The Impact of Addiction: Siouxland family turns hurt into hope - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

The Impact of Addiction: Siouxland family turns hurt into hope

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Chad Marx, 36, lost his life to addiction on September 11, 2013. Chad Marx, 36, lost his life to addiction on September 11, 2013.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - Addiction affects men, women, young, and old.  All races and income levels are affected by the disease.

Addiction has left a deep wound for one Siouxland family, but they are turning their hurt into hope.  They're working to save lives so no one else has to feel the pain of losing a loved one from Addiction.

"Chad had a smile that warmed up the room," says Kris Brown, Chad's mother.

It's one of the first things you notice about Chad Marx.  His smile.

"He was such an inspiration to so many people.  He was so kind and so helpful," says Brown.

Likeable and approachable, he made friends wherever he went, but he always called Siouxland home.  Chad grew up in Sioux City, graduated from East High School, finished college, and traveled.  He seemed to have it all, a family that loved him, a good job, and endless opportunities.

But behind Chad's flashy smile, he hid a lot of pain.

"My dad said he had the face of a clown because he could cover up his pain with just a smile or laugh," says Melissa DeGeorgia, Chad's sister.

Chad struggled with his depression, bipolar disorder, and addiction.

"I could see him changing," says DeGeorgia.  "It was almost like I could see a darkness."
 
Chad battled his addiction to drugs and alcohol most of his adult life.  He was in and out of rehab several times.  He'd get sober, but that darkness would came back.

"He would always tell me, "Sissy, I got this.  I'm going to be fine.  I'm going to get a job," but now knowing more about addiction it takes work.  It takes treatment.  I had no idea what to expect.  I had no idea it could actually kill him," says DeGeorgia.

"When that demon reentered his brain, it took over and he began using crystal meth and crystal meth took his life," says Brown.

Chad lost his life to addiction on September 11, 2013.

"The tears are shed at home non stop," says Brown.  "Every holiday is sad and painful.  It's torture.  The only way I can recover is to do something positive in the community."

They are doing that through Chad's House, a program through Jackson Recovery Centers for teen boys who are finishing their addiction treatment.    

"We have a lot of patients who will transition from our in-patient program to Chad's House if they need additional support, a longer period of time in treatment with maybe a little less structure, or maybe their home environment isn't conducive to their recovery," says Traci Merchant with Jackson Recovery Centers.

Chad's House is like a halfway house, but it's just for boys 13 to 18 years old.  They're supervised 24-7 and follow strict house rules.  The boys live together, go to school together, and attend recovery meetings together.

"Chad's house provides these kids with a second chance at recovery," says Merchant.  "Having a group of kids to do that with is really different from going home and trying to do that on your own sometimes."
 
Through Chad's House and Chad's smile, the family is putting a face with Addiction.

"When you are able to experience it through family that have suffered a loss like they have, it makes it real," says Merchant.  "It makes it real and okay to talk about it and we need to talk about it because Chad's not the first person who has passed away from addiction and he won't be the last."

The home offers a place for the boys to belong.  It gives them hope and a chance to live a normal life, something Chad struggled to achieve before his life was cut short.

"We feel like they absolutely deserve this, they deserve hope, they can do this, and they can fight through this just like we felt for my brother," says DeGeorgia.

"We knew that this was where Chad was going to make a difference," says Brown.  "It was not going to be in life, but after life."

Even though the hurt runs deep and the pain comes in waves, Kris says she too finds strength and hope through Chad's House.  They're hoping no other families will ever have to feel the heartbreak they've experienced.  Now, they're turning their pain into something positive by saving lives, one teen at a time.

"When one addict passes, he saves the lives of 10 others because they say, "Wow.  Chad passed away, I could pass away, too,"" says Brown.  "Hopefully not only can we save 10 lives, hopefully we save hundreds with Chad's House."

To keep others from experiencing the pain they're going through, both Kris and Melissa stress, if you or someone you know is struggling with Addiction, get help.

Jackson Recovery has a number you can call to get free, anonymous help.  It's (800) 472-9018.  You can also find more information about addiction treatment programs through Jackson Recovery.
 
Also, if you wanting to support Chad's House and the programs offered through it, there's a golf tournament coming up on June 28.  The proceeds from the BPI golf tournament at Whispering Creek will go to Chad's House.  The money will be used for scholarships and to buy a van so all the boys can travel together.  For more information on the tournament, call Tawnya at 712-490-7919.

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