Sara and Billy (pictured above) were together nearly six years when he overdosed on heroin and died on May 23, 2016.
“We always talked about our wedding,” said Sara. “I still can’t believe he’s gone. I don’t know how to live without the love of my life.”
Sara and Billy’s first date included a drug deal. Right in front of Sara, Billy then crushed and sniffed a Percocet (30mg) from a rolled up dollar bill.
“He told me never to tell anyone that, and I never did,” recalled Sara. “I had no idea what I was getting into; I had never done drugs, or even been around them for that matter. Nothing mattered to me, the fact that I was with him made my world complete, and I figured I could help him find recovery.”
Sara would quickly learn that Billy had been battling a pill addiction for over five years.
Sara encouraged Billy to seek treatment, and he detoxed in a hospital. Sara thought this was the beginning of her happily ever after, but after being admitted for five days and remaining clean for a week, Billy relapsed.
“One of the saddest things about Billy’s battle is that he used drugs with his parents. His mother, father, and step-mother were all addicted to opiates,” revealed Sara.
“The things I went through for him and with him are still unimaginable, but I would do anything for my Billy!” she added. “At times I enabled him when I was naïve, but I soon caught on.”
Sara would lend him money or her car. She would coddle him when he was sick from withdrawal. Once Sara accepted that enabling was only hurting Billy further, she would support him in healthier ways. She would befriend his peers in whatever sober house he was living in at the time. She would take him to all of his meetings, spending countless weeknights and weekends in the rooms, hearing stories about things she didn’t know about firsthand.
Only able to remain clean while in treatment, this cycle went on for two more years, and Sara stayed by his side. Sadly, instead of committing to recovery, Billy graduated from pills to heroin. This was when his entire family, even those using with him, intervened.
Billy entered a treatment facility a great distance away from his home and remained in that environment following treatment for nine months.
Sara, who tried to see him on weekends, went to visit him and found him unresponsive. Billy had overdosed. The medics administered Narcan, the overdose reversal drug, and told Sara that if she didn’t find him when she did, he would have died.
The quest for sobriety and recovery began all over again following Billy’s first overdose. Sara remained hopeful that Billy would be able to beat his addiction.
“He went to detox again, then a TSS holding for three months where I could see him for an hour a week,” recounted Sara. “He finally got into a halfway house and was doing so great; he was himself again, the one I knew and loved.”
The bliss didn’t last long. Six months later Billy was removed from the sober house for failing a drug test, marking the third relapse Sara had gone through with him.
This time around, Billy entered a rehabilitation program right by Sara’s home.
“I was so excited and so very proud of him,” stated Sara. “There was never a time I wasn’t supportive and proud of him. He was there for about six months and decided it was time to move into a sober house and get a real life started together.”
Believing her and Billy’s lives had regained some normalcy, Sara booked a cruise vacation with her friends.
A few days into the vacation, when the ship was docked in Florida, Sara was startled by loud banging on her room’s door. Two cruise officials told her she needed to go with them, even telling her there was no time to brush her teeth. She was escorted off the ship and waiting for her was her mother and aunt who told her that Billy had overdosed and died.
Her mother and aunt had already purchased a ticket home for Sara, who would have missed the services if she was still at sea.
“My friends think I should just be okay and they don’t understand that I never will be. I lost the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, my future husband, my everything,” said Sara, who noted she has been isolated by her friends. “I try to look at it like he’s no longer suffering, but it’s almost impossible. I want him here; to be okay and to continue on his journey to recovery.”
By sharing her story, Sara hopes to help others who love someone battling addiction.
Check out Heroin is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen to Me by Alicia Cook.