My Breath can’t fill your lungs By: RJ Vied

My Breath can't fill your lungs By: RJ Vied Click to Tweet

This is a story of how those who loved me the most were unknowingly contributing to my suicide. I want to make this very clear; my story is for anyone and everyone willing to hear it. For a very long time, I hid in church basements and was ashamed of who I was. I was ashamed to be addicted, and I was ashamed of what my life had ended up to be. Today I use my pain, my story to encourage hope and change the stigma of “The Addict!” Today my pain is power, and I am NOT ASHAMED!


In Recovery

I titled this article. My breath can’t fill your lungs for one simple fact. That no human power can relieve anyone from the obsession of a drink or a drug. No parent, wife, sister or child holds the authority to remove this disease from those affected.

I was a senior in high school, as we sat in history class watching the events unfold on that horrible day of September 11th, all I could think about was joining the Marine Corps. So that day my best friend and I did just that. Due to his previous surgeries, he was not able to enlist, but that did not stop him from pushing me through my PT training. At this point my life was set, I was going to be a Marine. Shortly after I found myself a father of a beautiful little girl, an 18-year-old husband, and homeowner. I bring this up because this was the beginning of my hell called addiction. After several blackouts and domestic issues, I found myself living in an empty home, accompanied by my new best friends, Percocet and Captain Morgan. This carried me through a divorce, custody, and many lost jobs.


Through all, myself medicated strides I am the survivor of a seven day coma, several guns to my face and knives poking me just enough to break the skin, seven overdoses (thank you Narcan btw, all 10 of you), two major accidents, a few one nighters and over 20 treatment centers. Skip over many painful years I found myself the father of 3 beautiful children. Somehow I manage to not only destroy one child’s life; but I also found a way to hurt 3, along with the mothers and grandparents of each. It seems the guilt of each warped relationship was increased with every attempt to make up for the last.

I had several primary enablers in my life while in active addiction. One being my daughter’s mother. See there are talents we developed while in active addiction one being manipulative, convincing, and resourceful. I want to leave you with an example of each so you may be able to relate to me. Manipulation; My grandmother, walked into her son’s house, said hello to the kids and walked down the hall. She opened her son’s door to see him lying there dead. He had overdosed on pain medication. This flipped her world upside down in so many ways. Some ten years later, I was going through a withdrawal so bad I was going to do anything I had to get “high.” I manipulated my family by telling them I was going to go into detox, but to do that, I had to be high. I had my grandmother buy the same drug that killed her son and hand it to me. My only thought was the relief as I sniffed this blue powder in front of my daughter’s mother to whom was in recovery. I convinced my parents I was ok on a daily basis. One day as I laid the barrel of a 12 gauge on my bottom lip my father just happen to call me.

I’ll never forget that day; that day was the first time I admitted I was not ok and I begged him to let me come home. Finally, let me tell you how resourceful we can be while using and craving for the pain to go away. Hurricane Katrina has hit, we were working doubles at the local oil refinery. I had no money, only obsession, and suffering. Knowing the factory employed several men from Louisiana I started a Katrina relief fund. I must have collected well over $2000 and not a penny went to anyone but me. I was no longer to be found at work but in the city shooting heroin into my arms. Listen I don’t tell these stories with ease; everyday I do my absolute best to make amends and be a better person. Before I get long-winded here, I want to get to what’s important.


Loving your child or loved one to death. Yes, I know this sounds harsh and many tell me how cruel it is. I’m not here to sugar coat anything because these are the facts and this is what saved my life. My father, my best friend, and hero, never gave up on me. My mother, always there for us growing up and still is an amazing woman. I’ll never forget sitting in a treatment center and for the first time telling them I was using heroin.

The immediate tears streamed down my mother’s face; my father yelled out the word “f*#k” as if he was kicked in the chest. The first words out of my mother’s mouth were “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, this is our fault, what could we have done differently?” First and foremost there is nothing they could have done different, I was raised right. My brother and I were loved and taken care of. It’s like saying “If I only did something else, little Johnny wouldn’t have brain cancer!” I was an addict, and no human power could have changed that.


