Part 1: Why Do They Do What They Do? Answers On Addiction From One Who’s Lived It, with Stacy Eakman

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Part 1: Why Do They Do What They Do? Answers On Addiction From One Who’s Lived It, with Stacy Eakman

Nearly every parent of a child who’s living in addiction has the same questions – 

  • why do they keep taking drugs or drinking alcohol when it’s ruining their life, making them sick, killing their family, and pretty much everything in their life?
  • why do they do things that are so high risk, and obviously have bad outcomes?
  • should I keep helping him/her with things like rent and a phone? Won’t they get worse if I don’t?
  • if I stop helping him/her will she or he think I don’t love them? (because that’s what they tell me!)
  • what can I do if my son or daughter is addicted to drugs or alcohol?

In this 2-part season opener, you’ll hear a mind-blowing story of an all-American baseball star who goes from imagining a Major League Baseball career to being broke, addicted to heroin and cocaine, and stealing anything he could from his loving and caring parents.

Stacy Eakman, president of Eakman Construction in Seattle, WA generously opens up about his life, struggles with addiction, and his eventual path to sobriety. He answers the tough questions parents often have about their kids’ substance use. Stacy is a straight shooter, doesn’t spare us the truth (even when it hurts), and is an inspiration to anyone who believes their life isn’t worth anything because of their past and their addiction.

Listen in to both episodes of the launch of Season 2 of Hopestream for this inspiring story.

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SPEAKERS: Brenda Zane, Stacy Eakman
Brenda Zane  01:56
Welcome to season two friends. It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since I launched hope stream with just my story and a whole lot of naivete’, which was probably a good thing because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with hosting a podcast. But now these episodes have been listened to well over 3,300 times, which is absolutely mind-blowing to me. We have listeners in over 98 cities and 10 countries. So the need is obviously there. And I’m honored to be able to share this information and these resources with you wherever you’re listening. 
I am launching into this season with a gigantic episode. It was so deep and the learnings are so good that I made it a two-parter. Stacy Eakman has a story that will be incredibly inspirational if you are the parent of a child who is actively struggling with addiction because it really shows that regardless of the depth of the addiction and lifestyle a person can change. Formerly addicted to heroin and cocaine and living out of his car, stealing from his parents, Stacy is now the founder and president of Eakman construction, a luxury home builder here in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. I wanted to talk with Stacy and ask him questions that many parents have about various aspects of addiction. And he was gracious enough to answer them all, honestly, and very thoughtfully. 
In part one of this two-parter episode, he shares how he started misusing substances when he was in college. And you’ll also hear the struggles that led him to a desperate situation in a Safeway parking lot where his family had to make probably the toughest decision of their life. It’s an incredible story. I can’t wait for you to hear it. So listen in now to Part One of Stacy’s journey. 
Brenda Zane  04:02
Welcome, Stacy to Hopestream. I’m super excited to talk with you today. And we have sort of a different format than I’m used to. So I’m excited to try that out. But I know you’re an extremely busy guy running a very successful company with lots of moving pieces. So I appreciate you taking the time this afternoon to chat with me for the podcast.
Stacy  04:25
Of course. Thank you so much for the invitation. You know, I like to help any way I can, and talking about things helps me and hopefully, it helps other people as well. So I’m excited.
Brenda Zane  04:38
Yeah, it absolutely does. It really, really does. And especially I think to hear from somebody who has lived experience in substance use and all the different struggles that go along with that because it’s not just the substance use and I think sometimes people get caught up in that is they think oh this person’s addicted to drugs or whatever but they don’t realize is there’s a whole ripple effect that goes along with that. And so having somebody who’s actually lived in the center of that, I think, is really great. So why don’t we start off if you want to just sort of tell us who you are, what you do what your life looks like now, just to get an idea of who you are and what’s going on in your world.
Stacy  05:20
My name is Stacy Eakman. I am president and owner of Eakman Construction Company, we are considered a small business, but a decent-sized construction company that builds custom homes for people all over the Puget Sound. My day to day life is, is running the company. I go home at night, and I’m married to my beautiful wife, Danica, and I have a son, who I see every other weekend that I really enjoy spending time with and, and I work a lot and I love to work. It’s a passion of mine. So you know that that’s who I am now, that’s what I do on a day to day basis.
