A FATHER’S PROMISE TO THE SON HE LOST

Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO, Shatterproof

I know what it’s like to have your family shattered by addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
For almost 10 years, my son Brian struggled with this disease and its cycle of shame, isolation, and failure. And for the entire time, my family searched for the right treatments and support for my son—and for our whole family.

But we had so little support navigating the complex web of rehab facilities, physicians, and therapists. Despite our desperate attempts—and despite Brian’s courageous fight—he died a little over two years ago, on October 20, 2011. He was 25 years old.
Even more tragic, it was not just addiction that took my son’s life. It was also the shame he felt every morning when he opened his eyes. I believe it was the sense of being an outcast from society that drove Brian to take his own life.

If you know someone who has struggled with addiction, then you know all too well the pain and anguish of watching a loved one in the clutches of this disease. It’s a story that plays out again and again and again, touching more than 100 million Americans. Every four minutes we lose another child, spouse, sibling, cousin, nephew, niece, grandparent, or friend to addiction.

After Brian passed away, inspired by his life spent helping others, I made him a promise: Enough…Enough. I would dedicate myself to creating
a national movement to comprehensively fight this disease. It’s the same formula that has worked for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and countless other afflictions, and it can work for addiction.

In the past 18 months, working closely with two distinguished advisory boards, a powerful vision emerged…an America transformed…

  •  An America where millions of Americans are united within one national organization and empowered to create change;
  • An America where parents are given the knowledge they need to protect their children from this disease;
  • An America where proven research is taken from academic journals and implemented in schools and pediatricians’ offices across our nation;
  • An America where treatment programs are regulated and operate by following research-based protocols;
  • An America where promising new programs for long term recovery are developed, piloted, and implemented quickly and efficiently, to complement AA and NA;
  • An America where addiction is treated for what it is—not a measure of one’s character, but a disease—where those struggling with addiction are no longer discriminated against, but instead treated with the compassion they so rightly deserve as they are helped to get well.

Our vision is ambitious, but with your help, together we can and we will achieve it. Over the past months, we have been joined by countless families from across the nation. I invite you to join us as well.

One voice is a mere whisper; a chorus of voices can change the world…
It is too late for my son Brian and my family – my son will not be coming home. But it’s not too late to save another child, and another family, from addiction. We hope you will join our cause at www.shatterproof.org.
Gary Mendell, Shatterproof Founder