Fifteen years, that’s how long I have been clean from my Heroin Addiction. I sacrificed a lot to my Heroin Addiction, my family, my teeth, my freedom because fifteen years later I still take suboxone every day, not because I’m worried about relapsing but because I’ve been on opioids for so long my body no longer produces endorphins and the withdrawals are horrific.
I actually only used heroin for five years. I have been living with the results of those actions twice as long.
I was a small town girl, who religiously chased the “bad boys”. My son was only six months old when his father introduced me to heroin. I being naive at the time thought it to be no different than coke, that I had done occasionally. I couldn’t have been more wrong, I continued to use fueling my addiction.
I can write a novel in regards to the years that followed. Though I’m sure it’s a story that sounds all to familiar. In and out of jails and rehabs, stealing begging and borrowing. Being disowned by my family after they took away the one thing that mattered to me. My son. My boy he needed me while I ran the streets and sleep in cars.
I had to get clean. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel after my sons father got a 2 year bid. We began this evil journey together always seeking each other out to enable one another.
Shortly after that I met my Husband, he was new to recovery and had come from a good family much like myself and his family was willing to help me too.
By then I had been on and off the methadone program dozens of times but with the support of my husband this time it stuck. Four months later I was pregnant with my daughter who was born addicted to methadone and had to stay in the hospital for over a month to be weened off.
The following year, I regained custody of my son, I was married and in the process of purchasing my first home.
It all sounds like a fairy tale. I don’t want to make it sound like it was easy, there were many bumps in the road. If it weren’t for me being terrified to lose my children, maybe I could have relapsed. Maybe I traded one addiction for another because my focus was solely on them. I had lost time with my son because of my addiction and that in itself made me loath the drug.
My husband on the other hand, hated the methadone program. By the second year in our teeth started hurting, breaking and chipping. The constant pain was distracting to say the least and we both had to have them all pulled and where a denture while we saved up did implants for us both. Him being a gentleman, would allow me to get mind done first.
He even more so hated to urinate in a cup in front of someone. He found it humiliating and belittling. He was much braver than I and would wean himself off methadone only to relapse a few months later and return to the program.
My husband was a good man who held a valuable position in his office, he was a good father and husband but could not destroy his demons no matter how hard he tried.
After years on methadone we heard of a new drug called suboxone. By that time I had been clean for years and was only picking up at the clinic once every other week. My husband hadn’t worked back up to that privilege yet so we decided we would switch to suboxone together.
In the years of being on methadone I forgot what it was like to be sick and I was for 2 days as I had to have the methadone out of my system before starting suboxone.
For me I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing, it made it more convenient for me to stay on a dependency drug. I had so much clean time that I only had to see a doctor every three months to pick up my script as for my husband it made it easier to not be accountable and he relapsed several more times.
I hid all this from my children, I didn’t want them to bare the burden of addiction or to think less of their father. Maybe that was my first mistake.
When my husband was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, we had bigger fish to fry. He was perscribed heavy pain killers and taken off suboxone immediately. He suffered greatly between operations and chemo. An a bag of heroin would ease the pain more so than a perk 10. So it became routine to him.
We fought the cancer for three long years. We fought each other because of the drug use. I was convinced that he was killing his immune system and would not be able to fight the disease. We fought hard and loved harder. Eventually I accepted that he would not or could not get clean while battling cancer. I couldn’t say what I would do if I had been in his shoes. I held on to hope that once he was better than we would get him the help he needed to get clean again. That hope died when he did. He did not get better, the cancer spread. He was diagnosed terminal in Oct 14 and was gone in January of 15.
Some say, how could you have not relapsed after such a loss. My children, still they were my focus and even more so now. I had to get them trough the loss of their father so I worked harder at everything. I went on auto pilot to be everything they needed.
By then my son was 17 and my daughter, 11. My son was driving and had been in a little trouble thus far though I played it off like it was kid shit. Getting caught underage drinking, hotel party’s.
I wasn’t as hard on them as I should have been. The guilt was a burden as they suffered the loss of their father.
When I started noticing signs of my son using I went straight into denial. I could no longer hide my husbands drug use towards the end of his life and was very opened with my son about our past. That should have scared him? It should have been enough to scar Anyone. How could he have gone down that road?
The budding out, the bloodshot eyes, the borrowing money, I ignored it all up until his first arrest. He got caught breaking into an abandon house a few streets down by then he was 18 and charged as an adult. A week later he was fired from his job over a missing $100 bill.
Still he insisted that he was breaking in to steal, him and his friends were just looking for a “hang out spot”.
Then my belongings started to go missing. In all this time I had been clean I had felt sorry for what I had put my parents through when I was using. Though, I was still looking at it through my perspective. That I was in pain homeless and alone. I never could have known the true disperse they must have felt until I felt it myself.
The lying the deceit and betrayal Were mixed in with loss, grief and pain which turned into screaming matches.
He wouldn’t admit that he was using up until the day I kick him out. I gave him the opportunity first to go rehab and he refused. He landed at my parents, how’s that for irony? The same place he ended up when I was in the grasps of the devil myself.
This caused a rift between my family once again but my parents assured me that because they were both retired and I had to work twelve hour days to keep a roof over our heads that they were more inclined to supervise him properly.
Then he started stealing their shit so my mother bought him a new car. A bribe. She tried this tactic with me twenty years ago and it failed horribly then to.
He was finally arrested on possession charges while on probation for the last charge. Finally I had the upper hand and wouldn’t bond him unless he promised to go to rehab. He agreed.
I’ll never forget the day that I went to retrieve his car from impound. I opened the driver side door and laid out of the seats were empty white bags, needles, spoons and cotton and a rave of regret brought memories crashing over me of s time when that was my life too.
Me :tearing up a cigarette filter for cotton. Me: tying a belt around my arm praying to find a vein that hadn’t already colapsed. Me: shivering on a dirty cold McDonald bathroom floor from cotton fever me: in the courtroom the day I lost custody of my son to my parents.
It had come full circle.
My son now has six month clean. I begged him to try not to rely on a dependency drug like methadone or suboxone. I don’t want him to be a prisoner to a prescription like me. Instead he took a different approach than I, he did a long term rehab and attends N.A religiously. He has found a home and acceptance there. The support that keeps him accountable.
I pray that every night he is 1 in the small majority of recovering addicts that makes it out. Which I can’t even say that in regards to myself, because I’m still dependent on a substance.
This is the story of a family of three addicts and how my son inherited my addiction