Dreams shattered, my heart broken into a million little pieces.. Ryan called me to say he was was on his way home. I had no clue that the words we spoke to one another on November 28th, 2017 at 1:26am, would be our last. I can still here the conversation in my head like it was yesterday. Ryan said “baby I’m on my way home, so I’ll see you soon ok, I love you.”. My reply “ok, I love you too, see you when you get here!”.. Then my worst nightmare began..
My name is Anne, I’m a recovering addict. But this isn’t my story. This is the journey of my forever love, a wonderful man, son, brother and friend, Ryan, and his battle though addiction which took his life, December 3rd, 2017.
Ryan was a fun, charming, guy with the most beautiful blue eyes. They were unforgettable. He could make you crack a smile with very little effort by telling one of his “it doesn’t make sense but they’re hilarious” jokes, or getting the entire unit in jail plus some to say one of his slogans, “let me find out” or “purple monkey dishwasher”. His presence lit up a room everywhere he went. Ryan had a very outgoing personality, ever since he was a little kid. Everyone loved him, he gathered crowds everywhere he went. But being Mr R. Biggs didn’t rid of his low self esteem, that you’d never think he had based off his personality and how he carried himself. He loved to go to the race track and race the car he helped his dad build. He loved motorcycles. He bought a Harley from his step mom and he redid it, turned it into his own style, until he was out drinking one night and crashed it. Ryan was always seeking something adrenaline filled, he had been that way since he was a little kid, class clown.
Ryan has been addicted to drugs since he was a teenager, heroin, meth, Xanax and at one point alcohol. He spent his years in and out of prison, and jail. He had done approximately 5 years of prison time before we met in 2012. And the jail time kept on coming. I had no clue the day we first met, that my life would be forever changed.
Ryan and I met back in October if 2012, he was in a half way house, just out of prison in the work release program, working at Chipotle, he had such a love-hate relationship with that job. I was living in a sober apt and attending school to become an addiction counselor, as I myself am a recovering meth addict. Our relationship was good the 1st three years. We never argued but on the rare occasion that we did it was short lived and we were back to laughing and loving each other. He and my son Braeden were best buds, it makes my heart melt to think of how close they were. Most first dates don’t include a child, but ours did. Ryan called and asked me out to dinner one night and I told him that Id love to but had no sitter for my son. His response blew me away, “oh well that’s ok he can come with.” Wow, shocked I replied “well are you for real? You’d be ok with my son coming along on our first date?” Yep he was. So off to Old Chicago we went, and it was an amazing time. The 2 boys played the crane game forever, while I watched them laugh and have fun, thinking how awesome is this guy. We were inseparable from that night forward. Ryan was sober when we met, but little did we know, his sobriety wouldn’t last. It wasn’t but a few months and he was using again. Started off with random occasions of meth use followed by Xanax and eventually back to heroin.
Ryan had one brother, Eric, they were 1 ½ years apart. He and Eric were best friends, a relationship so tight no one would ever break their bond. We all had such great times together having barbeques, watching movies and just hanging out. I have so many memories it’s hard to choose a favorite, but my favorite one is the day Ryan, myself and my son Braeden went to Eric’s and we made a video of Eric playing the guitar and Ryan singing the song “Patience” by Guns n Roses, with my son Braeden dancing in the background. Brings tears to my eyes every time I hear that song. I have so many memories that I could probably write an entire book just filled with them.
Ryan had used heroin and meth a few times here and there, encountering a couple overdoses, one of them putting him in the hospital on life support for 8 days because he had aspirated vomit when he overdosed. He suffered a minor brain injury from this overdose due to the lack of oxygen but thank God he was going to be okay with the exception of having some minor memory issues.
Ryan’s life really began to change when his brother lost his life to a heroin overdose on October 27th, 2013. Ryan was in prison when his brother overdosed and died. Sitting in solitary confinement, alone, Ryan got the horrible news, one prays to never hear. Ryan was allowed 1-2 hours of time with his brother at the funeral home, but he was shackled and alone, as no one could be in the facility with him. What a tragedy. Then back to prison he went, back into that cold lonely cell alone. When Ryan came home after Eric died he began drinking, daily. Steele reserve as it was Eric’s favorite and whiskey, a liter a day he polished off. He worked full time never missing a day so depressed and sad or the loss of his brother that no matter what he did nothing could ever begin to even fill the void he felt in his heart. That’s when I noticed some changes in Ryan and his behavior.
The Little White Lies, the sneakiness, the shadiness let me to believe that Ryan was using again and more than just a random occasion. He was heavily using Xanax, snorting it, drinking heavily and using heroin occasion but would hide it and lie about it when he did. Our relationship became Rocky as the lies didn’t stop, he cheated and then that led to nothing but arguments between us because the solid strong trust that we had, was now broken. Even though the trust was broken we were still so very close it was weird I cannot even put it into words. We argued over the dumbest things, I’d give him the opportunity to be honest having proof of his lies but he still chose to lie instead especially about his drug use. But I refused to give up on him because I knew behind this person who was addicted to drugs was an amazing man who wanted nothing more than to get sober and live a happy life.
