Mia St. John is decided to struggle for others.
The previous boxing champ, who has spent many years swinging again on the obstacles which have been thrown her approach, has just lately written a e-book titled “Preventing for My Life,” the place she particulars her struggles with alcoholism and the tragedies she endured. Her 24-year-old son Julian, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, handed away in 2014. And in 2019, the 54-year-old misplaced her ex-husband, “Younger and the Stressed” star Kristoff St. John. The actor died at age 52 from coronary heart illness with alcohol being a contributing issue.
St. John spoke to Fox Information about shedding the loves of her life, getting sober and the way she needs to assist others at this time.
Fox Information: What impressed you to write down this memoir now?
Mia St. John: This can be a e-book that I’ve all the time wished to write down, however I by no means had the possibility to do. After the loss of life of my ex-husband, I bought a name from my agent who requested me if I used to be inquisitive about writing my memoirs. I believed it might be a superb alternative to inform my story. And I wished to set the document straight on what we went by means of as a household.
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Fox Information: You’ve been very candid about your journey. Wanting again, what would you say drove you to drink?
St. John: I grew up with an alcoholic father so my household life was very dysfunctional… I used to be 10, 11 years outdated. I keep in mind the evening I broke into my dad’s liquor cupboard as a result of I wished to know, what’s it about these things that made my dad so loopy? Why does he love these things a lot?
It perplexed me. And I made a decision at that second I used to be going to see for myself. I rapidly noticed it on my first drink. I used to be rapidly comfy in my very own pores and skin. I felt assured. I felt good. I felt all of the issues that you simply are inclined to really feel once you begin consuming. You get this sense of confidence and management. It was wonderful, however it was additionally short-lived. And also you needed to proceed to keep up that feeling.
Fox Information: Might you recall the second once you realized you wanted assist?
St. John: I used to be younger. I used to be about 19 and had a boyfriend who was quite a bit older than me. He was in AA and I’d occasion quite a bit. He observed it and mentioned, “I feel you want AA. You’re an alcoholic.” I keep in mind I informed him, “No, you’re loopy. I identical to to occasion.” I by no means actually considered myself as an alcoholic.
However each time I had an issue, I bought extraordinarily drunk. I keep in mind I crashed my Toyota pickup truck, my little pink truck, once I was 19, right into a payphone. I known as my father and I keep in mind very vividly that I tore off the wall of like this 7-Eleven. I noticed at that second, “I’m going to die. I’m going to die ultimately from this.” It was the following day that I walked into AA alone. I simply knew there was an issue right here.
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Fox Information: Your e-book described how sobriety is a piece in progress.
St. John: I stayed sober for 30 years after that. It’s frequently engaged on your self, making amends and promptly admitting once you’re fallacious. It’s not simply leaving the alcohol behind. You must repair your mild. You must work in your character defect. It’s a protracted street. It’s not a straightforward street, however it’s a worthwhile street.
Fox Information: You misplaced your son, who was so younger. What do you assume stored you going?
St. John: I don’t know if I used to be so robust. Kristoff and I went right into a deep, deep despair. I didn’t drink initially after my son died as a result of I knew if I did, I’d die 100%. I’d drink myself to loss of life. The despair and grief had been that nice… We misplaced our solely son. You by no means get well from shedding your youngster. You be taught to dwell with it. You be taught to go on. However the grief by no means goes away. And I didn’t lose my sobriety till his father misplaced his battle with alcoholism. He simply couldn’t settle for what had occurred to our son.
Fox Information: In accordance with your e-book, Kristoff was bipolar. And but, he struggled to make sense of your son’s psychological sickness. Why?
St. John: You must perceive that Kristoff was an actor. He had been performing since he was seven years outdated. That’s what he knew. I used to be educated in psychology. That was my main at school. That’s what I bought a level in. So I already knew about psychological sickness. I knew about schizophrenia. For uneducated folks, it’s exhausting to know how somebody with schizophrenia hears voices, has hallucinations and delusions. My son had paranoid schizophrenia. He appeared like a really regular particular person with exception to the delusions and the voices.
Once they inform you to F off, you assume they’re speaking to you once they’re not. They’re speaking to somebody who’s of their head or that they see. My ex-husband thought, “He’s only a spoiled youngster. He’s defiant.” He didn’t notice that this was an actual factor. I used to be an expert boxer, however I additionally had a background in psychological well being. It may be very exhausting to know once you’re not educated in it.
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Fox Information: You vividly described your final dialog with Kristoff, who described seeing his son Julian earlier than he died. How did you make sense of that?
St. John: Nicely, there have been many moments when Kristoff would name and he was inebriated and crying about his son. However this explicit day was completely different. It scared me. It scared me to the purpose that I knew one thing was fallacious and this might be the tip. I had a signing in Newport Seashore for the troops. It was Tremendous Bowl Sunday, which was his favourite day of the 12 months. However I keep in mind I bought a name from him saying, “I can’t do that anymore. I simply need to die. I need to die. I really like you. Inform the ladies, name them proper now, and inform them that I really like them.”
