Posts tagged "heroin"

The Opioid Epidemic | A Nation In Pain

June 13th, 2019 Posted by Blog 0 comments on “The Opioid Epidemic | A Nation In Pain”

The Opioid Epidemic

For more than a decade, the US has been experiencing an opioid epidemic. Each year the number of deaths by drug overdose continue to increase in the United States. Every day in America, on average, there are 130 deaths due to opioid overdose. In the United States, more than 700,200 people suffered death by drug overdose between the years 1999 and 2017.

These numbers are shocking, and unless we confront this tragedy, which is The Opioid Epidemic, it won’t be long before it begins to face all of us. Not just the addict, but the entire United States, every year is becoming more affected by the opioid epidemic. In this article, we are going to cover the brief history of why we are now witnessing this eternal destruction caused by the recent rise in both legal and illegal opioids. This article also provides anyone seeking drug and alcohol treatment the proper information in order to transition into a Florida Recovery Center like Serenity Springs. If you been affected by opioids like so many other Americans, we suggest reading this article on The Opioid Epidemic. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, call a Serenity Springs addiction professional today. [1]

What is an Opioid?

what is an opioid - info-graphic

Opioids are substances that act on the brain’s receptors producing morphine-like effects. Medically, opioids are primarily prescribed to patients who require pain relief. Opioids are also used as a form of anesthesia.

Opioids fall under the class of drugs, which include heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers. (morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone) [2]

What is an Epidemic?

The Meriam Webster definition of an epidemic is:

  1. An outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time : an outbreak of epidemic disease.
  2. Affecting or tending to affect a disproportionate large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.

The Opioid Crisis

The roots of the opioid crisis are more deep-seated than popular narrative suggests. Examining the onset of America’s opioid epidemic brings precisely how and why we got here to light. Was this an honest push by honest medical professionals to aid patients pain with ethical narcotics? These are same narcotics they stood in fear of prescribing even terminal cancer patients up until opioid crisis info-graphicthe 1990s. Is the cause of this ever-growing American tragedy an accident? Or, was it a calculated marketing effort by big pharma and the rest of the usual medical suspects? Time to examine the facts.

Opioid Epidemic in the 1970s

Before the Big Pharma opioid push of the late 1990s, physicians were reluctant to prescribe opioid medication for fearing that patients would become addicted. Into the 1970s physicians and nurses were trained to give minimal opioids for pain, often less than prescribed, unless death seemed imminent. However, this common practice of neglecting opioids to treat pain, specifically for cancer patients, was about to be reversed for the first time.

What was to follow has been nothing short of a nightmare for many American citizens, both young and old, rich or poor. This US nightmare began as an ethical attempt to treat everyday Americans who where experiencing physical discomfort and pain. One can argue the irony that has taken place as a result of what began with opioid prescription medication. Medication that was designed to take away the pain for suffering individuals. The adverse result is a country in more pain due to the inundation and addiction of less restricted, much deadlier, illegal street opioids like heroin and fentanyl. [4]

Opioid Epidemic in the 1980s

In the 1980s, the medical community began to treat acute pain frequently with opioids. Propoxyphene, a powerful prescription opiate, became the second-most dispensed drug in the United States. Top cancer specialist Kathleen Foley published two articles, in 1981/86, illustrating low rates of addiction in small groups of cancer and non-cancer patients. These articles started a massive debate between pain management specialists and professionals, arguing that long-term opioid therapy was safe. Several pain management specialists pointed out the high risks of opioid dependence, opioid overdose, and side effects caused by opioid addiction. Foley’s articles, along with other efforts, started a 20-year campaign to prescribe opioids for long-term pain management. This campaign included long-term, opioid pain management for both cancer and non-cancer patients.[4]

What followed was nothing short of a nightmare for many American citizens. This nightmare began as an ethical attempt to treat regular people that were experiencing physical discomfort and/or pain. No one could have predicted what this sudden reversal of medical opinion on opioid medication would do to the citizens of the United States. This change of opinion had a colossal impact on the American People. As of June 13th, 2019, there is no end in sight. It is fascinating to explore how quickly the United States became flooded with opioid prescriptions, the world’s purest heroin, and the most deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

From 1990 to 1995, prescriptions for opioids increased by 2-3 million each year.

