Heroin Support Blog

Our goal here is to provide our readers with the latest information about the signs of heroin addiction, support groups, treatment options, life in recovery, prevention & advocacy in our communities, and how to deal with grief of a lost loved one. If you have ideas or suggestions that you wish to share with us here please use our "Contact Us" page to email us.

Dear Addict Haters:

StopStigma

Dear Addict Haters:

Hello, you don’t know me but I am an addict. I am one of the “junkies” you love to bash whenever someone mentions addiction on social media or hear it in conversation. I know it’s hard to forgive the things we sometimes do because of our addiction, but I have a question for you. What is the worst thing you have ever done? Obviously, I won’t get an answer to this question but think about it. The thing that you hate that you did. You know, that one thing that not too many people even know about. Well, what if everyone knew about it? What if for the rest of your life you were labeled by that one act that you would erase in a second if you had the chance? That is what being an addict is like, kind of. Now, I don’t feel like being an addict is the worst thing a person can be or do. You, however, feel like it’s a terrible thing. Don’t get me wrong: If I could erase it from my life, I would. In an instant, it would be gone, but I don’t have that option. I can’t even do what you do and pretend that this thing I did didn’t happen. In order for me to ensure it never happens again, I have to work hard on making sure it doesn’t. If I don’t, my disease will tell me I can have a drink or do a line and not fall back into full-blown addiction, but I will.

Do you work hard to make sure your worst thing never happens again? Let me guess... you are thinking, Addiction is not a disease. It’s a choice. Right?
Yes, all addiction starts with a choice.

The same damn choice you made when you were young and hanging out with friends. You drank the same beer I drank. The same pot I smoked. You even tried the same line of white stuff someone put in front of you at a party. You were able to walk away and not take it to the extreme.

Since I have the disease, I will spend the rest of my life either struggling to stay high or fighting to stay clean.
As children, we don’t decide we would rather be an addict instead of a cop.

You don’t see children pretending that their dolls and stuffed animals are dope sick.

When is the last time you talked to a little girl who told you she couldn’t wait to grow up so she could turn tricks to feed the insatiable hunger of her drug addiction?

My sister didn’t tell me about her exciting plans to become homeless.

My dad, not one time, told my mother to think twice before marrying him because he had high hopes of becoming an angry drunk.

I damn sure didn’t blow out my candles as a child wishing for a substance abuse disorder because I couldn’t wait for the day my beautiful daughters were taken from me by CPS.

Nobody wants to have substance use disorder.

Some of us just do.

So always remember:

You made those same choices, too.

You just got lucky that it was me and not you.

If you still have doubts, you can take those up with the Center for Disease Control or the United States Surgeon General. They have classified addiction as a disease, but then again... I am sure you know more about it than they do, right?

I pray that you don’t have to reevaluate these opinions because you find out your child or parent is an addict. If you do, just know that we will accept you into our community. We will help your loved one. Do you know why we would do that? Because we are good people who just want the chance to live like everyone else.
So please, before you write another post bashing people who are suffering, think about it. Not only are you hurting the people who have the disease, you could be hurting everyone that loves them. You have people on your friends list or might overhear you at work who have children who are suffering right this moment from addiction. What did they do to deserve the awful things you put out into the universe that do nothing but perpetuate hate and judgment?

You have a right to your opinion. But no matter what, hurting people is wrong."

- Author Unknown

#ENDTHESTIGMA

Mi-HOPE (Michigan HOPE)(Michigan HOPE) is a passionate group of individuals personally affected by the heroin, prescription and substance abuse epidemic in our state and in our communities.

 

 

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I Never Met an Addict Who Wants to Be On Heroin

addict01

 

To the parents of the still suffering addict. The best advice I can give is not to give up on them, and try to show them there is still hope. Someone in active addiction has none they feel lost and helpless. I have never met an addict who wants to be on heroin. For the most part they all want to quit, they just feel that it cannot be done. They do not know how because they feel that the world has turned their back on them because of all the things they have done, and who they have become. They feel that they cannot even love themselves.

How can they expect someone else to love them? So love them despite of it someone had to love me before I could learn to love myself again, even if it is tough love sometimes the sooner they hit their bottom the better, and there are some that may never hit their bottom and just need to be shown there is a better way of life. I remember a time when i would wake up sick and see every one running around with their family and friends having fun and looking happy. This was something I was not able to understand because when I woke up, I had nothing but worries and I hated everything.

Thank God for my new way of thinking. When I wake up today, I see it as a blessing just to be here. Any addict still suffering, when you go into recovery, this way of thinking does not come over night but in time you will start to appreciate the little things in life. Even more than a normal person even just getting a good night sleep or waking up only because you will look back and remember what it was like. Not to be able to get sleep no matter what u did unless you were high. Waking up every day not being sick is great and not waking up sick having to worry about what you have to do to get right, is flat out the best thing ever. So when in recovery just be patient and the little thing will come take it from someone who has done everything you have and probably then some.

