This Blog is Dedicated to the Memory of
Bobby Ray Reiss
11/5/1988 – 3/18/17
My Saturday started off at 8:30 am on my way to a job when I started receiving phone calls and texts that the man, my friend, Bobby Ray Reiss, had just passed away from an overdose.
I had to pull over on the side of the road I was so sickened to collect myself. Addiction is such a senseless death. I had been Bobby’s sponsor for about a year and a half and knew him inside and out. Bobby and I worked the steps together, went to meetings together, worked together, had coffee together, had meals together. There will be no more togethers.
I called Bobby’s Mom back expressed my deepest sympathies and listened to her grieve. A mother’s, or Father’s for that matter, worst nightmare. You are informed by the police that you son has just passed away from an overdose.
Personally, I am extremely pissed off at the disease and the waste it makes of everything in it’s path. Total destruction!
How in the world can drug dealers sell drugs that are killing our youth and face very minimal consequences? I don’t even understand how it is good for business, much less anything else. As they say, the disease is cunning, baffling and powerful. Please stop the insanity!
I hope that someone smarter than I will come along and create something outside of the box to help our youth and their addiction issues because what is in place today, is not working!
Please don’t think I am giving up the fight because I am not. I want every person to have the life I have today and maybe hearing my story will help. I know one thing, that regardless if it helps someone else or not, it will help me. I never ever want to go back to the way I was living prior to recovery.
Please read the following statements released by the Palm Beach Post the previous day. I guess Bobby was one of the unlucky ones.
Rest in peace Bobby Ray, I will miss you and it has been an honor to call you a friend! Love, Johnny Lipscomb
Thank you for allowing me to vent. My bi-monthly blog follows after the articles.
Thought there was a slowing down, but we have 10 drug overdose deaths today. Must be a bad batch of drug out there. You’ve been warned!
Is there a bad batch of heroin in Palm Beach County?
The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner tweeted Friday morning that they have had 10 overdose deaths in a single day, raising concerns that an especially lethal form of heroin is on the street.
The drug that has been most linked to heroin deaths is fentanyl, and variations of it, such as carfentanyl, an elephant tranquilizer. It’s been sometimes mixed into heroin, sometimes sold as heroin, sometimes mixed with cocaine.
In 2015, 216 people in Palm Beach County died after using fentanyl, heroin or illicit morphine, the three drugs at the heart of the drug crisis.
Last year, more than 200 died with fentanyl in their system.
The Medical Examiner’s message Friday morning to drug users: “You’ve been warned.”
Continued from first blog:
Please fill out this questionnaire. The receptionist asked.
It was the 20-question test that Johns Hopkins Hospital developed to tell if you are an alcoholic or not.
I had the Delirium Tremens, the shakes, so bad that all I could do is put an X next to each question, there was no way I could sign my name. I felt like a paint can shaker in a hardware store. I got a 100! First time in my life, I assure you.
Please follow the nurse back to the consulting room. I did as requested and waited for the doctor.
The doctor came in, took my blood pressure and a few quick other tests. He looked at the 20-question test and nodded his head. What is your primary physician’s name?
Why? I inquired
I am very concerned you are going to have a stroke or heart attack if we don’t get some medicine in you soon and I need to know what you can and can’t have.
You need to be admitted to detox right now! Please fill out the paperwork for insurance and information purposes.
They were taking this pretty serious. All I needed was a drink and the shakes would subside like they always had. Probably not eating for almost 3 weeks brought this on. I will have a little chow and a cold one once I leave this place.
Thanks doc but I can’t stay, got to go to work.
If you leave it is against AMA.
Against medical advice. I am very serious you need to stay. I am not sure how much longer you are going to make it.
I felt so bad that I surrendered and said I would stay. There was no way I could fill out the paperwork and had to have the nurse fill it out for me. I managed to print in cursive my name.
They immediately gave me a dose of Librium, which slowed everything way down. I was moving in slow motion. The nurse took me to a room and I passed out.
I remember them taking my vital signs throughout the day and night but not much else.
The next morning the nurses woke me up and walked with me to breakfast. It felt like there was cement in my shoes I was moving so slowly.
This was the first food I had had in weeks. My stomach wasn’t sure what to do but it felt really good to eat something solid and not gag on a beer first thing in the morning.
The nurse went through the schedule with me and first up was the 7 am Sunriser’s AA meeting upstairs.
It is highly suggested you go to a daily AA meeting and there just happens to be one right upstairs.
I agreed and dragged my body upstairs where I could have caffeinated coffee because it wasn’t allowed in the inpatient cafeteria. I grabbed some coffee spilling everywhere because the shakes were still so bad. I sat in the back with my slippers and lounging cloths on.
It was very hazy but I recall people hugging, laughing, smiling, and asking how I was doing. There were no sacrifices, chanting or any other cult rituals I thought accompanied membership in AA.
For the next 5 days I was in detox and my days were full with AA meetings, outpatient classes, counselor meetings, meals and sleep. It seemed as though there wasn’t a free minute and I assume that is exactly what they wanted.
I came to really like the AA meeting and my new schedule.
After 5 days the nurse told me that I had to leave due to insurance not covering past 5 days.
Although happy I was leaving I was a little frightened. Being a daily drinker since the age of 18 I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. And I can assure you my body wasn’t ready.
What am I supposed to do?
The nurse replied, we recommend you go to 90 meetings in 90 days and please do yourself a favor and go to outpatient for 3 months. Here is a list of highly regarded outpatient treatment centers.
On the list I noticed Exodus. Exodus was a place that my Father’s friend, Dick Sattler, a legend in the St. Louis recovery market started. I could go there and besides I had visited Exodus a few weeks prior on my Father’s insistence right after I threw him and my Stepmother out of my house for accusing me of being an alcoholic and that I needed help. How absurd!
I got in my frigid work truck that I affectionally called, Big Red, and drove home.
When I arrived home I found mountains of beer cans, and cigarettes butts scattered everywhere.
Wow, what a mess! I declared.
I cleaned up and almost threw up from the smell of old stale beer. It was truly a disgrace. Coming from a very affluent family to living like a bum inside one’s own house that was soon to be reposed by the mortgage company. I had created quite a mess of my life and it was going to take a Herculean effort to straighten it all out.
The only thing I could think of is how bad I wanted a drink and kill this pain, make it go away, fill that God shape hole inside of me. I broke down and started crying.
What am I going to do? God, please help me!
Who said that? Did I actually just ask God for help and didn’t put a condition on it like my fox hole prayers?
This was probably the first change in a long long list of changes that needed to happen.
I called Exodus and made an appointment in the morning, but what about now?
I know, I’ll go to an AA meeting. I said to myself
The nurse handed me a booklet when I was leaving the hospital and said there are 850 AA meetings a week in St. Louis, so you should be able to find one any time and probably close to you as well. This booklet is called the where and when.
I found a meeting right around the corner from my house. As I approached the church door there was a sign that said the scheduled AA meeting has been cancelled.
I got in my car and shouted, what do I need to do, I am trying? I went home and cried myself to sleep.
To be continued