NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – So many times we hear about individuals dealing with addiction to heroin, but this disease of addiction can take over much more than just the person using the drug, putting the whole family in a situation that is unfamiliar, scary, and confusing.
”My sister and I fell in love with it from the moment it entered our system,” said recovering addict Branden Cooper.
Heroin is a drug that consumes everyone and everything in its path, ruining relationships, jobs, and even lives.
For Cooper, it was a drug he enjoyed using with his sister.
”We did everything together. We were best friends, ride or dies,” he told News 2.
A brother and sister, both drawn to a drug that would ultimately tear them apart.
”We were very toxic for each other,” said Cooper.
For Cooper and his sister Jessica, it was in and out of rehab, hospitals, and even jail, and for their father, Bobby Cooper, seeing his kids in these situation was gut-wrenching.
”I have seen her in the ICU. I have seen her to the point that she was plugged up to machines, and she had depleted every ounce of life she had to this drug,” said Bobby Cooper.
“There were times when I would go and meet with Brandon at his sober living house and we had a good time and then I would have to go to the ICU and visit with my daughter,” he explained.
His daughter would end up losing her life to this horrible drug.
“She was found dead on Dec. 1 of a heroin overdose,” the father said.
You could say Bobby Cooper has struggled with addiction as well, but his struggle wasn’t with using heroin.
It was the struggle to get his kids off the drug.
”This has destroyed me,” said Bobby Cooper. “The addiction and watching my children go through this has destroyed me as a man, as a father. I am now dealing with how do I address the issues.”
It’s a topic that isn’t always brought up, but when a family member goes through something like addiction to heroin, it means everyone will be affected.
It’s an issue Dr. Jason Brooks with Addiction Campuses has seen many times before.
“Addiction is a family disease, and a lot of times the families want to put the focus and pressure on the person that is struggling with addiction, but at the end of the day, every single person is affected,” said Dr. Brooks.
“It puts mother against father, the father against the mother, and anyone who comes around,” said Bobby Cooper.
For Branden Cooper, his road to recovery started with seeing his sister in a casket and then receiving some tough love from his dad.
“He asked me to step out and leave, and so I took off walking and I slept behind Kroger’s dumpster for a couple of nights and that was my bottom,” said Branden Cooper.
It was a day he will never forget.
”It was Branden in the world by himself. Nobody there. I had lost the last person I ever counted on and that was my father, and I felt like I had finally lost that,” he told News 2. “Everybody had always turned their back on me, and my dad never did.”
Realizing his father actually was there for him was a turning point for Branden, and at this point, it gave a father struggling with so much a small yet hopeful chance that his son could get clean.
”So Brandon began to be my light. I started seeing some light inside the darkness that I was living in,” said Bobby Cooper.
Now, Branden Cooper is sober. He’s recently engaged and works as the Alumni Coordinator for Addiction Campuses.
Both he and his father use their story to help others and let them know that there is help out there, but you have to get it before it’s too late.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can contact Addiction Campuses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-614-2251.
You can also get more information at AddictionCampuses.com.