 

Purchase Wristbands   

DestroysBlack   HeavenPurpleBlack    IHatePurple

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Poem - My Living Nightmare

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"I wrote this poem when I was locked up. Please do not steal it. I take great pride in my writing but don't share much of it. It is my outlet, one I don't use often enough. Please share the poem all you want but with me Brandon Tyler Bray as the Author. Thank you hope you like it"

My Living Nightmare

I dread waking up
But I force a smile
I try to give a F***
Though I haven't for awhile
All emotion stuck inside
Heart burning as it piles
No one to confide
Worries tuck away like files
Drugs take away the pain
Yet my problems now grow worse
Without them I don't feel the same
My only stop is in a hearse
I hate who I've become
On the inside I scream
I feel the drugs have won
Reality is now my worst dream
From everyone I am shunned
It's all exactly how it seems
No more retirement fund
This is no longer me
Everyday the same goal
No matter what the cost
Even down to my very soul
I've never been so lost
Scared of the sickness
Always feeling hopeless
Lost in the thickness
Of never being dopeless.

-Brandon Tyler Bray

We wanted to share a poem someone sent us here.  Feel free to message us on Facebook or email us at the bottom of our website here if you have something you wish to share.

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Addiction - "If what I’ve said here saves one person then her death will not be in vain."

AddictionKilledMyWife

Addiction.

It was truly the saddest day of my life. Looking at the many funeral attendees and seeing all of the pain. Not just for the loss of my kids’ mother, but for how the loss would forever affect all of us.

Seems like 100 years ago, I would be down at the local pool and I would see a young girl in a green, one-piece bathing suit, with nose plugs.

She would be doing all sorts of crazy things off the diving board. Front flips, back flips, back dives. A very talented young lady.

Who would have thought that some years later we would be getting together and having four kids? Through the good and the bad, she was a part of my life for over 30 years. And now, sadly, we are all saying our good-byes.

I knew her as well as anybody, and I think she would be OK with me telling this story.

She became my best friend and loved to have fun. That may have been her downfall.

What I am saying is going to impact you all in various ways. Some will be shocked, some horrified and some angry that I am exposing her in this way. For that, I am sorry.

Denying what happened or continuing to not talk about it is not helping. It’s a problem.  Thousands of people are dying because of it.

With the funeral so recent, is it the proper time to be discussing it? Maybe not, but I have a grieving audience- and audience who cared enough about her and her family to attend the services. People who have just lost a loved one because of it.

A friend, a mother, a sister. She could be stubborn. She didn’t ever wear her back brace as she was supposed to. She felt she didn’t need it.

And, she stubbornly resisted the fact that she really did have a problem with addiction. She overdosed on heroin and her oldest son had to perform CPR while waiting for the ambulance. The crew administered Narcan to revive her and she was rushed to the hospital. She still didn’t have a problem with addiction. In the end, it was a combination of addictive drugs that took her life. She wasn’t a bad person, she just made some bad decisions.

If any positive things can come from her death, one would be that she is no longer hurting. Her back issues were crippling her. She faces more surgeries and was in a lot of pain.

The second that could be positive would be to raise awareness of the disease. Addiction is affecting half of my family, which means it is affecting ALL of my family. And I know it is affecting many of you.

Her death is tragic. She had four great kids and four grand-children that she will not see grow up. She won’t see her youngest two children get married or start their families with more grandchildren to watch grow up. She is missing so much- all to addiction.

Addiction is everywhere: cigarettes, pot, cocaine, alcohol. All bad. All can have serious health consequences and eventually kill you. But not quite like opiates or heroin. One overdoes, one bad packet or injection can kill you.

No time to turn back. Gone.. Forever. Big cities and larger communities all across the country are being ravages by drugs. Clearly now it is in small towns and close-knit communities like ours.

A Syracuse forum I attended places some of the responsibilities on us as parents. Refuse a prescription for opiate-based pain killer, or at least limit it to a week supply with no refills. Throw away any unused portions.

I personally feel this is an issue to be dealt with by the physicians, but if we must deal with it ourselves until they catch up with the problem, then that may be our best chance. If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction, get help. More and more help is available every day.

If what I’ve said here saves one person, one family, one grandmother from this horrible disease, then her death will not be in vain.

I think she would like that.

mom

- Lawrence Blanchard is a resident of Cincinnatus, New York. His former wife, Jody Loomis Blanchard, died Jan. 25, 2016.

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The Price of Addiction: So Much More Than Dollars and Cents.