Brenda Zane  06:04
And I’ve seen on your website, some of the homes that you build, and they are incredibly gorgeous. What led you to sort of focus on high-end homes and focusing there instead of having sort of just a more general construction company, was there a reason behind that?
Stacy  06:23
I grew up my dad was a contractor in Yakima, Washington, my whole life had a small company that did really high end remodels for people. And I watched, I watched his company evolve from doing kind of whatever to pay the bills to doing the projects he really enjoyed doing and some of the ways that he looks at you know, some of it is rubbed off on me about the way he looks at the way things go together and the way things are built and how passionate he is about doing things the right way. I think that I took a lot of the good stuff from that. And then, you know, I think that that also held him back a little bit, held his company back a little bit. And so I’ve tried to grow through that and have a different perspective about the way a business is supposed to run. But the way things go together, I really enjoy well-built things and high-end finishes and those types of deals. So that’s how I got here is I worked with dad for a little while before I moved to Seattle. And I was on that was like at the pinnacle of the projects he was doing. And we were doing some unreal projects that I still haven’t had, yeah, we do beautiful work and love the houses we build here, but nothing like the projects we were doing over there. So I’m excited to continue to grow and do those nicer and nicer, more custom projects.
Brenda Zane  07:53
That’s so cool. That’s great. Well, that kind of leads into a question that I have, I’d love to just ask to let people get to know you not that they’re not going to get to know you very well during this episode. But what did you want to be when you were a little boy, when you were growing up?
Stacy  08:09
I was 100% sure that I was going to be a major league baseball player, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind. Or my parent’s mind. Or anybody who told me any different I made sure they knew that they shouldn’t have a doubt in their mind that I was going to be very rich and very famous. And I was going to be a major league baseball player that that was that’s all I never thought I was going to be. Which I think ultimately, you know, was a problem. But we’ll get into that.
Brenda Zane  08:46
Yeah. And do you remember how young, like when did you start playing baseball?
Stacy  08:51
I started playing baseball when I was little, you know, probably five or six on T ball and like just youth sports leagues. But I remember I got invited to go to a baseball camp in the summer and I had never been away from home and I was a homebody small-town kid. Mom didn’t work took care of us. So I was really connected to mom and dad and going away for a week even just 45 minutes away. It seemed like a humongous deal. And I had decided that I wanted to be a catcher to go to that camp. You had to have your catcher’s gear and dad worked really hard. We didn’t have piles of money, catchers gear nice catcher’s gear. You know, there’s a cost to that. And my dad, we went back and forth, back and forth. And I said, I really want to be a catcher. Dad said if we go and buy you catcher’s gear and you go to this camp, you’re a catcher. And that’s it. Like you’re, you’re gonna be a catcher and I remember that moment, like deciding I’m going to be a catcher. I’m gonna go to this camp, even though it’s really hard for me to go away from home, I was scared. I was like the youngest kid there. And I just decided at that moment that I’m going to do this, and nobody’s going to tell me any different I’m not going to talk myself out of it. And I’m going to be a catcher, I’m going to be a baseball player. And this is just what I’m gonna do. From that moment on it was life.
Brenda Zane  10:22
Wow, isn’t it interesting how you can know something like that at such a young age, not only that you are going to play baseball, but that you are going to be a catcher? Like that’s pretty specific. 
Stacy  10:35
Yeah, I think that was tied to a really didn’t want to let dad down. I didn’t, I just didn’t want to spend his money on some catcher’s gear and then come back from that and have changed my mind. He, he made it clear that it was important, and it was an investment. And I told him, I looked him in the eye, and I said, Okay, I’m gonna be a catcher. And I wasn’t gonna go back on that.
Brenda Zane  11:05
Those experiences are so pivotal, sometimes in life. And you wonder, I don’t know if you’ve ever had this conversation with your dad. But sometimes I think as parents, we say things. And we mean them but we don’t mean them like, literally, you have to do this for the rest of your life. You know what I mean? I wonder if your dad really meant like, this, is it? Or if you had come home and said, Yeah, you know, I’ll try this. But I may not end up doing it long term. What do you think that the reaction would have been? Do you think he really meant it? Or was this something that you know, as a parent, you say something to your kids, and you mean it, but it’s not like in cement?
