A poem by Leanna Olbinsky

Fall to the ground

Heart beat slow

Vision white

Reaching for a hand

From god or something

It isn’t here this time


Begging for one last call

What would be said

decay and weakness

Finally taking over

A strong mind


What would you do if you knew

One chance too many

One last breath

free from the demons

Released from the pain


My daughter will feel

What would you do if you knew


Familiar faces rushing in

On the floor

Cry by my body

Hold on maybe this isn’t it

Take me away

One more chance

Invincible, pain free, control

Blood through my veins


Hold on this isn’t supposed to be

Strength, courage, vindication

The family who loves me

Give them my soul

Taken now let it go

This time I’m not as lucky


I don’t feel myself coming back

Like before

My daughter

My wife

My dad

Don’t be mad please

It’s time to be with my mom

Remember me

Addiction free

I am now free

Learn more about Leanna’s cause for helping families accepting addiction.

Help raise money for addiction resources by donating to Leanna’s 5K fundraiser.

Demi Lovato’s Addiction

IrDemi Lovato released “Sober” on June 21st, 2018 which was an apology for relapsing. On July 24th Demi was hospitalized for an overdose. She was sober for 6 years. There’s not a word strong enough that can describe the shame of a relapse.


After my dad would overdose, all I wanted to do was call him and act like it never happened and that’s what I did. You just can’t ask why. No matter how badly we want to know the reason why- to be in the head of someone struggling with addiction and control the impulse like a joystick- we just can’t.

Owned by Getty Images demi lovato
Owned by Getty Images

I wouldn’t let him know that I knew he overdosed or relapsed. He’d call and I’d tell him I loved him. I’d repeat it. I’d ask how he was mentally and skip over the fact that I knew he was hanging by a thread of hope that it’d be okay.

I saw my dad struggle more with depression and guilt than with the addiction itself. To hear that he felt like a failure to me. No matter how many times you tell him he’s your hero he denied that it could ever be a possibility to be a hero from the pain he caused me.

Demi Lovato is a hero to a lot of people who are struggling with addiction. Like her song said she is only human. And what she is going through is in the public eye. Her song, Sober, reminded me of that pain in the most vulnerable and caring way.

It’s hard to accept love, forgiveness, and hope after a relapse. 

My hope is that she see’s the side of addiction she is shedding light on and that it gives her the strength to get sober. But even more so than getting sober again, I hope that her and people struggling just like her, and like my dad, find peace in not being perfect. I hope that she and people like her find a way to continue to say I’m sorry like she bravely did and continues to forgive herself.

Even when I forgave my dad, he never forgave himself. People that understand Demi Lovato’s struggle forgive her. Life is not meant to be living in guilt and shame.

If I could have one moment back with my dad I’d tell him one last time that he is my hero and my inspiration and life and for him to hear it, accept it and feel it.

If you’re struggling with addiction… you’re meant to be an inspiration. You’re as deserving of happiness and love as anyone else. There’s hope and we want you to forgive yourself. I accept you for who you are.




Bruno Mars Concert Tickets

My dads last wish before he passed was to go to the Bruno Mars concert.

Now I have a chance to give the experience to another family and I want to make it happen for the Bruno Mars September 27th, 2018 Boston 24k Magic World Tour. I’ll be giving away tickets to a deserving family.



My dad called me on October 6th. “It’s my bucket list!” It was the first time I had heard my dad happy in a really, really long time.




I never knew that it’d be the last memory I ever had with my dad, but I’m so happy we left off on an experience of a lifetime.


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My dad suffered from addiction and severe depression and most of our talks were sad.



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But when we talked about Bruno Mars, my dad lit up. Especially when I told him we were actually going to the concert!



Interested in winning Bruno Mars tickets for you and a family member? Click Here

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Although I didn’t know, my mom tells me how he knew that it’d be the last time we’d probably see each other.




It was the best night. I sang and danced with my dad for the last time.


I want to give this experience to a family who needs memories like this

Enter to Win Free Bruno Mars Tickets

All you have to do is tell me what this concert would mean for you and your family member to go.


You are Good Enough

You can be absolutely perfect but not good enough for someone.

It doesn’t mean you lack confidence if your imperfections scream at you when you’re around certain people. How people make you feel about yourself is an indicator of whether you need to remove someone from your life.

“It doesn’t matter what people think about you.” That’s a lie. It does matter what people we care about think of us. If the people you care about are making you feel like you’re not good enough you are risking personal growth.

The longer you let these people’s perception swallow you, the more anxious and unsure of yourself you’ll feel.

These aren’t the people that give you honest criticism. Those people help you grow. These people that give you a bad feeling. They want you to talk, but not to listen or to help. You can see in their eyes they are waiting to hear you open up so that they can celebrate where you fall short.

We’re better than that. We have accomplishments. We have a purpose! We have good to give to the world. We have an impact. We are capable of being outstand and insanely irresistible.

There are moments that take us away from the feelings of doubt. We can escape Have you ever gone home from a place or from being with someone who really cares about you and you remember how you had forgotten about those feelings because in that time you were shining and glowing with sureness? That’s because those places and those people are the ones that should be in your life.

Your confidence, your talent, your skills, your uniqueness haven’t gone anywhere. You still have it all in your possession.

You are absolutely good enough. You can make mistakes. You can fail. Apologies are meant for acceptance of your past actions and improvement of your future actions. Fail and get back up but don’t be fooled by the people who watched you fail and wanted you to stay down.

