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 the 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 at the very bottom of this page to email us.

Do You Know What Heroin Addiction Is Really Like???

EyeOfAnAddict

Hi, this is the first time I've put this all into writing. My name is John and I'm in love with a recovering addict. A little about me first. Just a short while ago those words would have been bizarre coming from me. I was a single dad (my son lives with me) he was 12 When i met her. I was an EMT for over 20 years with 3 OD /CPR saves under my belt, so clearly i knew what this whole addiction / sudo epidemic thing was all about (Ha, what a joke).

When I met her she was not an active addict. She told me that she had abused pills in the past but she got treated. Ok, so a "yellow" flag went up and was soon forgotten. Clearly she was cured. (Most of you are laughing right now) She owned her own home, car, was a single parent herself, had a great job (almost 6 figures). So, whatever had happened was clearly resolved. Besides, she was beautiful inside and out. The most gentle soul. Her favorite hobbies were crafting and sewing. We fell in love hard and fast. It wasn't long and she moved in with me. Her teenage son wanted nothing to do with this. This was a lot of uncertain change beyond his control. To me, it didn't seem like too big of a deal "we'll work it out". I said. I figured when you're in love, things will work out one way or the other. I was clueless and completely unprepared for what was about to happen.


She confided in a "less than" friend about some of the stresses she was dealing with, and knowing her past, offered her a synthetic pain killer that she didn't have to worry about getting addicted to. (Clearly more to this story, but that's not relevant right now). This went on for a short time before it was revealed that it was heroin. But, it was too late. She was hooked. Ashamed and hooked, she kept her secret hidden for a while. I knew something was off but, I just couldn't put my finger on it. She started missing work, she was gone strange hours, sleeping a lot, becoming distant in general. Of course not being able to pull one over on me, I figured it out. She must be cheating on me. Crying and full of shame she swore to me that's not what it was. Of course with no plausible explanation I didn't believe her.

(Pause: rewind... I'm an EMT. I recognize drug abuse from 100 feet away. I know the signs. I can tell you what people are abusing with pretty good accuracy. My spidy senses never kicked in.) Before long, she stopped coming home. But I didn't care. I was mad. Cheat on me will you? However, I was currently stuck with her 2 dogs, 2 cats, all of her belongings, and oh yeah.... Her teenage son. So, with her phone shut off, Not knowing exactly where she was....I emailed her. Boy did I let her have it. I laid it on thick. How dare she abandoned her responsibilities on me. All I got in response was "I'm sorry". That wasn't good enough by far. But, it wasn't the response I was expecting. I had been far too mean and sarcastic. It was dawning on me that something was askew. So the next email I changed my tone. I wanted to start a dialog. This time she responded. "I messed up. I'm hooked on heroin. The kind you inject. I'm so sorry. I love you".

What?! How? No! B.S!, confusion, denial anger. But, if that's true..... I missed the signs. I was all wrong. What do i do now? She made a bad decision, but she doesn't deserve to die for it. I know how to handle an overdose but I had no idea how to handle this.

My world was spinning out of control. I decided to immerse myself in this heroin addiction thing. What it was. What is heroin. How it works. Why it happens. How to fix it. I wanted a solid understanding of what it was. So I googled it. I went to forums for users, for addicts in recovery. I went to doctors and nurses. They had the same understanding about addiction that I did. (That's a huge part of the problem, the front line of the war on drugs doesn't understand what it really means to be addicted) keep in mind, something like 5 out of 7 opiate addicts started with doctor oversight. I talked to recovering addicts. Finally, some useful insight. I talked to active users. I listened to every word like they were my professor and I was cramming for finals. I talked to recovery counselors. (They are the first professionals in this battle that actually grasp the problem). I learned that quitting heroin is brutal. I'd come to see it first hand. The sweats, anxiety, mood swings, graduating to restless legs and arms. That's about the time electricity shoots through the bones. The excruciating pain. The grief, and shame. The insomnia and nausea. Desperately trying anything to bring relief. Truly believing that happiness may never be felt again. Sometimes feeling a loss hope. If a terrorist were subjected to this, it would be considered inhumane.

One thing kept coming to the forefront. This is their addiction. It will have to be their recovery. She needs to want it or it will all be for nothing. I can't force her. But don't count me out of the picture yet. I can learn how to be a healthy part of her recovery. How to encourage. How not to enable. How to draw the line in the sand and stick to it. I can go to meetings and learn the steps. Boy did that backfire. I'm not the addicted one but, apparently I needed to make some personal changes (before my flaws were pointed out, I was pretty sure I was close to prefect). I learned that some of my actions weren't healthy in this relationship and they couldn't continue. I had to do some deep soul searching be honest with myself. But, if she is willing to get help, I'll do it. Whatever it takes.

