EVE BUCKLAND speaks to two families united by their harrowing experience in dealing with fatal drug addiction 

LASTING bonds are created in many ways but none are as powerful as the connections forged through experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.

Two grieving mothers, who experienced the most powerful of heartache when they lost their sons to heroin addictions, formed an unusual bond and channelled it into a haunting memoir.

Tenacity is the true story of Scott Rose and Stephen Cowell, childhood friends who both developed crippling drug addictions in their teens, as seen through the eyes of their devoted mothers.

Scott’s heartbroken mother Julie Rose, from Covingham united with Stephen’s sisters Michelle and Sarah Cowell to tell their stories with the siblings writing from their late mother Marilyn’s perspective.

“Tenacity is an expression of everything we felt as mothers, every high, every low, every panic that we would outlive our sons,” said Julie.

“They never gave up, even if their sons were still alive today they would still be trying to help them. That’s why the book was always going to be called Tenacity,” said Sarah who lives in Nythe.

The harrowing tale depicts the two sons’ descent into heroin addiction, and the mother’s battle to save them through a combination of therapy, rehab and Scientology based treatment.

There is no sugar coating to this tale, Tenacity details the stark reality of fighting an ultimately losing battle to save the one most precious to you. The mothers never lost sight of their one goal, to “get them right”

“When I found out Scott was using I told him, if you don’t beat it, it is going to beat you, you can’t let this take away your life,” said Julie.

Scott and Stephen, raised on a council estate, had bright futures ahead of them. But in their late teens, and prior to the explosion of a user epidemic in the 1990s, they began experimenting.

“They were friends and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both of them were easily led people and there is that element of pressure,” said Michelle, from Park North.

Scott, who loved listening to America by Razorlight, had been a promising carpenter before he began smoking heroin in his teens. This soon progressed into injecting every day.

Julie added:“Scott was flying high, he could have done anything he wanted. But it became all about the next fix, borrowing money from me or anyone who would give it to him.”

Slowly the addiction would begin to infiltrate every part of their lives.

Stephen developed a passion for coach driving but would get behind the wheel after having taken heroin.

“Stephen was soft, kind, gentle. He was known for being really funny. But the drugs change who you are, it all becomes about getting the next fix, “said Michelle.

“In the beginning we had no idea what to do. We didn’t even know anything about heroin. Why would we.”

The three speak calmly, openly, even with humour about their journeys with Scott and Stephen.

“Stephen had an addictive personality, gambling, he knew how to play the machines so he would win big. That became his living,” said Michelle.

Julie encountered the harrowing realities of her son’s escalating drug addition, when she walked in on Scott taking heroin.

“I ran over him to shouting, screaming, I was in a state of shock. I ripped the needle out of his hands, ran outside and threw it down the drain

“All the time he was shouting at me, trying to get it off me. I knew he would never hurt me but I was scared for what he was becoming. I was confronted by the scale of his addiction and it terrified me.”

Intensive treatment followed for the pair, including therapy inspired by Scientology principles and the 12 steps along with stints in rehab in the UK and Europe.

“It would work, for a time, I felt like I had my son back,and I know from speaking with Marilyn that she also hoped that things would work out. It helped to wish for something better,” said Julie.

“You always have hope, even in your darkest moments, that’s what you hold most dear to you.”

Tragically, both men ultimately succumbed to their addictions and died young.

“Our family felt broken without Stephen,” said Michelle, “we couldn’t believe he was gone.”

Julie added, “The months and years after Scott’s death were a complete blur of grief.”

Tenacity was a three-year labour of love for the trio who met through Julie’s close friendship with Marilyn, who died in 2011. Michelle said:

“We formed a friendship before we could even consider going ahead with Tenacity, we had to to make sure it would work.

“It was emotional, some days we felt like giving up but writing the book has been a healing process, it has made us all feel better. It’s given us a unique bond.”

The trio have begun promoting Tenacity at book fairs and giving talks to counsellors and psychiatrists. It is their hope the book will serve as a stark warning to anyone tempted by drug use and to be used as standard reading in schools and drug rehabilitation clinics.

“I feel this was meant to be, we were meant to meet and meant to put this down, to help others,” said Sarah.

“There’s a lot about drug education in this book. The message is that drugs can hit anyone, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, anyone can develop an addiction and lose everything,” added Michelle..

Julie said:“If it saves one life, then it’s worth it.”

Tenacity is available on Kindle and paperback. To buy visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tenacity-stories-mothers-battled-addictions/dp/152366598X