Stacy  11:46
No, I absolutely. 100% My dad is like, the nicest human on Earth. Like I 100% know that if I would have came back and said that he would have said, oh, well, you tried and we would have gone on to something else. But I remember kind of feeling like, he was challenging me a little bit too like, he was trying to help me grow up and teach me a lesson that, hey, when you say you’re gonna do something, you do it? And of course, I was like a normal kid that always wanted something. I always wanted a new bike or new shoes, or whatever it was at the time. And so, you know, just like, like, every parent does, okay, fine. I’ll do I’m gonna do this for you. But here’s what you got it, you got to promise me that this is serious. And so I kind of felt like it was a challenge. And I just kind of felt like, I’m going to show it, I’m going to prove it to them that I’m that this is real, right. not joking.
Brenda Zane  12:47
Incredible. That’s, I think it’s good for parents just to talk in the back of their minds. Sometimes we say things and or we do things and maybe the way that it’s perceived by our kids, even even as a teenager can be very different than what we project. But thank you for that. That’s very, very, very fascinating. And like you said, I think that does, because just because we’ve talked before, I think that does probably have something to do with your story. So what I would love to do is have you share your story through substance use and the issues that you dealt with. And then I have a very special list of questions that I have curated from the moms in The Stream, which is a community that I run for moms of kids who are struggling with substance use. And I think if you would be in the room with them, you would be completely attacked because they really had a long list of questions that they wanted to ask somebody who has been in it and then out the other side and doing well now and has perspective and has some of that ability to look back and really be thoughtful about what you went through. So why don’t you take us through your story, kind of the lowlights and the highlights. And then we’ll get into some of the questions.
Stacy  14:07
Absolutely. You know, like I said, I grew up with an amazing family, Mom and Dad, that they’re there we were top priority traditional American family as people would say, dad worked. Mom stayed home with us. When we were young mom would volunteer at the school so that she could make sure we were learning fast enough and all of the things that you imagine a perfect family might be. My sister turned out amazing. Always straight A’s and everything, you know, never had trouble. Perfect kid. And I was similar. I didn’t get straight A’s. I wasn’t great at school. But, you know, I wasn’t always in trouble. And, you know, I was a good kid. In my younger years and then you know, baseball was kike I said, it was my life. And so most of my story until after Community College is all around baseball, and I loved it, it was my life, it was my identity. It was who I was. 
And so as I continued to grow, and then play on elite, baseball teams, around town, and in the state, it became more and more apparent that or, to me, at least, that I was really good at baseball, and this was just gonna be who I was. And so school wasn’t a priority. And people, you know, I was a little bit cocky and rude and thought that I was just the best thing on earth, and people would, you know, teachers and people that I would look up to would try to say, Hey, you know, you probably shouldn’t act this way to other people. Because what if it doesn’t work out? What if you aren’t a major league baseball player, like, you have to come back here and face these people and see these people, I was so cocky, I would just look at them and say, Well, I mean, you know, I’m going to be so it doesn’t matter. And, and so I was a jerk, which is looking back is really unfortunate. You know, I don’t have a whole lot of friends that from my younger days, and I think it, it’s because of that, but you know, through high school, I was good. I didn’t party, I didn’t drink. I was the kid that went to big parties and like, found all of the baseball players and made them go home. So we didn’t get in trouble, focus, all of that, I was just really good kid, I thought I was really focused on what I was doing, you know, got to get to the end of high school. And of course, I was like, the best in the school of baseball. And I would play on city teams in the summers. And I was one of the best on those teams. And so everything was looking great. But I didn’t get drafted into professional baseball out of high school like I was sure I was going to. So ultimately, I chose to go to Big Bend Community College. Now that community college is one of the better for baseball, I was excited about it, and had multiple baseball players come out of Big Bend and play professionally. So I was excited. It was a new coach, I thought everything was gonna be fine. 
Once I got to that level, I started looking around and realizing that everybody on my team was the best or one of the best in their city, wherever they came from. Reality started setting in a little bit that will maybe I’m not that good. I worked pretty hard for a little while. And then ultimately, I kind of probably out of shame and worry that I said all this stuff that wasn’t going to come true. And everybody that told me I wasn’t going to be a major league baseball player was right. And I was wrong. And just all of this pressure started weighing on me and I think that I ultimately just kind of gave up and I quit working hard. And I started drinking a little bit and I started smoking marijuana a little bit. And before long I was smoking weed every day and drinking partying like crazy and you know, still had a decent couple of years and playing baseball. At that point I stopped, you know, base baseball was done.
