Went to a funeral today….

Went to a funeral today. What a sad thing. A friend, a gentle soul, passed away last Thursday. The chapel was packed, and not a dry eye in the house when a guitar solo played “Tears in Heaven”, by Eric Clapton. A biker with the name “Deacon” sewn on his leather vest presided over the service, but only after his sister got up to read a letter she had written to the little brother she lost and tell him how heartbroken she was that he could never overcome his addiction. “Not a mean bone in his body”, people shared at the end of the service, and “He always told you he loved you, even if you didn’t feel like anyone cared”. A sweet, kind man in his forties who battled with drugs and alcohol…and lost.

Some came drunk or loaded, but most didn’t. They came clean and sober, taking in the full impact of where drugs and alcohol can lead them if they didn’t take it seriously. I couldn’t help thinking about John and the lives lost at the Wonderland house…not to mention a few others that were close to me and died after those years in LA. It is real, it is never pretty and it is always permanent.

I know my friend tried his best all the way up to the end. It was just too tough for him. I remember his eyes. Deep inside I always saw how hard he tried to stay clean. I hope he doesn’t have to struggle anymore. I hope he is at peace.


21 Responses to “Went to a funeral today….”

  1. !van Says:

    that’s sad, dawn. I’m really sorry. I’m also very sorry for not expressing the way i’d like to but i’m not good at these kind of things. :(

  2. chassmac Says:


    I am very sorry for your loss, it is never easy losing someone you care about. I lost a friend around Christmas time from taking to many xanax, he was only 17, it was very very sad. Your friend is at peace now, not having to struggle anymore. My prayers are with you at this time.

  3. Marie Trevino Says:

    OK this hits very close to home. I lost my Father in July. July 4th to be exact. He was a good man no drugs or alcohol. But about the last 2 months I have had a hard time dealing with his passing. I am not sure if this is the right topic to post under, but I read your log every day I use it as a form of therapy for myself and have been wanting to express how grateful I am that it is here for me. I am truly sorry for your friend and I know he is in a better place now. He has gone home. My Father passed away of Cancer and was on hospice care and KNEW he was dying and one of the things he kept saying was he was not afraid to die but he did not want to miss us. This is what I told him it helped him come to peace some and I hope it will help you. I told him that he was always going to be with us just because he was gone he was still going to be here. That he would be here with us whenever we needed him. And Dawn I swear he has guided us in the right direction I can sometimes even hear his voice. I am sorry for your loss. I lurk on this board everyday if you want to talk just let it out we will all listen. My deepest sympathy is with you at this time.
    Marie Trevino

  4. Dawn Says:

    Thank you Ivan and Chassmac and Marie, I’m sorry for your loss too. Marie, I remember speaking to you from the beginning of this blog. How touching that you still come to visit this site. Sometimes I really wonder where things are headed here.

    I do believe my friend is at peace. Another part of the service was lots of people who shared conversations with him where he told them that his body was giving out because he abused it, he could accept that, but what he knew was that he was right with God. I understand what you mean by feeling someone there, I kept sensing him standing among all the friends that were there saying goodbye.

    I feel for your friend too Chassmac. Xanx is very strong and often over prescribed. Sorry.


  5. Terri Says:

    So sorry for your loss. I too have experienced the loss of dear friends due to addiction. I am a recovering addict and whenever I hear of such a tragedy it puts me in touch with just how grateful I am to have found my way out! Dawn, I visit your site often and have been reluctant to post a comment. Ever since seeing the movie (Wonderland, of course) I have felt a connection with you. Though the details are certainly different, we have had similar “core” experiences. I remember seeing at the end of the movie that you were “living happily…” and I felt a great sense of relief! From what I have been reading you live a life filled with many gifts…and you give back in many ways. An inspiration! Thank you for being so open and sharing what’s in your heart. I will continue to check in!
    Blessings to you and yours,

