come home and visit the family. Um, you know, my kid, brother, wasn't the most important thing.
[00:05:37] Um, I, I was struggling with my own substance use issues and, and, and my own bipolar disorder and my own suicide attempts. And, um, so when I came home, it was like, "Hey mom, Hey dad, Hey Terry, Hey Gregory. I'm going out with my buddies and we're gonna go drinking and we're gonna party." Um, and I didn't spend a lot of time, uh, with him really understanding what was going on.
[00:05:58] But when I was in Nebraska, I got a phone call about a week before graduation. And he was like, "Hey man, you don't gotta come home. I'm not graduating."
[00:06:06] Mike: Ooh.
[00:06:06] Jason: And you know, this is a kid who, um, was the smartest person I've ever met in my life. He had a photographic memory. So, you know, when he read something once, he didn't forget it.
[00:06:18] So I kind of was like, what, what do you mean you? Like, what what's going on? He's like, well, I'm, I'm just, I got into some pills and I'm struggling and I wasn't going to school. And these are all things that my family didn't talk to me about. Um, I felt like they didn't wanna burden me. They thought it was not a big deal. And, um, I was like, all right, man.
[00:06:36] Mike: Did they know?
[00:06:38] Jason: Not until right around the time that he graduated. Um, so it was probably a close, we, we assume about close to two years or so of, of use without, without us knowing. Um, you know, he was skipping school and doing that stuff, but I don't think that's unlike a lot of people's stories, right?
[00:06:56] Like your buddies are skipping school and going to the park and smoking a joint. And then, you know, that's kind of just, I think maybe what my parents assumed he was doing. Um, But yeah, we didn't, we, we didn't know there. We, we didn't see my parents didn't see the signs, I don't think. Um, and. In that early usage. I don't think it was as consistent as it was as he progressed through his addiction. And I battled my own pill addiction. I, I struggled with Oxycontin for probably six or seven months, um, unknown to my parents, unknown to anybody outside of my close circle of friends who were either buying pills from me or who were using them with me or who saw me doing it, you know, at their mom's house, in their basement, in the bathroom when we were hanging out on a Tuesday night, right?
[00:07:42] Like, um, So, you know, he, once he came clean with what was going on, my, my parents worked with him. Um, he, he tried the treatment center route a couple of times, never stayed more than three to four days. Just kind of said, like, I know what I need to do and I can do it. And so again, you know, I kind of started this conversation by saying he always did it by himself.
[00:08:08] And so. We just figured, like, okay, it's just some pills. That's fine. He'll be, he'll be okay. And honestly, I kicked my pill addiction without treatment. Now I supplemented it with alcohol and cocaine and marijuana and anything you put in front of me. Um, but I didn't really think of myself as somebody who was addicted to pills. I was just partying, you know, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't come to the realization that I was addicted to pills until probably 10 to 12 years after I stopped doing them. Um, and so when he said he got it, I'm like, yeah, you do like, just stop. Actually, it kind of sucked, but it wasn't that bad. Like you can do it.
[00:08:46] Um, and he just progressively, you know, got worse. So he started using, let's say at 16 didn't graduate at 18, ended up finishing his high school stuff online and, and got his diploma and worked, went right into the workforce and was a mechanic, loved cars. Um, and for somebody with a photographic memory, that's like a mechanic manager's dream, right.
[00:09:11] Show a kid how to do something once and he knows it forever. And so we did really well. Um, but just wasn't happy. Um, you know, this is a kid who, when my dad's mom lived at my parents' house and struggled with dementia, um, he would help bathe her when he was 15 years. You know, like just would literally give his shirt off his back to anybody who needed it, stranger, best friend or otherwise.
