Suboxone Success Story in Tulsa, Oklahoma #1: Single Woman in her 30s Struggling with Opioid and Alcohol Addiction
Addiction...it’s what we hear about on a daily basis now across the country no matter where you live, who you are, your social or economic status. It happens. It happens fast and it can happen to anyone. I know because it happened to me.
Every day is a struggle. A constant struggle, the same struggle every day almost like that movie Groundhog's Day. Get up if you can or if you even got any sleep because you were either so uncomfortable fighting the withdrawals or spent your time worrying about tomorrow because the first thing on your mind is where can I get my next fix? Who can I call? Do I have any money? If not, how can I get some?
Depending on that answer, sometimes some of the worst possible things come into your mind, things that you never ever thought before you were even capable of thinking about doing, all just to get a fix so that you can feel better for even a small amount of time. You feel shame but yet there's only one thing driving you and it controls your thoughts, your actions, your life, and there's nothing you can do to make it go away or make it better except getting that next pill or hit or whatever.
Believe me, I know. I fought this same battle every day for 10 years. All while keeping a job, keeping up appearances, and hiding my addiction from my family and friends which of course also meant having to lie to them quite frequently.
If I could tell my then self all of this and explain in detail what’s to come, what I will lose, who I will lose, the physical and mental pain not only I will go through but my closest friends and family will as well, I honestly think I would have put that pill down and never have tried it to start with.
However, I know it’s hard especially when it’s around you all the time. That was my problem because it was my ex-husband who introduced me to the world of pills and drugs. I felt the pressure but I also wanted any hurt, pain, worries, stresses, and whatever else I was struggling with to just go away, and I was told that’s how I could make that happen.
Now looking back, I was a fucking idiot. I was too concerned with what other people thought about me and making everyone else happy. I was very easily influenced and didn’t have a voice of mine. I know others out there can relate to that, and to those people I say, please stop and think for yourself. Think about yourself and your family and your friends or whatever or whomever means something to you, think about them and how much you’re going to hurt them and yourself.
I didn’t even realize I was doing it but I pulled away from my family and friends (the ones who actually mattered). I didn’t want to listen to anyone. I constantly got mad at my family and friends when they would ask me questions about what I was doing or where my money was going because to them it just didn’t make sense.
I had a great job making decent money but yet never could afford anything and was always broke. I had so many people try to help me in different ways but I never listened or followed through. I realize now it was because all I was doing was lying and I didn’t want to be found out. I didn’t want my secret out.
After years of struggling, finally ending my marriage, and going to more friends’ funerals than most people go to in their life, I along with my parents thought for sure my life would turn around now. Of course, it didn’t though because I couldn’t stop the pills.
At some point every day I thought about how badly I would like to quit, but I couldn’t afford rehab and I didn’t know any other way to do it so as quick as the thought would enter my mind, it would go right back out because I was in the vicious cycle of opiate addiction and the thought of having to withdraw just to be freed was something I couldn’t bear and wasn’t strong enough to do.
And even though I knew how badly I was hurting my parents, my family, my friends, and knowing they would stand behind me and help me if I told them the truth, I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. Deep down, I wasn’t ready to quit. No matter how many times I said it and might have even tried to quit cold turkey, I just wasn’t ready. This disease grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let go. It re-wires the way you think. It changes who you are and a person that has never experienced it or had any kind of addiction problem will never understand though.
But thanks to a very good, close friend who (God rest his soul, passed away still trying to kick this shit) told me about this doctor who sees people that have an addiction and he does it with the Suboxone method. He kept asking me if I was ready to quit and even though my mouth said yes, my brain still wasn’t too sure. But he made me an appt and, despite what I was struggling with inside as to whether or not I truly wanted to do this and was ready, I went anyway.
When I left that very first appt with Dr. Pierre, I knew everything was about to change. It still took me a couple of months to understand the concept, battle my demons, follow through with the tasks/goals Dr. Pierre set for me each month, and stay 100% clean, but that first month when I was able to walk in his office, look him in the eye and say with confidence that I didn’t use that month was a better feeling than any high I had ever had or could have had.
Obviously, it’s not an overnight thing. I had to drop a lot of “friends” but once I was clean again and thinking clearly, I realized that they never were true friends. Everything was always about convenience and everyone was always around when it was convenient, but never seemed to show up when you really needed someone.
I remember so many times during those 10 years I would look at a stranger doing everyday normal things and think to myself, I wish that was me. I wish I could remember what it was like to just be normal again and do normal everyday regular things without having to rely on a pill to make me feel “normal” because if I don’t get that pill then I’m going to be completely useless, worthless, bitchy, and consumed with the thoughts of chasing a high or getting just enough so that I can feel “normal” for a small amount of time again until I have to do it all over again the next day or maybe even the next couple of hours when it wears off.
Looking back now, I actually can’t believe I ever gave up this “normal” feeling in exchange for a short jaded feeling, all because I wanted my problems to go away. I didn’t want to have to deal with my feelings and emotions. But I’ve learned that everyone has problems. Everyone at some point during the day or during their life would like to make problems or hurt or whatever go away but it’s how you choose to deal with it and turning to drugs is not worth it.
I’m one of the lucky ones who didn’t end up on the streets, in jail, or dead, because I watched all of those “friends” of mine at the time wind up in one of those three scenarios. I know I’m lucky to have found Dr. Pierre and to have the option to not only get better but also to maybe help just one other person in the process.
