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Tell us about your loved one.
Stephen was a son, a brother, an uncle, a godfather, and a great friend. He grew up playing baseball and skateboarding but found his passion for music early on. His favorite times were being in the studio with his friends. He had one gigantic heart and touched the lives of so many people. He is missed every single day.
Tell us about Stephen's struggle with addiction
Stephen struggled with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression from his early teens. He turned to drugs as early as 15. Like most kids, he started out smoking pot, which eventually turned into pills and harder drugs. Stephen's drug of choice was Xanax or anything similar. Like any good parents, Stephen's mom and dad took him to doctors they trusted to try to find help but it was just more and more pills they would wind up putting him on. Once his addiction got out of control, over doses, suicide attempts, and rehabs weren't far behind. Stephen's life became a cycle of getting clean and slipping up. He could not hold a job for very long and was very unhappy with his life. Stephen hated his addiction as much as everyone around him. His last time in rehab was different. He seemed better. The happiest we had seen him in maybe years. "Back to his old self" we said more than once. Which is why it was so shocking when on August 17, 2012, Stephen's father found him dead in his apartment after overdosing on a mixture of Heroin and Xanax. He was 28 and had been clean for months.
What made Stephen smile?
Stephen loved so many things. Creating and sharing his music. His cat, Jack. Hanging out with friends, along with helping other friends struggling with addiction. I don't think anything made him smile though quite like goofing off with his sisters and the rest of his family. The months we had with Stephen before his disease took him were some of the greatest memories this family has. He was so happy and proud of himself for overcoming this thing that had a hold on him for so long.
What do you miss most about Stephen?
It didn't happen that often, but when Stephen really laughed, it was contagious. I miss that laugh. I miss our family not being whole. I miss little things like silly conversations or texts, hugs and kisses. I miss seeing him play with his niece and nephew. Mostly though, I just miss him. Him being here in our lives.