John – My late brothers addiction.

In October of 2014, I received a call from my youngest brother, Michael stating our brother John Steven was dead.  I yelled into the phone at Mike and told him him to quit playing games with me.  He replied very sternly that Steve was found dead in his apartment in San Pedro, CA.  He had been dead for three days and died alone.   I knew this day would come but not like this.

Steve started using marijuana at an early age around 15.  He graduated to other stuff but seemed hooked on Meth.  He was living at my parent’s home and selling the stuff out of the garage.  I had even worked with the Torrance PD at one point.  I would take down license plates numbers of people who were coming to my mom’s house.   Understand that in 1992, our mother had her first leg amputated and second one in 1996.   I always worried that these people would burn the house down with our mother inside. They used torches to cook this stuff so yes, I was very concerned as were my sisters. Our mother died in July of 1997 and Steve was very close to mom.  Mom knew he had a problem but looked the other way.  She could not deal with it.

After mom died, our youngest brother and his wife kicked Steve out of the house.  They did something so horrific to our family but I will not go into it here.   Steve ended up in the worse area possible in Inglewood, CA with gang activity and shots fired constantly.  He lived in a tiny one room place.  I got a call at 5:30am and it was Steve.  He was crying and sobbing.  He tried to commit suicide by turning on the gas.   I went to get Steve and bring him to our townhouse in Redondo Beach.  I knew I had to do something to help him and he was READY.  I got him into CLARE Foundation in Santa Monica to detox.  Then he went to Victory Outreach in Van Nuys.  He ended up in Sober Living Home in Sylmar.   Steve would also turn his life over to the Lord and get baptize.  He also got married.  Life seemed pretty good for him at last.

Steve would end up getting hurt on the job as an apprentice (Electrician).  He fell out of an attic.  I am sure Steve lied to the drs- did not tell them he was a recovering addict.  He got hooked on Vicodin.  Later, the pain mgmt doctors would figure out he had a real problem because he would get a 30 day supply of pills and they would be gone within a week.  During this time his wife Gilda passed away, and that set him really over the edge.  He was really abusing again.

He would go to ER’s – hoping to get more medication but again I think these ER doctors were getting wise and would only give him a few.   Steve would buy from the streets in South Gate where he was living.

Steve’s death in 2014 at the age of 55 was due to years of drug abuse. If only he had not gotten hurt on the job, and was honest with the doctors.  I believe he might be still alive today.  You can’t do the meth he did and expect to live a long life.  I was close to my brother and he appreciated me for helping him.  I helped him when he needed the help emotionally and financially but I am sure he used the money to buy more drugs off the streets.  I miss our phone calls – crying together about mom and dad, and what our little brother and wife did to our family.  I know our story is NOT unique but I have dealt with pain in so many ways and this was one of them.  I’m just glad our parents were not alive when Steve died. It would have destroyed our mother for sure because Steve was her son that needed the most.  She worried about him a lot.