Friday, August 26, 2016

I Even Listen To My Fears

Since her death I’ve been on a mission to build something in honor of her struggle. I can’t explain the sorrow that lives in my heart. The pain has simmered down to a low boil, but it never goes away entirely. Her name comes up a lot. Her memory still lives inside us. For me that's the hardest part, living with her memory; it haunts me. There are some days when she is ever so present. A song or and scent even her favorite quotes pop up out of nowhere. She has forever changed my life. Life is different now, and it has whole new meaning for me.

I keep her picture in my house and at work. It's a reminder of her time here with us and a reminder for me to never forget what she taught me.

Since starting Wings Of Hope her story has opened up so many doors. But every time I take a few steps forward it seems like I keep getting road blocks. All I want to do is help and spread awareness. It’s exhausting mentality and physically. Help is few and far between when it comes to addiction. And at times it frustrates me to no end. I do feel like I’m heading in the right direction, although there are so many challenges I just can't stop! I feel a calling deep in my gut it yearns to be heard. This calling lingers in my soul and won't stay quiet it wants to be freed. So here I sit anxiously awaiting the next move. Every chance I get to tell people about Mariah and Allen I do. I feel I have an obligation to speak out about this. Our struggle is like so many others out there, needing to be heard. 

I don't know where this road will take me but I will keep walking down it until God tells me to stop. Right now in this very moment, I'm at peace. I try not to worry about tomorrow. I try not to guess what's around the corner. I do my best to lift my hands to God and say "I give it all to you"! Let go and let God guide me. So I sit and listen, I close my eyes and take refuge in the silence. I pay close attention to all signs life gives, I even listen to my fears. There's always a message floating in the air traveling between our conscious and subconscious and if you can drown out the mumbling of the world you can and YOU will hear God. He's always talking to us. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wings Of Hope

So I started Mia's Dream Team all on my own. It was a struggle to get the help that I needed to take this to were I wanted it be. It was frustrating me and at times it was down right discouraging.

One day after work I was driving home thinking about this non-profit I wanted to start in memory of Mariah and I was feeling overwhelmed. As I was driving over the loop 101 bridge going north on my home from work I had a conversation with God, I'm sure people driving next to me thought I was crazy because I was talking to myself but that's how sort things out in my head, I talk to God.  I said "God please guide me, I know this is what I'm supposed to be doing but I don't know what to do next". The next day I had reached out to my dear friends Mama Cathy and Heather. (Mother and daughter) We ended up having lunch and by the end of this lunch Wings of Hope was born. God had answered my prayers in a big way. I decided to change the name from Mia's Dream Team to Wings Of Hope. Before I knew it we had already planned and been approved to have a benefit in the main auditorium at our church. Started a fundraiser, and booked vendors. I know Mariah would be so proud of us.

Heather and Mama Cathy have been there for me, Allen and Mariah at the peek of their decline. It's been almost two years since they have walked along side me breathing life into me and giving hope to me and to my two addicted loves. It seems fitting that God would put us together on this project. I do believe he was shaping us the entire time.

I already filed for our LLC and once we earn enough funds I plan to file for our 501c. Wings of Hope founding board....

Ana M. Counts - Chief Executive Director
Cathy Clegg - Chief Development Director / Treasure
Allen Counts - Board Chair / Peer Commination / Speaker
Heather Massey - Vice Chair 1 / Head of Social Media / Secretary

Our mission: 

To spread awareness on the growing epidemic of addiction. Our goal is to walk alongside families of addicts, provide helpful resources and to provide essentials to those in recovery and eventually God willing, to be able to provide scholarships to those who need a little help getting into a treatment center.

What started out as one person building a library in memory of Mia turned into a crew building a non-profit.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Speaking Out

Sometimes I can't believe we have come so far. Every day he strives to be better than yesterday. He makes me so proud. He just spoke at a benefit on April 27th and my husband and I could not be prouder. He spoke so eloquently with honesty and with heart. I hope his message resonated with someone. Allen has always told me that he hopes one day he will be able to speak about addiction and recovery freely and help others who are battling addiction. Well , last night he got that opportunity and he nailed it.

It's not an easy thing telling the world about something so personal. But knowing what I know now, hearing stories like this would have helped me in his early years of addiction. I think had he seen someone like this at the time he started in his addiction maybe it would have made him think to himself... this might be me someday? Awareness is everything! The more we know about addiction the more we can fight this and maybe prevent the many tragic deaths. It's time we all start speaking out, let our voices be heard, our tears be seen. It's the hush-hush mentality that's killing them.

