Bart B. — February 9, 2021

On August 14, 2018, my son, Kevin, died by suicide. He was 29 years old. Kevin suffered from depression and cannabis-induced psychosis, (a diagnosis in the DSM-5).

Kevin told my wife and me about his cannabis use at 15

He agreed to get help. Over the next 14 years, Kevin participated in many recovery programs. He experienced periods of health and happiness while in recovery. Unfortunately, after a while, he would go back to his drug of choice, high THC cannabis. As he increased his cannabis use we started witnessing psychotic behavior. (We learned, after Kevin’s suicide, about cannabis-induced psychosis. We read about it on the Johnnysambassadors.org website.)

One of the last articulate things Kevin said to me was, “Cannabis has ruined my life.”

About 15 months before Kevin passed away, my wife and I flew to Spain to walk the last 80 miles of the Camino pilgrimage. We were spiritually and emotionally exhausted! We made our way to Sarria, Spain, and stayed overnight. The next morning we started our eight-day journey to Santiago de Compostela. I anxiously asked God for guidance. I didn’t feel or hear anything.

The next morning I repeated my request and again, all I heard was the wind rushing through the trees. The third day began like the first two, however, I LET GO of any expectation and focused my eyes and attention on my feet. That’s when I heard, “STEP AWAY.” I raised my head, looked around to find the source of the two words I heard, no one in sight. That’s when I realized God had answered my prayer. In my Al-Anon and Mar-Anon meetings I read and hear the sayings, “Detach with Love” and “Let Go, Let God,” now I know what those words mean.

After Kevin took his life I felt empty again.

It was as though God had stayed in Spain and I was on my own. I started drinking more, thinking I could fill the emptiness inside me. After realizing I was going in the wrong direction, thanks to my wife’s help, I started another 12-step program. My soul began to heal as I reached out for help.

My sponsor said something that changed my life. I don’t recall his exact words however, I do remember how his words made me feel. I had hope again. His message was: If you can’t find God, help others and God will find you.

God and Kevin are in my life again

I can’t see them but I feel their love every day.

Thanks to my wife, Anne Moss Rogers, and many others for encouraging me to dig deep and help myself and others. And thanks to my Higher Power for two words,

 “STEP AWAY,” and for being there every step of THE WAY.

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