MattKlosowski

37-year old Matthew Klosowski died from a prescription drug overdose

In every conversation I've ever had regarding the disease of addiction somehow the topic always found its way back to the cost. We've all heard the horror stories of how pricy these resort style rehabs are. I can only imagine the dollars spent on advertising. The glossy photos that would appear on my computer screen looking like something I would book if I was searching for a romantic get away with my husband. The beaches, the palm trees and the pools all waiting for the arrival of our addicted sons and daughters. All promising they were the best. They had the best, they provided the best and so on and so on. I would scroll through and think damn, I should start taking drugs just so I could attend one of these fabulous places in the sun.

I closed my eyes and had this flash back from my early nursing days. Working as the charge nurse on the floor of a popular nursing home. The pamphlets show all the beauty. The common rooms and the gardens, all looking like something advertising luxury living. Hiding the smell of urine. The people strapped into Geri chairs, drool running down their shirts. Left to their own devices. The horror that lay behind those beautiful rooms for only the staff to see. How can the owners of those homes deceive the public and charge exorbitant amounts of money for such inadequate care.  Could another industry be as deceptive in their marketing of providing safe, effective care in a beautiful setting and continue to stay in business. I'm afraid they can.

I've lived the experience that so many other parents share. We had faith in the recovery system. We believed the brochures and those caring people that lead us to trust that our child's recovery was utmost on their mind. They tell us they care and will do everything in their power to ensure our addicts are kept safe and sound. They give us a false sense of security allowing us to take that breath and feel we are sending our addict to the best place possible. 

Then they hit us with the price tag for this most amazing care. As parents we are emotional wrecks. We will do anything and pay anything to have the nightmare that our child's addiction has inflicted into our life's come to a end. So we drain our savings, deplete our retirement accounts and remortgage our homes because we are desperate to believe these so called addiction professionals hold the keys to a world that will save our children.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is characterized by intense, uncontrollable drug craving. So why do these so called experts allow our kids freedom to leave the grounds and explore these new surroundings unsupervised. Matt had been accepted into a rehab in Florida, after I came up with three thousand dollars. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang at ten p.m. and it was Matt. Hi Mom, I'm walking to the beach. You're what? Yeah I'm just checking out the beach. Seriously, you are unsupervised on your second night in rehab and you're out and about? So now that familiar feeling of anxiety bursts through the false security I'd been fed by the owners that were more than happy to cash my check and allow my son more freedom than he ever had at home.

Unfortunately this seems to be a common practice. Another mother also bought into the promise of a safe place for her heroin using daughter. After spending eight thousand for a months stay at a luxury rehab, she received the same shocking phone call. Hi Mom, I'm at the gym. You mean the gym in the rehab, no mom I'm allowed to go to the gym, pharmacy and grocery store. My question is, just what services are we getting for our thousands of dollars. Why are addicts permitted freedom when the research shows that being drug free for a few days is not a cure. Addicts require long term care in a safe, drug free environment to have the chance of achieving the goal of sobriety.

If the research is available for parents to find and read why aren't these professionals educated in the basic fundamentals of caring for newly sober addicts. Why do their programs allow the freedom to enable our kids to return to the only way of life they know. It's no surprise that both our kids relapsed. It's no surprise that both these rehabs in Florida offered their help again after we spent a few more thousand dollars for a higher level of care. So in reality all we got for our money were random urine drug tests and broken promises. Our kids were set up to fail by a system that says one thing but does another. Placing three addicts at varying levels of sobriety in a cramped apartment. No formal counseling or one on one sessions as promised.

What are parents supposed to do. We are thousands of miles away from our kids. We trusted a system and the self proclaimed professionals responsible for overseeing their treatment and we were failed. These rehabs throw addicts out into the streets if they are caught using. I get the fact that the using addicts must be removed from the general population. I get the fact that rules were broken. What I have a hard time with is for the thousands of dollars they take in monthly why is there no back up plan for relapse.

As noted by the NIDA, the chronic nature of addiction means that relapsing is not only possible but likely. So again my question is why don't these professed addiction professionals expect and know how to safely respond to a relapse. The streets are not the answer. According to a report in Prescription Drug Abuse, Florida has the 11th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. Yet these rehabs continue to advertise and give parents like me false hope that they will give our addicts the best shot at recovery.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. The lawmakers in Florida had knowledge that both rehabs and sober houses have been kicking addicts to the curb for years. They have chosen to turn their backs on this unacceptable practice until recently. Florida Association of Recovery Residences also know as FARR has stepped up. It's goal is to regulate this broken industry. To get rid of the vultures that rob us of our money and our children. Sadly, because of Florida Homestead laws most of these unscrupulous sober living home owners will continue their practice of making a living off of and then throwing our kids away like the disposable income they are thought to be. Florida law will not allow the regulation to become mandatory. I really don't think any of these places will step up and allow regulations to rob them of easy money.