[00:09:36] And so he decided to, to go into nursing and became a CNA and, um, utilized his intelligence and his caring for a really good cause and worked at a nursing home and a memory care center. And. You know, just the biggest heart ever, but he, he really struggled, I think, with the loss of, of my grandmother when she passed away and my own personal take is every time he lost a patient, he kind of had that memory, you know, banked in his mind. And it brought back the loss of grandma and I think kind of fueled his usage. Um, you know, there were wild stories that he had, oh, this guy is gonna come to work and he's coming with a gun and he's gonna kill me because he thinks I said something about his wife and, and just these things that didn't start to make sense.
[00:10:26] And, um, then his best friend died of an overdose when Terry was, I'll say, 22. And it was heroin and we were all like, whoa, what, what do you mean heroin? Like, isn't that the, the drug that like, you know, Jimmy Hendricks did and the rock stars did in like the 60's and the 70's. And like, isn't that what people do who live under bridges and who are homeless, like.
[00:10:54] What do you mean heroin? Uh, are you doing heroin and you know, "No, no, no. I would, I would never do that." Right.
[00:11:01] Mike: And OK. Stop for a second. And, and so how many of you believed him when he said that?
[00:11:07] Jason: All of us.
[00:11:08] Mike: Yeah. You know, isn't it, isn't it interesting as I'm listening to this, you know, you're putting pieces together so well, as you look backwards, right?
[00:11:17] Jason: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:18] Mike: From connecting the family stuff to his personality, from the get go to, I can do it myself. It's so easy to do that isn't it? To look backwards and say, oh, this and this and this and this of course this. How come, what, what do you think gets in the way? Why don't we see it in the present term? Why are we so willing to believe the, no, I'm not doing that!
[00:11:45] Jason: Stigma. Um, stigma, in my opinion is the first thing. Embarrassment, um, being ashamed, um, feeling like if you're the, if you're the parent, um, I'm a terrible, you know, I, I, I've been a great parent, you know, my kids getting good grades, good athlete, like.
[00:12:06] Not no child of mine could ever do drugs. Right. Um, and, and I think a lot of that comes back to that stigma of, we're not gonna talk about it. We're gonna keep it in the family. And you know, we're gonna, we're gonna try what we know best, which is call a couple treatment centers. And when they have space, we take 'em there.
[00:12:29] And in Wisconsin, we obviously don't have a lot of accessibility to treatment, especially. Um, you know, inpatient or residential treatments specifically for substance use disorder, we have a lot of great co-occurring, um, you know, organizations and providers and, and a lot of those groups do some good work with substance use treatment.
[00:12:49] But the number of beds that are allocated specifically to substance use disorder or, um, dual diagnosis, substance use primary. They just aren't there.
[00:13:00] Mike: Yeah.
[00:13:00] Jason: And then you, you, you look at the, uh, amount of people that are on Badger Care and the struggles that we have in the great state of Wisconsin with Badger Care, not covering room and board and, um, access to funding.
[00:13:12] And how does that work and what do I, and, and it's just, it's foreign to a lot of people and we have this amazing, and I use amazing, not in a good way, culture of drinking, um, here in Wisconsin. And, and I think. People just don't put two and two together a lot of times until honestly, it's too late, that person is dead and gone, or they are so far into their addiction. That it's not that it's not them anymore. You know, it, it's not them. It's, it's the addiction that's talking.
[00:13:46] Mike: So, so even when Terry's buddy, best friend died of heroin, that didn't deter him?
[00:13:53] Jason: No. And I thought it was crazy, Mike. I, I said, you know, you sat in the hospital the day they pulled the plug.
[00:14:01] Mike: Mm.
[00:14:03] Jason: And, you know, we had conversations later when we would really get deep and we would cry together and we'd try to figure out what, what can happen and what we can do.
[00:14:13] And, and I would say, didn't that ring the bell for you? That this was too much. And he said, Jay, you know, that made me use more that day, because I wanted to forget everything that just happened that day. And, and that was counterintuitive to my knowledge at that point. And now makes a lot of sense.
[00:14:29] Um, and so, you know, there were more friends that passed and, and there were more friends that were struggling and, and, you know, uh, a really great relationship that he was in that that ended because of his drug use. He was hiding the drug use from her. And we didn't tell it. I didn't tell her. His girlfriend of two years that he was snorting pills.