I wear your judgments like a mask
My downfall is my loyalty 
To be better for you
You tell me what you don’t like about me
And it hits me that I did everything right
And so I search in my mind chaotically 
Trying to vindicate myself that I was wrong
Because my loyalty is greater than my pride
And I just want to be wrong
So that I can apologize
And everything would go back to the way it was
But sometimes you just lose 
I lost
I can’t stop you from hurting me 
And now I’m stuck under this hideous mask
Wearing it like it defines me
I know one day I can take it off
But right now it’s a part of who I am 
– Leanna

Be kind to everyone but be careful who you give your heart to. Remember to smile.



One Suitcase for 89 Years

My grandpa is leaving the house he’s lived in for the past 12 years. Moving into our house was the beginning of a new chapter of his life – the loss of his wife and his independence. My grandpa could’ve worked till 90 if it weren’t for the circumstances around him. Mentally, my grandpa is still sharp as a tac. He still gives cashiers a hard time for using calculators and will have the math done before they even have time to react.

When he had knee replacement surgery they asked him questions to see if he was healthy. “What is the year?” “What is your name?” “Who is the president?” They asked him. Grandpa responded and said, “Ok, my turn. If you don’t get this right you stop asking me questions.” The doctors smirked in confusion. “Who is the secretary of state?” No answer. Grandpa chuckled, his eyes sparkling and looking around with satisfaction. The nurses giggled and the doctors confirmed that grandpa was definitely ok.

The new chapter of his life meant he was living with me, my mom, and my dad. It was 2006. My grandpa didn’t really see how bad my dad’s addiction was until this time. The woman that hid all the pain from my grandpa was gone and he suddenly suffered the truth of my dad’s disease.  He resigned his license and any friends he had. He didn’t give up. As he’ll tell you he was living for me. That’s the kind of human he is. Old fashioned, family-first, sacrifice everything for others. So, he didn’t give up. It’d be unfair to say that. But he did stop living for himself.

It was too painful to talk to the many friends he had for fear of the questions they’d ask. He couldn’t bear to hear the question, “How is Slavic? How are you?” He couldn’t frame his mind around any answer that didn’t make him sick to his stomach.

He has been sitting in the same room for 12 years with not a single soul besides his broken family to turn to. He saw his daughter-in-law and son fight about money, drugs, and keeping secrets from me about the truth of the situation. He watched his son overdosing. Physically at the age of 87, my grandpa lifted my dad from his bedside and cried for him to get help. The man who didn’t believe in religion prayed to save him.

Along the way, we had good times too. We’ve had successful holidays together, laughs with the whole family, game nights, and two graduations. Grandpa especially loves to hear that my boyfriend and I have plans to start a family of our own. When we took grandpa to get a haircut recently, I texted Eric across the room. Grandpa’s eyes lit up. He smiled so big and looked at Eric then back at me. “He’s not looking yet!” Then he looked back at Eric to see his response when he got the text. Eric began to speak and grandpa laughed saying, “No you have to text your answer!” It was a clear indication how much my grandpa adored love. And he loved my grandma Anna more than anything in the world.

And he has a brother that is a gift to the world that you couldn’t understand unless you really understand what the cure to heartbreak is. Consistent love and acknowledgment. Without fail his brother calls 3 times a day at the same times to have any conversation that is left to have. David and grandpa are proud to say “If you ask us what we talk about, don’t ask! We don’t know!” That’s what’s beautiful about their relationship. There are no excuses to miss out on any words not said.

My grandpa is now picking up his bags and at the age of almost 89, he is starting over again.

We talked on the phone today and lately, our conversations have been filled with emotion. Today he called and in a stutter, he explained his fears. Finally, with a stern voice, he said “I have one suitcase. I’m 89 and I fit everything in my 89 years into one suitcase. Do you understand what that feels like?”

I knew he meant that he feels like he has nothing to show for his 89 years. He’s suffered so much loss and sacrificed his success in the USSR to make sure his family would have a chance in America. He worked for 30 years at the same factory as an engineer. Some days he worked 16 hours. He was popular, smart, and had so many friends that loved him. And he feels like he has nothing to show for it.

But that isn’t true. The beauty of having one suitcase at the age of 89 shows his bravery, his pain, and his ability to fight. That suitcase couldn’t even begin to fill the memories and the legacy that I will not fail to pass along to my family one day.

We’re All Like Hot Air Balloons


“Like hot air balloons, all of us are engineered to soar to great heights. Unfortunately, many of us ‘sandbag’ ourselves. We do things, we think things, and we believe things that hold us down. we get insecure, fearful, and jealous. We judge people, think negatively and make excuses for our unhappiness. we become our biggest obstacle. Imagine what it would be like if we got out of our own way.”- Scott Greenberg

Stop Sandbagging Yourself

  • Think of what makes you truly happy- daily, monthly, yearly.
  • Write down your favorite accomplishments.
  • Decide what you can improve.


  • Put away your phone.
  • Be present in your community.
  • Journal your gratitude.
  • Send letters to the people you love.


You CAN Stop Judging


The Face of Addiction



205 people are first time users of opioids per day. Whatever the reason is of the start, addiction is a lifelong disease that brings a lot of pain to oneself and loved ones.

As I know too well, the face of addiction can be someone with the purest heart. The face of addiction was my very handsome, superhero-like dad who has lost more than half his weight at the time he passed away.

If 205 people start using opioids a day- there is bound to be someone, 20 years old like my dad was, not thinking that one day he’d have a family that he just wants to fight for and not have to have a forceful disease hanging over him that inserts heroin into their veins. Escaping from something that eventually they’ll die to escape.

Read my more in-depth opioid statistics here.  Read about my very amazing dad (and mom) here.

The face of addiction can really be anyone you love, although I hope it’s not- but maybe that’s why you’re here. If so I feel your pain.