While these regulatory bodies are well intentioned and might have the potential to start a change toward the treatment of addiction, it's too little too late for many parents like me. Matt died of an overdose in a Florida motel after being kicked out of his sober living house by the owner. Many briefly sober addicts are back at it, except now they are using on the streets of Florida where they were dumped by those recovery professionals that cashed checks, told lies and took advantage of parents desperately seeking help for their addicts.

Two industries preying on a population that can't defend itself against abuse. The shiny brochures all hiding the ugliness of reality. Families spending thousands of dollars believing their loved ones are being looked after by professionals who care. I don't know about you but I smell a rat!

Marybeth Cichocki 

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What Life Is Like When You're In Love With A Heroin Addict

    LoveAnAddict

    To fall in love with a person after you've been hurt multiple times is a pretty hard task as is. You will always have the fear of being hurt all over again and your trust won't fully be there. But to fall in love with somebody who later on becomes addicted to heroin seems to be at the top of my list of fears. Although I am living through this fear now and am at battle with it almost every day.

    fear many things when it comes to this evil drug that is killing many. Every day I see on the news or on Facebook that another loved one has overdosed and died. But what I also see is the attacks people are sending towards this brand new angel that was captivated by heroin. "He deserved to die." "Good one less drug addict off the streets."

    I guess it all started for me last year. I met this absolutely amazing guy with so much ambition, love, and fun put into him. I loved everything about him. And when I found out I was carrying his child, I loved him even more. I still do. It wasn't until he was coming home with pin point pupils, itching himself, and hardly sleeping at night that I realized he had a problem. And for all I knew, after growing up around opiate users, I figured it was just Percocet that he was high on. I shrugged it off until the night I became scared of waking up next to somebody cold and lifeless.

    I was sleeping and woke to a sound of him sort of choking out his last breath. It was the noise you hear when somebody does a whip it, and loses oxygen to the brain. Usually, in those times, I see people pound their fist on the person's heart reviving them. So I yelled his name and did exactly that. Nothing had happened. Once a person overdoses I can tell you, it is one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. Being inexperienced and not knowing what to do while the love of your life and father of your child is lying there struggling to live is horrifying. But he also looked as if he was in a peaceful state of mind, feeling warm and not wanting to wake up. It was truly terrifying. As I couldn't bring him back, he started turning blue. His lips were blue, and his face was grey. Just like my brother looked laying on a hospital bed. I also noticed his heart was beating very fast and he was sweating profusely. Cardiac arrest was soon to set in, I imagined.  After I couldn't do anything to help him, I got help from his father. He did chest compressions on him as I called 911. Soon he regained consciousness but fell back into a peaceful slumber shortly after. We finally got him fully up when the police showed up and he was confused as to why I was crying like I was and why there were police at our home. We then talked that night after he refused the hospital. Talking was the only thing I could do to make sure he wouldn't fall asleep. He promised not to do it again.

    Now promises go a long way when you actually keep them. But we live in a world where the word promise is simply just a word. He stayed clean for quite a bit. I thought the worst of it was over. Until he came home high, a couple more times. And then a countless amount after that. Soon he overdosed again. We were able to get him back a second time.

    To love a person with a heroin addiction is the constant fear that one day you're going to wake up next to them, just to find out you have made it but they did not. You live in constant fear that whenever they make a noise, you shake them just to find out it was a snoring and not another OD. When they don't answer your texts or calls you fear they have overdosed in their car or in their bed while you're at work. You fear you won't be with them the next time this happens, and you won't be able to help them. You fear your son or daughter will have to grow up hardly knowing their father, and that kills you and puts a knot in your heart more than anything. You fear if you chose the alternative and leave that you can't help this person when it happens again.

    You check their skin in the morning when you wake up, you feel their face and make sure it's warm. You check their chest and see if it's moving whether you have to stay up all night or when you wake up that morning. It doesn't matter how many times you tell a heroin addict you're going to leave, and it doesn't matter if you leave. This drug is so evil they will continue to do it until they say it's time to stop, and by that time it could be too late. People ask me all the time why don't I just leave? Why don't you leave and find somebody new? Simply because if this was me and I was struggling, would you give up on me?

    Now to be honest with you, If I could see the future when I met him a year ago, I would have looked the other way and wouldn't have even acknowledged him. This may sound selfish, but to live in constant fear every day is something I wouldn't want anybody to ever have to do. Now don't get me wrong. I am so happy to be starting my life with such a loving, caring, ambitious guy despite the addiction. I am head over heels in love with him. He goes above and beyond for me. He doesn't hurt me physically and the only way he hurts me emotionally is lying. I am glad I did not turn the other way though because I would have missed out on an amazing 9 months with somebody that I love so much. I'd also miss out on forever with him and our daughter.

    He is going to be a great father and husband regardless of this disease. Because that's all it is, a disease. A disease that can't and won't stick around forever


    by NICOLE DESHAIES

    Shared from the the orginal post

     

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You Say You Don't Believe in Hell? Just Look an Addict in the Eye.