  6. Charlotte Says:

    I was saddened to hear about your loss. Addiction is such a difficult disease to witness, treat, and understand. I work with addicts at my local homeless shelter and a lot of the same faces come through the door again and again. People often “bash” addicts who return for treatment time and time again (famous examples such as Robert Downey Jr. and Whitney Houston) but relapse is expected in connection with this disease, the first rehab experience works in only a Small percentage of cases. Only about 8% of addicts are still clean 60 days after their first rehab experience. People should be applauded for trying to get help again and again-there is no shame in it. If one had cancer, you would not blame him or her for needing treatment again, would you? Of course not. Please reach out to those around you who are in trouble. They may not make it, as Dawn’s friend sadly did not, but do NOT give up on them. If you saw a friend in the path of a train, would you try to push them out of the way or stand on the sidelines saying “Oh, he’s a goner, why bother?”. Think about it.
    Here are some facts and what you can do (for yourself or others):
    54-74% of those assessed with a drug/alcohol problem do not receive treatment-EVER-for many reasons (lack of funds/insurance, lack of community resources/programs, ect.).
    1 in every 100 babies born each year in the US is affected by prenatal alcohol exposure (Alcohol Research & Health 25:159-167).
    21.3% of addicts also have a serious mental illness (Health & Human Services Administration-2004).
    What you can do:
    GET INVOLVED!!! Drive the person to a meeting (AA/NA), do an intervention, take them to a hospital, SOMETHING! Let them know you care.
    Ask your church or community group to allow AA/NA meetings to be held in their basement/building (if one is not already there) or another room when services are not taking place-RENT FREE of course.
    Sponsor addiction prevention programs at your school, your child’s school, church, or social group. MADD, Every 15 Seconds, DARE, and other groups all have speakers ready and willing to spread drug education.
    Help stop the stigma-be a friend, help someone get back on their feet, do whatever you feel you can do.
    LAST BUT NOT LEAST!!! Find out how much you county, city, state spends on drug and alcohol services. It is probably not much. Write your senator, congressman, city council-whoever! Circulate a petition for more money for these programs. Perhaps some deaths and destruction of lives can be stopped from your efforts.
    Sorry to take up so much of your web blog Dawn!! If anyone would like a list of resources, please post it here and maybe we can all contribute and help each other??
    Dawn, you are so fortunate you got away from that life. It is rare and I wish you all the best.

  7. Kris Says:

    Just felt I needed to check in this evening, and maybe I know why.
    Of course I am so sorry for your loss, his family and friends. I also hope he is in a better place, and out of his pain now. I do believe he is with you all.
    I’m glad you were able to all be together, and hopefully celebrate his life some way today, as painful as it all was.

    When I’ve lost family, friends, I always pray that some good will come out of it, somehow, and that I will know what it is. Eventually it seems to become clearer.
    Yes, I see a message here, I hope it becomes apparent to those still struggling.
    Until then, I hope for healing for all.
    Please take care all, in my thoughts especially tonight. Kris

  8. Angeline Says:

    Dawn, very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I had a friend pass away about ten years ago after contracting toxic shock after childbirth. They played “Tears in Heaven” at her funeral too. Very sad. Also my prayers go out to others on this website who have lost loved ones to drugs and alcohol. My aunt was an alcoholic for many years and she died of cancer when I was young. I heard someone say her IQ was like up there at a genius level. It’s really too bad. God bless you all.

  9. Nikki Says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. Addiction is such an insidious enemy and it is difficult to see a friend lose the battle. I don’t know what you feelings are on life after death but I hope your friend is in a place filled with love, white beaches and rolling ocean waves. Maybe he will find the peace there that he sought so desperately when he was chasing drugs, to deaden that pain, and feed the hole in his soul. For me addiction produced such intense euphoria that I thought I had found God. I found the opposite. Dawn, be good to yourself right now. Pamper yourself, let yourself cry. Your in our thoughts and prayers.
    Nikki C.

