Brian Kennedy is a Recovery Coach for Taylor County Family Resources. He has two years’ experience in this role. Kennedy’s ultimate goal is to get his addicted contemporaries in the stage of recovery! He also is aspiring to educate those younger than himself about the dangers and consequences of succumbing to addiction. Kennedy’s biggest achievement, if you ask him, is getting a particular couple into treatment and seeing them thrive after. Brian has gotten over 500 people into treatment but is humble about his talent to be relatable. He strives to be accountable and genuine with his experiences to help others. Kennedy loves outdoor activities like ginseng and morel harvesting, hunting (with a camera) and fishing. His north star is working on moving forward and helping others to do the same.
Hello, My Name is Brian
Hello, my name is Brian Kennedy. I’m an addict. I’ve been an addict since the age of 11. Unlike most kids my age, I grew up in a place called “Sunset” or “Sin City” where a lot of folks thought it was fun to give us young-one’s drinks and smokes. I was doing pills at 12 and fully addicted to alcohol. My home life wasn’t that great either because of the fighting and yelling from my mom and dad, so I tried to stay away from there as much as I could. My dad is also an addict, as was his father (my Paps), and his father as well. So, I guess addiction does run in a family. Mine was certainly addicted. My parents got divorced when I was 12. Mom was just gone one day…didn’t see her for a year. I remember how hard that was (really hard) on my dad, so my dad drank even more and became meaner as time went by. I was in and out of group homes and in and out of Juvie too.
At 15, me and my dad moved to Canton, Ohio. That’s where things took a turn for the worse. We lived in the “projects”. We were the outsiders there. Out of 200 apartments, we were 1 of the 3 white families that lived there. Things got tough in school and at home, and I felt like I had nowhere to turn. I ended up joining a gang called “I. G. D.” or “Insane Gangster Disciples”, also known as “Folk Nation”, and that was my family. You got to know, not everything about a gang is bad. “You are your brother’s keeper” was the credo, and it means you take care of the community and each other. The other side though is rough…I robbed folks, boosted cars and sold drugs or just doing “dirt”. That’s how you moved up in ranks, and well, I moved up quickly.
My dad had finally got sober and moved us back to West Virginia. I remember that I didn’t want to go, but I did. If I hadn’t, I would probably be dead.
When I moved back, I had my first kid at 15. You see, I meet this girl named Mandy and she helped to calm me down some, but not much. We had a little girl and named her Sabra. At 16, my mom was back in my life and things were going good. But, I couldn’t stop my addiction. Mandy was a drinker, and we were both addicted. At that point, my mom took Sabra and Mandy and I split up. I was only 23.
Things really went downhill after Mandy and I split. I went back to my old ways. I ran drugs back and forth from Ohio to Florida and was in and out of jail for a while. When I came back to Grafton for good, I met a lady named Buffy. We wanted a real family, so we got married. Buffy and I had a little girl and lost her 3 days after she was born. She had a hole in her heart. I remember those dark days- I was back to drinking and doing drugs. Buffy got pregnant again, and we were to have twins. One boy and one girl. Well, Sierra (our little girl) got the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Buffy went toxic, so the doctors took Isaiah by C-section. He was only 2lbs 1oz and dropped down 1lb 13ozs. We were so scared. We really didn’t want to lose him. I did everything I could! I begged God to please let him be ok!
When Buffy and I met, she had a daughter Lindsey and she became mine. Then Isaiah came along and I had 2 kids… It was time to get my sh*t together. I began my current journey.
I was going to get my life straight.
5 years later. Buffy is at the doctor again. Guess what? The doctor says we are pregnant. Twins. Again. This came after being told she would never carry a baby again. Hello Brittany and Brianna! We had twin girls! Healthy babies…I saw the Lord giving back the two he took. I was feeling so blessed.
The next 9 years, I thought I was a great dad. I always provided for and put my kids first.
Then addiction took me over for the second time in my life. I took Subutex, which I abused at the age of 39. Then I stuck a needle in my arm. Meth became my existence and consumed me. It tore my world up. So many things happened. The next 4 years were a blur. Then one day, I catch myself sitting in my basement with a 9mm in my mouth. I prepared for this. I sent a video to my parents and my wife telling them I was done. Just done. I really didn’t want to die, but I was done living that life. I hated the monster I became! Then I thought about my kids…I wanted to see them grow up.
That is what saved my life.
The next day, I went to jail over a fight I was in. They also said I was going because I was selling drugs. There are so many gaps in my memory. I sat in that cell for 8 months. I was NEVER away from my kids for that long. Never.
During that 8 months I made a decision. I was sober. Really sober. It wasn’t like before. No one sent me money. No one came to see me. Nope, not this time. I really f*cked up.
The day I got out of jail, I was scared. All I had to do was make one phone call and I could be high. I remember the Judge telling me, “Brian, I have dealt with you since you were a kid. Your dad was an addict; your grandfather was an addict. You, and only you, have the power to break this cycle.” He asked me if I wanted my kids to be addicted…That question hit me hard. My remaining days in jail were spent in deep thought. So many questions ran through my head:
“Do I want my kids to be like me?”
“If I was not here on earth, who would protect my family?”
I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. The same day repeated, over and over.
The day came when I was to get my day in court to sign a plea deal for registration into the Community Corrections program. I started trying to find help but, there wasn’t much here in Grafton. AA meetings were a joke. I was with a buddy at the AA meeting and he said something about his family and really acted like he wanted to talk seriously. The leader of the meeting told him he couldn’t talk about that… That next day I started Taylor County Struggles. TCS is a group I made available for ANYONE with ANY problem. I wanted a safe place where folks could just talk and really support each other. Then I met Cathy Coontz at a town-hall meeting was invited to. She took me under her wing, put me in training for recovery coaching, and let me have my meetings at her building-TCFR.
I have about 28 to 35 people I help. I literally get high off of helping these folks. I see the darkness, the hopelessness in their eyes and I work with them until I can see the light, a smile and a new outlook. Wow, people ask what I did to get clean…I tell them and made it because I don’t judge or think I’m better than other people. I’m living proof recovery is possible and addicts do recover there is no such thing as a lost caus…that’s B.S. If they draw breath, there is hope.
I’m just a man fighting the biggest demon ever: addiction. I help to bring back the souls it took.
I no longer sell dope. I sell hope.
Sign up for a Home Visiting Program! These programs are so helpful to new moms! They can help get you things that you need and teach you tricks on being a new mom and raising your baby. These programs will come right to your home and don’t worry, they do not judge you about ANYTHING and are just there for support! Click here to sign up
Being a new mom is much easier, when you have a group of other new moms who you can reach out to with questions and for support!
You are not alone!
Did you know that there is a Facebook group for Mothers on MAT?