EyeOfAnAddict

You say you don't believe in hell? Just look an addict in the eye, You'll think I'm safely at a friends- while I'm in some dirty bathroom getting high. I've always had high morals; Standards stacked against the sky, You sit watching as things disappear, but are too scared to ask me “why.” I stand there, right in front of you, so frail with bones so gaunt, You still don't know the lengths I'll take, for that one thing I so badly want.

Its getting harder to catch my breath, I'm drowning slowly in my soul, Spiraling. Swerving. Plummeting. I have completely lost control. Sputtering. Stuttering. Breath wreaking of decay- When will you finally hear the words that have been so hard for me to say!?! Perpetual exhaustion: I am awake yet sound asleep, A jaded narcoleptic- why am I always the blackest sheep? Scabs form on my skin- oozing thickly, with gangrenous decomposition, Isn't that offensive smell starting to throw up some suspicion? You've found me strung out on the floor, more times than you can even count. Eyes pinned. Drooling. Slurring. Another night for which I can't account.

I always seem to have the flu, you think my immunities have gone to hell, But how quickly you see me turn around once my body gets that hit. I have always had that mindset- to never live with much regret, Not even though I'm bankrupt- and to so many emotions, I'm in debt. I've lost all of my possessions- years of hard work right down the drain- I'll always curse the day I made the choice to stick that fucking needle in my vein.

- Ashleigh Campora

 

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People who suffer from heroin addiction – and their suffering is unimaginable - from this evil disease are not bad people.

JoshuaJanneSandkuhler

Dear Family, Friends, Neighbors, Acquaintances, Co-Workers, Music Associates, and Our Heroes in “The Program,”

In the early morning of December 10, 2015, our son, Joshua, died from a heroin overdose. We believe his addiction started about 12 years ago but it’s hard to say for certain because this disease of the Devil entered our home as slowly and quietly as a snowflake hits the ground. Over time, we came to realize there was a lot of snow on the ground.

You may be wondering: Why in the world would anyone want to share such a dark family secret…expose the “Scarlet Letter?” There are several reasons.

Joshua’s life cannot and will not be defined by his addiction. Josh had this evil disease but his disease is not who he was. So, who was Josh? In his “professional” life, Josh was:

A brave firefighter and BLS technician with the BCFD
A skilled bridge inspection technician
A prolific and profound guitarist-singer-songwriter
An extremely talented engineer and producer of music for live performances and studio
A creative writer of stories
An aspiring photographer, woodworker, jewelry maker

All these things greatly impacted many people. All are now discontinued. This is WHAT addiction stole from the world.

But these things were his occupations, hobbies. Although they offer a glimpse of who Josh was, we don’t believe Josh, any addicted person, or any person, really, should be defined by their occupation. So, again, who was Josh?

A strong believer in, defender of, and evangelist for his Catholic Faith (Yes, you can have ugly faults and still remain true to your Faith.)
A loving, caring son, brother, uncle, nephew, and cousin (He always ended his phone conversations with “Tell everybody I love them very much and give ‘em a big hug for me.”)
A loyal friend to many
An empathic listener to anyone
A believer that “Right” was right and “Left” was wrong (I had to steal this line.)
A gifted storyteller and always an entertainer

Those of you who knew our son could testify to this being Josh. (Many already have on social media.) All these things greatly impacted many people in a positive way. But they are all now discontinued. THIS is WHO addiction stole from the world.

People who suffer – and their suffering is unimaginable - from this evil disease are not bad people. When not recovering, they are dreadful but it’s not who they really are. They are like our Josh. They are somebody’s mother/father, son/daughter, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew, cousin. Those with substance addiction have a devastating disease that requires intensive medical care, tough love, and an unearthly measure of patience and understanding. It’s very hard to look into those glazed eyes and recognize there’s a breathing human being inside. We know. We have looked into the eyes of our son but couldn’t see our beautiful Joshua. But, yes, sadly, it was. And as long as any one of these suffering people is still breathing God’s air, there is Hope, Hope for recovery that the person can again be who they are, not what they do. Hope is, many times, all they have left to lose. Hope is the last line of defense.

Warning to parents: Your children are the Devil’s target. If you don’t believe in the Devil you need to know, nevertheless, that your children are particularly at risk. If you have young children, don’t give them too much slack on their tether line. Discipline them with your love without destroying their spirit. Pray with them. Talk with them about drugs (and sex, too). Have meals as a family - - - daily. Monitor their use of the internet, facebook and the social media du jour, television, and the like. Although these are today’s sources of knowledge, communication, and entertainment, you must know they are also the world’s tools that, very insidiously, advocate all of the seven deadly sins and addictive behavior and lifestyles. Sure, we did all these things and, as it turned out so well for us, where’s the value in our advice? At some point in your childrens’ lives they will choose their own path. You’ll want to explore your hearts for some peace that their chosen path, especially if it’s not a good one, was one of their choosing, not a result of your ambivalence or negligence.