  10. Angeline Says:

    Hi Dawn, sorry to hear about your friend that passed. I had a friend that passed away about ten years ago after contracting toxic shock after childbirth and they played “Tears in Heaven” at her funeral as well. Very sad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. Marie Trevino Says:

    Dawn this site is an inspiration for me!!!!! It just makes it all that much more real for me to know that I got out alive and am doing so good now. I love hearing the stories from others. Their stories of survival.
    I wanted to tell you about something that happened to me this past Monday. It was how I was able to help. I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer but I do try to give back to my community in other ways. Anyway I had ordered some Avon….my Mother used to be the Avon Lady but since my Dad passed on she just gave it up. Well this younger girl, early 20′s was walking to get her son from school and had her little one hanging the books on doors. She got to my driveway about the time I was walking up with my son (I had just picked him up) we chatted for a few minutes about the specials and such and I told her I would be calling her soon. Now all of this was about 3 weeks before Easter and I hadn’t called. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason!!!!! Well my hubby was complaining he like that 24 hour deodorant they have so I finally found the book and called her up and ordered some. Well she called and came over Monday to bring it and she just looked so worn out he boys we waiting and I had tog et the money together so I told her to bring them in the could all play in my sons room. Well we just started talking and she is going through a divorce she had post-partum depression after the birth of her 2nd child and her Husband just up and left said it was all fake and just left her with the kids. Well I suffer from depression myself. Anyway we started talking and she just open up and let it out and it felt so good for me to be there for her and her boys got to play some and that was good for them too. I just wish I could do more!!!! She is in therapy and taking medication under a phchitrist care. She said she was jsut so happy to know she was not alone.

  12. Dawn Says:

    Hello, Thanks for sharing your stories. You are all amazing! We always have to look for the blessing in even the saddest moments. Walking through the pain, as some of you mentioned, can be strangely enough, a true blessing as well.

    And Marie…you are great. I have found for me that one of the best things that helped my depression, almost miraculously, has been regular exercise. As hard as that can be to do, it worked so well for me, I had to do it. Today, I am a member of a gym and go four days a week, to the best of my ability.

    Take care all and thanks for sharing your moments with me.

    Blessings Always,

  13. aaron Says:

    I just saw wonderland on hbo… very powerful movie. despite the abuse, would you say that you still miss your life with John? watching the movie, the viewer becomes very attached to your relationship with John

  14. Lauretta Ali Says:

    As a survivor of physical and sexual abuse during my stay in the 1950′s foster care system, I can relate to the pain of abuse survivors. Yet, I must say I do admire the strength and just plain goodness of John Holmes’ wife. She is still friends with someone who was sleeping with her husband? Unbelievable. Now this is a woman who needs a bushel of flowers. Dawn, you are blessed that this woman is your friend. How painful this must’ve been for her. I am not making little of your pain. You were just a child when he came into your life. Just as I was just a child when my son’s dad came into my life. Yet, he was single. I can only imagine how hurt John’s wife was at that time. I guess we can only say that John never got away with murder as he surely died young. I am pleased that you met a good man and had a great life, Dawn. Peace and love always. I sure wish I could send some love to John’s wife. Dawn, you know,she sure deserves it.

  15. camila Says:

    hi dawn,im from brasil and watched a movie yesterday that tells john holmes story and i decide look more about you specially knowing you just wrote a book and im very interest in read…from the movie i could feel a little about your life and hopeless at the time and seeing in this site how you are doing today keeps me believe in life and how stronger people like you, has a lot to show and teach all of us….congratulation for all you´ve been doing and for the hopes you are bring in this world………wish you the best and all the happiness you can have…love ,camila

  16. amber Says:

    I know how hard it is to lose someone to drugs, aids, and the hardest part for me is to forgive myself as well as the one who died.We all knew better. Count yorself very blessed to get thruogh this and onto a “normal” life such as it is. Nothing against you Dawn, but if you had died from an overdose you would have been forgotten by all except for those who loved you.I just wish that everyone could have the compassion of those who have responded to you.My best friend got caught up along with me in xanax and hydrocodone.Most of my friends are either dead or in prison.Noone gives them a second thought except for loved ones. At my friends funeral the preacher said that she was a lost cause and that everyone needed to change or we would be like her, dead.How wrong he was. She would still be here maybe if someone gave a damn.Lucky for me, my brither knew i was in trouble and had me get out of south fla. and detox. Is not easy. I still want to get high, but i will not do that to my kids.i have been clean for16 months now!!!!! I have left a 18 year abusive marriage and found a whole new life with my girlfriend of 5 years.Please continue your journey for the women who feel they are trapped in this web of drugs & abuse.Thank you Dawn.