I came home went back to Yakima got a job in town, a carwash, I think was my first job there. And I was really ashamed. And I really felt like I let you know, I let myself down. And I was pretty embarrassed to see people even though looking back like they don’t, they didn’t care. Nobody ever came up to me and said, like, I told you so you know, like, but I thought everybody was thinking that I thought I was cool enough that everybody was thinking about me way more than anybody was ever thinking about me. And but really, ultimately, the real heavy part was I wasn’t the only one that was completely bought in to being a major league baseball player, my dad and mom but really, my dad was so bought in and he believed in me. He drove me all over the state and flew me all over the country and he would go with me to places you know, different trainings and things to learn. I just really felt like I let everybody down. And I wasn’t going to be able to buy them this beautiful house that I promised him since I was 10 I was going to buy them and all of the things that I was sure I who I was didn’t actually happen. At some point, during that phase of my life I started taking pills. 
It started with Vicodin and then it wasn’t long, I got my hands on some OxyContins. And it wasn’t long before I was doing OxyContins all day and couldn’t really function without and then it wasn’t long before I was snorting OxyContin. I again, I was probably pretty naive, but I held that together for five, six years where people really didn’t know that I was on drugs. I think that people around me knew that something was up. But I was like a maintenance guy, I would, I would get some OxyContins and I would do a little bit a bunch of times a day. It wasn’t like a hey, I want to get loaded. It was just staying kinda high all day. You know, that went on and on. I moved to Seattle and ended up being heavy in the pill scene and went back to Yakima and said, okay, I’m gonna get my life cleaned up. 
I remember I bought a bunch of Vicodin so I wouldn’t be dope sick. So I could like wean myself off, and I got home. And I did that. And I thought I was gonna be okay. And I had, I kind of got clean on my own got off pills. I mean, I was still smoking weed and drinking. So I was far from clean. But I dated a girl that had a whole bunch of Vicodin underneath her sink. And I started taking a couple here, taking a couple there, she didn’t notice. Next thing, you know, I was just running and gunning to get off to the races. And, again, I held that together for a while, but eventually, I couldn’t afford the OxyContins and the Vicodins and whatever I could get my hands on, I couldn’t afford pills. I remember the day, you know, I was the kid that said, I’ll take pills. Well, I’ll never snort them. Okay, I’ll snort. But I’ll never inject anything. I’ll never go to a dope house. You know, I’ve got a classy drug dealer. You know, I like had all of these like benchmarks of what is the difference between me and a real drug addict, you know? And I remember the day I called a friend, a guy now, and I said, man, I’ve got $300 bucks, and I don’t get paid for two weeks. I can’t do pills. So tell me about heroin. How do you do it? What’s the deal? And he’s like, well, there’s all kinds of ways to do it. But you know, the best way is to inject it, it lasts the longest, blah, blah, blah, you know, all these things?
Brenda Zane  22:33
A 101 on how to use heroin. Right? 
Stacy 22:37
And I said, all right, well, yeah, that’ll get me through. My intention was okay, that’ll get me through, I get paid in a couple of weeks. I’ll figure it out. That day, I injected heroin, or he injected it for me. And I never did another pill again. I never smoked weed again. I didn’t drink again. I was heroin all day, every day. For a couple of years.
Brenda Zane  23:04
How old were you at this point just for context.
Stacy  23:07
I think I was 26.
Brenda Zane  23:10
So you’ve been you’d been in the substance use world for a while, but sort of in a semi-functioning way? Do you think your family would have said, yeah, he’s got a drug problem, or were you really that good at hiding it?
Stacy  23:28
I actually don’t think I was that good at hiding it. But I think that my folks didn’t want to believe it. So they were really naive, kind of intentionally. They had to know that something was up, you know, I was skinny, I didn’t eat, I was never around. I couldn’t be around that much. I was always like, needing to go. I was always broke. I was always broke. They were always loaning me money. And at this point, you know, at some point in there, I guess 25 probably, I started working for dad. And it was like, I was just always broke and they knew how much money I was making, but I just never had any money. And dad would always give me money when I asked, or put gas in my truck for me. He was, they ultimately they were like paying my truck payment because it wasn’t getting paid and their name was on it as a co-signer. I talked him into like, you know, pretty much buying the truck for me because my credit was shot, so if they would have been paying attention, or looking for it, I guess is a better word – they paid attention to me, they loved me to death, but if they would have been looking for it, I’m sure it was pretty obvious, you know.
