My beautiful, intelligent, very loving 26-year-old daughter, Brittany Hallett, died on November 5, 2014 from alcohol addiction when I came home to find her eyes open, but I couldn’t wake her up. No parent should ever experience that or have to bury their child. She was a straight A student her entire life and into college…until addiction took control. She dreamed of having a loving husband with kids of her own…. grand kids that I’ll never get to kiss or hug! She would’ve showered them with loads of love. She loved to run, draw and paint. If not for the alcohol addiction, she could’ve been a health and fitness instructor. She loved cooking and baking for her friends and family. I miss her strawberry pie! I don’t want another parent to ever lose their child to addiction again. It’s a loss that is felt with every breath I’ll ever take. Her death gave my voice impact to make people listen and I won’t waste that powerful gift she gave to this world. I’m not writing to get sympathy.
I’m writing in honor of my sweet daughter to try to:
* encourage those that are still struggling as my daughter did… to seek help immediately since addiction is a progressive disease, making it harder and harder to stop.
* encourage their loved ones to love them unconditionally no matter what.
* educate the public that addiction is a brain disease… not a moral failing in order to end negative stigma.
* warn everyone that believes that addiction is always a choice… that they’re the most vulnerable of all to becoming addicted themselves, because everyone addicted to any substance used to believe that…. until one day they finally realized that they were wrong. But by then it’s too late to easily stop. Those spewing that addiction is always a choice only perpetuate the problem by filling others with a false sense of control that lures them into believing they’ll always have a choice to stop.
* plead for the media to educate the public about the dangers of drug AND alcohol addictions in order to prevent more people from becoming addicted and to encourage compassion from society. I especially plead that they always include those suffering from alcohol addiction too. It crushes my heart when I see them being left behind by the opioid epidemic, despite the fact that alcohol-related deaths are even higher. ALL people suffering from ALL drug and alcohol addiction should be included in our national effort to save them. Since alcohol is a legal drug, the public has a false sense of security, which explains why 1 in 12 adults have a drinking problem…. yet we rarely hear about anything being done to combat that part of this epidemic. Most don’t realize that social drinkers for years can still become addicted to alcohol. We need to spread the word. I’d personally like to ask you, Ryan Hampton, to please always include those suffering from alcohol addiction in everything you do and in every media broadcast you make. We need to wake America up about this fairly silent part of the epidemic that ruins lives and kills tens of thousands every year. Whenever you fight for the opioid epidemic, please include other drugs and alcohol as well to highlight the immense scope of the giant picture of addiction… and to get them ALL help.
* ask celebrities at every level to use their influence to educate the public about the dangers of alcohol, Heroin, and other drugs and to high light this horrific epidemic that is sweeping our country and taking our loved ones. Please use your powerful influence to reach influential politicians so they’ll fight to get much needed funded rehab facilities and long-term treatment programs for all substance use disorder sufferers.
* beg insurance companies to cover long-term inpatient treatment like they would for cancer, since addiction is a life long illness. Brittany died because she was given a bandage when she severely needed a tourniquet.
* implore politicians from local communities all the way up to the President of the United States to get educated about the true nature of addiction and to do everything possible to get funding for new facilities and programs to help the millions struggling and dying every day as my daughter did.
* encourage anyone in recovery to help others still struggling with addiction if you can.
* encourage other parents and loved ones to share their stories to bring light to the faces of addiction, behind the horrendous statistics so the world will begin to care.
* encourage anyone affected by addiction to become involved in efforts to help those that are still struggling… Especially for those that have lost someone they love to this. What greater honor for your loved one than to make their death count for helping others still struggling as they did. It makes me feel connected with my daughter…. like we’re on a mission together to save lives. It’s how I cope with the loss of her. I’ve created a website at www.BrittanysACAP.com and a blog that’s organized by topics with helpful information for those addicted and for their loved ones. I’ve talked at community events and at my daughter’s high school about her story. Although my daughter suffered from alcohol addiction, I got trained in administering Naloxone that can reverse an opioid/Heroin overdose. Just nine days later, I saved a stranger’s life with it. The Madison news station covered the story, which encouraged a large turn out at the next Naloxone training. We can all make a difference.
* encourage everyone else to take precautions so they don’t fall victim to addiction too.
In honor of my late precious daughter, Brittany Rose, thank you for this opportunity Ryan Hampton. And to anyone still suffering from any substance use disorder, please believe in yourself and get help this very day. Love you forever Brittany Rose!