My current story takes me to a little town in Ohio, where a girl graduated from high school at the age of 16 and pursued a degree in marketing. This young woman had no idea what her future would hold, as well as how many trials that she would have to experience before she would become known as the inspiring and well respected, Mama Dukes. I know her best as Lesha Marie Cuttaia. As one of Manders’ Renegades and a badass broad, I’m going to offer some background information about Lesha, her son Frankie, and Rex Silverback, that are FHF. I’m going to tell you why we are proud to have them teamed up with us at Operation Clean Recovery.
Life Experience Leads to FHF
Lesha is from Port Clinton, Ohio. Having dealt with complications personally with Frankie’s addiction, this woman has fought to be where she is today. Learning first hand how devastating addiction is while a loved one suffers, Lesha has made great changes for those in need.
Lesha and Frankie are both open about how their journey began in recovery and within the recovery community. It was in the winter of 2003-2004 when Lesha remembers the first phone call from her son about a problem with drugs. He was staying with a girlfriend near Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. As Lesha had never dealt with addiction first hand, she wasn’t aware of the manipulation and lies that accompanied active addiction. As Frankie promised this time, and again many times after, he had his problem under control.
This was the beginning of Frankie’s five year stint with heroin. During this time he was living carefree as he hitchhiked from one venue to the next following the music band, Phish, as they toured the country. It was also during this time that Lesha chose to leave her career as manager of a car dealership. The more she learned about her son and his addiction, the more she felt the pull to help others like him as well as parents like her. This began her work in the social service field.
The more Frankie stayed on the road, the more he knew he wasn’t ready to stop using. He hated heroin and his addiction and he also knew other people may be ready to change. As he worsened with time, he began using graffiti as an outlet for self-expression. He began leaving “Fuck Heroin” on the surfaces he passed by, along with his Mom’s cell phone number. If he couldn’t help himself, he knew he could lead others that wanted it to his Mom who would find the help they needed. His Mom was dedicated to finding resources for others even though Frankie himself was not ready.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Frankie met a man that would change his life. As an affiliate with the televised production of “Intervention,” this man had the experience to be able to help push Frankie forward into his recovery. Saul Kane made this happen and Frankie soon began his new start at A New Day in Florida. Over the next eight months of traveling between Ohio and Florida, before choosing Florida as her state of residence, Lesha became an active advocate for those involved with gang relations, addiction, and human trafficking. The night of his one year anniversary, as the two reflected on the past year, Frankie decided to begin a Facebook page – he called it Fuck Heroin. It was a testament to the path both had taken thus far.
Immediately, the online world was receptive to this cause that mother and son were devoted to. While the page was unpublished just a few minutes after it’s introduction to social media, it came back, with avengence. Those suffering from every corner were contacting the page, needing help, needing hope, and looking for inspiration. Since FHF officially began in 2013, Lesha has thrown herself into her advocacy. She even helped the push for the first Ohio county to start carrying narcan, also in 2013. Without a doubt the two have made FHF what it has become today.
While Frankie has suffered relapses over the years, he has always remained completely open about each time. He once had a live video of himself as he entered a detox program. Frankie is aware that perfection is non-existant but he refuses to stay down by stigma and opinions. Each time he has come back to his recovery, he has continued speaking out and sharing his story to help others in need. While the journey hasn’t been easy, Lesha knows that her son is fulfilling his purpose by using himself as an example. Frankie is responsive and receptive to others and has helped many with their own fight for living.
A Push for the Cause
Over the years, most addicts wanting and needing help have been unable to find it. Many still remain in active addiction unable to have the opportunity to even begin their own recovery. Where insurance can and does provide coverage for treatment, often it is not enough to cover adequate or necessary treatment without out of pocket expenses – some cases are more extreme and require more time for the appropriate care. Those that don’t have insurance, well, they don’t seem to stand a chance.
A lot of people run into the same problems. When contacted, treatment facilities will answer their phones, and oblige in conversation regarding what the current needs of an individual are. But when it comes down to the all important question of, “What health care provider do you currently carry?” the connection can be suddenly lost when discovering medical coverage does not suffice.
Out of a depeleted sense of need in her own life and in the lives of those around her, Lesha often found herself saying, ‘Fuck Heroin’. In turn, this became Lesha’s battle cry, simultaneously with her son. Little did either know that this would change their lives forever. Lesha had no idea she would make the impact that she has today.
Like so many living in active addiction, Lesha knows too well that not being able to find support or help leaves one with the feeling of being stuck and hopeless. It seems like everywhere anyone looks there are obstacles. Lesha also felt hopeless while trying to help her son as well as she observed with what was going on around her. It was always the same hurdle no matter where anyone turned, and it is still a struggle today. Lesha was fueled then with the motivation for change and realized that the problems existed in the health care system itself and not entirely on ‘bad choices.’ And so through her own consistency in advocacy, Lesha has helped to bring changes in the lives of many.
From Then to Now
At present, Lesha has multiple projects at any given time. On Friday nights, she hosts ‘Shattering the Stigma’ on RecoveryRadio.fm that broadcasts live. She devotes her free time to supporting families that have suffered from the struggles and loss that addiction brings. Lesha travels often to public rallies speaking about addiction to many.
As of June of 2017, she is also published in the novel, Dare to be Sober, in which she shares her personal experiences and knowledge with addiction and recovery along with other authors. Coming in October as well, Lesha has just signed with a major television network to air a reality mini series.
Also, along with his Mother, Frankie is a powerful voice that shows addicts who he is and what he’s endured. He is real and honest about his experiences and others can easily relate to his story when he speaks. While he’s spending time now working on himself, he is still also working with the foundation outside of public view.