[00:14:51] Um, mainly because I'm not a snitch, right? I'm your big brother. I'm not gonna snitch you out to your girlfriend. You need 50 bucks for a Christmas gift for her cause you don't have any money. Here's 50 bucks. You need a 100 bucks for a birthday. Here's a 100 bucks. You need 10 bucks for a pack of smokes.
[00:15:06] Here's, you know, and come to find out all that money went to, you know, at that point up his nose. Um, and so when, when he broke up, when his girlfriend broke up with him, it got bad. And, and that's when he started using heroin. Um, and, and again, we didn't know about that for a while. And, and then he kind of came clean and he would go through Mike. He would go through these. These really deep into the addiction. And then like, I'm gonna quit. I'm gonna stop. I'm gonna detox at home. I'm gonna be sick for a week and I'm gonna get through it. And he would do it. He would get through the physical withdrawal himself with no medical advice, with no, you know, he would read about it and, and figure out what needed to happen.
[00:15:43] But the, the, the mental part of it is what got him, you know, he, he pawned my mom's iPad. He pawned my dad's tools. He took my mom's Disney movies and all these things that got him 50 cents, a nickel, a buck, what, you know, whatever it took to get that dime bag. Um, and I, I, you know, we were ignorant.
[00:16:03] I didn't think you could die from snorting heroin. I didn't think I, we didn't know that we didn't, you know, nobody talked about it in Delafield Wisconsin. Like you don't talk about stuff like that in lake country. Um, and that's about as bad as it is in the state of Wisconsin. You know, there's, there's a lot of money. There's a lot of pills. There's a lot of drugs. There's a lot of access there's car, you know, there's everything that you have. And, you know, we didn't, we didn't know that he was injecting heroin until after he had passed away. And there was a needle in his lap. Um, yeah. What was that?
[00:16:35] Mike: You said in his lap?
[00:16:36] Jason: Yeah. In his lap or on, on, on the floor. In his car. Yeah. Um, so, you know, Terry Terry passed away on October 1st, 2014, um, in his car by himself, um, in front of a fire hydrant across the street from a police station. Um, and, uh,
[00:17:00] It's, uh, you know, he, he was probably three months into recovery at that point. Um, cause my parents had been drug testing him multiple times a week. My parents spent thousands of dollars drug testing him.
[00:17:13] He was living at home.
[00:17:14] Mike: He was how old at this point?
[00:17:16] Jason: 26.
[00:17:17] Mike: And your parents are still drug testing him?
[00:17:20] Jason: Yeah, because they said, we know that you're, we know that you're getting high and, and he was like, no, I'm not using, I'm not doing pills. I'm not doing heroin anymore. I'm just smoking weed. And you know, at that point for our family, You know, what, if you're gonna go smoke weed and you're not gonna, you're not gonna snort heroin.
[00:17:33] You're not gonna do pills and you're not gonna inject heroin. Let's do it if, if that's what you need. And, and you know, that that's fine. That's just kind of the decision we made as a family, that we were okay with him, him, him smoking marijuana. Um, you know, I, I, we read some articles that there were people who had done that gone on the marijuana maintenance program and it was beneficial, but he didn't have the coping skills and the trigger warnings.
[00:17:56] And as smart as he was. He wasn't a specialist or an, you know, an expert on, on recovery and neither were we because Mike, we didn't talk about it.
[00:18:07] Mike: Right.
[00:18:08] Jason: My grandma didn't know, my grandpa didn't know my aunts and uncles didn't know, one cousin knew, my four best friends knew and that's, as far as it went, we were embarrassed.
