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.

Dopeless Hope Fiend: A Recovering Addict's Manifesto

ryan

You never had a problem with buying weed from me in junior high. You seemed to appreciate my proclivity for procuring high quality acid in high school. But when I started smoking meth during my senior year, you called me “a worthless tweeker.” When I missed the SATs because I partied too hard the night before the test, you pointed out how I failed more times than most have tried. When I sunk into a deep depression because my friends were walking out of my life, you said it was because I wasn’t “ever going to amount to anything.” It still hurts that you wrote me off because you thought I’d never get clean. I internalized your beliefs about me. I could never shoot, snort, or smoke enough dope to silence the memories of being shunned for having a disease. You looked down upon me from your socially acceptable, stable perch. You went away to a four year university, and I set my sights on becoming a big fish in the drug dealing pond. You turned a blind eye as I sunk lower and lower into the grips of addiction. Strung out and suicidal, my disease had progressed to mainlining a mixture of heroin and cocaine. I had hoped that you would give me a call, or maybe even stop by my house to let me know that you still gave a sh#t about me, but you didn’t. After all, I am just a lowly drug addict.

You screamed, “You could stop if you really wanted to!” Heck, I was even convinced that I could quit whenever I wanted. I am sick with a disease and it is called addiction: an obsessive-compulsive pattern of using something outside of myself to change the way I feel. I couldn’t stop using, even when I had the desire to. I didn’t enjoy the rush of experiencing the nearly fatal cardiac arrests which accompanied a string of coke overdoses, and I didn’t possess anymore superhuman energy when my meth habit turned me into a meager little 115 pound tweeker, and there surely wasn’t anything chic about my dependence on heroin after numerous injection site abscesses cost me one of my lungs, a body riddled with scars, and 9 months in the hospital. Being a drug addict stopped being fun for me before we ever parted ways during our senior year. I kept using, despite the consequences because I was trying to escape the pain of childhood trauma: sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I needed a way to shut up the voice in my mind that constantly tells me that I am unlovable. I am an addict and my story is not uncommon with those that are affected by our affliction. The disease of addiction cannot be cured; however, it can be arrested and managed with adequate support and development of healthy coping tools. 

At first, you cringed when I publicly spoke of it. You whispered to your friends, “How in the hell could anyone be so proud to be in rehab?” Nobody believed that I would actually stay clean. You gave me two weeks at most before I had a needle in my arm again. You asked, “What is this guy talking about?” My emotions were raw and I couldn’t keep them bottled up anymore. You laughed and wondered just how many brain cells I had fried. You were cautiously optimistic when I took that first step by admitting that I was powerless over my addiction and that my life had become unmanageable. I proudly showed you my clean time key tags and boasted about my progress with undoing years of wreckage. 

You never understood how hanging out with a group of addicts could help me stay clean. You pictured us meeting in a dimly lit room reeking of stale cigarette smoke while we sobbed over the opportunities that we squandered away. You didn’t realize that being an addict in recovery is the ticket into an elite club. The price of admission is quite high, as one must hit rock bottom before gaining full entry into a fellowship of soulful fighters, strong-willed survivors, and humble spiritual gurus. My pain and embarrassment were well worth it when you consider the company that I now get to keep. My inner circle consists of creative geniuses, unstoppable overachievers, tireless doers, and kind-hearted helpers. You don’t believe me? That’s because you’ve never met Jason, the English literature student who is more intelligent than most of his Sonoma State University professors, or Kendra, the self-made real estate mogul and big pharma consultant. These are the addicts who took me under their wings, and showed me how to sublimate my addictive nature into a healthy, productive means of operating with success. They embody the recovering addicts’ mantra: “We keep what we have only by giving it away.” 

The recovering addict has a tool kit of effective life skills which most normies never develop. We dedicate our lives to being of service to others. But first, we must dig down to the deepest depths of our wounded spirits, make peace with our past, understand ourselves to the best of our ability, and correct any personality defects which affect our relations with others. The final step of the healing process requires us to make amends to the people we have harmed. To sufficiently maintain our newfound serenity, we inventory our relationships, feelings, and behavior on a daily basis in search of areas in which we can improve. This is our recovery program and it is a lifetime of cyclical work. We are given a set of moral principles to guide our lives and we do our best to apply them in all of our affairs. 