Brenda Zane  24:39
So now you’re in Seattle, you’re fully into heroin. Or no, sorry. You’re back home.
Stacy  24:47
Yeah, fully into heroin and not staying at mom and dad’s as much and living at home. Not going there as often. I remember I walked by – my mom’s office was right by the back door of the house where dad and I would come in and take our boots off every day. And you walk, you’ve got to walk through her office to get to the rest of the house from that mudroom. And mom’s desk was right by the door, and she would sit there doing the books for dad’s company, and I walked past her every single day for probably four or five, six months and never spoke a word to her. Like she didn’t look at me. I didn’t look at her. So, you know, heartbreaking for my mom.
Brenda Zane  25:33
I bet her heart was just breaking
Stacy  25:34
Every day, I’m sure she was thinking is he gonna say hi today, like, and I’m sure she didn’t want to talk to me either. You know, I was a jerk, I was always in a bad mood. So anyway, at some point there, I’m staying out more because I’m embarrassed to go home. At some point in there, I started stealing money from dad, I would go to his debit card at night. And I knew his PIN code. And I would take it and I would go get cash out of the cash machine. And then at some point, like, Mom did the books right there. So the business checkbook was sitting on the counter, I was stealing checks and writing checks to myself. And so I really didn’t want to go home because I knew that at some point, they were going to figure it out dad was going to notice that two air compressors were gone and three chainsaws were gone. And he was gonna notice that I had pawned all his stuff. And mom was going to look at the bank account, notice that these weird checks to Stacy are coming out. And then they’re going to look at the other bank account and see that I’m pulling money out cash out on the debit card. So like, I just wanted to avoid the whole thing and they wanted to, you know, take me to dinner or have me over for dinner. Hey, where are you at? Are you coming home tonight, we’d love to eat dinner with you. But I always thought it was a setup like they were going to corner me because they had figured it out. So I was avoiding everything. And I remember, I would still go to work and work with my dad all day, which was so miserable because I was so scared. You know, every time his phone rang, I thought for sure it was my mom. And she was gonna tell that what was going on. I’m doing so much heroin at this point that I can’t stay awake. I’m like walking, at work, nail bags on, and falling asleep standing up and like, in full motion up on ladders, like asleep leaning up against the ladder. So I said, well shoot, what do I do now? So then I decided, well, I needed upper. I didn’t say well, I need to stop doing heroin. I said I need to add something to wake me up. 
Brenda Zane  27:54
let me just add to this misery
Stacy  27:56
Yeah. And so I went to the same drug dealer that I spent all the time at doing and buying heroin and said there was a whole bunch of crack floating around there all the time. And so I started smoking crack. And that’s the moment I mean, yeah, I fell asleep walking and all these crazy things that you would think that I would know that my life was a wreck. And everybody knew there was something wrong, but it was quick once I started smoking crack, and doing heroin if it wasn’t screwed to the floor, I was stealing it. And I was running and gunnin’, my life fell apart in you know, months in two, three months. My life was terrible. I mean, I was about six foot two now I weigh about 205 I was six foot two 141 pounds. I was sleeping in my truck in random parking lots. I was falling asleep in parking lots and the fire department woke me up one time because I was like leaned over, it was like the middle of the day. And I remember I was just couldn’t stay awake. And I like pulled into a parking lot. And because I knew I was gonna fall asleep and get in a wreck and just fell asleep like in the middle of the parking lot. And then somebody called and said, I think this guy’s dead, right? Like I’m laying over the steering wheel. Fire Department shows up and there’s a crack pipe on my lap. And you know, I didn’t get arrested. How I don’t know. I just liked it. Oh, yeah, good, just tired, worked a lot and left. It was bad, right? I mean, things were bad. 
Brenda Zane  29:39
And essentially, at this point, are you thinking I’m a drug addict? You kind of crossed over to that knowledge at this point?
Stacy  29:48
Yeah, but I’m okay with it, right? Like I have no intention of, well, I have an intention of someday maybe getting clean but not today. No way today.
