My addiction to opiates began as a teenager after a significant sports injury. I was going through surgery and dealt with excruciating pain. I was prescribed a powerful painkiller. The doctor told me it was Oxycontin. I did not question it nor did my family. “Whatever helps ease the pain.” Even after my injury healed up, I would experience chronic pain. The only solution I found for it was opiates. I was following the directions on the prescription labels at first. That was until my tolerance started building. Then the withdrawals begin. Next thing I know, I’m an opiate addict without even realizing it.
Lived To Use, Used To Live.
Once my prescriptions ran out, I was now looking for any form of painkiller illegally on the streets. I did not care about the potential dangers or legal risks involved. Addiction makes us blind to all those things. The physical, chronic pain I experienced was relieved only temporarily…but now, new problems are created. Problems I never even knew existed. I was in pain but now I was also feeling sick without opiates. I had developed a physical and chemical dependency. I would soon discover heroin. I was told it was cheaper and injecting was more cost effective. My addiction soon took control over every aspect of my life- family, friendships, relationships, finances, accountability and responsibility all went out the window. Every dollar I had went towards feeding my addiction. I cut out my family and started hanging out with other addicts. I put my use of drugs over the needs of everyone close to me. I was selfish but I was also ignorant. I lived to use and used to live.
In Harm’s Way
Opiate addiction is a double-edged sword. If an overdose doesn’t kill you, improper detox or relapse can. I think that is a common problem people do not understand about addiction. Addicts don’t want to die but they also find it very difficult to live. Addiction truly is a purgatory or a black hole that just seems nearly impossible to escape. I was caught in a vicious cycle of lying, cheating, stealing and manipulating anyone and everything around me just to get my next fix. I could have easily been killed in a drug deal gone wrong, arrested, died of an OD or withdrawals. I totaled my first car nodding out on the way to work after my morning injection. My point is, the dangers and risks to ourselves and others are at a maximum in active addiction. We do not think twice about the harm we put ourselves or others through. It is sad and unfortunate but true. Addiction is complicated to explain or understand to someone unless they have been through it.
Continuing My Story
After multiple overdoses, mental struggles and suicidal thoughts, I needed a way out. I could not do it on my own. My family offered me a way out and I accepted. I found my way into a heroin addiction treatment program. I attended extensive group and individual therapy sessions. My hope was starting to be restored. My spirit was beginning to lift. I was fortunate enough to be given something that some never get… a second chance at life. Going into treatment and into recovery saved my life. I decided it was best for me to live in a sober living house where I would be held accountable and responsible. The fact that I had survived through it all was a miracle. If I had kept living the way I was, there is no telling how my story would have ended.
Recovery saved my life. Recovery gave me a chance to share and continue my story.
Photo is pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Scott Denton is a freelance writer in recovery who writes for websites such as Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. He works closely with others in his local recovery community, spreading hope and encouragement.