We thank all who have offered kind condolences, cards, gifts, and most of all prayers. Eternally love your family and live with the Faith that God keeps you all, always, in His Loving protection.

 

With Love,

Steve and Linnea Sandkuhler

 

#AskMeAboutMyAngel #HeroinMemorial #GoneToSoon

www.HeroinMemorial.org   www.HeroinSupport.org 

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No Hell Like Watching Heroin Change Somebody Into Somebody You Don't Even Know

HeroinHellWeb

There is no hell quite like the hell of watching HEROIN change somebody you love into somebody you don't even know.  How many of you have lived through the hell of watching the disease of addiction destroy an addict's life and the lives of those around them?  I am sure most of our readers have been down this road of hell with your addict as they fought or continue to fight this disease that has totally consumed their mental and physical health and also that of those around them.  

I talk daily to family members, friends and addicts themselves who struggle with how to but this monster called addiction in its grave.  It's a living hell for the addict 24/7 just like it is for those of us who sit and watch their struggle and wonder how we can pull our loved ones from the depths of this hell.  Addicts become zombies who look to feed their evil craving of addiction regardless of how or who it affects.  These zombies aren't like the evil ones portrayed in movies but they are our loved ones who are suffering from the consequences of a bad choice to try heroin for what ever reason.  

These reasons range from maybe a friend introducing them to heroin after school or maybe they became addicted to the painkillers they took for an injury and couldn't afford them any longer so then heroin stepped into their life and said "I am cheap, so give me a shot".  The list of possibilites of why someone became hooked on heroin goes on and on.  I have heard many of them but the one thing I don't recall hearing from anyone is that the addict wants this disease of addiction in their life.  Have you ever heard someone growing up and say that they want to be an addict for a living?

The stigma of addiction has also made the life of an addict and those around them worse.  Think about it.  If you were addicted to heroin and people constantly referred to you an a "junkie" or "loser" or maybe a "dopefien" would you be inclined to seek help for your addiction or would you be shamed by the stigma and continue to run instead of seeking help?  Remember these are addicts we are talking about and their mental thought process is severely affected by their addiction. For these addicts to be badgered, belittled and exiled because of our social values we uphold because of the senseless stigma that comes from people who don't fully understand what addiction means is a true crime right here in America and addiction continues to sweep under the rug.

So I ask you.  Do you understand the true meaning of addiction?  Will you look at an addict differently after reading our thoughts in this article?  Are you ready to "Take a Stand Against the Stigma of Addiction"?

- Heroin Support Inc

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A Letter From My Wife About My Heroin Addiction

A glimpse into the insanity of my past. A letter from my wife, written December 2011. This is the last day I was in active Addiction, I was completely powerless over my choices. I surrendered, 4 years ago to the day. What an Incredible Life we live today. I do not walk this path alone, I have many teachers, circles, friends, communities. It is shared with many.  We do Recover, Families can recover...  Thanks for 4 YEARS CLEAN!!!  My wish is that this gives Hope to the Hopeless.

Matt Ionna

Dear Matt,

My doll-baby…I love you. I respect you. You warm my heart and put a smile on my face at the most unexpected moments.  We have a wonderful life…you help make this life wonderful…but everything starts falling apart when opiates enter the picture.  The last three months have been a whirl-wind of pure hell. My heart has been shattered and pieced back together only to be shattered again.  When I found you in the bathroom with that needle full of blue liquid I really hoped it belonged to someone else. Can you believe that?? I actually wanted to believe you…but then you were so crazy about dumping it out.

 I went out that evening and I grieved for the loss of trust…but while grieving I realized that I am ok. I will be ok with or without you. Of course I prefer to be with you…but I do not prefer to be with you using. When you are using the strong, beautiful man that I love becomes a muted, grey, zombie-monster with nothing but lies, false hopes and empty promises. A monster that seeks to fry my brain through manipulation and half-truths. I hate that fucking monster…I want to murder that monster and free my sweet husband. I understand that I can’t do that…I have no control over your choices. You have to control the disease…all I can do is support you in your sobriety and know when to say enough is enough. I will not tolerate drugs in my home, I will not subject my children to the hell that our home is when you are using. Because when you become a zombie-monster I become mega-b#tch, control freak…and no one is happy. That night, Louis wanted to kill you…to be rid of you forever. He was heart-broken. He went out and drowned his sorrows in whiskey and friends. He lost respect for me because I did not make you leave the house. We are on the brink of losing our son…and it makes me sad.