Brenda Zane  30:02
And I think that this is a perfect spot to ask one of these questions is, you know, obviously, now you probably listen to yourself say that or I listened to it, or a mom listens to their kids, or they see their kid in the situation. And it’s like, Why? Why wouldn’t you at that point say, Oh, my gosh, I’m all these things are happening. I need to change this, like, what is the conversation that’s going on in your head that’s not saying that?
Stacy  30:33
Ultimately, the answer to that is like, I couldn’t, I absolutely couldn’t, and it wasn’t, I’d say, well, I didn’t want to today, if I had wanted to, I couldn’t, you know, I was completely helpless to the drugs. And the thought of all the damage I’ve done, that I pushing down with drugs, right, and I’m not facing the problems that I’ve created. Because I’m on drugs all the time. The thought of actually sobering up, multiple thoughts, one, the fear of being dope sick, is, it is the biggest fear, right? Like being dope sick is the worst, and you are sure you’re gonna die. And you feel like you’re gonna die. And you would do anything to not feel that. So that’s one fear. And then, okay, you get through the sickness you come through, and you’re not dope sick anymore. And then, like, reality is there, my life is destroyed. I have no credit. My parents, you know, like, they’re probably so ashamed of me. I’m still not a major league baseball player. I’m all of these things of like, once you get sober once you get off of drugs, or stop drinking, or whatever your thing is, the next couple of years are way worse than the last couple of years of doing drugs. 
Brenda Zane  32:13
Right. Right. It’s not like sunshine and unicorns when you stop, because you have to deal with all of the damage that you did along the way.
Stacy  32:21
All the damage. Oh, and it is. It’s heavy. I mean, you’ve heard so many people, and you’ve said so many things. And I mean, I can speak for myself, I just so ashamed. Like, this is not who I am. And so in that moment, and I remember saying it to two people, like, at this point, like, what are my options, I’m just gonna ride this out. You know, like, I mean, the drug dealer was like, hey, man, I’ll keep selling it to you but things aren’t going so good. You’re not looking so good. You’re doing way too much, this is a slippery slope. I’ve seen it before you’re, you’re gonna end up dead. And I would look right at him and say, you know, I’m gonna write it out. You know, this is me. I’m not going to treatment. I’m not getting straightened up. Like no way. Are you kidding me? So to answer that question of, and I know that, you know, I’ve talked to lots of few parents and like, my parents, and everybody, like, the answer to that question is always that we people like me, can’t, you can’t quit, no matter how bad you want to you just can’t.
Brenda Zane  33:38
Yeah, that’s great. Thank you for that. I think it’s, it’s so hard to understand when you’re working from a fully functional brain. Right, and you haven’t experienced all of that you haven’t caused all of the damage, it just seems so logical, just stop doing it. And that’s what’s so frustrating to parents, and I’m sure grandparents and siblings, and everybody who’s watching this is it just seems so logical. And I so I appreciate you saying that because it you need to hear it from somebody to say, but I couldn’t. Physiologically your body is dependent on these drugs. And then even if that wasn’t the case, you have to deal with all the crap that you know, is going to be sitting there when you sober up so yeah, not not as easy as it would sound.
Stacy  34:36
Yeah, that’s, it’s impossible.
Brenda Zane  34:41
So many people who are in addiction are taking these huge risks of either risking their life like you were with taking so many drugs or stealing or just doing these things that are incredibly risky. And you know, you look at that and you say why would do you do that? And I think there’s, for younger, you know, kids who are in the 16, 17, 18, you know, under 23, or 24, there’s the brain development that hasn’t happened yet. So you’re working with that. But also, it sounds like you’re just not even thinking about that this is a risk, because it’s just not even really, in the scope of what you’re thinking about.
Stacy  35:25
Yeah, this is a perfect example of the reason parents can’t change their actions. can’t love a kid out of this, or change the trajectory of where this is going by their actions. And it’s because, no offense to you Brenda, or any of the moms, but we know you don’t understand, right, and we can’t explain it to you in a way that you’re ever gonna understand. And like that question, in itself is like, right, the answer, like why would you take these risks to somebody who’s been in that situation? Like, I’m looking at that person, like, you just don’t get it. And you’re not going to. I can’t explain it to you in a way that you’re ever going to get it? Right that you’re just, and that’s okay, I don’t want you to ever have to get it. Like it’s a terrible way to be. But the fact is, is that the only people that get it, and the only people that can help people like me, are people who have been there before. And that’s a challenge, right? There’s always that in the back of my mind, like, this guy didn’t do drugs, like I did drugs, he must not get it cuz he got sober. Right? Like, he must not get it, he didn’t really have a drug problem. You know, he didn’t do this like I do it, you know? So, I mean, ultimately, the answer to that is we do it because it’s impossible to do anything else.
