The vast majority of the time I get to report the amazing successes of our kids. Heroic, valiant, they struggle with their addictions, determined to survive. This young woman was no different. Her peers at CASTLE say she was one of the most determined to be sober. She would chide the kids less committed to sobriety, reminding them that weed was truly a gateway as it had been for so many now facing the challenge to escape the prison they had stumbled into. I want to warn my readers that this blog is not an easy one to read. It has been written by the family and they have graciously, no determinedly, given me permission to use it. They hope that if it can help one kid this remarkable young life would continue to bring meaning and hope to the world.
Get prom dress/shoes
Open checking/savings account
Those are some of the items on Paris’ to do list for the month of May hanging on our refrigerator. Paris was at CASTLE in January of this year. With the help she received, she had the chance to continue her recovery at a residential program in Boston. She took advantage of that chance. After several months she felt strong enough to move back to our house. She moved in – full of hope and plans for the future. By all appearances her recovery was going well. She was especially happy in her new job. She always liked being with and around animals, especially dogs. The owner of a local dog grooming and day care gave her chance to work there, even though she had no experience. Like she did at CASTLE, she made the most of the chance she had been given. Her new boss described her as a natural. In just a few weeks she was given more hours, more responsibility and two raises. She came home from work every day tired, but happy and telling stories about some of the funny things her four legged charges had done during the day. A dog trainer working with her began to teach her some of the basics of dog training. With a steady income and a career path that excited her, Paris started planning her future. Those plans included saving for a car and someday, an apartment of her own. She looked into the local community college’s program offerings about animal care, health and grooming. She came home one day more excited than usual and told us a boy she met asked her to go to his prom. We had heard the boys name from her before. She met him at one of the local meetings she attended and knew only that he was a senior at sober high school in a neighboring town. Everything was falling into place for Paris. She was happier than any could ever remember her being. She was making the most of the chances she had been given. But one Saturday night, instead of making the most of those chances, Paris decided to take a chance. She was at the home of the parents of the boy who was going to take her to the prom when she relapsed. She took a chance and lost everything. The EMT’s and emergency room did their best. But Paris could not be revived. The only completed item on Paris’s to do list is the one about getting a new dress. She won’t be wearing it to a prom. She is being buried in it a few days from now.
Staying sober was not a lifestyle choice for Paris. It was choice for life itself. She made a horribly bad choice. We will always love her. We will always miss her. And we will always hate the choice she made that night.
Nancy Duerr and Bob Duerr
Aunt and Uncle of Paris