Here's to the next journey in your life my darling. Daddy and I love you so very much.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Shame On You SNL

SNL, what where you thinking? I get that all is far in the comedy world however seeing how your very owe people died from drug overdoses one would think you would be a little more careful when making fun of drug addiction. - Ana Counts

Story on CNN

"I would think after the loss of John Belushi, Chris Farley and other beloved members of your cast that you would have realized that heroin addiction is about as funny as genocide, but judging by your show last night I'd have to say, apparently not," said Maureen Cavanagh, the founder of Magnolia New Beginnings, a support group which helps people find treatment and comforts families coping with the loss of a loved one from drug addiction.

"You have just attempted to make a serious health epidemic into a joke and it is nothing less than disgusting. Apologize and make it right," she wrote on her group's Facebook page. - 
Maureen Cavanagh

Tom Farley Jr., Chris Farley's brother and author of "The Chris Farley Show," took to Twitter to say he was "pretty bummed" by the sketch and was upset because it came from people he said he loves. - Tom Farley Jr

I'm so sick of society overlooking this epidemic. It's NOT A JOKE, it's not a joke to me and to the thousands who suffer from addiction and the thousands of families who suffer alongside their addicts. You disgust me!

Ana Counts

Friday, April 8, 2016

On The Bright Side

I saw my monkey yesterday... he moved out of his sober living home and moved in with two really solid friends he met in recovery. 2 months of rehabilitation, 7 solid months in Casa Milagra sober living community and on the 10th of April he will have 9 months of sobriety. If only you could see me smiling.

As he was standing there I couldn't help but notice that he looks so darn healthy now. He went from 115 pounds to 155 pounds from pail, frail and thin to glowing, strong and muscular. Thank you God... I don't know what you have planned for him but it has to be something good.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Liver... he may have an issue

Allen has been doing so well in his recovery. He's been very disciplined in getting healthy. In fact he made a doctor appointment to get a complete physical including blood work. Last week he got the results of his blood work and his liver count is high. They advised him to stop drinking... but he's been sober for almost 9 months and prior to that his DOC was heroin not alcohol. When he told the doctor that he doesn't drink and has been sober for 9 months the doctor told him he wanted to re-test him next week. MY heart starts to pound and worry floods my mind. I can't help it, I'm his mama and having done tons of research while he was using I knew one of the long term side effects of heroin use is "Liver and kidney disease". I know it's in Gods hands, let go and let God but praying keeps my mind at ease. Please keep him in your prays too... thanks!

Everything WILL be alright! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

So Good For My Soul

Well I did it, I got the library up in honer of Mariah on her birthday 3/7 at Crossroads for Woman. It was a beautiful moment. All the baking and all the trips to Tempe to sell our baked goodies paid off. I love people in recovery, they are the most kindhearted giving people I have ever met. I held all my bakes sale at a fellowship hall and I sold at the HA meetings. My niece helped me... in fact she was there for me though out the whole process. It was so comforting to have her there. It helped me emotionally,  she doesn't even know it. Having someone there in my family rolling up there sleeves and helping out in such a big way was so good for my soul. I finally feel like I got some closure. I got a chance to say goodbye. It was what I needed and now I feel like I can move forward. I still miss her presence here on earth and my heart still aches when I think of her.

Please see read.... Mia's Dream


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm Just Having a Bad Day

Been feeling kind of down lately. I realize I'm fighting my on going depression, I've been fighting depression way before my son was ever an addict. It's a constant reality check that I'm broken. I find little joy in things that should make me happy. I know... I'm mental! Some days are worse than others. There are some days when I can't shake off my fear. I look at my son and instead of feeling happy I feel scared and anxious. Sometimes... most time I feel like crying. I don't want him to relapse. I can't go back to that PLACE, I just can't!! I know I have no control over that but that's how I feel and I fight like hell to shake it off. Today I'm mentally somewhere else.

 Loosing Mariah has left a gaping hole in my heart. How naive I was to think I had "time" she was chronically depressed and I knew it but I just could deal, my only focus was to save Allen... (CRYING) still is to this day. She was always on my mind, my emotions ranged from anger to sadness, I couldn't even drive down Olive and 103rd Ave or Northern and 107th Ave because those are the areas she work and lived in. I knew if I saw her and if she pushed me away I would lose it.... or if she looked worse (physically) I would lose it even worse because she wanted nothing to do with me. I understand now why she scared me, it's because she was so much like me when it came to our depression. In my deepest darkest moments I was like Mariah. I shut LIFE OUT. I pushed my family and friends away and death was not something I feared.

