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Michael Strassman 12.29.59 – 6.30.07

My brother, Michael Strassman would have turned 58 today. We lost him ten years ago due to complications from an addiction to methamphetamine. The drug was a whole lot stronger than he was and in his five-year struggle, I saw the funny, talented creative person my brother was disappear and become someone I no longer knew.

I just finished watching the entire season of “Nurse Jackie” a Showtime series about a dedicated ER nurse with an opiate addiction. The show really nails the personality of the disease and how the addict will lie, deceive and risk everything to get their high. Edie Falco, who played Jackie Peyton was outstanding in her role and accurately depicted how addiction affects not only addict but everyone around her. I could not help but think of my brother as i watched each episode.

Michael was a rock climber, a photographer, a videographer and writer. His accomplishments include numerous first ascents on several mountains all over the world, an award-winning video about climbing called “Moving Over Stone” and lots of poems and essays. You can see some of his work here.

I miss Michael every day. I realise that I am also a member of a growing club of folks that have lost loved ones to addiction and mental illness. We really tried to help him, but in the end all we could do was love him.


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