Unfortunately, these poor souls are looked at as lowly drug addicts and generally not worth our time. This is primarily due to the terrible stigma that drug addiction carries with it. The sad fact is that there is no typical drug addict. This terrible addiction can affect anybody from the kid next door to his PTA soccer mom. This is the story of three people who were suffering from drug addiction and the family they left behind when they passed on.
Suzanne Dawson-Pitts was a loving mother of three children. Her family was close-knit and in love with life. One lesson she always made sure to impart on her children was to always help those less fortunate than yourself. Even when her family was having tough times, she made sure to find a way to give back to her community.
Suzanne also suffered from multiple chronic pain issues as well as surgeries stemming from a foot amputation. Like so many people before her, she became dependent on the prescription pain medication given to her for many years. Knowing the dangers of prescription drug addiction, Suzanne tried to kick the habit, but by then it had gotten too deep. On November 18, 2011, Suzanne packed her lunch for work the next day, got her outfit laid out and went to sleep for the night. She never woke up again.
Zach Dawson-Pitts was an energetic young man with a personality as magnetic as any you would find. People just gravitated towards him. While his outer shell was hard and tough, inside he felt deep emotions and sensitivity. During his early teen years, Zach began experimenting with illegal drugs. His drug use led him down a path of rehab, jail and halfway houses. Every time Zach’s family thought he had found the straight and narrow, he faltered and fell back into his drug addiction.
In 2012, Zach discovered Alcoholics Anonymous and attacked his addiction with the fervor with which he approached many things in his life. He followed the 12 steps and began making amends for his misdeeds through drug abuse. This lasted until April of 2013, when Zach’s family watched him relapse once again and overdose. While he recovered physically, the mental and emotional damage had been done. On May 6, 2013, Zach overdosed for the final time and passed away.
A second mother to the family, Liza Dawson-Pitts was the oldest of the three siblings. Even though she was a high school dropout, she had big dreams and was well-versed in various types of literature and Buddhism. She often spoke about writing her memoir and sharing the lessons she had learned with the world. Late into her teen years, Liza began to play around with illegal drugs. This drug abuse continued until September 2011, when complications from drug use forced her to have heart surgery and had stolen the use of her kidneys. Shortly after this surgery is when her mother Suzanne passed away. The following year was spent in hospitals and nursing facilities, during which time she remained clean and sober.
Once out on her own to face the world again, Liza fell back into her pattern of drug abuse and addiction. February 24, 2015, saw her again admitted to the hospital for serious drug-related issues. She fell into a coma and the next morning passed away while her remaining family held her hands and wept.
Through all of this struggle, Anna Dawson-Pitts, the youngest of the three siblings, managed to stay clean. Seeing the hell that had been brought on her family due to drugs has kept Anna far away from that lifestyle. Now, after the heartache and pain she has endured, Anna has decided to take matters into her own hands.
With the help of her father, an alcoholic with over a decade of sobriety under his belt, and the social fundraising website GiveForward.com, Anna has managed to raise over $20,000 for the New Jersey chapter of Young People in Recovery. Anna and her father have researched several organizations, but feel Young People in Recovery has made great strides in education and support throughout the state of New Jersey.
You can help Anna and her father by visiting the Dawson-Pitts Memorial Fund page and showing your support through donation, kind words of encouragement or sharing your own story of heartache caused by drug addiction. Together, we can help Anna open eyes and hearts to those in need of a helping hand and a little bit of love.