NPR shares one recovering woman’s story:
Doctors sent me to specialists, whose cures were backed with commercials, free pens and a 30-day supply free from the sample drawer.
The doctor at the chronic pain clinic assured my mom that I’d be closely monitored and that pharmaceutical use was documented and safe. “Methadone is for heroin addicts,” she said. I left with a month’s worth of pills that day.
Soon, I was under the care of a psychiatrist, pain specialists and family practice doctors. I was getting up to 14 different meds. I couldn’t tell where my pain came from anymore. Side effects led to new drugs, and more side effects.
My husband — once friend and partner — was now my jailer, controlling access to my pills he kept locked in a safe. A single Xanax turned into five if I could sneak them. And the methadone went from one, to two, to four until I drifted off into a drooling heap at Quiznos.
I became too medicated to parent my son, so he moved in with my parents. Motherhood became a burden I despised. My husband and I spent our time quarreling, drinking and sleeping. Friends disappeared. Finances were obliterated by medical bills and time off work.
How is she doing now?
Today, I am a 33-year-old mother of two. My husband and I divorced. I got remarried to a man I met in recovery. We have a son as well as my first son who has no memory of me as an addict. If you passed me on the street, you’d never suspect my junkie past.
I feel no shame when I say I’m a recovering addict. The battle has made me a warrior. As someone lucky to have survived, I want to tell others not to give up. Life can be pain and suffering, but numbing that pain also numbs the love that heals it.
My addiction owned me. Once a girl obsessed with my appearance, I was now a greasy, slovenly woman who could no longer perform even the most basic hygiene. Although a die-hard atheist, I begged God to make me die. Of all things, Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” came on one day, and I broke down sobbing.