Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday - My Cousin an Addiction Survivor

My cousin is 3 1/2 years older than me. His name is Michael James Ruth. He was like my big brother growing up. He used to make me do the craziest things that would make my mother freak out. For insistence, my cousin thought it would be a brilliant idea to take my training wheels off at the age of two and push me down the street and let go. My mom would freak, and little mikey would say, "It's ok aunty Teri, Kristina can do it watch." I would go for awhile and then crash. 

When we got older he moved away to oak harbor in puget sound of Washington. I didn't see his as much, but when I did see him it was so fun. We would wrestle to the point where I might of been crying and yelling uncle. Besides that we had a lot of fun together. 

When they moved to Washington to California, I begged and pleaded my dad if I could go and visit. They were living in Incline Village at the time in Lake Tahoe. When I first came to Tahoe I fell in love. I knew that I wanted to move here. From there on out, I came for several years leading to the ending of my senior year. I decided then that I would be moving to Lake Tahoe, California and go to college there. My Aunt Dee and Uncle Bruce and cousin Mike came up for my high school graduation and my cousin Mike and I would be making the drive down with my car full to California. This was in 2005.

A year or so later, my cousin Mike had a back injury at work. He went to the doctor as any of us would and he was prescribed oxy cotton and other severe pain meds. I think the other one was methadone. (ya the drug they wean you off heroin with.) Mike took those for a year or so and it turned to something even harder, cocaine and eventually the death drug I call it, heroin. 

It was scrarey to see my cousin all dopped up on heroin, because you knew he was gone for awhile and it was heroin, so to speak, that was talking to you. It wasn't my cousin Mike. My cousin lied, stole, and hurt his family over the drug heroin. However, there was still some of him there left. Even if he was doped up and I needed help, he would be there if I called. He would pull me out of the snow or if I needed anything. Moving a couple of boxes.

Mike was eventually entered and exited rehab several times in the last couple of years due to his addiction. One of the times he came out clean and then he doped himself up so much that he overdosed and was brought back to life by CPR. By this point it was clear that none of us could watch him, my aunt and uncle's marriage would be shattered, he just needed help that none of us could give him. 

He then was packed up and shipped off to this rehab in Honduras. HONDURAS! Ya kinda of out there. However, I know my cousin says it's not the best place, and it sucked. I believe this place really did change him and make him better. I know it was a shady place, and it wasn't ideal, but when he came back he was clean, healthy looking, and starting to look like Mike again.

My cousin was never encouraged as much as he should have been. He was always told he was a fuck up and that he would never amount to anything. He proved everyone wrong, when he came back rehab. He took him awhile to figure out what he really wanted to do. He decided that he wanted to go to culinary school, (my cuz is the best damn cook), and pursue a career in the kitchen and be a chief one day.  He studied hard, despite what every thought if he could do it or not, and in October 2009 he graduated culinary school and was so close to being a valedictorian of his class. He still graduated with his class with honors and attendance awards.

Me and the cousin after graduation ceremony
All in all, my cousin is doing great. It's been 2 years since he has came back from rehab in Honduras, and he is still clean. 
Cousin receiving his diploma from culinary school

My cousin is an addiction survivor and I'm proud of him.
I have my cousin back.  

62.. My cousin's addiction survival 
63. My cousin's presence back in my life
64. Sobriety 
65. Family Bonds
66. Diet coke
67. Fall leaves 
68. Pumpkin pie
69. Glass of Red Wine