Loving Someone With Addiction – The Rubber Ducky 5k Run

He was a warrior for accepting help, if I could talk to Matty again, I’d tell him that.”

Rebecca’s voice falls through the receiver; muffled and echoing as if she’s calling from a fish bowl.

“I am 24 years old and we have the same eyes, on my face they are still together. The creases around our lips perk up an inch or two leveling at equal height. Our cheeks are filled with youth and promise but we hide secrets in our smiles. 

We’ve all gotten good at hiding things, my family and I

I mean, that is until we couldn’t anymore… 

What I keep asking myself is, what if we didn’t have to hide? What if from the very beginning we were all upfront and honest about what was going on? Would the outcome have been different? Would we still have him here? What if we just had more resources? More resources to help him with his addiction… Sorry for asking so many questions out loud but this is something that we seem to do a lot since he’s been gone. You question everything. It’s been four years and we still have questions.  

3 AM: “Don’t worry about me, I’m just going to do what I want anyway.”

Like, why hide the things that we are? I’m talking about the mental illness because most people who suffer from addiction have mental illness

In Matty’s case he spent most of his life hiding it, even to us because he was ashamed and didn’t know how to handle it. It was always the same story he told us, “I’m good, I’m good.”


5AM he says,: “Goodnight, I love you.”

6 am: “I’ll never forget what I was wearing that day in the hospital and the doctors telling us that he was gone.”


There were warning signs. There always are. He suffered from extreme highs and low, lows. He just lived in excess all the time. When he was good, he was really, really good but when things were bad it was bad. Matty was such a kind and beautiful soul though, who just felt things so deeply all the time. He cared so much with everything he had. He just didn’t feel like he could be open about what he was feeling so he turned to drugs and alcohol.

I had an English assignment once in college and my memoir was going to be called “Loving Someone With Addiction”,  If I could talk to him again I’d tell him that I’m proud of him. I’m proud he asked for help. I just wish he would’ve to ask sooner. 

Matty had a smile that could stop a crowded room from crying. The muscles strengthening together to create an emotion so contagious in all its feeling. It was like exercise for your soul when he laughed. 

And let me point out he loved to laugh and exercise. I think that was when it started to come to fruition. It was year of high school and they told him he couldn’t play football. My brother was an athlete, a really really good one too. His heart was in the game. Being part of the Bellville Wrestling team and football team, movement was always in his blood and that’s why we chose this Run and Krank because he loved both of those things. They were his family…

“You always wish you could’ve done more, but they need to want to want to ask for help. We want to encourage people to ask..”

The Rubber Ducky Organization is and the Charity Run we are holding on Sunday at 9 am with Krank. This whole day is dedicated to my brother and those feeling alone in the struggle. My family and I started the non profit organization to destigmatize the notion around addiction and mental health illnesses. We realized how limited our resources were when we were going through everything with Matty. If we could help just one family, that’s all we truly want.



Why Ducks? Rubber Ducks were Mattys thing. It started somewhere in high school, later in life. So that’s why we are the Rubber Ducky Organization. He collected them. Whenever I think of a duck, I think of him…

This run is more than a Workout Charity event, this run is a way for us to give back and to maybe help other families like ours, other people like Matty that are struggling.

We just don’t want another family to feel how we did on that night we lost him. If we can do anything in our power to raise awareness for the sake of his smile than thats all we can hope for.  

Before hanging up the phone Rebeccas says, “If I want anyone to know anything it’s that you aren’t alone. You have a family, even if its not your own. There are people you can talk to that will be there for you always.”

In loving Memory of Matt DeFrance, forever in our hearts.

You can sign up directly to The Rubber Ducky Run or through Eventbrite or facebook.

To check out the Facebook Event click here.

Written By Brittany Rogan

       

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