Warrior

Now that I have reached 1,500 views, I guess I should probably mention why the title of this page is called “warrior,” considering most of my messages are about death and heroin addiction. To some, that doesn’t sound like much of a warrior. Here is why.

According to dictionary.com:

warrior: (war-ee-er, wawr-yer, wor-ee-er, wor-yer) 1. a person engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier. 2. a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.

According to the World English Dictionary:

unknown soldier or warrior: (in various countries) an unidentified soldier who has died in battle and for whom a tomb is established as a memorial to other unidentified dead of the nation’s armed forces.

Merriam Webster dictionary:

warrior: a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly :  a person engaged in some struggle or conflict <poverty warriors

And lastly, the online Urban Dictionary:

warrior: A person who beyond all obstacles still manages to be successful. A warrior will often be troubled in life, but will persevere in the end.
Socially, a Warrior will often be down to earth, functioning entirely off of what they perceive as logic. While this can lead to arrogance and stubbornness, a Warrior has a soft center, and can be befriended with ease by anyone knowing how to reach it.
Often intelligent, strong, determined, and skillful. A Warrior, despite whatever problems they may have, is perfect. In their own way, each Warrior is perfect.

All of these definitions come together to create a new definition of a warrior, my definition of a warrior.

Warrior: a man or woman, who chooses to fight a battle, even if they know it can not always be won. A warrior is not perfect, but does not squander their time on personal issues. A warrior learns from their imperfections, and shares their lessons with the world. No matter how big or how small the challenge, a warrior fights with the same determination and strength in order to succeed. A warrior never gives up. A person who fights vigorously for themselves and for the people around them. A warrior is selfless, willing to make large sacrifices. A true warrior takes charge and shows initiative to help others win their battle, doing whatever it takes in order to succeed. A warrior is someone who carries on their legacy, their fight, their strength, and their determination to win the battle, even after they are gone.

That is my understanding of a warrior, and my understanding of who my best friend was and still is. Anna made the choice to use heroin, but she also made the choice to change. She went to rehab, she fought the horrible disease in her brain. She prevailed, and she went through the worst hell anyone can imagine to do so. Anna was not perfect, she did relapse (along with the other 90% of opioid addicts in the first year after treatment), but Anna went back to rehab. She went back to detox and put herself through an intolerable misery again. She continued to fight, she never stopped fighting. She had journal after journal after journal of her struggles, changes she made, and her thoughts throughout her trying times. She was determined to get clean, determined to make a change for herself and for her family. She never wished to hurt anyone, and she knew that her actions were killing those around her, and she was willing to put herself in copious amounts of pain in order to see happiness in those people.

In the end, Anna did pass away. BUT Anna did not lose the battle. She is still fighting. Anna sacrificed her life in order for the rest of us to see what heroin can do and is doing to so many amazing people. God took Anna, one of the greatest warriors there was, in order for those of us who are still here to become warriors as well, and to succeed in Anna’s fight against addiction. Anna didn’t give up when she relapsed the second time, she was making a point to prove the true power of addiction. She shared with us the lesson she was forced to learn the hard way. Anna saved all of us the trouble of being put through such a hell, by simply showing you her hell. I would have never had a clue about heroin addiction, lack of care in rehab facilities, extreme expenses to get help, or the power opioids have over the brain to create such a strong addiction- without first losing Anna. Anna is one of, if not the, best person I have ever known, and for this I know she left me here, with her family, because she knew we would never stop fighting for her. She knew we could be the ones to step up and make a change in so many of the one-minded, stubborn people in our world that refuse to see the bad that is surrounding them. That is why Anna’s family created “Anna’s Warriors,” because that is exactly what we are, what Anna is, and what we are doing. We are fighting for Anna, Anna’s battle, and we sacrificed the most amazing person we knew without wallowing in our grief- but instead using it as motivation to save the rest of you, your family members, your friends, from experiencing anything like what we have been forced to go through. Along the way, we will continue to pick up more warriors until we have a fully stacked, impregnable army to fight Anna’s fight of addiction and raising awareness of drug use. It is not a race, together all we have to do is save one soul at a time, and we will succeed: together.

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Heroin

What is heroin? I don’t know.

Who does heroin? I don’t know.

When did heroin come to Iowa? I don’t know.

What does heroin look like? I don’t know.

Where do you get heroin? I don’t know.

How much is heroin? I don’t know.

What do you do with heroin? I don’t know.

What does heroin do to you? I don’t know.

Why was my best friend addicted to heroin? I don’t know.

Being a senior at the number one party University in the Nation, I have seen my fair share of drugs. From people snorting lines at parties, kids throwing around ecstasy and “raging” all night, people hitting acid at concerts, to putting ‘magic mushrooms’ on pizzas at 3am. I can say, proudly, that I have not tried these drugs for fear of jeopardizing my future in the justice system or the government, so I don’t know how these drugs effect the body or brain. I do know, however, how people act and what they look like on multiple drugs. Heroin though? No clue. In my little pea sized world, heroin didn’t exist. Until I found out my best friend was an addict for over a year without me knowing and later died from a heroin overdose.

Since her death, I have done plenty of research trying to figure out what this drug is all about, how it works, who does it, and why my best friend was taken from me because of heroin. Although I am still learning, the information I have found is unbelievable.

Our state neighbor, Illinois, has seen a sharp increase in heroin use in the Chicago suburbs. The number of heroin overdoses doubled from 2011 to 2012, and increased AGAIN from 2012 to 2013. The youngest heroin overdose death was 15 years old. Heroin is easier for kids to buy than beer- and it’s just as available on the streets. Heroin is simple to hide, and no- heroin users do not always have track marks. There is plenty of places you will never see. (Between fingers, between toes- when was the last time you looked in between your 21-year-old child’s fingers and toes?) Pharmaceuticals still remain to be the drug causing the most overdoses in the United States. However, prescription drugs are expensive. Heroin is the same high, for 1/8 of the the price. One ‘balloon’ of heroin (essentially 3 ‘hits,’ which is enough for a decent high for most of the day), usually costs $5-6. Give your kid $10 to go to the mall and hang out with his friends, he buys 5 chicken nuggets for $1, even gets a medium soda- and still has enough to walk outside, sit on the bench and be offered this stuff that you sniff, the big guy was doing it and he looked like a boss- who wouldn’t want to be like this dude? Drug overdose rates in the United States have increased 102% from 1999 to 2010. The government has now called the drug overdose situation an epidemic. Overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle accidents in 29 states in the US just last year.

Still think it’s not your neighbor?

51,045 people were admitted for drug abuse treatment in Iowa in 2013. In 2011 1 case with 112 grams of heroin was seized by police, in 2013 14 cases with 290 grams were seized. The heroin overdose death rate increased by 700% in Iowa from 2003 to 2012. Iowa is one of the top 3 states in the fight against drug abuse. THESE ARE THE SOME OF THE LOWEST NUMBERS IN THE NATION.


IT IS YOUR NEIGHBOR. IT IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. IT IS THE KID CHECKING OUT YOUR GROCERIES. STOP DENYING IT. Do something about it.

Please share this post with your family and friends. You never know who will see it, or what they’ve been doing.