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Tell us about your loved one.
Yes, his name is/was really Austin Powers. As he liked to remind people, "way before the movie came out." Someone would joke about his name on a daily basis and he'd laugh right along with them. He thought it was hilarious when Facebook refused to let him create a profile with his own name, claiming he couldn't use a pseudonym. Austin was known for his hugs, sensitivity, laugh, looks and easy manner with both the young and old. He loved his son and family beyond comprehension.
Tell us about Austin's struggle with addiction
"Austin's began exhibiting many of the symptoms we all know to be red flags by the age of 14. I wanted to hope his use was experimental, but I realized it wasn't fairly quickly -academic problems in 7th grade and emotional outbursts at home. Yet, he was still an amazingly loving brother and affectionate child.
At the age of 14, I got Austin to agree to a treatment program that was somewhat controversial. He made friends quickly, and within a short period of time, was a designated mentor for incoming youth. Parents and the kids in the program were crazy about Austin. Austin made being sober fun. He had almost two years of sobriety and was hoping he was ""normal."" Sadly, he was quickly reminded that he was not - the sobriety didn't last. We would go through a few more rehab programs, periods of being clean/sober, times when I had my son back. When Austin was 17, I could not find a rehab program that would take him since he did not want to go. I had made him leave the house and he was living out of his truck. I'd never seen Austin be aggressive before this time. I made one of the toughest decisions of my life. I researched and visited several treatment facilities that would take Austin. I paid to have escorts pick him up in the middle of the night and they drove him to a lock-down school. It was an excruciatingly painful decision. After leaving the school, he once again was the son I had always known. Working a program, graduating high school.
Relapse came again and hard! I applied to have him be on Intervention (TV program). 3 months of paid treatment, medical detox, etc. just couldn't be passed up. I had to take the chance. After a long process, they chose to feature Austin. Things were rocky in treatment. But upon his return to Colorado, he did well. His fiancÃ© had his baby, he was clean/sober for 6 months. Relapse came again. He was ashamed, isolating himself. Wondering how he could have done this since he was now a father. "
What made Austin smile?
People. Of all ages, shapes and sizes. After his death, I found worksheets in his car from his treatment program. One question asked "Do you get hugs often enough?" and his response was "every day!" He made people laugh and smile, and he did the same in return, despite the fact that he wasn't truly happy.
What do you miss most about Austin?
His voice. He called me nearly every day. I loved his greeting. "Hi mamasita, whatcha doin?" And always, always an "I love you." We'd get in texting battles. I love you, I love you more, I love you the most. His smell. I still have some of his unwashed clothing. I will have it forever. I sometimes get it out of the trunk and just breathe him in. His hugs. His love and concern for his sister. How he took care of his son. Ashamed, guilty, trying to keep his use a secret. Despite the struggles, he took care of his son. His persuasiveness - whether it was trying to talk me into making his favorite meal or making an ice cream run. Austin could have sold me a pile of dust and I would have felt as if I'd gotten the greatest bargain of my life. And in fact, I did.