Through this, I’ve been able to come clean with myself, my family, and my true friends, and now I’ve got more support and love than I ever knew was possible and they tell me all the time how much of a difference they can see in me and my attitude. I can see a difference in me. I can’t imagine how I was able to eek through life for that long doing what I was doing and hurting myself and others along the way, living in such a fog that I didn’t even realize then how clouded my judgment was.
Even now, people will reminisce about something that happened a year or more ago and I have no recollection of it at all. As much as I thought I was living in the moments and would remember, I hardly remember at all. I wasted a lot of time, lost a lot of friends, lost a lot of myself and my memory all just to get that short-lived high feeling at first, then I had to live every day chasing the feeling of “normal” just so I didn’t have to hurt or withdraw. I would never wish that feeling on my worst enemy.
For those of you who wonder why your loved one has pulled away and withdrawn from everyone, and is being very shady or secretive about everything, or maybe doesn’t talk much anymore, or just seems different...be a presence. Don’t just brush it off. Ask questions. Be annoyingly nosey. Parents - be very cognizant of what’s going on in your house. Check or watch your medicines and keep them hidden or put away where they can’t be accessed because I promise you, if there’s an addict in your household, they are going through everything including the medicine cabinets trying to find anything to get a fix or get that high or even just to try to make the hurt from the withdraws go away.
Friends - be there. Ask questions. Don’t take “nothing is wrong” as an answer because I promise you, something or everything is wrong. Like I said, no one is immune to this disease. It can affect and rule anyone’s life. And whatever you do, DON’T JUDGE!! Be understanding instead because if you haven’t been through it, then you really don’t know or understand, and judging that person could possibly only make it worse. You won’t understand but try to empathize or even just listen.
How difficult is it to convince yourself to make that first call?
Extremely difficult is an understatement. It was like I knew that I was at that “necessary” point but even on the drive to Dr Pierre’s office that very first time, I was still thinking to myself, am I really ready to do this? Maybe I really don’t have that big of a problem. Maybe I can just do this on my own. The back-and-forth struggles of deciding to make that first huge move are incomprehensible unless you’ve been there too.
How was your childhood?
Exactly what I consider perfect. Loving home with both parents and a younger brother. Tried their hardest to give us everything we wanted and needed. House was always full of love.
How did you get started using opioids?
My ex-husband introduced me to the world of opiates. I had never even heard of them or knew anything about them. He was mentally and physically abusive and we had been having a bad day despite the fact that we were supposed to be going out to celebrate my birthday. So to make up for it, he told me this would help make everything better and reminded of the feeling I felt from the cough syrup I’d had a couple months back. Feeling weak and just wanting the hurt/pain to go away, I took the pill and the next 10 years of entrapment is history.
How were you at school?
I was alright at school. About average and did just enough to get by with C’s. I didn’t enjoy it though. I went off to college right after high school just because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do, but again, didn’t really enjoy it. I enjoyed the parties while away at school though. Looking back now though, I wish so badly that I wouldn’t have taken those years and times at school for granted.
What should your loved ones have known?
Known what to watch for; the signs of addiction. Nowadays, there’s more education and facts about pain pills and addiction. So much so that you hear it in the commercials even. But when I started, we didn’t even know what “withdrawals” were until probably at least a year into the pills and then someone heard about these signs/symptoms we were experiencing were actual things. Once that happened, it became even worse because then a lot of it was mental and we now knew what we were going through was real. So if my loved ones had only known the signs of me withdrawing from family, being very irritable, not feeling good at one moment and then completely fine the next, or especially when I would come up with some stupid reason to leave the house to run an errand of some sort but really I was running out to go get something so that I could at least feel normal for whatever family thing was going on that I had to participate in. Which didn’t seem right anyway because I’ve always been a family person. But even when my mom would ask me about what was going on, I would get mad and dismiss it and convince everyone that there was nothing wrong. So listen, pay attention to the signs and follow your gut instinct.
What did it feel like after your first Suboxone dose?
I had actually taken Suboxone at different random times before throughout the 10 years but is basically only because I couldn’t find anything else and I didn’t want to have withdrawals. But taking my first dose after my first visit with Dr Pierre was different than any other time ever before. This time I knew it was finally the beginning to getting my life back. So it felt amazing.
What should the general public know about addiction?
Main thing I wish I could relay and make people understand is to not judge. Judging someone with an addiction problem can only make things worse. It could very likely make them feel less than or feel worse about themselves than they probably already do, which in turn could more than likely make them just want to use again or more to make that bad feeling go away. No one can even begin to say they know or understand what a person with addiction is going through because they can’t. Listen to the things you hear now in the media outlets and do your own research so that you can at least have enough knowledge to empathize with that person and understand that what they’re going through is deeper and not as simple as just “popping pills” for fun.
What did you enjoy most about having me as your doctor?
What have I NOT enjoyed about having you as my doctor?! You’ve been my saving grace. I enjoy your candidness, your honesty, your bedside manner, and your caring attitude for your patients. You can tell this isn’t just about padding your pockets and adding to your income. You have a genuine interest and concern in how your patients are doing and their success. I can honestly say that even during that first visit when I wasn’t sure about you or myself or if I was there for the right reasons, you provided me with a sense of trust and comfort which allowed me to open up to you and be 100% honest with you and myself. I mean it when I say you have saved my life.
What are the things I could do better?
I realize there’s “always room for improvement” because none of us are perfect, but I really don’t know that I can answer that question because to me you’ve done everything right.
About the author:
This is a testimonial of Dr. Harold Pierre's patient who dealt with real struggles and overcame Opioid and Alcohol addiction. This is her Suboxone success story.
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