But not only did he battle with depression and anxiety and PTSD, he did not know how to even begin grieving the loss of his brother, his best friend. It broke my heart to see him suffer in so much pain day in and day out and no matter how hard I tried there was nothing I could do to take that pain away from him. In and out of jail and prison he went. Our relationship Hanging On by a mere thread both of us refusing to give up on one another. In 2015 I went to prison for 13 months and when I went to prison Ryan was in prison and he got out 6 months before I did, and he was a walking disaster from the day he walked all those prison doors until the day that I came home. But even after I came home the drug use continued and he lied constantly about his heroin use because he was so ashamed and didn’t want to disappoint me. However, I told him “there’s no point in lying about your heroin use because it is very clear and obvious when you are using it, there is no chance in hell that you could lie to me about being on heroin it says it all over your face.”
He would hide his heroin but I would find it and I would flushed down the toilet I did not care if it was a $300 bag of heroin or a $20 bag he was not dying off that bag. Ryan did Outpatient Treatment only because he was ordered by the courts. Deep in his heart he wanted to get sober but he was afraid and scared to step into a world that he did not know. He had been using drugs since he was a teenager so being sober was a strange world for him. I thought was probation many times trying to get them to see that this man needed help not jail. Asking them pleading with them to please send him the treatment so that he can get the help that he needs that he’s not going to get in jail or in prison but they never listened and they wonder why he kept sending back up in jail. They tried to have him do drug court however they treated him like just another Junkie going through the system while they treated everybody else like humans giving them a chance treating them with respect but not Ryan. Ryan was the first person in the history of Anoka County Drug Court to get kicked out.
He then did inpatient treatment that was short-lived because 90% of the clients there were using meth and as vulnerable as Ryan was he ended up relapsing while he was in treatment and getting kicked out which let him right back to jail for the last 4 months of his life.
I never left Ryan when he went to jail or prison I always stuck right by his side remaining faithful and loyal to him. Making sure he had mail making sure he had money on his books making sure there was money on the phone so he can call home and visiting every chance that there was a visiting session even if it meant I had to drive an hour or two away in a blizzard I still showed up to visit my man. It took a great toll on his family his mom and his dad were frustrated and fed up with the drug use and him being in and out of jail that they kept their distance from him, very hard for them but it was very hard for Ryan as well as he felt very alone like he had nobody he can count on except for me. After everything that we have been through in our relationship here I was still sticking by his side because I knew inside was an amazing man still trying to escape addiction and I was not going to give up on him was not going to give up hope and just toss him to the curb and walk away like most people probably would have done in my situation. I love that man with all my heart.
Our relationship had been through so many hard times, 90% of couples in this world would have never made it through the trials and tribulations we had to go through, and yet here we were still standing together closer than ever fighting for sobriety, love and life.
I could continue on and on about Ryan’s journey through addiction and how amazing he truly was. It is with a deeply broken heart, my story about my loving caring yet at times very difficult boyfriend whom I love with all my heart is now dead because of this crazy disease. I’m 11/28/2017 Ryan was give heroin mixed with fentanyl and/or carafentanil. Ryan called me at 1:26 am and said His last words to me “I’m on my way home, I love you baby, see you soon”. He was brought home almost dead, barely breathing. His buddy thought he just merely “passed out”. He called to say they were home and to come help get Ryan out of the truck. Upon my arrival to the truck I knew immediately Ryan was overdosing his eyes in a dead glazed over stare, a rare death gurgle. I immediately yelled for our friend to call 911 and began giving him rescue breaths. I administered Narcan, it did nothing. CPR continued until paramedics arrived and gave him a 2nd dose of narcan, still nothing.
Ryan went into cardiac arrest in the ER and was put on life support to help him breath. After 5 days on life support, the life support was taken away. After that moment my life became a horrifying nightmare as I sat there and watch the love of my life die and there wasn’t anything I could do. Ryan was gone about 2pm on 12/3/2017. My heart is numb, I’m stuck living in denial that he isn’t really gone. The pain inside is too overwhelming. His poor mother, lost her only 2 sons to heroin. That thought makes my pain feel so small.
Ryan’s life purpose was through his death, to save others. And that purpose is being carried out through me and my actions today. By sharing his story I hope it touches the lives of addicts and that they seek the help needed so that another family doesn’t have to go through the horrifying pain our family is going through.
My forever love may you finally rest in peace next to your brother Eric. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten. Love you always and forever, Anne.