  17. Keli Says:

    Hi Dawn,
    It’s me Keli. For some reason I feel drawn toy our website. I think it is helping me, I can’t quite explain it but it is. I had a weird day that struck me as odd. A friend told me that she had acted out by using drugs because her husband was MIA, I told her that I would rather her call me to go do something positive with her instead. I also stated to her that as long as she was using that I could not be around her. It makes me want to use again and let me tell you how hard it was for me to not ask her for it.. You said this site is safe here right? I am really nervous. I know things about someone that are not right to keep from the autorities, but I am scared to death of what might become of me if I tell. What do I do? I have a family to protect that has NO idea what I am dealing with internally. I don’t know, maybe all this writing about it is actually causing more harm than good. I still can’t find your book. I really want to read this material. I hope I am not bothering or creating drama for anyone who reads on this site. I know no one wants to hear my sob story, so I appologize immensely for it. I just feel safe here. If I am bothering people please just let me know and I will go away just like my friends did. Maybe your book will help to calm these feelings of past destruction. Once again I would like to thank you in advance for all of your hard work on the book and of coarse the words of encouragement. I hope to hear from you soon. By the way, how is Sharon doing? From the movie and what you have stated I just want to love her too.

    Thanks for listening,

  18. kay Says:

    I just saw the movie Wonderland on HBO, at the end it says Dawn is writing a book. What is the update on that. I was really touched by the movie and would like to know more.

  19. April E. Says:

    Hello Dawn,
    I turned 8-years old in August of 1981. I had a great birthday that year. I remember being a majorette and having a team party. Unfortunately, I had not yet realize the year 1981 would be forever erased from my memory.
    On December 5, 1981, my father & I were watching my 3-year old brother. My dad said, “You know…’ and stopped. My father was having a heart attack, and he was trying to talk to me. He died. I will never know what he was trying to tell me. I KNOW the event took only about 30 seconds. I do not remember . . .. ..

    Many years of my life passed before I realized that the cognitive mind of an eight-year old would not comprehend such an event. Therefore, the mind will not allow you to remember anything but the traumatic events you wish, pray, and hope to forget.

    As I grew older, I lost all stability in my life. I lost more time, memories were not created, and I found solitude through the path of least resistance. The one which steals your friends, hobbies, surroundings. For many years, an inexplicible anxiety lingered. Being lost inside yourself is torturous. Watching others die while they try to escape is equally distressing.

    I have lost many friends to drugs. While at their euology, I have watched other friends fade… . .. if they had not already completely faded. Their functioning, hollowed souls are tattered and worn. I am sorry you have felt this sadness. I have been one of these souls, emotionally tortured and seeking escape.

    Finally, I made it. YOU have made it also. My heart goes to you. I also have hope for anyone who may not see a path toward hope.

    By the way, I am now able to asses the events of 1981. I REMEMBER watching the news one evening with my father. Tom Chancelor said that four people were killed in a horrifically brutal manner and only one person survived. The news debated whether or not someone was involved.

    I asked my dad how someone could murder and not be involved? He told me that if you are rich and powerful enough you can convince people of the inconcievable. I DO remember. I finally remembered.

    When I saw the movie, I remembered even more. Unfortunately, my memories of 1981 are about death. I am sorry my blog is so long. My selective memory of 1981 is very ironic.

    Thank you for allowing me to share. If you could email me, I would be grateful.~ae

  20. cherie caradonna Says:

    I would just like to say im sorry for your loss,April 7th will be one year since I lost my husband Jeff to drugs.I have 2 older kids that he was a great step dad to,allso our daughter was 2 when he passed.I think it sucks that we were cheated out of our time with him,but the only thing we can do is try to make shure it doesnt happen again.I have changed allot of things in the past year and i try not to cry.My friends and I talk about him allot that seems to make it easier.I guess all one can do is “keep on keepin on” goodluck and chin up to anyone out there that is suffering through the loss of a loved on,it does get easier

  21. Jerry Anglin Says:

    I prefer to receive notice about the book via snail mail. Thank you.

    Jerry Anglin
    2586 Oro Quincy Rd
    Oroville, CA 95966


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