For many years I got what I needed and lied into and out of every situation I found myself in. Let me tell you what it felt like hearing the word NO for the first time, let me tell you how to verbally kick an addict in the chest. I even remember the day, time and location. I was in my truck, very sick. I called my daughters mother and asked for $40, at this point I was no longer allowed to hold any credit cards or cash. I was at a red light; Kirkwood highway was slow with traffic, and I was about to share another lie, knowing I was going to get what I needed. This is how it went….

Me: “Hey, I need $40 for gas.”

Her: “No!”

Me: “what do you mean no, I have to get gas to pick our daughter up from daycare!”

Her: ” No Dave, imp am not giving you anything, no more dude.”

Me: (screaming voice) ” I need $40 f@*king dollars, don’t fu#king tell me no!!!! I f#*king hate you, you F#@king b*#ch!!!!!!”

Her: “NO!”

Me: “Please don’t do this to me, I’m begging you!”

Her: ” Please stop doing this to us, we are begging you!”


I’ve been handed several beat downs but nothing as painful as this. The same time my father looked at me and said “no More, I love you, son, more than anything in the world but your mother and I cannot handle this anymore. We are watching our son die, and we aren’t helping by letting you stay here and rob us.” This day, in particular, was a painful day. But this was the last day I ever used a drink nor drug!

Every day I see how this disease affects not just the addict but the families. Some moms are buying heroin for their kids so they can monitor their use, others are believing lie after lie after lie, knowing inside that it’s not truth. The hardest part about this whole process is explaining to family members how to detach with love. How to understand that one, this is not their fault, that there is nothing they could have done to prevent this. You must understand this disease doesn’t discriminate, I have been to more white collar memorials than homeless. As much as we would LOVE to save those suffering we cannot. What we can do is this.

Next time your loved one asks for something, use the most powerful word on earth, NO! Mean it, feel it and let it sink in. Tell them, ” I love you, but I hate your disease, you have an option here. You decide to get help, treatment, meetings or I have no choice but to detach completely.” “Your drug use has affected this family, and we can no longer be a part of it, we know you did not choose to become addicted, but we also know YOU, and only YOU can decide to get help. If you so choose, we will then be here to support you.” I’m telling you now this is not easy, it’s probably the hardest thing anyone will ever have to do. My God, never in my life did I think I would have to tell someone to detach from their child to whom is already dying from a disease. Never did I think I would ever tell a mother that her son is better off on the street than in the comfort of their home.

This whole thing is a process. Just as the addict is living an unmanageable life so is the family. I hear all the time “My life is good I’m not the one with the problem, his addiction is not affecting me, I need to be here for him.” Ok, so let’s call a spade a spade and break this down. So you’re telling me you’re sleeping great at night, that your marriage is beautiful and your son doesn’t steal from you? If you have answered yes to any of these then its very safe to say you are not the parent of an addict. It is tough to see how this disease affects you. Most times than not because we don’t want to see it. Or we try to cover it up, so our family and friends don’t find out you have an addict for a son/daughter/husband or wife. Now just breathe. I’m not trying to attack you I am only telling you what I have known to be true. If you are losing sleep or any of these things I just listed then yes, your life too has become unmanageable and its safe to say that your loved one IS your drug.

So let’s end with this so you can let it all sink in.


The next thing to do is contact someone you know has dealt with the same struggle, someone you know has successfully made it through. There are so many active and educational support groups on social media as well as in your town. Naranon, Alanon, Alateen, ACOA, etc… You can access all this info from your Google search. If you are interested in joining a Facebook group that holds zero judgment, only support than I ask you, please message me directly. Type in @rjvied and send me a message, I will respond with the names as well as admins of those pages. Look we are in this together, this is not easy for anyone, but know that it is possible and you can get through. By you saying “NO” will not only piss off their disease, but it will also take away a lifeline that is feeding it. For the rest of this article, please follow me on Facebook @rjvied, you can also go to @rjviedlive and see more videos like this. I want to thank all of you for listening to me share today, and I ask you please share this with someone to whom may need to hear this.

RJ Vied




RJ Vied is very well known in the online recovery and a subject expert author @ SFYB.

On numerous occasions and venues, RJ has openly shared his struggles with heroin, drugs and addiction and how he broke free and took back the control over his life.

RJ Vied spends a lot of his free time educating and touching the hearts of others through multiple public speaking events around the country and through his writing.

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Filed under: Addiction