I can’t keep myself from laughing when I hear you say “addicts lack drive and ambition.” Apparently, you weren’t paying attention when that addict hustled you into buying their next bag of dope. A using addict will lie, cheat, steal, or deal drugs to feed their habit. Did you really think that we lost our street smart mentality when we got clean? The recovering addict now lives by a strict spiritually guided code, but we use our dope game survival skills for more socially acceptable objectives, such as excellence in education, fitness fanaticism, or skyrocketing success in our chosen profession. You failed to recognize that the core of our disease is obsessiveness; it's our gift and our curse.

I gave up the title of being the biggest f#ck up from Rancho Cotate’s Class of ’98 a few years ago. I’m something entirely different now: the resilient, hard-working, straight A college student. You call me “a miracle.” However, I’m really just a typical addict in recovery. It happened as quickly as it all started; you turned your back on me twenty years ago like rats fleeing from a sinking ship; now you flock to me like I’m a mid-western suburban heroin dealer and hang onto to my uplifting words like Tea Partiers with Donald Trump’s rhetoric. 

Are you ready to admit that you were wrong about me and addicts in general? I won’t hold my breath while I wait for an apology. I’ve worked on my resentments, so I’m not going to hold your misconceptions against you. It’s great that you root for me, but be honest: you needed for me to recover. As I pulled myself out of the gutter, I motivated you to overcome your own troubles. You told me, “If you can do it, so can I.” You failed to realize that I can do it because I am a recovering addict, not despite of it. You’re in awe of our inner-strength, centered peacefulness and ability to accomplish almost anything, no matter what the circumstances are. I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have a hard time keeping up with an addict in recovery. It’s too bad that your normie status doesn’t allow you the opportunity to join my tribe. We’re a generous bunch, so we will share some of our insights with you. Who would’ve guessed that the worthless junkies would become the source of inspiration and sound advice to the same folks who shamed them? It’s cool- we’ve all made mistakes and we don’t mind being your hope dealers.

-    - Ryan M. Sansome‎ (Santa Rosa, California)

Tags:
Continue reading
2586 Hits
0 Comments

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

Continue reading
30591 Hits
0 Comments

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

Continue reading
3459 Hits
0 Comments

I Overdosed on Heroin and Almost Lost My Life

TylerUlm

Two months ago, October 1st, 2015 I made the conscious decision to use heroin. Fortunately, yet unfortunately, I overdosed and almost lost my life. And that was where my wake up call started. When I started into the overdose, I made my way to my mother's bed where I collapsed onto it and started to vomit. Laying in the puddle of vomit, my body was trying to gasp for air which ended up with me inhaling my own vomit and started suffocating me. Nobody is really sure how long I was there before I was found. My mother came home from work that night to find me and immediately called 911. When she found me my body temperature was 88 degrees. I had a very very faint pulse and little to no breaths occurring. I was rushed to Mercy Clermont. In the ambulance they checked for brain activity and found nothing, leaving EMT's and doctors to think I had been without sufficient oxygen long enough to where I had severe brain damage, if not brain dead altogether. After arriving, X-rays showed I had double pneumonia from the vomit and my stomach acid collapsed my left lung. After trying to bring me back to consciousness, I unknowingly started to thrash about. After having to have more than 6 people hold me down, the doctors sedated me with a paralytic drug. Little time went by before the doctors told my parents it did not look good and I would not survive overnight. After talking with the doctors, they were going transport me to Mercy Anderson where I would be in a trauma center so I would have better chances of survival. But my parents, and half my family, fought to have me transported to University of Cincinnati hospitals.

aircare

The doctors told them I wouldn't survive the 45 minute trip because ambulances weren't equipped for the support I needed. My parents started to ask about Air Care when the snobby little nurse said it was too expensive and they would not transport me by helicopter. Saying it like I was less of a human because I overdosed on drugs instead of being in a car wreck or something. Doctors called UC to make sure they would admit me. A little more time passed and the doctors came back and informed my parents that UC would indeed accept me. As they were prepping transport, I started to come back to consciousness and thrash about. I was then sedated again. That was when it was decided I could not ride in an ambulance because it just would not work with me freaking out. They ultimately had no choice but to Air Care me. Twenty minutes passed and the helicopter arrived. As they were loading me onto the helicopter, I once again started to wake up and freak out. It took them almost another twenty minutes to sedate me another time before they could take off. I made it to UC where I spent 8 days in the MICU in a medically induced coma. Throughout those eight days, they tried repeatedly to wake me up and pull out the breathing tube. Not only was I still freaking out every time, my lungs weren't ready to be functioning on their own yet. So they kept sedating me and had me restrained to the bed. I spent countless days inside my own head begging myself to wake up and was unable to because of the Propofol that kept me paralyzed. "Tyler wake up ! Please wake up ! You have to wake up !" Yet I couldn't. I was so critical, I was assigned two nurses at all times, and I was their only patient the whole time I was there. Even though I started showing brain activity, nobody knew for sure what kind of damage was done to my brain.