I used to be hysterical. I stored saying, “No, consider the ladies. You can’t go away them. You simply can’t. Kristoff, you don’t need to die.” And he mentioned, “No, you’re proper. I don’t. However it’s OK Mia. Julian’s right here. He’s simply going to take me for a stroll. I’m going to be OK as a result of Julian’s right here.” That set it off as a result of I knew when somebody’s dying, they usually see a cherished one whereas they’re going out and in of consciousness. I hung up the cellphone and known as his pal who lived close to him. I informed him, “You’ve bought to get there. One thing’s fallacious.”
His pal rushed to test on Kristoff, however he wouldn’t reply the door. I begged, “Break down the door.” He known as Kristoff’s second ex-wife, who had a key to the place. She bought there they usually lastly bought that door open. However it was too late. He was already gone.
Fox Information: You wrote how Kristoff was robust on his son. Do you assume that weighed heavy on him?
St. John: Oh, I do know it did. We put our son in a rehabilitation heart for his meth dependancy. I used to be a helicopter mother. Each time my son would name me and mentioned, “Mother, I promise I’ll by no means do it once more. I am going to by no means do meth once more. Please get me.” And I’d all the time say, “OK, honey.” And I’d run and get him out. I all the time discovered one thing fallacious with the place, which was correct. There was all the time negligence occurring.
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So I’d all the time go and get my son. One time I known as his father and mentioned, “I’m gonna get him out.” He mentioned, “No, you aren’t. You’re enabling him. You can’t get him out.” I didn’t. And our son took his life. He felt that guilt. He felt extraordinarily responsible as a result of he was the one who wouldn’t let me get him out. He all the time blamed himself. He simply wished what was finest for our son.
Fox Information: You had your first drink in 30 years after shedding Kristoff. How tough was it so that you can get sober once more?
St. John: It has been an ongoing battle since I misplaced Kristoff. It’s robust. I’ve to confess that originally, I blamed Kristoff for the loss of life of our son. However ultimately, I informed him that I didn’t blame him and that I cherished him. In truth, he was to not blame as a result of he was doing what he thought was finest for our son, which was not enabling him. I get that. However I nonetheless wrestle with the guilt of initially blaming Kristoff as a result of I knew that performed a component in his grief. It’s tough. The street to restoration is a crooked one. It’s by no means a straight line.
Fox Information: How are you doing at this time?
St. John: I nonetheless have my days. I nonetheless wrestle. The vacations are all the time exhausting. November twenty third is all the time the toughest day as a result of it’s the day I misplaced my son. It’s tough. I’ve accepted that I wanted to maneuver ahead as a result of that’s what my son and his father would need. So day by day I’ve a grateful record. I write down what I’m grateful for. I’m all the time grateful for my daughter. I’m grateful for my boyfriend. I’m grateful for all of the issues Kristoff has given me. I’m grateful that I’m right here to inform my story. I’m grateful that I can elevate consciousness of the neglect that exists in our psychological well being amenities.
I’m nonetheless preventing. For instance, why do high-risk models nonetheless have plastic rubbish liners of their rooms? That’s what my son used. It wasn’t his first try. He had tried earlier than his loss of life with a plastic bag. And this can be a device that’s utilized by youngsters once they’re making an attempt suicide. So why are these instruments nonetheless allowed? I’ve to talk out on this. I’ve a voice and I need to make a distinction on this world. I need to make a change and assist different households.
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I’m a retired boxer. I retired at age 49. Kristoff made positive that earlier than he died, that I’d be taken care of. And that his women can be OK. He made positive of that. So at this time, I’ve been in a position to host occasions with my son’s artwork. We’ve developed packages for people who find themselves mentally ailing, who’ve suffered from dependancy or alcoholism. I’ve been talking out. And that may be a reward. As a result of we are able to proceed to assist so many youngsters in want.
Fox Information: What recommendation would you give to somebody who’s dealing with dependancy?
St. John: Don’t really feel disgrace. Attain out and get assist. There are such a lot of packages on the market for each type of dependancy doable. The assistance is on the market. Google it, attain out to somebody. In the event you really feel suicidal, inform somebody. I do know it may be exhausting, however there are individuals who love you and wish you right here. Don’t really feel responsible.
And for those who assume a cherished one is struggling, attain out for assist. In the event that they get mad, it’s OK. Allow them to get mad at you. After Kristoff died, I wished to do what my ex-husband did. I wished to drink myself to loss of life. It was my boyfriend who known as 911. I used to be held towards my will twice. I keep in mind I used to be so mad at him. I used to be like, “How dare you?”
However trying again, I’m so grateful. I now inform him, “Thanks.” I used to be on a path to destruction. I wished to take my life. And he saved me. So I now inform him, “Thanks for having the heart.” As a result of he was scared to name 911. He thought, “Oh God, she’s gonna kill me. She’s gonna be so mad.” And I used to be. I used to be so mad at him. It ended the connection. Now, we’re nonetheless collectively after 9 years. Due to him reaching out, I’m right here. So don’t be afraid to succeed in out. You may be saving a life.
In the event you or somebody is having ideas of suicide, please contact the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).