We Were Blindsided…
Our son George Moore was 28 when he died from an accidental drug overdose. He had just completed a 30-day inpatient treatment program and was ready to continue outpatient treatment. He died 3 days after leaving the inpatient facility. We were so proud of him and his enthusiasm and willingness to seek and continue treatment to make positive life changes and start his road to recovery. Our world was shattered 3 days later.
Words cannot begin to describe or explain the shock and devastation that you go through. He was alive and happy Tuesday night, and died Friday morning. Our world was ripped apart and will never be the same again.
George was such a happy and active little boy who made friends easily. He was a gifted athlete, quick to learn and good at everything he tried – football, basketball, baseball, golf. During middle school he played quarterback in football and point guard in basketball. And in high school he played on the varsity golf team all 4 years. Music was a passion of his! He and his friends attended concerts in multiple venues as often as possible – The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and String Cheese were among his favorites. He was an incredibly loyal friend with Sam Ellington and Colin Dembowiak being some of his very closest friends. George absolutely loved to travel. Besides various city destinations, National Parks were a favorite vacation destination. And because he was an avid snowboarder, learning to board at the age of 5, he loved visiting Colorado to board. In addition to sports, music, nature and his friends, he loved animals and adventures of all kinds! George had a finance degree from UWM and was a loyal employee! The enormity of what we’ve lost truly can’t be put into words. Our son was a smart, responsible, thoughtful, funny and soulful young man whom everyone loved!
What we didn’t know is that, in his later years, he had become a master at deception and was hiding his addiction. He hid his addiction from his family, his best friends, his girlfriend, his co-workers; he hid his addiction from everyone. He could no longer maintain his outwardly stable lifestyle. His life was falling apart but he didn’t feel he could tell anyone. We were blindsided when we found out what his life had really been like for the last year. Whatever the initial triggers for addiction were for George are hard for us to know as he didn’t feel he could share this journey with anyone. They may have been alcohol, marijuana, opiates or some mental health issues, most likely all of the above.
We wish we had known sooner. We wish it would’ve been easier for George to talk to us about what he was experiencing. Because we know the stigma connected to addiction prevented George from sharing more with us, we are working very hard to shatter this stigma.
Addiction is a disease that destroys people, families, friendships, workplaces and all relationships. If the stigma around addiction was not as strong, if addiction was not viewed as a personality flaw or weakness, but as a disease … more people would seek early treatment for their addiction rather than hiding from everyone they love and care about.
Please reach out to anyone you believe may be struggling in silence. Please become proactive and supportive as they seek to do the right thing. Addiction is a disease that can manifest itself in so many ways and in so many people. Be proactive, be supportive, make a difference in someone’s life. Please join the good fight in honor of George and Ethan and Daniel and Mitch and Mel and so many others.
We are reminded of George every day in many ways. He was always helping others and thus, we have turned to advocacy to help our community. George is co-chair of the Heroin Task Force in Waukesha County which is implementing prevention programs. He is also on the board of the Addiction Resource Council, Inc. (ARC) for Waukesha County. They are working on promoting the Resist the Influence education program for middle school students that addresses issues around heroin, prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol and vaping. We are working on getting our state legislators to adopt a 3-day acute pain prescription protocol, mandatory AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) education and doing so in all 424 Wisconsin school districts. We are also asking that a requirement, like the current Social Host law, be adopted for people with prescription opioids which would require that these prescriptions be locked up in homes.
In addition, we are active members of the Ethan’s Run Against Addiction committee, working hard to promote this run and make recovery resources available to those in need. The funds raised from Ethan’s run will help those that need assistance with treatment, lodging and support.
We are trying to make a difference in memory of George!! Please help us shatter the stigma – help us break the silence – help us save lives. We could use your help, please join us!!!
– From George Moore IV’s parents, Cindy and George Moore III