Opioid Epidemic in the 1990s

The medical community received a reassurance from Big Pharma, stating that patients needing pain relief would not become addicted to opioid-based pain medication. Consequently, this led to widespread misuse of these medications before the truth came out… these medications were and are highly addictive. As a result, opioid overdose rates began to increase and have not slowed down since.

number of deaths by opioid overdose-1999/2017The Institute of Medicine issued a report attributing the rise in chronic pain prevalence during the 1990s to the following:

    • Higher patient expectations for pain relief.
    • Musculoskeletal disorders of an aging population.
    • Increase in Obesity in the US.
    • Increased survivorship after injury & cancer
    • Increasing frequency & complexity of surgery.

Opioids in 2017

    • Death by opioid overdose killed more than 47,000 Americans, which included prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl.
    • An estimated 1.7 million Americans suffered from substance abuse addiction related to prescription opioid pain relievers.
    • More than 652,000 suffered from heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).

Three Waves of the Opioid Epidemic

The first wave ignited during the mid to late 1990s when overdose deaths from opioids began to increase. During this time, most overdose deaths involved prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone).

The second wave began in 2010 with the beginning of a massive increase in overdose deaths involving heroin; here is why. With the rising dependency and tolerance of prescription opioids, many people transitioned to a more potent and cheaper alternative, including heroin/fentanyl. During this time frame, uncrushable Oxycontin was introduced, making it more challenging to use intravenously and through the nasal. As a result, those individuals addicted to prescription pain killers turned to the more potent, less expensive heroin/fentanyl.

The third wave started in 2013 and continues to this present day. The United States began to see more efficient global supply chains like China inundating illegal heroin/opioid markets with the more potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl. What is fentanyl? Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent and shockingly deadlier. Between the years of 2013 through 2016, death by fentanyl-related overdose climbed over 540% nationally. This very rapid, very deadly acceleration of the opioid epidemic has led to the United States government declaring this crisis as a national public health emergency.

every 25 minutes a baby is born in opioid withdrawal-info-graphicConsequences of the Opioid Epidemic

    • Americans in 2019 consume 80% of the entire world’s supply of opioid pain medications. 
    • The overall life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the first time since 1993, particularly for those under age 65 years.
    • The highest increase as the cause of death (with a 6.7% increase between 2014 and 2015) was from unintentional injuries, including drug overdoses.
    • Drug overdose has surpassed firearms and motor vehicle trauma as the most common cause of accidental death among adults.
    • County-level estimates highlight that nearly every geographic area in the country has seen marked increases of opioid-related deaths
    • In 2017, 81,000 people in the United Stated used heroin for the first time.

Opioid Prevention

The harsh consequences that opioid abuse and addiction has created across the United States has resulted in opioid prevention becoming a vital part of our society. More than any time in history, government officials, treatment centers, medical professionals, law enforcement, and entire communities are coming together and taking part in opioid prevention. The following are some ways to help prevent opioid abuse or help someone recover if they are currently addicted.

