Step Sister who lost her way

Recorded May 4, 2020 Archived May 4, 2020 11:05 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: APP2258855


My name is Nick, I am here today with Sue to talk about a sensitive subject, so I want to thank you for joining me. Who was it that you knew that was a substance abuser or effected by substance abuse? Thank you for having me today Nick, it was my stepsister Shannon. Do you know what she used? I believed she started out with painkillers and eventually it lead to heroin. DO you know when she started exactly or when did you take notice? I met Shannon about 10 years ago and the time I met her she was actually a mental health counselor for youths. Very vibrant, bubbly, just really a genuinely good person. Very intelligent and I noticed over a couple of years that had gone by there was some changes in her. Facially there was some changes, her complection started to change. I noticed her teeth, she had the most beautiful teeth, her teeth started to decay out of nowhere. I noticed that family gatherings, sometimes she was there, sometimes she wasn’t there. I didn’t really know why, no one gave me any answers, there was some secrets, maybe shame in the family not wanting to let anyone know what was really going on. It was very difficult to see the changes in her because it was not just a physical, it became the entire family was being ripped apart. When you say the family started to become ripped apart, what exactly do you mean by that? I noticed that there was an anger towards Shannon, she would come in and her mother would sometimes lash out at her at family gatherings. There was a time that I would see her short tempered with her children and there were times where I saw that she looked like she was on something and I didn’t know what it was because I had never seen it before. It looked as if she had taken some kind of sleeping pill and she was actually going down into her plate at Thanksgiving Day meal. I heard her mom say to her you need to leave, get out of here, you make me sick. So I saw there was some anger in the family, at that point I still didn’t know what she was on if it was some kind of sleeping pill, if she had alcohol I didn’t know. Shortly after that there was an incident that her young boy ended up in the hospital with bruises all over his body and DYFUS had been called in. My stepmother had to leave my dad and go stay with her. I still at that point didn’t know what happened, there was still a cover up, they were saying maybe he had some kind of rare blood disease that was causing all the bruises. As time passed, I started to realize that there was actually physically abuse and it was probably happening while she was under the influence. So, overtime she got her son back, she was married, and she also had a daughter who was about 9 years old that was living in the house, and the little boy was only about a year ½. She wound up getting the kids back, DYFUS was coming by and checking up on the family, and my stepmom helped take care of them for a few weeks and she resumed taking her of her kids. Overtime Shannon disappeared for quite some time and I found out she was in a drug rehab in Florida and gone for months at a time. Her job was no longer, she went from helping people, and now it turned out that she was the one who needed help in the end. So, you said she was in rehab, how were the results after she would come back each time? She came back very positive, seemed really hopeful, she wasn’t supposed to be doing any drugs or touching alcohol, but I did notice at some parties the family would have special occasions where she would have alcohol again. She met someone at rehab and ended up connecting with someone who was also a user ion the local area. She slipped back again, she started using and it was getting worse, we saw her a little less. Her physical appearance started to change, more of her teeth were coming out, blotches all over her face, she was blown up, it looked like she had some type of fluid building up in her. I had never seen her like that before. At one point she was thin, beautiful, vibrant, just distraught. Then at one point it got so bad that her ex husband took her to court and took her 9 year old daughter away from her. She eventually lost custoidy of her daughter with no visitation. When she lost her child how did it effect her? Did she want to change for any reason after that point, like a reality check? I think she wanted to try to get her daughter back but I think she was in a lot of emotional pain at the time and the drug became more severe. The use more often to try and now deal with the addiction and deal with the emotional pain she was going into. She continued to use and she moved away from the local area and moved in with someone else who again was another substance abuser. She took her little son with her who was now at that point 5 years old and he was living in the home with her and this other man. Her daughter was now in custody with her biological father. How did the family handle this whole situation, with her losing her children, her moving away? What happened because it seems like it was a pretty tight family at one point? It was an extremely, extremely, tight family and Shannon loved family, loved live, loved family always had a kind word to say about everybody. But it started to wear on the family because when her daughter was taken away, no one in the family had any rights to see her and there were innocent people who had nothing to do with anything, were always good to the little girl and wanted to see her but had no right see her anymore because they were just family members and it really effected Shannon even worse. We saw a little less of her when she went away. Her daughter was doing okay, her daughter was doing okay at first, then she started missing her mother and was not allowed to see her mother, speak to her mother and she then started to have to go on medication and was in extensive therapy. The daughter now was affected by the disease. It progressed. So, with all that happening, how is Shannon doing today? Shannon actually passed away in January of last year 2019 of a drug overdose. Her boyfriend came home to the apartment and saw her on the floor dead. She is no longer with us. From the time she started her drug abuse, less than 10 years, I would say probably about 8 years she passed away. The family is in turmoil because there was anger, there was tremendous amount of guilt, they didn’t do enough, they weren’t there enough, we should of done more, we should of kept her closer and not move away. But she was a grown adult and as much as the family loved her to death there was no possible way of keeping an eye on her 24 hours a day. Her daughter was loving with her father and is now living with my step mom and dad because the father could not handle her. The daughter at the age of 13 wanted to commit suicide and after not seeing her mother for 4 years as this time passes, the first time she saw her was at her mothers funeral. She is in extensive therapy, going multiple times a day and she seems to be doing well, she is involved in youth groups and doing very well in school. She is like her mother, extremely intelligent and she did have a little brother that was autistic and he lives with his biological father so the two children are separated but they are able to see each other on a regular basis. My step mother is no raising Shannon’s daughter and became a grandmother raising her as her own. It is very difficult because the little girl is so much like her mother in the way she speaks, her mannerism the way she sounds, just really, really just a tragedy. Someone who was so full of life, loving and a warm person there who life just spiraled out of control. From pain killers to heroin, to losing her career, her children, and eventually her life. I just want to thank you for sharing that sensitive information, I appreciate it. Best of luck to you and your family. Thank you very much, appreciate it.


  • Sue

Interview By