Don't worry, I'm not in that space anymore. But Mariah's death has been a slow awakening for me. I just need to figure out how to see my way through it.

Being a mother of an addict is a lonely and scary place. Not to many people understand. It feels like you are always walking on the edge. The edge of what? Well to put it plain and simple it feels like your always on the edge of "THE" breaking point.

I'm just having a bad day!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Allen Wrote a Memory

Allen wrote a memory he had of Mariah. It was published on her website. It was the most viewed page for weeks. I think everyone was waiting to hear from him. He wrote from the heart, a beautiful tribute to Mia.  I love what he wrote!! It made me smile!

Forever Your Mon Loup

I remember when Mariah and I went to San Francisco. It was such a spontaneous moment, we realized that a festival called Rock the Bells was taking place in a week in Mountain View, CA. So we bought two tickets to San Fran and we left that Thursday. (Giggle) We were all smiles the entire time… completely in love, in a magical city. We arrived at this festival with VIP tickets that were roughly 8-10 rows from the stage, that's how we did things loud and big. The two day concert was amazing we got to see all of our favorite rappers and RnB artists. Mariah got to go on stage with TYGA and danced her heart out with her 5 inch stilettos, (smiling) looking like nothing to mess with, she was glowing and she looked so beautiful! She came back to our seats and instantly received looks left and right from every man in the vicinity I didn't care because I knew this women had love for one man and I was lucky enough to be that man. We continued to enjoy nothing but good vibes, people, and music all night. I even got to meet my favorite artist ASAP Rocky and I about turned into a school girl, I was so excited. The next day we spent it in the heart of downtown San Francisco and we instantly fell in love with this amazing magical city. I promised her in China town that I would make all the necessary moves to get us to Frisco to live there for the rest of our days and that I wouldn't stop hustling until I made that happen. I may not be able to keep that promise anymore but I'll never stop grinding for that dream because there will be a day when I'm living in a beautiful high rise overlooking a city… and when I do it will forever remind me of Mariah. She was the only girl I ever wanted to move away with especially to San Francisco, the Bay will forever be “our” town.

San Francisco will always remind me of Mariah’s love and how unconditional it was. I'm truly blessed to have experienced that beautiful women’s love! There hasn't been a day where I don't talk to her and ask her to guide my path. I want to be that man she so deserved, so I’ll dedicate my sobriety to you Mariah and the journey to come. I love you Mariah with all my soul and I will miss you every minute of every day that I live.

Forever your Mon Loup
Allen Counts

It means my wolf in French. We made a code word to start every conversation with Mon Loup so we knew it was each other… (laughing) It just stuck and we called each other that all the time.

This picture was taken in San Francisco on their trip!
Look at her smile... pure happiness!

Thursday, January 7, 2016


So much is going on around me these days. Good things, in spite of Mariah’s death. Somedays I just want to scream from the top of my lungs “I’M SO HAPPY my SON IS CLEAN AND SOBER!!” But then I remember Mariah… and it brings me back down to earth. My son always says “I feel so guilty for being happy”. RIGHT!! Me too monkey, me too! I know Mariah would’ve wanted us to be happy and she would’ve wanted us to celebrate the many victories we’ve been experiencing lately. It’s funny how much you remember about a person after their gone. You remember all their best qualities and all the good times you’ve shared. You let go of the anger and you remember the love. You remember the their warm smiles and soft hugs, and you remember all the long talks and the secrets you shared. When she was still alive she did everything in her power to push me away and she did it with such vengeance… all I could remember was being so angry at her, so so angry. When I found out the next morning after she killed herself it was like all my anger disintegrated at that very moment and as I fell to the floor on my knees crying and yelling “NO, NO PLEASE SAY IT’S NOT TRUE GIANNA NO” It was as if someone pull the latch from this overhead trap door and all the love I had for her came crashing down on me like a ton of brick.

Allen is staying CLEAN and SOBER… completely sober, even after her death when no one would have blamed him, he stayed clean! (VICTORY) Throughout the holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas and even NEW YEARS… still clean! He’s been struggling without having a job for the longest time and dealing with self-esteem issues… still clean! Victories on Mariah’s behalf… We got approval to build a small library at Crossroads for Woman. We got a new meeting started on Fridays at Crossroads for Woman. I’ve been getting a lot of donated books from everyone! ALL VICTORIES! I’m so excited about the library!! I have so many ideas and things I would like to do. Sooo many things!! But I’m going to do one thing at a time. My first task is to build shelves… oh the shelves, my dream is to put up shelves that go from the celling to the floor with a sliding latter. A girl can dream right!? 

So here’s to all our victories Mariah! CHEERS!!