On October 8th, I finally woke up with no complications aside from not knowing what the hell happened or how I got there. The nurse had to talk me down so I would not freak out anymore. Extracting and reinserting the breathing tube so many times damaged my larynx to where I was unable to complete a full swallow and left me unable to speak. I had to basically relearn how to walk and how to swallow again. My nurses told me I was a miracle. I was lucky to be alive. I was lucky to come out of that unscathed. It was a miracle. I shouldn't have made it. There is no reason I should be here. If not for all the prayers, and the grace of God, I would be gone. My first night in the hospital, my dad put an angel charm on me because he knew I would need an angel to pull through. He was right. And now I never go anywhere without my angel being in my pocket.

I'm not telling this story for sympathy or likes or any of that bullshit because I do not give a flying f#ck about that. I'm telling this story in hopes of reaching the addicts on my friends list before its too late. There is a way out. I promise you. Get help. Please. Before its too late. Let me help you. There are much better things out there for you. You can overcome even the hardest of obstacles if you're willing to work for it. Put in the work. It's worth it. Not even a month out of the hospital, a very close friend had a family member tragically die the same way I almost did.

This sh#t is real. It's not worth your life. Don't wait until it happens to you. Don't learn the hard way like I did. I can't say it enough, its not worth your life.

- Tyler Ulm (Cincinnati, Ohio)

 

Heroin or Jail

 

Tags:
Continue reading
4611 Hits
0 Comments

Testimony On Beating Heroin Addiction

Testimony

If you would have asked me 8 years ago, if I LOVED pain pills, I would have said "Yeah of course!" Not knowing that my life was starting it's course on a downhill battle. The perkacets was enough for about a year, until I was introduced to heroin right after my son Bentley was born. I lived for it, I dreamed about it, I was in love with heroin, it was my life! Eventually my dad stopped letting me come around, I didn't care, I had my baby mom and a son, and eventually went on to have 2 more children by her. I'm sure that's why she held in for so long. Held on to hope, to the chance that just maybe one day I will realize what this drug is doing to me. After 6 years she finally gave up, as did my father, my aunts, and cousins, and anyone who at one point were the only things that were important to me. At least I had heroin! I might have lost weight and my family and my job and EVERYTHING that makes life meaningful, but at least I felt "good" for a couple hours at a time. On 6/14/2012, I was the victim of a robbery. I was shot 6 times, and I barely survived. I was shot in my back, my stomache, my ankle, my toe, and both of my thighs. I had to wear a colostamy bag for over a year, I'll tell ya, pooping in a bag is VERY uncomfortable to say the least. I continued to use, I continued to, rob, lie, steal, borrow, and beg, anything I had to do to get my next fix. I was under a spell! I lost everything! But it still just wasn't enough!. I hadn't hit my rock bottom.

Today though, I am happy to say, that I have been clean and sober for 145 days. In this short little 5 months since I quit using on 6/25/15, my life has changed dramatically for the better. I have a awesome job making good money, I have my family back. Everyone has faith in me, it is a true blessing. This is the happiest I have ever been in my whole life. When I stopped using, it triggered a long set of events that would eventually help me for the better. My whole mindset is changed, I feel like my brain is starving for knowledge. I am a completely different person. At one point in my life, I would have said, I will ALWAYS love to get high, and today I feel the sample way, but I don't mean high on heroin, or any other kind of drug. I am high on life! It is possible! At one point I was the biggest piece of crap on the planet!

Now, I have people asking for my advice! It is truly amazing. We are what we choice to be. The mind is a powerful thing. Do you want a happy successful life? You have to ask yourself, how bad do you want it. The good lord is watching over you. And people will be shocked when they see the REAL you! Show everyone what you are made of. None of us are special, because we are all special! Prayers for the still suffering addict.


There is hope, and I pray that you find it and hold on to it with every ounce of strength you have. Thank you for reading. Love!
‪#‎Just4Today‬ 
‪#‎Back2Work‬

Zachary Parsons‎
South Hamiton, Ohio

Heroin Testimony

Continue reading
2608 Hits
0 Comments