Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making A Difference! I Hope???

It is refreshing to go and speak to students about drugs use and addiction. It is also very hard.

It is emotional for me to stand in front of all those students and recount all we went through. I can only speak to what happens to a person and family when someone becomes addicted. I am very clear to these students I have no idea what it is like to be an addict. But I do know what an addict goes through and what the family and any loved one endures while someone so dear is addicted to drugs.

I stand in front of up to 30 students and I can feel 60 eyes focused on me. It is hard to relive the horrors. Every time I tell the stories it is like yesterday. I talk about that addicts overdose. I tell of Alex's episodes. I tell of our friends son and his death in January this year. I made him a cradle 31 years ago, the first night he ever spent at home with his parents he slept in that cradle. I show the picture a mother sent me 4 years ago and ask me to show the students what an overdose looks like in an emergency room and then I show her sons picture and that last year he died from drugs, 22 years old. A picture of him when he was 18 in an emergency room and he lives through it that time but in June 2012 he didn't.

I'm not to strong or so tough that I won't admit my voice cracks when I share my fears. In front of students maybe that isn't what you're suppose to do but I can't help it, it still hurts even with a son in recovery for over 3 years. In every group I tell the students this is personal for me, this is my son and our family I am talking about but I want for them to learn and no matter what I say never doubt that I love my son and have always been proud to call him my son, even during the horror.

Students listen to me. I see it in those 60 eyes. I see sadness hearing my story. I see tears on their cheeks at times, they smile when I talk about his recovery. Questions are ask of me to clarify sometimes. The hardest time is when a student shares their own experience with a brother, a sister, a parent or relative. When one of their own tells their own story and it is just as hard for them as it is me. They share with tears running down their cheeks, everyone in the room is moved. But, the real story is after class when students gather around to hug and comfort their classmate.

This is why I take my time to speak to these young people. I am one of the luckiest people on Earth. My son is in recovery. I am grateful that teachers see the value in helping their students become educated on the horrors of drug addiction and allow me to talk in their classroom. I have two more schools scheduled and an inquiry from another school.

Am I making a difference, I hope so.


Tori said...

I can't imagine that you aren't helping many students - those like you mention that are in the midst of a family member who is an addict and perhaps saving another student from even trying it for the first time.

It is a great thing that you do!

Anonymous said...

I'm just hugging you right now, Ron! I think it takes a real man to be able/willing to show his feelings. That's what makes your story, all our stories so valuable...because it all comes from such a deep place of knowing it, living it, feeling it every single matter where our kids are in the process. What you're doing is amazing.

Mike Naylor said...


It's a great thing you're doing. I know how hard it is and even if you only touch one potential addict, your efforts potentially savee numerous potential victims. This story is inspiring to do more wherever we can. Thanks. Mike

Sue Magoo 8 said...

We are having parent/teacher conferences today at Basehor-Linwood High School from 1pm-8pm. So far I have visited with 6 different families. There has been 3 separate parent(s) who brought his/her student, and shared that their child talked with them about your story (Ron Grover's I'm a Parent of a Heroin Addict!!! What you are doing IS MAKING AN IMPACT on kids. Like one boy said, "It's really made me think about it." Or the girl who said, "Oh my gosh. I was amazed at what detail Mr. Grover went into. It's scary that it happens like that." Two thumbs up to my friend, Ron. He IS having an impact here!

Cathy | Treatment Talk said...

Such great work that you are doing, Ron. I understand how you feel sad to retell your son's story to the students and especially to have to tell the story of a families' loss. I too feel so grateful that my daughter is in recovery. This disease can be so devastating. Your talks are so needed and will make a difference in those student's lives!! Take care, Cathy

Michele said...

Ron if you can reach one person during your speeches, that is one more educated person on addiction.

I lost my 31 yr old daughter August 2013 not to an overdose but at the hands of her insane boyfriend of 4 mths. They both suff red from dual diagnosis and should never have been together. God bless those who recover from this horrible disease.

Liz said...

I wish my daughter had heard you speak years ago. It might have made her choose to not use the first time... I don't know.
I think what you are doing is wonderful.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ron,

This is Lauren, It is my son's Billy pictures I sent you for your presentation, if you remember me. I am glad to see they are helping to make a difference in someone's life. Billy had overdosed the last time on bath salts and Gov. Cuomo has just passed a law in New York State banning the sale of these substances. This was brought to the floor from a very close friend of ours in the legislature in our area because of Billy's death. I know my son would be happy that he has helped in someway.

Dad and Mom said...

Lauren, the reaction of the kids to those pictures is breathtaking. I tell them about 4 years ago when you sent the first one and I tell them I don't know how bad he struggled and what his family went through but last year you ask if I was still using the picture and you sent another picture and I was deeply honored you wanted to help. I have his face picture there with his birthdate and the day he lost his fight. I then pause and there is complete silence in the room. Billy is being honored and he is passing along an important message to kids not much younger than him. Billy speaks through us.

Thank you Lauren for allowing us to honor Billy in this way. You are a wonderful mom and a wonderful person.

Syd said...

Ron, what you are doing is going to help some of these kids. Maybe not all of them, but your being real and talking about real people will make a difference. You are doing an exceptional act of love and service with outreach to these kids.

Hattie Heaton said...

Ron, if even one child is able to hear your experience enough that they can refuse to experiment or stop using before abuse becomes addiction, then you have saved a whole family tremendous grief, pain and suffering. Just imagine if that had happened for us. Just one family is enough, but I suspect that it will touch more. To Lauren, thank you for your courage to share in your grief so that others might not have to. I'm blessed to be in a community where such selfless giving occurs.

Annette said...

I think so much of addiction is a secret....if their family members are using they keep a secret because they are embarrassed. If they are using, they keep it a secret at least from their parents... you are shedding light on the secrets. Bringing it all out into the open and saying, "Look at this!" You are letting them know they aren't alone and there are others with similar secrets. And that there is a way out. Bless your big heart Ron.

MDS Drug Detox said...

Although it can be difficult to relive some of the memories, I appreciate you taking the time and courage to share what you know with others. Even if you only get through to one child it will have been worth it.