In addition to Lesha and Frankie, Rex Silverback is the other half of FHF. He has been with the foundation for the last two years. Rex’s sincerity and his passion to spreading hope and healing by being a pillar of strength has extended and overflowed into the recovery community.
Rex spends countless hours of his time devoted to promoting truth about addiction and recovery and has become a well-known voice. With his live streaming show, ‘After Dark,’ Rex broadcasts every night between the hours of 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m., allowing for audience members to contact him directly to voice concerns and ask questions. He is an honest breath among those that have failed to remain focused in their own messages. Along with this, he has maintained all administration and graphics for FHF’s social media side of operations.
For those unaware, Rex recently celebrated 19 years of sobriety from alcohol, heroin, and opiate pills. He has spent large amounts of his time attending both AA/NA meetings over the years. He has found that regardless of the chosen path one takes in recovery, the program utilized, and the amount of scars one carries, reiterating the mistakes someone has made in not beneficial for healing. As Rex sponsors up to two recovering addicts at a time, he is adamant on teaching others to not look a what’s gone wrong, but to determine what can be done to be better and to do better.
In addition to learning through his own life experiences, his knowledge in the addiction and recovery field extends farther than many. Rex spent five years employed at Her Majesty’s Young Offender Institute (HMYOI) in Warren Hill, England. While working within this youth prison system, he also wrote for consultative panels and developed laws nationally.
Those of us that are dedicated to spreading the right message with integrity and compassion are not doing so for the fame. True recovery is based on rebuilding the self and sharing what we’ve learned after the amount of time we have given to our own recoveries. Until we have an extended legth of time put towards our own recoveries, and have proven to benefit others with the knowledge we have gained, we cannot help anyone. Our stories are based on overcoming our difficulties and trials – we speak to show that it is absolutely posible to turn our lives around and to rise above the negativity society still holds. True recovery is about giving back.
Now is where attention needs to be brought because at Operation Clean Recovery we are adamant on sharing truth. Our objective is to bring awareness and education to the public. As Lesha, Frankie, and Rex meet us in agreement with our ethics, we feel it is necessary to further explain how FHF is established being both a foundation and for what it extends to others. Also known as Clean Motives, LLC., FHF is completely different than what anyone may have previously known about them as was spread by word of mouth. But as always, if you want to learn more about something, you seek the answers to questions.
Lesha, Frankie, and Rex are honest about the cause that they believe in. FHF is an entity that operates solely on giving back. Lesha does extensive research in the treatment facilities she comes across and works to find alternative solutions if necessary, both for those needing assistance and to those seeking information on those facilities that are proven to provide appropriate treatment.
Social Media Brings Opinions
Right now, FHF seems to be catching a lot of negativity, but aside from ‘side talk’ I have yet to see any proof of anything bad that’s been said thus far. So, knowing how rumors circulate, all I can do is laugh. Lesha is sincere and her credibility as an interventionalist within the recovery community speaks for itself. Rex has also devoted himself to giving back to those suffering, and Frankie uses his voice to offer hope. I support the Fuck Heroin Foundation.
The sad part is that social media has become a breeding ground for so many people to feed off of the weaknesss of others and are claiming to be ‘with’ a group and are not – more specifically, there are those using FHF falsely behind their names.
FHF is the combined efforts of Lesha, Frankie, and Rex only.
Just because this foundation uses outreach to financially assist those needing it, does not mean that they support or endorse everyone who claims to be representatives of FHF. There are presently people in the recovery community that are falsely using the foundation’s name as a backing for their own ventures. Unfortunately, as rumors spread because of changes that have been made for the betterment of the foundation, speculation and assumptions are crucial to eradicate when false information is given.
It is especially important for anyone seeking a treatment facility to always conduct research on a place of interest. It is imperative to understand that just because a person can market great claims, does not mean they are not recruiting for financial gains. If possible, find facilities close to home. Before sending a loved one into the care of another, always ask as many questions as you can! The old addage remains that if something seems too good to be true it usally is.
FHF is proof that hard work and diligence comes from putting in countless hours every day. It takes an overwhelming sense of compassion to do what we do. Those of us true in our intentions have genuine heartfelt reasons behind the causes we are devoted to. It takes a selflessness that not everyone has. As addicts living in long term recovery and sobriety, as well as those educated about addiction, we don’t do what we do for the money. We don’t push our cause with any means that asks for financial assistance from the recovery community. We do what we do because we know everyone deserves the chance to change their lives.
However, through our efforts and knowledge, we also know that the addictive mindset is one that focuses on immediate gratifications. Because of this, it is easy for any of us to slip once we begin our recovery. Being aware of triggers, boundaries, attitudes, and healthy routines are all necessary to be able to fully commit to one’s own recovery. If anyone loses sight of what needs to be maintained to continue to heal then anyone can easily fall back into old habits and routines.
Our efforts combined with FHF will strengthen the recovery cause and the recovery community. It is our duty to maintain safety for all of the community’s members. No one deserves the detriment of falling prey to the wrong people and places.
FHF has Teamed Up with Operation Clean Recovery
We welcome FHF in joining our efforts at Operation Clean Recovery. FHF is proof that hard work pays off. In this field, true advocates, activists, and ambassadors are grateful for the opportunity to have a second chance at life. Our purpose is about helping others succeed in their own second chances at life!
We have to work hard for positive changes and for those things that benefit us. We have to show others the real benefits of recovery. We have to live by example to prove that recovery is possible. These are survivors. They have used their struggles to become what they have today. FHF is pushing forward and is not looking back. Lesha, Frankie and Rex are the Fuck Heroin Foundation.