[00:18:20] I'm I'm okay. Saying that now. 10 years ago, if he would've asked me why I didn't say it. I would've said well, because my brother told me if I said anything to anybody, he would never talk to me again. And I can't live with myself if I don't have my brother. So I'm not gonna tell anybody. He says he has it. Let's, you know, let's, let's do it. But you know, Mike, about a year before he died, things got a little bit more serious and more people were dying, more friends, more kids that I took to soccer practice and football practice and coached them. And. Kids are dying. And, and I just, you know, our conversations got much more direct and, and much more in depth about, "Terry you need to go to treatment. And I know you don't believe in the 12 steps cuz you did it for three days and you're an expert and you read 'em, but like you need help." I, you know, I even went online and was doing research on, on taking him to South America and doing, Ibogaine with him. Because I have my own struggles and I thought, Hey, let's, let's do it, but he wouldn't let me do it.
[00:19:14] And so, you know, he was clean for, sorry. He was in recovery for three months. Um, based on the drug tests that my parents were giving him. And, uh, again, we were ignorant. We're like, oh, he's got it beat. We're good. Um, and then he didn't come home and he left this huge hole in our family. So.
[00:19:34] Mike: Yeah. You know, those are the stories and the time period you're talking about, Jason, is so typical, cuz right around then is when we saw this explosion of overdoses.
[00:19:46] Um, and then we got a handle on it, or I shouldn't say we, but the numbers went down as we started to address it. Okay. And now it's of course vaulted right back up again with Fentanyl being in everything, but.
[00:19:59] Jason: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:00] Mike: Um, what advice did you, did you get any advice that was either beneficial or that you thought in hindsight just was terrible?
[00:20:09] Jason: It's a great question. Um, we didn't seek advice.
[00:20:12] Mike: Mm.
[00:20:12] Jason: We didn't know what to do. We didn't know who to ask. We didn't talk about it. The, the, the families of the children's who, you know, who had passed away, didn't talk about it. Didn't talk about nobody was talking about it. It was a skeleton in the closet, and still here we are in 2022 dealing with the same stigma, skeleton in the closet, not talking about it.
[00:20:35] Um, and it's, it's it's um, You know, if there's one bit of advice that I have for anybody who's dealing with this, is climb on top of the tallest mountain and scream. "I need help."
[00:20:46] Mike: Well, it's, you know, it's honestly, it's, it's why we're doing these podcasts and the ones I enjoy the most are the ones where people talk about themselves, their family members, because so many of us, the story you just told, I think people are probably listening to this Jason and they're nodding like yep, yep, yep, yep.
[00:21:04] Including in the car. You know, I can't tell you how often I've heard that, you know, buy it, use it now, you know, mm-hmm is part of that. Well, you know, you're a, you're a business major right.
[00:21:16] Jason: Yeah. I, I am that, that seemed like the easiest path to a degree when I was in college.
[00:21:22] Mike: Right? It's always interesting when somebody has something like this happen inside their family and then, you know, or the, to themselves, and then all of a sudden their career becomes, well, I can turn my major into helping people as well. You're also a board member for something called, um, Start Healing Now.
[00:21:42] Jason: Yeah.
[00:21:42] Mike: Would, can you talk about that?
[00:21:45] Jason: Yeah. So, um, The I carried my brother's casket into the Hearse. And when I put him in the hearse, I promised him I would work in the recovery field at some point in my life.
[00:21:54] I didn't know what that meant. Um, and so I got an opportunity last summer, um, to meet the great people at Recovery Centers of America. And they told me they were expanding into Wisconsin and they needed somebody to be an outreach rep. They wanted somebody with a sales background who was passionate about recovery and you know, my whole life I'd been looking for the perfect job, you know, do what you love and you never work another day in your life.
[00:22:18] And you know, and that's where I'm at. So my job there is really honestly, to just open doors to access treatment. So I'm, I'm building a network of providers and physicians and first responders and people who touch individuals struggling with substance use and give them my information and say, when you have somebody you call me and I don't care what insurance they have.