Finally weeks had gone by and I had been able to keep some dialog going through the emails. Several other events occurred in the meantime, but I'll save that for the movie, lol. Suffice it to say, the police may or may not have been involved and I may have made a few mistakes along the way. (Note: don't waste your time being vindictive to their supplier. It may feel good, but it takes away from the objective).

She finally said the words......"I'm in over my head. I need help but I'm scared". I told her "don't worry, I have a plan" and she said "ok". Well, That was music to my ears. Now i just had to come up with a plan. What i came up with was a good solid plan. Unfortunately it ended up requiring about 18 contingency plans. There were times when faith was thin (to put it mildly) on both sides. Ultimately in order to detox without her supplier walking and taking her out knowing she was still too vulnerable to resist and the staff taking the cavalier attitude of "well, that's what addicts do".

We decided to go out of state and detox in a motel room for two weeks. (Not highly recommended even though it worked for her. I can not stress enough that this is not for the faint of heart). It was nothing short of cruel. But, she was determined. She truly believed it was this or death. With the heroin out of her system. Clear headed (more than she had been in a while) We were able to get her into a very helpful inpatient program back home and drove straight there. This was not the end of the struggle by far. The battle continued for some time to come.

During this ordeal I watched her resolve herself to die rather than face the shame of what she'd done. I had her family members tell me things like "don't walk away from her.... run" , she's just being selfish, if she dies I'd like to have her photo albums. They turned their backs on her because she made her selfish decision. She hadn't done anything to them. Not borrowed money, not stolen, pawned or pilfered. Inconvenienced them in no way. But, because of the stigma, of this dark mysterious "H" word, turned their backs on her. Police made it clear that they will not go out on a limb for a junkie. Admitting that it was less of a liability to wait until they overdosed and just do the paperwork. The general consensus amongst first responders was "thats sad, I hope they get help but it's most likely a waste of time". A notable lack of compassion. And the ignorance in general (including myself until this and still learning) shows the need for education at every level of this battle.

Yes, initially this was a choice that your loved one made to take this drug. People need to understand that this drug gave the greatest, most euphoric feeling ever felt by your loved one. It allowed them to escape from the stress of everything. That is, until it didn't. And stopping means feeling the worst hell you never even imagined or spend a few dollars to get well enough to keep going. But, then it consumes you and spirals out of control ruining everything you were. It's a viscous cycle that takes an act of bravery and courage to face head on.

I didn't write this for those in recovery. They know this better than anyone like me could. That's the one group that is compassionate about heroin abuse and passionate about helping other addicts and those affected by addiction with their recovery. (Imagine that, the same people written off as waste by general society, are the most compassionate of all of them).

I wrote this for people like me, that just don't have a clue what the battle of heroin addiction really looks and feels like. What they can do to help. Where they fit into their loved one's recovery. To help break the stigma of this dark back alley hardcore drug to the #1 painkiller of the last 3000 years that it is, affecting every demographic in this country. And for loved one's to get an account of some of the things to expect as their loved one faces their journey into their recovery. And to give hope. Because, recovery does work. And as a family member affected by addiction. I'm here to tell you, not only did I survive. But, I'm stronger for it.

My loved one is now 3 years clean and we're planning our wedding now. I still come to this amazing support group of active users, those in recovery and parents for inspiration and guidance. (I suspect I always will). There's a lot of love and knowledge in these posts in this private group.

Best wishes

John Gold

Support our fundraising efforts here at Heroin Support by purchasing wristbands via our website or donating below.

 

Continue reading
  9535 Hits
  0 Comments

Dear Mom - Thank You For Not Giving Up On Me.

A while back, someone posted about finding her daughter in a seedy motel and she gave her a phone and asked her to text every once and a while.  I have been looking for it because I want to tell that person that after reading the post, I went and wrote a letter to my mom but there are so many posts.... I have been trying to mend a very broken relationship with my family. Something about that post really got to me and I NEEDED my mother to know that I loved her.