Brenda Zane  37:04
Yeah. If you’re asking the question, then that means you’re in no way ever going to understand it.
Stacy  37:10
Yeah. And that’s okay. There’s a lot of people out there that do understand it. There’s a lot of help for people like me and kids, of the moms that are listening, like you’re there’s plenty of help out there for your kids. It’s just not you. Right, you can’t help them. And it’s devastating, like my mother, like, you know, my poor mother, my poor father, ultimately, they didn’t help me or hurt me at all right? They couldn’t make it any better. No matter how hard they tried.
Brenda Zane  37:44
Okay. And we’ll get to that a little bit more. Because there are some specific questions around that. But let’s continue. So you’re now at the point when your dealer is telling you that he’s worried about you.
Stacy  37:56
Yeah. And around that time, Mom and Dad had figured out that I, you know, it all came to light that I had been stealing. At some point, I kind of covered it up and told him I had that I was addicted to pills, to Percocet. I think I told him, and I because of a tooth problem. I had, you know, I made this story up. And so then they got me on Suboxone for a really short time. But I quit going to those appointments because they make you pee in a cup to see if you’re actually doing the Suboxone or still doing drugs. And I was just trading the Suboxone for what I wanted. Like it was just all coming down. And every once in a while I would stay at mom and dad’s house. I had my own room upstairs. Mom and Dad weren’t allowed to be in there. I mean, I’m 28 years old, like you can’t come in my room. 
So it was a workday. I had a cigar ashtray. And I would do heroin in the bathroom. And I had its own bathroom. And I would smoke my crack in there in the bathroom. And then I would carry this big ashtray out and put it underneath the bed. Before I went to sleep and my alarm on my phone. I left my phone I was all messed up and I left my phone in the bathroom and somewhere between the bathroom and the bed. I don’t know if I like fell down and passed out or like couldn’t go any further and just laid down. And that ashtray had my crack pipe in it – I would always make up my needles the night before so I could take them to work with me so that I could go on the outhouse and use them. So my heroin was all made up and see In the ashtray, and I crack rocks, crack pipe. I mean it was like Scarface, it was like the movies, right. And I didn’t hear my alarm because it was over in the bathroom. And dad came upstairs to wake me up to go to work. And I was just, you know, passed out on the floor. And this all this crap strung out all over the floor by that ashtray. My dad just standard says, Hey, and I look up at him. He says, You’re not going to work today. And I didn’t get it. Right. I’m like, lost and my dad… I’m like, what do you mean, I’m going to work. He’s like, no, you’re taking the day off. 
Stacy  40:40
He left for work and about 20 minutes later. you know, at this point, I realized like all this crap’s out, oh, shit, he saw everything. He texted me and said, was that heroin? And I don’t know if I responded or not or whatever. But of course, I’m out. I left, right then, gone. And then I just slept in my truck for a couple more weeks. And then I went home one night, late at night, to get some clothes or something. And I heard a rustling downstairs and I look out the window. And my uncle Dan, who’s at this point 15 or 20 years sober. He had pulled in behind my truck, so I wasn’t able to get out. And so I knew that, you know, it was about to get real. Went out there, Uncle Dan yelled from downstairs and I went down there. Mom and Dad never came out of their bedroom. But uncle Dan said, all right, here’s the deal. You can go to treatment tomorrow, or not. But if you don’t, you can’t live here anymore. You can’t stay here anymore. You can’t come here anymore. The truck, your dad’s gonna give it back to the bank, he can’t afford to pay for it anymore. You broke the family, your sister, you know, my sister had a daughter, who I was really close with. And she had another one on the way at the time. Your sister’s not gonna see you anymore, and he’s not gonna see you anymore. So you can go to treatment. Now with me, I’ll take you right now we’ll stay in a hotel over in Seattle. And we’ll check-in in the morning. Or not, but you got to go. And I’m not giving you a ride. And you can’t take your truck. 

