Guilt. Shame. Remorse. These three words kept me locked in the prison of addiction for many years.
Guilt. Shame. Remorse. These three words kept me locked in the prison of addiction for many years. I came from a good family, and was raised with principles. I definitely knew right from wrong. Flash forward to my late teens, and I found myself doing reprehensible things to support my addiction habit. I never believed it would happen to me, but it did. I was a full-blown heroin addict by the age of 21, and all of my good upbringing was thrown right out the window.
My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer when I was 18. Anyone that knows about cancer knows this is pretty much a death sentence. He went on to fight for 4 years until he was finally laid to rest. During that time, he was prescribed every powerful opiate you can think of from oxycontin to morphine to liquid Percocet. And also during that time I was a full-blown addict. Even though I knew it was wrong. Even though I knew I would probably get caught. I stole these prescription pain medications one by one to support my habit. The guilt almost destroyed me. My father was strong and would often refuse to take the meds which was how I justified and rationalized my behavior. It got to the point where I was looking in the mirror and I didn’t even recognize who I was anymore. Thoughts of ending it all were rampant.
In the depths of my addiction or Hell whatever you want to call it I found myself at a crossroads. It was plain to see that I was digging my own grave, and when you get deep enough it becomes easier to keep digging than to try and climb out. I use the word try because many people don’t make it which is the stark and ugly reality we live in today during a nationwide opioid epidemic. It was only through the Grace of God that I survived because my human resources utterly failed. And when I had nowhere else turn. No one else to manipulate, and lie to. I fell on my knees and prayed honestly for the first time in my life to a higher power I did not understand. I said, “I need help”.
This lead me to getting admitted to a local drug and alcohol treatment center. While there I found willingness to change my life that I didn’t know existed. I agreed to extended care for my addiction which included a partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient facility. From there I found even more willingness to change for I was desperate, and I knew I needed more help. The things I did for my addiction were drastic so I knew my recovery had to be drastic too so I agreed to go into a recovery house. In sober living was where I started to actively practice what I learned in the treatment center as well as developing new skills in a 12-step fellowship. I changed how I ate, slept, and worked. Slowly but surely my life began to transform, and the obsession to use drugs and alcohol left me. It has been gone for many years now.
I didn’t share this story to shock anyone because I know that people have done worse than I. But I felt it was necessary to share some painful details about my past because too often do I hear about people who feel so bad about the things they have done that they never get the help they need. Unfortunately, these are the people you read about it in the obituaries, and the countless “R.I.P. gone too soon” statuses on Facebook. I want people to know there is help and hope available, and no matter what you have done forgiveness and healing can be found. All you need to do is say those three simple words to someone you love. They are “I need help.” Ask and you shall receive. God Bless.