Hope this works, it’s from the heart, many tears were shed writing it.
On July 9, 1991 Zak made his grand entrance into the world. From the moment he was born, Zak was the golden child, the class clown, and the apple of everyone’s eye. By the time he was old enough to walk he was on a mission to succeed at everything in any field. He was talented beyond measure.
Zak was a straight “A” student, an artist, a musician, and an incredible athlete. Zak excelled at every single sport he played including and not limited to: basketball, baseball, hockey, and football, but golf was his sweet spot. As he grew in age and skill it soon became clear he had a superior and natural ability. Zak reveled in his wins and ecstatically celebrated his successes, but when he lost – nobody was harder on Zak than Zak.
With his excellent ability came a lot of pressure, but only from the expectations he put on himself and what he believed people expected from him. The thought of letting anybody down, for any reason, caused Zak a great deal of pain.
By high school Zak struggled with anxiety and depression. He battled mood swings and stomach problems, but insisted he didn’t need any professional help. Then a fellow athlete gave him Xanax, which led to experimentation with Oxycontin, later becoming his drug of choice and his Kryptonite. No more stress, no more anxiety, and he could finally sleep.
Throughout the years Zak attended several out-patient programs and finished them feeling committed and on a new set of anti-depressants. However, after these programs Zak would relapse after taking himself off the anti-depressants because he hated the way they made him feel.
After losing friend after friend to overdoses, Zak attended a 7 day detox. He came out of the detox with a job opportunity, confidence, and a clear path for his future. He was then transferred into a sober living home which only further gave him inspiration. At the beginning, Zak was thrilled, making friends and even inspiring those around him to stay clean and reminding them to forgive themselves, because their loved ones would soon forgive them too. However, the living situation eventually became toxic, and not a constructive place for him to thrive.
The house became more focused on filling beds to make a steady income, rather than housing people who were truly dedicated to their sobriety. The situation fell apart and Zak didn’t want to live in an environment where many people were getting high in the house. Zak decided he was ready, and after three months sober, he moved into an apartment to live on his own.
Putting older drug users who are only living in these homes to avoid jail into a home where there are young and committed people on their path to sobriety is a travesty. It is heartbreakingly discouraging for so many newly sober individuals.
Zak believed in himself. Our whole family believed in him. We had never seen him more focused.
This is where the system failed him.
Zak moved into his own place, but then the unthinkable happened when Covid hit. Zak, an hour from our family home felt secluded, anxious, and once again was unable to sleep. That’s when someone he didn’t know so well gave him some Xanax just to relax and finally shut his eyes for the night. Little did he know that it was laced with fentanyl. Zak died that night on April 27th, 2020.
This is where Zak’s house comes in and turns the system upside down. Residents in Zak’s house will be held to a certain standard, and it’s not going to be about how much money is in their pockets.
The house is called “Zak’s House” because every single person on their journey is Zak. Everybody has gifts, people who love them unconditionally, and the potential for a million future successes. Those willing to put in the hard work deserve their chance and with the very best staff and medical treatment anyone will land on their feet.
At Zak’s house it is our mission to help those accomplish just that.
The only reason Zak lost his battle was because the system let him down – that is why Zak’s house is creating a whole new narrative.