I was a very high-functioning addict. I kept my job at a local high school while popping four 30mg Oxycontin before my morning coffee. I was the soccer mom, the football team mom, even the chaperone for school dances and booster club meetings. I was all in.
Although I looked good on the outside, my insides were in turmoil.
In the beginning, the pain pills made me feel as if I was Wonder Woman. I had so much energy—I felt more social and totally on game. Gradually though, my life became about using to not get dope sick. I was a drug addict.
Late in January, I decided to quit. I took everything I had on a Saturday night and braced myself. By Wednesday if someone had told me I was dying, I would have believed them. It was like the flu times 100. My anxiety through the roof. I was severely dehydrated from non-stop vomiting and diarrhea. My whole body ached. I was lucky if I got a couple of hours of sleep a night.
My daughter lived next door. She came over and started asking me the same question over and over again, “Mom whats wrong?” I was so sick and defeated and yet, I still couldn’t admit it. There is so much shame and guilt and STIGMA attached to those words.
But when I just couldn’t take it anymore and I said it. “I am addicted to pain pills.”
My family acted quickly, booking me on an airplane that evening. It was all I could do to shower. I was cold and my hair was soaking wet. I had no makeup on and could barely dress myself. I walked out of my first floor bedroom and there stood my entire family. My parents, sisters, brother, even the in-laws. I could see the fear in their eyes. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was going to rehab. I had no idea what that was but I was done living the life I’d been living. I wanted the monster off my back.
I got to the airport and didn’t think I could even make it through the terminal. I had no energy. I did it though. I remember sitting on the plane and looking at my phone blowing up with these beautiful texts of encouragement and love. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I felt so unworthy.
I tell everyone that finding recovery was the hardest thing I have ever done but it was the absolute best. Coming to terms with the fact that I allowed my pain pills to become my number one instead of my family was hard to accept. The old me had nothing but surface relationships, but now, I am truly present.
I now work in the recovery field and feel blessed to have a job that is my true calling. Especially because I am also a member of “The Secret Society”—I have a child who has struggled with substance abuse.
My son began snorting heroin at 17—but no one starts with heroin.
Conner had some serious football injuries and was introduced to all sorts of pain pills. Our journey has been excruciating and long. We had nights of raging, fights, holes in the walls. Our whole family was walking on eggshells.
Addiction is a family disease. One person may use but the whole family suffers. Yet, we are not bad parents. Our children have a disease and we have to accept we are powerless over it. Trying to ignore or hide the problem will just cause more damage to the whole family. We need to educate ourselves and be proactive.
After my experience, I am a firm believer in inpatient treatment followed by a great aftercare plan. My son is now 24, we have done three treatment centers in two years but he’s doing well. He has a year and a half sober.
You see, the real work doesn’t start until you step out of that center. You have to learn to live life all over again. I wish I could tell parents there was a magic wand that cure suffering addicts quickly. Bottom line, we need to educate and support all walks of life.We need to remember it is a disease and with proper treatment we can recover. Knowledge is Power.
Whatever you do, don’t lose HOPE. LIFE is a journey meant to be enjoyed! Recovery works!
This post was submitted by Pamela Knight.