  1. 12-Step programs – Programs like AA, NA, and HA are a tremendous help and support for someone to recover from opiate addiction. These programs help prevent opioid addiction and abuse by helping someone who is addicted heal internally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  2. Monitor your doses of prescription pain meds – If it is necessary to take opioids/opiates to recover from surgery, or for chronic pain, it can be helpful to have a family member or loved one administer the medication. Having accountability will help prevent opioid abuse and addiction.
  3. Individual counseling – Although opiates are created to curb physical pain, many times someone who is abusing opiates uses the drug to feel less emotional pain. Mental health issues and traumas like PTSD are many times at the root of an opioid/opiate addiction.
  4. Vivitrol and Naltrexone – Both are non-narcotic drugs used in opioid prevention. Vivitrol and naltrexone both contain properties that block opiate receptors. Therefore, someone who is on either medication will not experience the high if they try to take on opiate.
  5. Amino Acid Therapy – Amino acid IV therapy is another great tool in preventing future opioid abuse. A specific combination of amino acids are given to an individual to help repair damage done to receptor sites by the opiates. The process can help spark a speedy recovery from opiates and help curb future opioid cravings and withdrawals.
  6. Residential and Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) – Many times it is necessary for someone addicted to opiates to have a more structured setting in order to fully recover. Outcomes for people recovering from addiction are usually greater in those who received a well-structured treatment program.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center Residential CampusTo learn more about opioid prevention and how to deal with opiate or opioid addiction, call an addiction specialist at Serenity Springs Addiction Hotline

Content Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Institute of Drug Abuse, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Poison Control

 

woman holding index finger over lips for deafening silence blog post on recovery blog

My Addicted Son – Deafening Silence Hits Home

March 23rd, 2019 Posted by Awareness, Opioid Epidemic, Treatment 0 comments on “My Addicted Son – Deafening Silence Hits Home”

Deafening Silence… I heard this two word expression so many times, but I did not put much thought into it. That is until the day my life changed in just a quick moment. Our son’s behavior started to change in subtle ways. He seemed to be secretive and sneaking around at times. We caught him in several lies, even telling different versions of the same story. Like when he needed to borrow money to make car payments, telling us, “his commission did not come through yet.” We noticed that his good friends were no longer coming around our home. He also began going out at odd times and returning shortly after leaving. All the signs were there, but we did not pay attention, but our trust was wearing thin.

We then suddenly notice that Brad was saving trouble processing his thoughts. He repeated stories that he expressed great concern over. Things on the TV seemed to disturb him. Whitney Houston had just been found dead in her bathtub due to an overdose. Each time the story came on the news, he reacted to it as if it were the first time he heard it.

“Did you see this? Dead! She’s gone. Drugs got her!” said Brad, unable to connect sentences that made sense.

The weather forecast came on the TV, showing weather across the country. He kept blurting out these delusional statements that we now know are due to the extreme, short and long-term term, multiple drug addictions and from the withdrawal symptoms of benzos he was prescribed (i.e. Xanax and Klonopin). My husband and I looked at each other scared and confused. We did not have a clue as to what was happening with our son. We had never seen him like this before. He was a bright, charismatic man who seemed totally out of it. He was very delusional and hallucinatory. He even seemed to be skittish at times. We were very frightened about trying to understand what was happening with our son.

My husband decided to take him for a ride to get flowers for me on Valentine’s Day. We had only a moment to speak to one another regarding what course of action to take. He took Brad for a ride while I went into his room to get some things together in a small bag in case he needed to check into a hospital. He had been living with us after losing his job, unable to pay rent in his shared apartment. His room was a total mess, in a complete state of disarray. There were piles of clothing everywhere and his hamper was overflowing. I started taking things out of the hamper to wash, thinking he might need them. After going through a few things, I discovered an empty pill bottle. It was a prescription for oxycodone!

I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart. The TV was blaring from one room as well as from another TV on the first floor of the house. For some reason, all I could hear was… silence. All of a sudden, I not only knew the meaning of DEAFENING SILENCE, but I was smack in the middle of experiencing it. My eyes and ears were functioning, but I could not see or hear anything…and it was so loud!

After a small amount of time had elapsed, I continued on my mission. Tears were streaming uncontrollably down the sides of my face. As I picked up items from the hamper, I found more and more empty pill bottles, mostly for oxycodone (generic for Roxicodone or oxycodone hydrochloride), some read alzaprozalam (generic for Xanax) or Methadone. All officially prescribed to him, with his name printed on the bottle. One of those bottles had 240, 30 mg printed on the label. I discovered that these pills were supposed to be for extreme pain – the kind of pain that comes from cancer or lupus!

