My story began eight years ago. I was 24 and living with my now ex-husband in Burnsville, MN. We were both originally from upstate NY and 1,000 miles away from everything we had ever known. We had been married only a year and a half and had been together for nine years. Our lives and marriage were falling apart because of addiction and because we were indisputably co-dependent on one another. We were both hooked on methadone and also he was drinking heavily on a daily basis (I still to this day cannot stand the smell of vodka and OJ).
How My Addiction Started
My addiction started out like anyone else’s – taking Vicodin and Percocet here and there just for fun. I fell in love with the euphoric high I got – most people I shared my experience with said the pills just made them drowsy and made them want to sleep but not me. I felt like I had endless amounts of energy like I could do anything. I had this motivation and drive that I could never find on my own. I knew how profoundly addictive these pills were, but in my ignorant young mind, I had it “under control.”
My addiction went on like this from age 17 until about age 22. I would use every day for about a month or more, and when I’d feel myself needing the drugs instead of just wanting them, I’d stop cold turkey, suffer for a week or so and be ok. This, in my mind, meant I had it “under control”. Sometimes I’d make myself go 4 or 5 months before even thinking about touching another pill. Eventually, I’d get the itch and give in.
Losing “Control” Over My Addiction
When I moved to Minnesota with my now ex, we were in our early 20’s and felt like we needed a change in our lives. We grew up in a small town and decided we wanted to start over. He got there about two months before I did – and when I got out there, he was going to the methadone clinic. I had tried methadone a handful of times and really liked it, so when he would get his takeout bottles for the weekends, he would split his methadone with me. Before long I was completely hooked and needed it every day. I didn’t realize it or want to admit it right away, but it was true; I had officially lost control. I kept telling myself I could stop whenever I wanted to, but deep down I knew I couldn’t.
After about a year of being away from family and friends, we went home for a visit and what a disaster that trip turned out to be. My brother noticed right away how skinny I had become and called me out on it. We ended up getting into a huge fight, but I kept denying I had a drug problem. It wasn’t until after I returned to Minnesota, started intravenously using heroin, and eventually getting on the methadone program myself that I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem. My husband was the only person who knew I was on drugs, and I felt like I had to hold on to that relationship (as unhealthy as it was) because I felt like nobody else would want me. Who would desire a “junkie” for a partner?
Breaking Through Denial
I had a moment of weakness one day in February of 2010. I was on the phone with my childhood best friend from home and was having a horrible day. Not to mention I was carrying around the burden of my addiction, my failing marriage, my apartment, bills, and everything else that was falling on my shoulders. I just blurted it out, and it felt so good to say it out loud. “I’m hooked on methadone, and I can’t stop.” She continued to ask questions, and the information just poured out. She swore she wouldn’t tell my family but somewhere deep down I knew that was a lie.
She called later that night to confess she could not, WOULD NOT keep the secret. “If something happens to you, I won’t be able to live with myself”. I was so pissed. I yelled and screamed and told her she was a bitch and a horrible friend. But those were all lies. I was relieved. I had wanted for so long to say to my parents what had been going on. Plus the fact that I lied to my brother and swore I was not hooked on drugs was eating me alive.
Getting Help for My Addiction – What Recovery is Like
The next day my mom called, and I was shaking as I answered the phone. “We know what’s been going on. And we aren’t mad. We love you. And we want to help you.” I immediately started crying and told her I had to think about it. In the back of my mind, I knew I would be going to treatment (I LOATHED going to the methadone clinic every day and wearing those “liquid handcuffs”). I was ready to get out. I was trying to buy some time, so I could convince my husband to go to treatment with me. “We can do this together” I promised. “It won’t work, it’ll be too hard. Plus taking methadone IS treatment” he insisted. I knew better – he was just trying to get me to stay there and be miserable with him. I accepted help. It was hands down, the best decision I ever made in my life. Getting clean gave me my life back. It was like a rebirth and completely changed my outlook on life. If I could go back and do it all again, I would have done it sooner. If you’re considering going to treatment, stop making excuses, give your life over to people who have YOUR best interest at heart and let the pieces fall where they may. You won’t be disappointed.
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