[00:22:39] Because if I can't take him at my facility, I'm gonna get 'em somewhere. Um, and it's, it's been a blessing. Um, it's challenging work mentally, but, but I, I feel like I've, I'm built for this. In terms of Start Healing Now, um, formally Stop Heroin Now, we rebranded the organization. Um, and really it's an organization that was started by a mom who lost their son to an overdose who kind of went through the same emotions and everything that I just talked about, my family going through, and they are a group that connects people to treatment.
[00:23:12] Um, so whether it's, um, you know, giving referrals out, whether it's providing financial aid to somebody to go into a structured, sober living home, or assist with a scholarship to pay for treatment when they can't afford it, if they've got Badger Care, they come across hard times. Um, we do that, but we, the, the big push that we're making right now is, um, harm reduction.
[00:23:34] And we have something called an Overdose Awareness Kit or an OAK kit. And inside the kit has Narcan and resources and information about, um, how to get help and where to get help and how to use the Narcan. And we're trying to get 'em in every public place and every school and every, you know, anywhere where there's an AED there should be an Overdose Awareness Kit, in my opinion, um, my, my kind of an, you know, rudimentary, um, You know, uh, analogy is, you know, you have all these AEDs in all these high schools, right?
[00:24:07] And, and what's more likely a 17 year old athlete falling down and having a heart attack or somebody in that school, knowing somebody that is struggling with substance use. And I think the answer is pretty clear.
[00:24:19] Mike: You know, it's, it's fascinating you, um, talk about that because I just did a training, um, this week with a whole room full of social workers who work with people with substance use issues every day. This is their job and not one of them carry Narcan and their agencies actually don't encourage them to, because they're afraid of the liability. And I think that's just, you know, again, you're back to the stigma, right?
[00:24:53] Which is...
[00:24:53] Jason: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:54] Mike: You know, we're, we're more afraid of being sued than having somebody and, you know, just it's crazy, cuz it would be so easy to do. It would be so easy to do.
[00:25:04] Jason: Really easy to do. And Narcan's really easy to use.
[00:25:07] Mike: [laugh]
[00:25:07] And I've seen it work. I've seen it work.
[00:25:09] I have to.
[00:25:11] Jason: At work and it is. It's like a miracle.
[00:25:15] I mean, it really is.
[00:25:17] Mike: It almost looks fake when you watch it. It almost looks fake.
[00:25:20] Jason: It does look fake.
[00:25:21] Mike: You have a person you think is about to either pass away or whatever. And then a minute later they're looking at you.
[00:25:29] Jason: They're talking.
[00:25:30] Mike: What the heck? This is fake. Right. You know, the first time I saw it, I went, what the heck?
[00:25:36] Jason: Um, yeah it's wild.
[00:25:37] Mike: It's amazing. Well, I don't, you know, I don't wanna take too much of your time off, but you, you also have, I wanna, uh, honor your brother too. You have a memorial golf tournament coming up for Terry.
[00:25:47] Jason: Yeah. Um, so it got, things got dark for our family after my brother died. Yeah. And I think it does for a lot of people.
[00:25:54] And I thought really hard about what my brother would want my life to be. And what would he want my family's life to be? And he would not want us to mourn him every day until we die. He would want us to make something and learn something from his death and, and do good things. And so I love to golf and I plan a bunch of outings and I feel like.
[00:26:17] "Hey, if, if all these people do these outings, they must make money." So let's do a golf outing. And so that's when I met the founder of formally Stop Heroin Now, now Start Healing Now and said, I wanna do a outing. And so he died in December and in, in October and in December we started planning our first event.
[00:26:36] Knew nothing about planning events. I had so much help along the way. Our goal, the first year was 5 or $6,000 and we raised 14 and we kind of sat back that first night and all just kind of cried about, um, how many people we felt like we could help, um, and how we didn't know what the hell we were doing.
[00:26:56] And we raised $14,000. So what happens if we actually know what we're doing? How many lives can we impact? And, um, So we just, we ran this golf outing. We had a lot of fun, a lot of people who had never golfed before. I think the golf course was like, what is going on with these people showing up in jeans and tank tops and no shirts.