Several years later, we found out from Brad that bottle was a one-week prescription, and he went there every Monday for a quantity of pain medication that most pharmacies refused to fill. The doctor had to write two, separate prescriptions for this amount to avoid visits from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This occurred before the official opioid epidemic, when doctor shopping (having multiple doctors prescribe the same medication) was still going on. The quantity above comes to around 35 pills a day, which at $30 per pill comes out to $1050 a day (street value). These numbers are not inflated for the purpose of building a good story. These are real numbers that have been checked and verified by a medical professional who was able to get these numbers for legal purposes due to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

This program was put in place in hopes of ending prescription drug abuse. They had some success in doing so, however it spawned an influx of heroin users, which everyone now knows as “the opioid epidemic.” This could no longer go unnoticed in America. There was, and is, more heroin in our streets than ever before. Unfortunately, there are overdoses and heroin or opioid related deaths, which have now become the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, according to cdc.com.

My heart was pounding and my head was spinning What do we do now? What is wrong with Brad? I found many other pill containers, all in his name. A bunch of them were for Xanax. Later on, I learned that the opioid and benzo combination was nicknamed, cock-tailing, and has resulted in a large number of heart-stopping overdoses in America. But in this moment, I was in a state of shock. I called my husband in a frenzy, and told him that our son is a drug addict. I managed to blurt out fragments of sentences that read something like this,

“oxy… lots of empty bottles, some in his pillow case, hidden in sneakers, etc.”

My poor husband was driving and trying to process this while trying to get our son back home. Brad came home and went to straight to bed. This really had us terrified and worried, there might have been more pills up there. We still had no idea where to go, who to turn to, what to do!! I went on the internet and entered, “son oxy and xanax addiction” into Google, and went with the first thing I saw. I was so desperate and did not want to ask anyone for help. I did not want to potentially expose what we wanted to keep a family secret.

I made a call to the number of a rehab in California that looked very good. At the time, I was standing in my garage, which was at about 30 degrees, Fahrenheit. I spilled out my story through sobs. A kind and caring man was on the other end and reassured me that help was available. He kept mentioning that we were not to blame for our son’s drug addiction. We decided to make plans to send Brad to this program. They also sent an interventionist to walk Brad through the airport, who was in the midst of intense withdrawal symptoms from multiple medications. We had no time to think this through; we felt pressure as we fought for our son’s life.

I called for my husband and explained these things to him in our living room. We stood up and began crying in each other’s arms. The next day, the interventionist showed up for Brad. After the intervention process, Brad was very quick to say yes to a desperate attempt at saving his life. He threw some things into a duffel bag and we said our goodbyes, hugging and clinging to eachother. I watched the car drive away to the unknown. Again, that deafening silence took over my mind.

I hate that I now understand the emotion and true meaning of this oxymoron, which is defined as, “an expression for describes something related to shock, usually from an uncomfortable experience.” I wish I could say that these two times were the only I had, but there have been quite a few more in dealing with Brad’s addiction. Unfortunately, those “deafening silences” can be a part of life. Just remember that right after the hearing returns, we must move forward and deal with whatever comes our way next!]

bus crashes into tree after driver overdoses on heroin in Newark, NJ - Serenity Springs Recovery

2 Drugged Drivers → 3 Deaths and School Bus Crash in NJ

February 21st, 2019 Posted by Disease of Addiction, News, Opioid Epidemic 0 comments on “2 Drugged Drivers → 3 Deaths and School Bus Crash in NJ”

A substitute bus driver, Lisa Byrd drove a school bus and twelve children into a tree after overdosing on heroin. She lost consciousness and the bus from 14th Avenue School in Newark, NJ slowly rolled off the road. According to CNN, she was arrested by the Newark police on Wednesday after being revived by Narcan.