And so I’m thinking well, alright, that’s ok, I’m not going to treatment, like, fine. You’re nuts, I’ll walk somewhere. I’ll get somebody to come pick me up or, and then he said, oh, yeah and by the way, we’re shutting your cell phone off. Because mom and dad were paying for that. I was like, no, hold on a minute, hold on, hold on. I don’t need to go to treatment. I tried to talk my way out of it – talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Eventually, I talked uncle Dan into waiting until morning to go instead of going right then. I made up some story about how I owe a bunch of people money and didn’t want to leave that and put my family in jeopardy, blah, blah, blah, you know, so uncle Dan drove me to the dope house to supposedly pay these people back. But I just went there to get some stuff to hold me over. 
And I remember telling uncle Dan and my dad, there’s no point, like, I’m 28 years old. It’s over. Like, I’m old. It’s not like I’m 18 and I can turn my life around, like what does getting sober look like? I go get a minimum wage job. And I live at my parent’s house and my dad was like, that’d be great! Like, that’s fine, whatever, you’ve just got to get cleaned up. But I was certain that there was no success in my future, financial or family success, or I was never going to be like, looked at as a normal human being, I was always just going to be this drug addict that screwed his life up. And, you know, because I hung out with those people, those lifetime drug addicts, that’s who I got, you know, my drug dealer was like 60. And he was surrounded by 50-60-year-olds that have just been doing drugs their whole life. And that’s just who I was gonna be. I just accepted that was who I was. 
Ultimately, the next morning, even though I tried every way possible, I just had no other option. And so my intention at that moment was not like, hey, I’m gonna go get sober. It was okay, I’m gonna go for 30 days, what’s 30 days, right, I’ll get sobered up. It’ll buy me some time, it’ll buy me back a little bit of trust. And I can come back and I won’t have to, I’ll be able to still, like, do drugs, but just not to the extent that I do on now and I’ll be able to hide it. Just buy me some time I have no other options have a phone or no truck, if I go to treatment, I get to keep a phone, I get to keep a truck. I get to keep a job, I’ll have somewhere to stay when I need to stay somewhere. So I just had, like, I had no other option at that moment. And so I said, alright, let’s go. 
So we went, Uncle Dan paid for the treatment. You know, I stayed for three days, four days. I was terrible. Awful to everybody. And I left in the middle of the night, ended up in the woods somewhere with this old lady that was also on treatment. I couldn’t get any drugs. She got some, I didn’t have any money, of course, and then I got mad. I can remember one phone number. And it was my buddy, Luke. It was his parent’s house, who knows how I can remember this phone number? Who knows. I knew this guy in college, right? We were best friends in community college, I knew his parent’s phone number because he was staying there for a year or something after we got out of school. And I would call him there because he didn’t have a cell phone. I would call and check-in and say what’s up, but I can remember his parent’s house phone number and I called that phone number because I had no other options at 10, 11 o’clock at night. 
And I left a message because Luke didn’t live there. His parents are in bed. His dad is long time sober. He’s got a lot of years in sobriety. And Luke, also went to the Salvation Army and got sobered up. I left a message and I had gone into the Safeway and I had stolen a prepaid phone. I got them to set it all up, get it all ready. And then I took it and a can of chew right off the counter and just walked out in the parking lot. I was I was crazy. I’d lost my mind that night. And Luke called, he called that number back and said, where are you? I said I have no idea where I actually am, I just I know it was a Safeway. About 45 minutes later, he showed up and we negotiated what we were going to do. And then it didn’t take very long for my uncle Dan and my dad showed up. Treatment had called them and said that I had left.
And we’re in the parking lot. And I thought, oh man, I hit it big, dad’s gonna take me home. I begged and I pleaded, I’m fine. I’m good. I’m four days clean. Like, I feel great. Everything’s good. You know, I’m making it up. I’m sure I’m sweating and probably reek. You know, I’ve been puking and everything else, so dope-sick, and dad looked at Luke and said, what do you think we should do?  Luke said, I don’t think you should have come. I mean, right in front of me, right? Like this is all happening like, I’m not standing there but I’m standing there. Luke said, you get in your truck, go back to Yakima. Dad was like, what are you gonna do with him? Luke said, he’s gonna get in my car, or he’s gonna sleep out here. Like, this is it. Yeah, he’s gonna sleep right here or get arrested, who knows. And Dad, I mean, it just broke his heart, but they got back in the truck, and they left.
end of part 1

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