picture of the Gallo family, including three grown brothers and their mom. one brother is struggling with addiction.

Touched by Addiction: Robbie’s Story

Touched By Addiction

While we do enjoy talking about beer, here at Thorn Street Brewery, sometimes real life happens and helps to show us a bigger picture in our surrounding community. September is National Recovery Month and with more than 21 million people struggling with addiction in the U.S., the impact on their families and loved ones is far-reaching.

This issue hit close to home recently, when one of our TSB tribe members, Robbie Gallo, was interviewed by recovery.org about his family’s story. This campaign was created to shed light on the stigma attached to addiction and the effect on family members of people addicted to drugs.

Robbie is not only a valued employee here at TSB, but he is also a founding member of Vokab Kompany, a San Diego based hip-hop, electro, soul, funk band. Robbie’s brother, Brian is addicted to heroin and meth and thankfully is now in a 2 year rehab program at Delancey Street Foundation. When recently asked, “what it’s like to love someone struggling with addiction,” Robbie’s mom had some powerful things to say.

A mother’s love…

“You hope it’s not that bad. You hope it will get better. You prepare yourself. They might not survive. You must strengthen your mind -your heart. You look in on them when they are ‘sleeping.’  You check their breathing-like a newborn. You know you must be so crazy.

You look for a lot of input, calling local rehab centers. Tahoe Turning Point, AA, NA, Salvation Army, Barton Hospital. Any, and all possible options. Some in CA, some in NV. You enlist your local police /sheriff for strength. You tell your loved one (Brian), that they are SO LOVED, SO VALUED, SO WORTH EVERY EFFORT. Please don’t die… You keep hoping and praying that something Grand and Magical could happen…”

Here’s the interview Robbie did, talking about the impact that his brother’s drug addiction had on his family.

Robbie and his bandmates wrote and recorded a song  with 9 Theory, called Warm in the Light, which was inspired by his brother’s strength and struggle. Family members of addicts are incredibly impacted by this disease and this campaign by recovery.org is working to lift the stigma that loving an addict can carry. The third verse in the song is a good example of the heart and soul that went into making this song.

Warm in the Light

Rob Verse 3:
Truth is you were born with a good life
Hard to know which friends would be worth while
Just kids trying to find another planet
Who’d a thought that cha find another habit
Back then it was nothing but a little fun
That all changed when you found that prescription
Can’t understand you could love it more than us
But then again it was something that I never touched
A soft high in the clutch there was no plan
Went from pills, to a pipe, to a spoon man
Truth stands in the back ’till it’s called up
Until then all your talks just stuff
God damn man hoping that you’ll catch a clue
But me and you will see it through, never make do
We had a view of the world baby all smiles
Just a child and you’re forever worthwhile

Brian is about 6 months through the 2 year program and is doing great. Robbie feels very positive about his brother’s path at this point.  This song, while exposing the raw nerves of drug addiction, is ultimately uplifting in its message of support and strength.

Vokab Kompany is running a gofundme.com campaign right now raising money to create a vinyl record of this song as well as to support the Delancey Street Foundation. There are even rewards for people who donate, outlined in the sidebar of the campaign page.

Feel free to share and donate, or even just use this as a jumping off point to talk about this important issue with your friends and family.