After that incident, you went to a meeting and I thought things were getting better, but you just hid it better. I thought you were talking to Danny and others in Recovery, I thought you were talking with me and being honest. But I suspected and Louis suspected then you refused a drug test, and I knew you were using full time again. You’re zombie-monster self is sneaky that way…but I’m learning that my gut is more right than wrong…despite all your slick talk. Halloween, my birthday, our anniversary, were all a blur this year. I didn’t want to take you around my family because of your behavior. I was embarrassed that you were using again. Even after Falmouth…

In hindsight, I see that I was a fool again. I didn’t follow through on the drug tests due to money issues and you took advantage of that.  I’ve been avoiding the horror of Saturday, December 3rd. We were planning a shopping trip, had list in hand ready to go. I finished my shower while you looked for my Sunday jeans. Mom had just picked up Mia Bella to make Christmas Candy. After my shower, I called for you to see if you found my jeans…no response. I figured you were sneaking outside to smoke. So, I walked into the dining room and glanced outside…then I called for you again. I heard a mumble from the kitchen floor. I’ll never forget the image I saw…you curled up, cheek on the ground, mouth hanging open with slobber dribbling out of it, tongue partially protruding, eyes rolled back but partially closed, grey/blue hands by your face, knuckles down like you were trying to get up. I was hesitant to touch you because my first thought was you fell and hurt your back…that you might be paralyzed. I was horrified…I really thought you were broken.

Then I saw the blood on the tissue…and the cap to a hypodermic needle. I noticed the water was running in the sink. Of course it was drugs…and of course you were broken…just not like I originally thought. I immediately started shaking you and trying to wake you up. I sprayed you with water and tried to remember where I left my phone. You were breathing…but just barely. Finally, you started to move…pawing at the floor with both hands…then you got up on your knees. You kept mumbling my name…and all I could do was cry. I thought you were dying…I ran for my phone and yelled for Madeline twice. I tried to dial 911 but my fingers wouldn’t work. Madeline grabbed the phone from me and called…I continued to slap your face, throw water on you and shake you. You stood up and walked into the living room. I just cried…waiting for the ambulance.

I was so happy that you lived…but my resolve is stronger than ever. I will not find my husband dead on the kitchen floor. My kids will not find their father dead on the kitchen floor. We spent the day in the hospital…stopped by the pawn shop to get your beats and circular saw and spent the evening finding you a place to go. Busy, busy, busy…Sunday flew by, you left for treatment and it was peaceful in my home. I didn’t realize that I had been living every day since your surgery with fear, anxiety, clenched fists and a knot in my stomach. Sunday night was so so so peaceful…I slept. But, my dreams were filled with your death. The absolute magnitude of the situation didn’t hit me until Monday, wow…what a powerful feeling that was…to be sitting in my office and realize that I am not planning a funeral…and I am so grateful to be at work and not picking out a casket or deciding which urn would be best for your ashes. I sobbed with happiness…

I’m not sure how Madeline is processing the entire event…she trusted you…now she doesn’t so much. Louis continually tells me that if you come home he has to leave. He can’t live with the stress and he’s embarrassed that you lied to him and your brother. Mia is angry with me for making you leave...she’s seeing the counselor at school and she talks openly about you. She gives your picture a kiss every night before bedtime then cuddles with me. It’s complicated. I’m trying to move the family along and keep things going but I need to find a support group…and the time to get to a support group for myself and my kids. Yes, I have a bit of a resentment that you get a month of intense treatment…but I can find the time to work on my own recovery. I have a whole truck-load of gratitude that you are alive and working on being well.

I do grieve for your lost sobriety, but I understand you can get it back. I grieve for the time lost but have hope that we can move forward and find new times. The first time you went to rehab, there were lots of things that I learned that I never suspected (or unintentionally ignored for my own sanity). I was lost, without hope or support. I was completely shattered and depressed…how could Matt be a heroine user…a drug-fiend…a junkie; how could he use me and my kids; how could he sell our wedding rings; every conversation we had made me feel like the biggest idiot in the world. This time is different…I’m ok. I’m busy…I’m a bit overwhelmed…but that’s how it is around here at Christmas time. I love you sweet Mattie, but I love myself more. I don’t want to end up loving you to death…so I’m going to continue to work on me while you work on you. You have my support and my love while you are on your quest for self-love and recovery.


Your wife,
Lara Lee

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Addicts Disappoint. It Is What We Do

Addicts Disappoint.  It Is What We Do

My name is Tyler.  I am an alcoholic.  To declare that to a large audience, to strangers, to non-alcoholics, to people that know me but may not have known this fact, it is intimidating. For a long time now I have been open and honest about being a recovering alcoholic.  I do not feel it is something that needs be hidden. Yes, I have done things that I am not proud of and possess a long mental list of actions I regret. In the past two years I have strived to make those things right, rendering amends for all the wrong I have done.  I continue that mission and I also have set upon a quest to ease the pain of all the addicts I can.  As an alcoholic, I am an addict.  I have been in recovery for two years now, having taken my last drink on March 23, 2013.