So I wrote her a letter below and I want to share it with you all. It's taken me a while to share this because it makes me very emotional but I feel that there are mothers out there, suffering and maybe this will give you some hope. So here it is:

YourChild

Dear Mom,

I follow this group on Facebook called "Heroin Support". Anyone who has been touched by the heroin epidemic is invited to share their story. This group is the best thing ever for someone in recovery. I get a whole lot of support and reminders as to why it is so important to keep moving forward. Today, a mother of an addict shared this:

"Was a rough night. Found my daughter at a seedy hotel after not seeing or talking to her for over a month and a half. I didn't try to have her come with me or lecture her on coming clean. I handed her a bottle of Narcan and a phone. I told her to keep it on her at all times and asked if she'd send a text every once in awhile to let me know she's alive. I gave her hug, let her know I loved her and walked away, not knowing if that's the last hug I will ever get. Feeling heartbroken tonight. "

It made me Sob uncontrollably. It made me think of you. I know I have put you through hell. It's not something I feel good about and every time I mess up, I know it's you I hurt the most. The problem is, I have this disease called addiction. The most misunderstood of all the mental and physical disorders combined. I do not JUST choose to use and make bad choices. It's like a darkness that overcomes you. It is a chronic illness in the brain that will never ever go away. In it's simplest terms, it is defined:

"Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works."

I can tell you, regardless of how long I have sober, not a day goes by where I do not think about it. Not a day goes by where I am not reminded of the wreckage I have caused because of my addiction. One of the hardest parts about getting sober was looking back and owning up to the horrendous path of destruction I had caused, not just in my own life but, my family and friends as well.

While you may, never in your life understand what I have been through, my behaviors or my actions; just as I may never understand the some of yours, I have hope that you will consider 2 things:

1. I love you. I love you more than words and feelings can even emote. You are my mother. Mom. Mommy. Momo. No one in this world holds that title but you and the saying blood is thicker than water holds absolutely no meaning to me. I believe you chose me. You didn't just have a child, you picked a child. Not just any child, me. You picked me. If that is not love then I have no words for anything else.
Unfortunately, there is a genetic component here that makes me physically different than you. It took me a long time to understand that and, why it had such an effect on our relationship. Not to mention the generational gap. Regardless of my make up, genetic history and potential risks, you still adopted me and loved me as I was your own. You did a good job mom. You instilled a lot of values that have made up who I am and, believe it or not, kept me out of a lot of trouble. I know I was hard on you. I am sorry you are nothing but perfect as a mother and even more so, a grandmother.

2. I need you to remember, this is a chronic illness of the brain. Even in sobriety, an addicts habits may rear their ugly head. I am not perfect but I am trying so hard. It may not seem like it to you and dad but you have to see that what I do in my life and where I am is such an accomplishment for me because I did not think I would even make it to 18. I thought I would just die. To have been through what I have, to have over come my worst, its something of a miracle to me. i would not change a thing because everything I have been through was something I needed to do to find myself. I have worked on myself harder than I ever thought possible and I was doubted by myself and everyone around me a the entire way. It will be a lifetime of fighting and I am okay with that. Just like anyone would fight a life long disease, there is going to be mishaps along the way. But no matter what, I have many things to fight for now. I don't want to give that away.

So as I close, I want you to know that for every mistake I have ever made, you were there. When I fell, you showed me how to get back up. When I got lost, you gave me the tools to find my way. And when I got sick, you stood by my side and showed me the meaning of strength and getting well. I am a better person because you showed me how to be. I know how to love because you gave that love to me.

I know how to be a mother because the woman who raised me showed me that the word "mother" actually means unconditional love.

I just want to say thank you. Thank you for never giving up on me. No matter what I put you through, all you had was love.

Love always and forever.

Your daughter.

Charlie Elizabeth - Oakland, CA
Continue reading
Tags:
  6520 Hits
  0 Comments

Recovery Is The Only Way For Me Now

ProudOfYou

Alot of people ask me about being an addict and my personal recovery so I wanted to share my story with everyone and show you my reasons why recovery is the only way for me. Warning Lol its long...

I was content living in the small town I grew up in. Had a "normal" childhood, other than my parent's divorcing at age 6. I am the youngest of their 3 children, each of us 10-12 years apart. My brother and sister say they all used to do "family things" together and have fond memories. I cant remember all of us being together other than our mommas passing in 2014.

Our father was always strict but at a very young age I learned how to manipulate him through the guilt he carried for not being able to give me the "family structure" he gave my siblings. So growing up, I knew I could get away with things my brother and sister couldn't. Sadly, I used it to fill every ounce of my addiction as an adult as well..

(It's taken me 40 years to figure that out)

Being blessed with a supportive family allowed me to finish school as a single mother, eventually working in the medical field. I was young, responsible, never got into trouble, had a healthy, beautiful curley haired baby girl, a great carrear working for the mayor who was also a practicing Physician. I was overall happy, just living my life.

I got sick one day, I thought it was just allergies but it turned out to be a bronchial infection and working with doctors, it was easy to get a prescription. I assumed I'd just get a simple antibiotic, wasn't expecting any cough syrup and daym sure didn't think the cough syrup had any opiates in it!

I had messed with weed and alcohol when I partied but never anything beyond that. I will never forget that feeling of euphoria. It was an out of body experience for me, every good feeling combined into one quick swigg.

