speaker-profile.jpg

Maureen Wittels

Travels from texas

Maureen Wittels knows that addiction does not discriminate. Her heartfelt true story of her son, Harris Wittels rise to fame and overdose death in 2015 is meant to educate and inspire others.    


General Topics

Addiction

Prevention

Recovery

Advocacy

 

 

Biography

Harris Wittels was 30 years old, an up and coming writer, comedian and actor who died of a heroin overdose in 2015 in his Los Angeles home. His mother, Maureen Wittels, now courageously shares her personal story of loss with a desire to help inspire change for other families.

Maureen speaks with incredible humility, strength and often humor- even though her story has a sad ending. She recounts her son Harris's rise to fame with tales of his career and early home life. Maureen speaks about his journey from performing local standup comedy to the time when comedian Sarah Silverman first discovered him.

Maureen speaks with pride abut all of Harris's great accomplishments. She talks about his writing for television shows like the "Sarah Silverman Program”, “Eastbound & Down” and “Parks and Recreation”, where he eventually became a co-executive producer and often made guest appearances.

But intertwined with all his success, Maureen explains that there was drug use.  She gently talks openly about her son's addiction struggles, relapse and the impact of his disease on family members.  Harris was indeed funny and multi faceted and had only just begun to show the world what he was made of, but admitted that he had been doing recreational drugs since he was just 12 years old.

For Maureen, as for many moms, it was all deeply troubling and hard to figure out. She graciously tells the story of when she saw the light start to disappear from her son's eyes and he became distant. She talks about the time she knew it was opiates and other times when her heart was broken in two.

Despite her loss, Maureen believes in hope. She relays that hope to audiences through her story and has a desire to see more education and understanding on addiction soon become more prevalent in today's society. She wants to encourage others to make the commitment to recovery; stay the course; know you are worth it; and that there are many hearts and hands out there to help.

Maureen's story is about Harris Wittles, and although many people recognize his name - her story is really not that different than any other family's. It is a story unfortunately playing out in many homes across America - although Maureen has hope that more stories will have a much different ending.

What we really have is today. Make it count!
— Maureen Wittels