Remembering Ryan

Remembering Ryan

From Erin Mashington

I am raising money to travel to cities as a speaker to raise awareness and give hope to those affected by drug addiction by sharing the personal story of my brother, Ryan, who succumbed to his addiction in 2018.

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When I was a little girl, I thought my brother was an amazing person, capable of anything and in death, I still feel the same. Just because a soul is lost does not mean it is not worthy of redemption. 

I have my own story as well. In the height of the opioid pandemic of the late 90's, I and my brother became addicted to Heroin. It was not an overnight occurrence but rather a gradual fall into the depths of hell. That is where we remained for eight long years until I became pregnant by a man with whom I met in one of my countless rehab stays. For me, that was enough and I moved away from home to start a new life elsewhere and here I have remained for  13 years. 

My brother never broke free. I have never judged him but as it goes recovery, I could not jeopardize my recovery for him. So the years past and the phone calls got shorter and more infrequent and I settled into the normalcy of life. Sometimes it is dull. Sometimes it is not. 

Countless rehabs and years later, I received the phone call no sister or family member wants to receive. It was October 3rd, 2018 and I was working a late shift at work. My stepmother called to tell me because my father couldn't bear to. The moment she said mentioned his name, I knew.  

Suddenly, every memory, good or bad, came flooding back and I wept for the loss of what could have been. Ryan was incredibly intelligent, witty, and funny. He never blamed a soul for his mistakes and lived by the motto that he was the sum of all his own decisions. But he was lost. There was no amount of therapy or rehab that could save him. He was not willing to put in the effort and no one could do it for him.

He left behind his daughter and his girlfriend, countless friends, and a shattered family. 

I had been working on an adult recovery program that could be shared, either in-person as a public speaker or by video that would enable me to share my personal addiction story and I hesitated to tell Ryan for fear it would drive him away. I thought we had time but how wrong I was. 

I have now scrapped that program and began my work on his story because death has a way of impacting people in ways that can shift them. Death is the ultimate sacrifice.

I am currently in the works with my local school board to reserve a day to speak about the dangers and results that occur with drug addiction as well as a few metro school boards in my surrounding areas.

Drug addiction predominantly affects low-income and rural areas and I am not charging the schools for the speaking engagements. My brother did not die so i could make a profit off his name. His death isn't in vain and for every child that I can potentially impact and save from a tormented life is another way I can keep Ryan's memory living on. 

I am currently working on booking engagements in the following cities in low-income schools and rural surrounding areas








I will contact more as my outreach grows.

When my speaking engagement is in its final completion which will be no later that April 11,2022, I will upload it as an update for everyone to hear and watch and all suggestions are welcomed.

Thank you for keeping my brothers memory alive and for helping my cause. Also, if you know any one struggling with addiction and need to talk, please don't hesitate to reach out. You are not alone.


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