Opioid Addiction Stories in Their Own Words
The television program, Frontline, has published several documentaries about heroin and opioid addiction. Recently they asked their audience to open up about their experience with addictions and the responses are powerful. Some are from addicts themselves, others from a family member or loved one touched by the addiction of someone else. Each is touching in it’s own way.
Opioid Addiction – Addicts Tell Their Stories:
Someone addicted to opioids
I’m a good person. I’m a contributing member of society. I’m educated. I have a good job, make good money, have wonderful relationships with my loved ones. I’m so completely average. The only thing that sets me apart from that other young business professional that seems to have it all is that I’m addicted to opiates. And the problem is that I tell myself everyday it’s not a problem because I am able to carry my life on in a normal way…I’m not a typical addict. I don’t steal, lie to borrow money, I don’t manipulate people, I don’t engage in promiscuous activity…since it’s not ruining my life in the way of major money, legal, or relationship issues I tell myself that it’s not ruining my life. I’m delusional.
John, from Portland
I have struggled with opioid addiction on and off for 30 years with the most clean time being 7 years consecutive. The thing that I think that people are quickly understanding is that opiate addiction does not discriminate and is not a moral failing. Many of us that have become addicted are intelligent, valuable people who lost control after experimentation, curiosity or having the opiates prescribed. I didn’t ever intend to be a heroin addict; it quickly got out of control and led me to places I never dreamed of.
A former addict from Pittsburgh
You must be vigilant at all times against relapse and you must surround yourself with different places and people. Being in recovery is hard. It’s almost impossible if you stay in your neighborhood and are friends with the same people. You basically have to dump your life and start over.
Craig from Deptford
How it can take over anyone’s life. My childhood was beautiful. My life was beautiful. I was motivated, active, successful, and loved my family. My addiction stole everything from me. Recovery is possible though. In two years clean and sober I have gained so much back.
Sarah who overcame her addiction
That it’s a public/mental health disease, it’s not about being a bad person or morally weak. I also want people to know that with proper long-term treatment it’s possible to recover and live a beautiful life. I feel incredibly fortunate to have my recovery of almost 6 years and to have my life back
People Whose Lives Have Been Affected By Opioid Addiction:
Jenny from Philadelphia
That it is truly a disease that affects so many families. Many times drug abusers have underlying mental health issues. So many people are afraid to talk about it, yet so many are affected by it. The system in place now doesn’t provide the best support for some people who are struggling to stay clean. Loving an addict when they are using is heartbreaking, scary, and frustrating.
Denise from Oklahoma
That it KILLS!! I’ve lost BOTH MY BOYS to heroin overdoses. My 19-year-old Dillan in 2010, and my 28-year-old Matthew just two weeks ago, February 3, 2016!!! THIS KILLS!!!! DEALERS ARE CUTTING DRUGS WITH ALL SORTS OF CHEMICALS…DO NOT USE!!!!
Jennifer from Jacksonville
The chance of dying during relapse after rehabilitation from opioid dependency is the most painful experience your loved ones may have to face. Even in death we love you and wish there was a better outcome. I miss my wife every single day.
Margie who lost her son in 2010, when he was 22
That they never intended for this to happen to them. That they wish they never would have started. They feel pretty bad about themselves already without judgment from everyone else. They were still good, caring people. Addiction just completely overtook them. Their families are devastated. Their siblings and parents left behind are forever affected, forever touched by this disease. This becomes a family disease once it touches even one person in the family. We are not ashamed of them. Through their addiction we continued to love them and forever will.
We are survivors of one the worst wars in America. We cry everyday. We cry for those that will die today, tomorrow, next week, next month and on and on. We cry for their families, and with their families. We are losing beautiful, creative, and loving people, every 19 minutes, and over 120 people a day. It seems like no one cares, that there is no outrage. This is a silent killer, and not enough noise is being made about this modern-day scourge in America.
While I am a mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose, it does not define me, or my family. My son still matters, even though most people cannot bring themselves to even say his name, or recall his memory. I am forever missing my son, Mitchell, and he is my inspiration to wake up and live, every single day
Justine who lost her 16-year-old son to an overdose
That it can take one time; that not everyone gets 10 chances at rehab. That the reckless and glamorous life of your favorite band will not necessarily be your outcome. That you can overdose and die by snorting; needles are not required.
Opioid Addiction Conclusion
These stories are a grim reminder of how getting high for fun so often leads to tragedy. A life cut off far too soon, a family shattered, a parent loses a child, a young life is taken. Our hope is out readers will listen and learn and if they are struggling with opioid or opiates they will reach out for help, or that if one who has a family member or loved one is reading they too will reach out for solutions. Most every community has some sort of social service that can help you find an appropriate level of addiction treatment.