It has been a journey of mental, emotional, and spiritual rehabilitation and I thank God, my family, my friends, my community, Crossroads Church, the organization Shatterproof, Alcoholics Anonymous, and countless others in assisting me in this journey.  It truly takes a village to bring an addict back.  And although I am an alcoholic, I consider myself a brother to every addict.

addict

We find ourselves facing an epidemic of heroin addiction in our nation, in the state of Kentucky, and in the region of Northern Kentucky.   This has caused a vast array of damage to the people, property, and way of life of this region I call home.  Hepatitis C has risen to levels that threaten not just the intravenous drug using population but the public at large.  Families are broken, lives are shattered by jail and destitution, and our healthcare facilities are dominated by heroin related cases.  It is no longer just a problem; it is the most plaguing issue in our communities.

On September 1, 2015, on Highland Pike in Fort Wright, Kentucky,  a forty-eight year old man caused a motor vehicle crash that claimed his life along with three others, those three all being over the age of seventy.  Opioids were found to be in his system.  A tragedy of immense proportions, totally preventable and incredibly brutal, had occurred.  A heroin addict had caused not only his death, but the death of three innocent people.  I have heard this invoke anger against addicts, to call for their jailing and to keep them separated from the public.  It is a sentiment I am not new to.

What happened on Highland Pike was a tragedy.  There is no two ways about it.  And an individual has been declared responsible for it.  Individuals are responsible for tragedies every day.  I feel deep remorse and sorrow for the families and communities of those involved.  This could have been prevented.

On December 23, 2012 I was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Alexandria, Kentucky with a blood alcohol content nearing twice the legal limit.  I could have caused a tragedy.  I could have cost myself and innocent people their lives.  By the grace of God, I did not.  I am responsible for my actions and I am responsible for that DUI.  I make no claim that I am not liable for the numerous mistakes of my past that occurred while I was actively drinking.  But I also know I am not the sum of my mistakes.

Addicts disappoint.  It is what we do.  We have let down so many people, but most of all, we have let down ourselves.  But there is hope.  There are ways to fight it. You can come back from the brink of destruction.

Addiction is a disease.  And yes, it most certainly starts with a choice but so can a lot of diseases (heart disease through lifestyle, lung cancer through smoking, etc…).  We do not turn our back on the diseased.  We do not treat them less than human.  We do not lock them all up and throw away the key.  We treat them.  We educate them.  We support them.

Addiction may start with a choice, but it is a choice to use once.  Then it becomes a habit, possibly rising to a point where it dominates your life.  And guess what?  Once you get into recovery it still is an enormous part of your life.  You need to manage it.  You need to be open to treatment and mindful of your surroundings.  There has not been a day since March 23, 2013 that I have not thought about alcohol.  But I do not need to drink anymore.  I am not the sum of my mistakes.

I feel your anger, I do.  Tragedies like the wreck on Highland Pike hurt our hearts.  Crime is rising, people are being robbed for money to support habits, and children are being neglected and spurned.  But we cannot give up on addicts.

We need to continue exploring new ways of treatment, providing the forms of treatment we have, supporting clean needle exchange, educating everyone from grade school students to adults.

Some people say by getting people in jails we give them access to treatment.  Unfortunately that does not solve the solution.  Addicts need to really want to get better.  There is no magic cure.  Forcing treatment upon us is not effective.  And yes, neither is enabling.

I am not saying that addiction gives someone immunity from the law. It absolutely does not.  And I am not saying we should not try to treat the addicts we have in jails and prisons.  We absolutely should.  But we should not take the approach that jail is the cure for addiction.  That line of thinking comes with high price tag and a lot of broken hearts.

So let us work together as a community to help our neighbors struggling.  Remember we are all here together, striving for the best life for ourselves and our families.  Hate the drug, do not hate the addict.   They are more than the sum of their mistakes.  They are no less than anyone else.  We must not enable them, but we must also never turn our back on them as well.

I urge you to educate yourself on treatment options and the programs and laws that are being implemented and have been implemented to curb this epidemic.  Resources can be found at nkyhatesheroin.com as well as nkypar.org and nkyhealth.org.

I am also more than willing to share my experiences and my passion with anyone wanting to know more.  I can be reached via text or call at 859-653-5909.

By Tyler Owen

 

Orginal Story: http://www.fortthomasmatters.com/2015/10/op-ed-humanity-of-addiction.html

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I am the non-addict who knows all too well what it’s like to have an addict in the family

AlicaCook

I wish it wasn’t me who was writing this blog. I really wish it wasn’t. I wish I wasn’t handpicked because I have one of the “best handles” on this subject. I wish I wasn’t “qualified” to speak on the heroin epidemic that is a growing problem nationwide. I wish I wasn’t a member of a community no one really wants to be a part of. No one ever says to themselves while reading articles like mine, “I wish I could relate to this.”

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