[00:27:15] And, um, and you know, we just, we, we, we built on it and the next year we made 17 and the next year we made 19, the next year we made 21 and last year we made 30 and, and we've donated $130,000 back to nonprofits in the state of Wisconsin that work in the recovery field. And I had a lot of pushing along the way, you know, we're four years into this and people are like, why is this not a nonprofit?
[00:27:40] I'm like, ah, I just open a bank account in February and close it in August and donate the money and forget about it. And they're like, But you can do more with this you can make it bigger. You don't have to pay, you know, the really the thing that got me, the business major, the, the money side was like, oh, I don't have to pay tax to the golf course.
[00:27:57] So that's 700 bucks. That's a month in sober living for somebody. So we can save another person's life by just doing this. And so. You know, we, it, it's a really fun day Mike it's it's um, you know, we play tailgate games, we do Baggo and we do ladder golf. And, you know, last year, Tom Farley, who, you know, everybody knows who Chris Farley is.
[00:28:17] Uh, Chris Farley's brother, Tom, uh, came out and spoke and we, we, we post him on a par three and, and you pay 10 bucks to try to hit a ball closer to the hole than, than Tom Farley, who. He would, he would say, he's not a golfer, so you got good odds. um, and, and we just, we have a lot of fun celebrating recovery the first couple years we're doom and gloom and everybody's dying.
[00:28:40] What are we gonna do? What we don't do enough, Mike is we don't talk about how many people recover from this disease and, and, and get into quote unquote remission. Um, right, it's a lifelong disease and we're really excited about this year. We have, we have Ryan Hampton who is a nationally, nationally known in the recovery field speaker.
[00:29:00] And most people won't know who he is. Um, he struggled his own with his own substance use disorder. You know, worked for the Clinton administration, um, ended up becoming homeless, lived on the streets was, was in the thick of it in the pill mills in Florida, in the heyday, um, and pulled himself out and, and built a great organization and speaks all across the United States about recovery.
[00:29:23] And so he's our guest speaker this year. Um, the event is on Saturday, July 23rd, right here in Pewaukee at Western Lakes Golf Course. Um, and you can find all the information about what we're doing and how to get involved at our website, which is www.terryfritzmemorial.org.
[00:29:45] Mike: I'll stick a link to that at the bottom of this too.
[00:29:48] Jason, I know these conversations are never easy, but it's, it's been. Interesting listening to you, take the dark and turn it into light. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that.
[00:30:01] Jason: You know what if, if I appreciate you and, and I, I say this all the time after I'm done talking to people about my brother and my own struggle sometimes is I, I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do something this big.
[00:30:14] And I still don't, you know, I have to have people tell me that it's it's as big as what it is and what I'm doing is impactful because at the end of the day, I feel like I'm just kinda, I found my purpose and I'm living through my brother and. I say his name every day and I have a whole tattoo sleeve of what it means to, you know, what, what he means to me.
[00:30:35] And I never wanted to forget what he looked like or what he sounded like or a memory of him. And so by doing what I do day to day at, you know, RCA and doing what I do with the, the foundation, or just being there to answer the phone when somebody calls, um, my brother's still here. And, and, and I think he's, I think he's proud.
[00:30:58] And I think, um, you know, I hate to say that he needed to die for me to find my purpose, but he did. And that's what this kid has always done. He's just helped everybody else. And so I just, I, you know, you give me a microphone or a. Or a, or a podium or a, a grass field with people. And I will talk all day about how amazing my brother was.
[00:31:21] And, and I just, I can't thank you enough for giving me this opportunity. I hope it helps one person.
[00:31:26] Mike: We do too. Absolutely. And you get it. Those of you are listening and that's probably why you listen. So we'll invite you to listen in next time. When we'll have more stories and talk about more about substance use until then stay safe.
[00:31:41] [END AUDIO]
The Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition’s mission is to support networking, encourage education, explore gaps, and realize solutions to improve treatment and reduce alcohol and other drug abuse in our community with a primary focus on families.