Kurt's New Birthday

Most of you know that my older brother has suffered from addiction for a very long time. Life circumstances have ailed him and addiction has had a large part of his life for nearly 30 years. He is 53 years old. I've missed him so much.

When my brother relocated to Arizona in 2015, he got clean and his life started to change.  Relationships were beginning to heal and he was experiencing life in a whole new way. I took him to the Gorge with me to see DMB.  He stayed with me when pops and Tony were living with me.  He helped me get my house ready when I was moving to CO.  We had so many laughs.  It was so good to see him back after so long.

Fast forward to 2017 when he decided to move back to Portland.  After over two years being clean,  the draw of his old lifestyle pulled him back in.  Within a year, he was back to using and is now worse off than he has ever been.  He's couch surfing and all of his belongings are in a Nordstrom bag.  He's tired.  He's feeling defeated.

The way our society runs, is that if you have money you can get the kind of help he needs. He’s homeless, penniless. His heath is failing fast. None of us are rich enough to help. He’s ashamed because of the things he did when he was using, and doesn’t think he deserves a good life. He does.

He has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Even in his current situation, he would give the last shirt he had if someone needed it who was worse off than he.  He would make an incredible substance abuse counselor.

There is no way to raise enough money to fix him.  He has to fix himself.  But without resources, inpatient rehab is not happening.  The cost out of pocket for a full service rehab is 10K-60K depending on how fancy you want to get.  I am not raising money for something like that.  It's impossible. But there are organizations out there that offer sliding-scale or free inpatient rehab and that is what I'm striving for.

Kurt is amenable to this plan.  He's never been in rehab but is willing to do anything to get better.  He is ready to leave this life behind and not look back.  He's had a taste of the good life.  He knows what he is missing.

Here's the plan:  

1) I have to find an inpatient rehab that is free or sliding scale.  It will be in Arizona, where he was before.  Hopefully Phoenix.  I am working on that.  Hopefully have a place figured out soon.  I need to make sure that they have housing and job placement assistance, post-rehab care.

2) Kurt still has his Arizona ID so he is able to get on a plane.  I plan to get him a plane ticket to Phoenix.  Then arrange for a taxi to get him to the rehab center.

3) The money raised here will be used to buy clothes, toiletries, and a backpack before he leaves.  It will help pay for the plane ticket and ride to the rehab center.  It will also be used to pay for any medications or medical appointments that are not covered through the rehab center until he can get on Medicaid and get steady employment.  Funds may also be used to help pay for the rehab if I can't find a full-service free one.  I will keep the funding goal updated. Right now, it's $2500 because I don't have a clue where to start.  

4) As you know, there is no guarantee that my brother will follow through.  Drug addiction is powerful and sneaky.  But if there is a way to save his life by providing a healing environment, I am going to try to make that happen.  I know that it's up to him.  If he doesn't make it, I will donate the remaining funds to a nonprofit that supports treatment for addiction and suicide prevention.  If he doesn't want the help, someone else might. 

After I posted about my brother on Facebook, I got several emails, comments and phone calls with stories about family members who have been lost or are currently struggling with addiction. Several people suggested a GoFundMe account.  I've struggled with this because I know there are no guarantees and I have a hard time taking money from people.  But there is no other way.  I have been approached here in the valley with similar stories of love and heartache.  Addiction devastates families.  

Addicts weren't born addicts.  They are someone's son, sister, uncle, mother.  Once you go down that rabbit hole...it's nearly impossible to get out without love and support.  And anyone who knows an addict knows that is sometimes hard to love and support them because they have lied to you, stolen from you, or just gone missing for long periods of time.  It's hard to remember the person that is under the addict, the person you want back so badly.

My brother wants out.33624772_1539167523238939_r.jpeg  I think I can get him to the front door of the rehab center.  Then HE has to walk in and stay there.

Thank you in advance to all who donate. If you are donating and have a story to share, please share it.  There is no shame in sharing your pain.  We are all in this TOGETHER.  No one should have to suffer alone.  

Ever.


PS: The funds that are raised here are managed by ME.  I decide where and how the funds are used to support the cause.  Right now, clothes and food. Then airfare and taxi ride.  Probably medical costs but I don't know what those are yet.
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Organizer

Shelly Belknap 
Organizer
Edwards, CO
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