Ryan Donnelly's Blog


The door slammed shut and I dusted the dirt off my hands. Reached for my phone like countless other times each day to respond to texts and calls. My phone was lit up with the word “Voicemail” and I clicked select. The voice on the recording was a voice I knew well. A voice that I have been waiting to hear for quite some time. It was my best friend from childhood, Kenny. He sounded broken down and said the key words,” I hit rock bottom and I need help.” it was all I needed to hear and I told Bill that I had to leave work and what the circumstances were. Bill practically pushed me out of the truck to be on my way, as he is 200% behind my mission.

Many emotions overcame me on my quick ride to the ER. I didn’t know much about the situation but I knew one thing for sure, I am invested with every ounce of my being to show Kenny the direction that he alone needs to take the first step towards.

The motion doors spread and I found myself standing over Thomas (Kenny’s brother) and a friend of Kenny’s in the ER waiting room. I had not seen Thomas in years and it was comforting to shake hands. Keep in mind that I had stolen from his family to feed my addiction just a couple years ago. The exchange went smooth and we got down to business. I asked some questions and wanted to know how involved Kenny’s family wanted me to be. I was all in and that’s what they wanted too.

I was able to see Kenny in his room. What was said between the two of us will always stay that way but tears and emotions were there. I could see in his eyes the fatigue, he was ready. I began to explain to him the steps we would take together and how it was going to be. It was a “he shit, I watched relationship” till we could get him into rehab, he agreed.

The following day Kenny was released from the hospital and I picked him up from his grandparents house. Kenny let me know that he would like to get some clothes from his mother’s house and I insisted that I speak with them. This is the first time entering their home since I broke in over 2 years ago. It was a tense first couple of minutes and they let me have it. Tears were shared and the ice was broken. I can never repay the mental damage I caused them but I could help their son. We left on good terms, shook hands and hugged. I know our relationship will never be the same but as long as they know my intentions, I hope to be there for them whenever they need me.

We got in the car heading to my house and talked about the insanity that is drug addiction. So much that we could relate to and we were finishing eachothers sentences. We walked into my home and were greeted by Jess and Napoleon. Jess had gone to Target earlier in the day to get things for Kenny’s next chapter. Mostly toiletries, underwear, socks, things to make him more comfortable. What I expected to be a long night of talking was not. Kenny fell asleep very early and I headed to bed with Jess. I would be lying if I said I slept well that night. I spent most of the night watching him sleep and writing in my journal. This guy on my couch was my brother and I wanted him to feel as I do now.

The morning came and the phone tag began. Rehabs and I traded calls but beds were not available. What we thought would be a day or two of waiting seemed to be heading a different direction. Kenny and I talked constantly all day about life, about what was but more of what will be. See, I don’t believe that this was all happening by chance, Kenny was meant to stay with me and I took that more seriously than I can explain. I wanted him to understand that he was capable of doing incredible things that his mind may find impossible. I convinced him to go for a run with me. And after some persuasion he agreed to go for a mile run. It was going to be a run to the beach and back. What he didn’t know was that I had other plans for him. After we reached the beach which read 1.15 miles on my GPS, I told him we had only traveled a quarter mile. We proceeded down Rt. 35 for a bit and then headed home. It was dark, quiet and as we ran back I was overcome with chills. I had dreamed of this exact moment before and now it was real. I looked over at him and his hoodie was drenched with sweat, he was breathing heavy and he looked miserable. I then began to talk about his future, that his life had just begun, motivating him to the best of my ability. Before I knew it, we were in front of my home. I gave him a hug and said, “when you woke up this morning, did you think you were gonna go for a 4-mile run?” He looked at me smiled and called me an asshole. A mental victory for Kenny and he showered and went to bed.

The next day was more of the same, waiting and waiting but with no news of a bed. I called Bill and he came over for the afternoon. He offered to give Kenny work till we got him into rehab and Kenny was stoked. Bill took off home and Kenny and I went for another 4 miler. This one tougher than the first. Kenny was showing signs of life. His determination and will were growing stronger. We showered and I made dinner and quickly went to bed.

Bill and I started working and Kenny jumped in like he had been doing this for years. Kenny brings an aura of comedy and fun to everything, it’s one of his personality traits. The guy could make watching paint dry fun. So needless to say we all had a good time, got a lot of work done the next two days and then the call came in. A bed was available! Kenny began the phone interview and was accepted. The next morning we would be heading to NYC.

That night I didn’t get much sleep. I must have checked on Kenny 3 or 4 times that night to make sure he was comfortable. I knew where he was heading, it was the same rehab I went to. I knew he was ready and I couldn’t wait for him to start his journey, his chapter 1. As corny as it sounds, I stood in the doorway to my living room and watched him sleep. I missed his friendship and I was proud to be the one to help him.

The next morning we were off. Kenny didn’t talk much on the bus ride up. He looked like he was getting his mind right. We left Port Authority and headed directly there. Stomping through the pouring rain we arrived at the building. We walked in together and I checked him in. I gave him a hug and said goodbye.

That building brought back a TON of emotions. It was where my life took on meaning. Where I found my purpose. I know it will be a chapter in Kenny’s life that will change him forever. Love you Kenny. Don/Mac

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