If the heavens air, walking on clouds, flying with angels and sweet adrenaline were all put together in one bottle, this was it for me..

"Sippin syrup" became my daily routine and was too easy for me to get my hands on working where I did so that bottle followed me everywhere for three years until I found out I was pregnant with my second child. It was finally time to quit. Easy, I thought but nope, I was so wrong..

Ashamed and full of guilt, I continued "syruping" until I was four months along. I assumed I'd tell my obgyn and he'd just give me something to make this easy or tell me it was ok...

Once again, I was so wrong...
He told me that I had to start taking methadone.  I knew what methadone was and I told the Dr he was out of his mind because I was far from a junkie! 

My sister was with me and I remember leaving the room, crying, very upset. She followed me outside and told me I was selfish..
5 months later my Prince arrived, he was perfectly beautiful and my memories of his birth would be the same if we hadnt had to stay an extended 14 days. All I could do was hold him, rock him, Love on him and gently rub his tiny hairy ears while he went through methadone withdraws.

He's a fighter and he got through that just fine. Healthy and happy. My son is one of the strongest people I know so it was my turn to be strong and quit taking methadone..

Yep, wrong again because I couldn't just stop. I tried..... Several, several times.

A "friend" suggested heroin because I was very sick withdrawling from methadone cold turkey and conveniently he had heroin.
7 inpatient/ outpatient treatment facilities, 3 suboxone clinics, 4 arrests, 1 convicted felony charge, hepatitis c, 2 overdoses, 21 days in acoma and almost 15 years later, I'm still alive and have not used in over two years..

Today I am 40, my Queen is 20. Despite everything I put her through, she is the epitome of what a real woman should be and continues to make me proud daily. My Prince is 12. Comedian at best but he's also a gifted dancer who keeps me on my toes. Both beautuful inside and out. To be a child of an addict is a completely different story and a story of their own so I won't speak for them.

We all lost 13+ years to MY drug addiction which is heartbreaking considering they never touched a drug a day in their lives.
Not gunna lie, even in recovery there's times I want to 'check out', either through drugs or death but I already took away their childhood so I have to be here for their future

I realize I am beyond blessed and there's no greater gift in recovery than my kids just wanting to finally be around me, their Momma.

I choose recovery because I am worthy of recovery and I want to be remembered as the mother of two people who changed the world NOT as a hopeless junkie of two kids.

Liz Rosas

 

Click Here to checkout our wristbands we have for sale.   Below are just a few samples of what we have for sale.

DiseaseBlack   DestroysBlack

 

Continue reading
  3251 Hits
  0 Comments

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

Continue reading
  5102 Hits
  0 Comments

Heroin Addict for 12 Years But Now Life Is Good

This is me in active addiction.

Eli Scott1

I've been a Heroin addict for 12+ years now and 5 months away from completing a Level 6 Therapeutic Community in Denver, CO. Oh my, what a crazy road I've been down. I got clean in 2011 till the end of 2013 and seemed to be doing great until the devil reeled me back in one day. Within a week I was right back to the vicious cycle of being a Heroin addict. I got a beautiful lady and put her through the mess with me. I remember one day we went to go pick up for me and she had NO CLUE what was going on and met up with my buddy at a 7-Eleven and shot up in the bathroom. I ran out and jumped into the drivers seat and took off driving down the road and the only thing I remember was opening my eyes to my girl shaking me in a frantic screaming my name saying WTF is going on, and the car was pulled over to the side of the road somehow. Oh my god, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

This Level 6 TC has shown me how to set boundaries once again, deal with adversity in a civilized manner, have more compassion for people because I had NONE for NO ONE, have empathy for people, so many things I could just go on and on! And here we are today, she has stuck by my side through this whole thing and she hasn't even touched drugs in her life! She has raised my son for me while being in this facility and she has probably suffered more being away from me than me being away from her. She and my family are a huge support in my life and want to see me strive to be the best! And that's what I'm here doing today!

All I can really say is to keep on fighting the battle and no one says that it's going to be easy. But how bad do you want it is the question? You put up such a fight during your addiction to get your next fix. So now it's time to put up that same fight but in a more positive aspect and fight for your recovery!  Anyone can find me and we can talk if you're struggling! I will hold anyone accountable and I would expect the same if I were struggling.

Below is me 14 months clean!

Eli Scott2

Keep heads held high and fight the fight!

Thanks for letting me share!

#RecoveryRocks    #HeroinSupport    #DontGiveUp

Continue reading
  3266 Hits
  0 Comments

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)

Continue reading
Tags:
  3457 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
  4728 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

 

Continue reading
Tags:
  7248 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
  3286 Hits
  0 Comments