So it's been 6 days since I announced that I would be going Over the Edge for Gaudenzia in September, and I have seriously been blown out of the water by the amount of support I (and therefore Gaudenzia!) has received. I mean, I know I have some pretty kick ass family and friends but this really took it to a whole nother level...
$1,105.00 for Gaudenzia. $1,105.00 in six days. A-MAZ-ING!!!
ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You all helped me to not only SMASH my first goal (to raise the $500 needed to rappel) but also helped me OBLITERATE my second goal (to raise $1K) and it happened in less than a week. Truly amazing. I'm going to be saying, "thank you" for a long time to come.
Some you have asked about who in my family we lost to substance abuse. I'm sure I'll blog more about it in the future, but the inspiration for me is my Aunt Gabby who we lost in 1995. I can tell you firsthand that she did not come from a family who did not love her immensely and did not do everything in their power to support her and help her get well. Oftentimes there is a stigma that addicts must have come from horrible families...their parents must've been junkies who passed the habit on to them. They must've not had the proper upbringing or resources available to them to be successful in life. While this may be some people's stories, it is not the rule. Sometimes people suffering from addiction have the MOST loyal and supportive families. The scary part of addiction is that often addicts are so fueled by their addiction that they are will do anything--even if it means hurting the people that love them the most--to get what they think they "need."
I am about 99.9999% positive that my grandparents will be considered for canonization for sainthood. I mean, honestly, I know there is nothing they wouldn't do for anyone in their family, as I've often been the recipient of their good deeds. But I know that they did everything in their power to help their youngest daughter fight her battle with addiction for quite awhile. Unfortunately for Gabby she was dealt a crappy hand.
After Sadira was born, I asked my mom what in the world she did that instilled the FEAR OF GOD in me not to "experiment" with drugs as a teenager and young adult. Because whatever she did, I wanted to replicate it with Sadira! She answered that she tried to keep the dialogue open and honest, and to help get me involved in as many extra curricular activities as I showed interest in--to help me to learn positive ways to feel good about myself as a teenager, instead of destructive ones. But at the end of the day, she had to just hope I had gotten the message. I mean, OF COURSE, I had access, I grew up in Baltimore City for crying out loud, not to mention I always knew people who did drugs or sold drugs...but I just never caught on.
Maybe it was watching my grandmother bury her baby that did it.
Maybe it was thinking about my sweet grandfather having to go out early one rainy May morning to identify his daughter's body.
Maybe it's the thought that my mom, now an only child, has the full responsibility of caring for her parents as they grow older, without the benefit of her sibling to help.
Maybe it's the cousins I'll never have and the Aunt/Godmother that is only in my memories.
The bottom line, is you never know. You never know if you can be someone who can "experiment" and walk away...or if you're someone who gets hooked and slowly watches their life slip out of their control.
Scares the shit outta me, I'm not gonna lie.
Obviously I chose to take on this "Over the Edge" challenge to help cross something off my list---to conquer a fear. A big fear!! Climbing down the side of a building is something I NEVER thought I'd do voluntarily. But the affects of substance abuse for an addict's family scare me even more, and I never thought I'd be a part of a family that lost someone in such a way. No family should have to go through that. Even the crappy ones. No family should have to stand by and watch their loved one deteriorate. Every addict was someone's precious little baby at some point.
Unfortunately not all addicts have the benefit of health insurance or money on their side. Gaudenzia's Women and Children's Unit will directly benefit from our fundraising efforts. They do a better job describing themselves, so I'll just cut and paste:
"Gaudenzia has identified a need for safe and affordable permanent housing for mothers who successfully complete addiction treatment. The Women and Children’s Center is the solution to this need and will offer addiction treatment, permanent housing and daycare under one roof. This new facility promotes self-sufficiency and familial stability, encouraging home-ownership and long-term recovery for women, while also providing substance abuse prevention services for their children."
I know that the $1,105.00 that we've raised so far will help change someone's life, and help their family. It's amazing what we've been able to raise in just a short amount of time, and I have 55 more days to increase that number!! Every day (okay, maybe several times a day, I admit) I check my fundraising page to see if there have been more donations. I think my co-workers are slowly getting used to the shrieks of delight that come from my section of the office when I see the total going up. I'm continually amazed by the support I've received (both verbally and monetarily) to achieve this goal. It reminds me of the following quote that used to be painted on the wall at my college:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead
Thank you for helping me to change someone else's world.
PS - The picture up top of Sadira and I was taken on Mother's Day this year. It seemed appropriate since we are raising funds to support other Moms and kids.