James R. Masciantonio Jr. with his son
Indian Shores, Florida
James R. Masciantonio, Jr. (Jim) was born November 27, 1984. He was beautiful inside and out and a true gentleman. Jim was kind, loving, intelligent, and could always make me laugh with his witty sense of humor and contagious laughter.
We put Jim in ice skates at the age of three, and he went on to play ice hockey all through high school. Jim excelled at everything he tried. He had an unbelievable ability to totally recall life events, movie quotes, and sport statistics - he was a walking encyclopedia. Jim also had a true gift of writing narratives and an imagination to write creatively. He was later given the opportunity to conduct interviews for the cagejunkies.com, which reports on MMA and UFC News; this job was a true highlight in Jim’s life.
Unfortunately, my son had the dreadful disease of addiction, coupled with bipolar disorder. Jim first started using marijuana at the age of 11 and graduated to heroin by 17. He finally found recovery in 2009, at the age of 26, and was dedicated to the program. Soon after, Jim fell in love and fathered a child in May of 2010. He was a proud, dedicated, wonderful, and loving father - filled with goals and dreams for his son.
In February 2011, Jim needed to have surgery. In the following months, Jim’s recovery slowly became no longer a priority, due to dealing with stresses caused by pain from his surgery, demands of work, and family life. By December 2011, his girlfriend requested for him to leave their home - separating Jim from his son. From that day Jim was heartbroken, defeated, and lost, as he struggled to get back on the path to recovery. There were countless hurdles and obstacles he had to overcome and, like the warrior he was, he tried his hardest.
The system failed my son repeatedly. From the time he was 18, Jim was in over 35 treatment centers. The Florida County Drug Court, created to give my son an opportunity for recovery, ended up making his life worse. On February 24, 2015, Jim suffered his first overdose on heroin. The paramedics worked on him for an hour, finally taking him to a Florida hospital that allowed him to leave against medical advice (AMA) after an hour of being there. I was never contacted or told about this incident. Three days later, on February 27th, Jim was found alone in a motel after injecting heroin but this time the heroin was laced fentanyl.
Jim was clean and sober for six months prior to these incidents.
I always told Jim, I wished it was me - as it was so painful to watch my son deal with his addiction. But nothing compares to the pain of living every day without him.
Rest in Peace, my Angel Son. You earned it.
Jim is greatly missed by his father, grandmother, aunt, sister, son and most of all me.