1. School Bus Driver Overdoses, Crashes in NJ
2. Fiery Crash Leaves Three Dead in Wayne, NJ

On Tuesday, Jason Vanderee, a 29-year-old male from Glenwood, NJ crashed his vehicle into a gas station in Wayne, NJ, killing three in a vicious head-on collision. According to northjersey.com, He was high and driving reckless while under the influence of heroin. Again, he was revived with Narcan by local police. Police found 9 bags of heroin in his vehicle, arrested Mr. Vanderee and charged him with 3 counts of death by auto, 3 counts of aggravated manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated.

Drug Overdoses are Dangerous for Everyone

The two stories out of New Jersey occurred over the past few days. This is very frightening to think that these types of drivers are out there and we might have to dodge an oncoming, overdosed driver at some point. However, no one can live there lives like this. Drunk drivers have been on the loose for quite some time now. Please stay alert on the road!!

man opening green beer bottle with bottle opener while driving his car - Serenity Springs Recovery

We are again asking the same question here. Where are we right now in this country in terms of stopping this opioid epidemic? It seems to be doing a bit of a roller coaster routine again and not showing any signs of slowing down. Just when we thought it was cooling off, New Jersey strikes again.

Will the opioid epidemic slow down?

Stories like the aforementioned will put knots in your stomach or fear in your hearts. We are in a scary place as Americans for a number of reasons, but we are not going to get into politics. In terms of addiction and the epidemic, there is no clear cut answer. Obviously, as citizens or human beings, we wish these stories and epidemic would disappear for good.

The truth is drugs are here to stay and we have to hope that scientists continue to improve methods for combating the disease of addiction like our amino acid therapy or the bridge device. All we can do is continue to live our lives, focusing on our goals one day at a time. Writing this actually brought on some déjà vu from this blog post below where we asked very similar questions, and the results have not changed much!

An excerpt from, “Fentanyl Epidemic: Week in Review,” posted 10/16/2017:

What can we do to stop this?

As of today, there is really no answer for why, when or how this epidemic is going to end. It seems that drugs will always be a problem in this country and throughout the world regardless of the efforts made by police, armed forces, government, citizens, etc. of any country. At Serenity Springs Recovery Center, we do not worry about the numbers or politics involved, even though these are hot topics in America. We are here to offer a solution for addiction and change the lives of suffering addicts and alcoholics. These changes come from the knowledge and spiritual principles that we instill into their daily lives. This can and will happen for all that thoroughly work our program of recovery.

stop sign with trees in background

Recovery from Addiction is Possible

Not good when we are coming to the same conclusion from 16 months ago. However, we will keep fighting this thing from our corner, here in Volusia County, FL. We have seen many recover and will continue to recover opioid addicts, alcoholics, meth addicts, benzo addicts, we have even seen a few internet/pornography addicts recover at Serenity Springs. It is on the individual, if they want it, the solution is waiting for them and will always be available to those that seek freedom from addiction!

Know an opioid addict?

Save a life... get professional help now!

Addicted to opioids?

Get help, avoid an overdose!

Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood on WESH 2 News

Serenity Springs Expands as Opioid Epidemic Ignites Volusia County

October 31st, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, News, Opioid Epidemic, Recover, Treatment 0 comments on “Serenity Springs Expands as Opioid Epidemic Ignites Volusia County”

America’s opioid epidemic has made its presence felt right here in Volusia County, with recent headlines leaving no questions of this unfortunate reality. As drug overdose rates continue to rise at an all-time high, there is a crisis concerning the limited resources of addiction treatment centers across the country. Treatment centers in Volusia County, Florida are no exception. On Friday, Volusia County Sherriff Mike Chitwood stated:

“It is easier to get high in Florida than get help.”

Sherriff Chitwood stated his point loud and clear at a panel on Friday, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Behavioral healthcare representatives were seated alongside Sheriff Chitwood at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL. He was also referring to the state’s lagging efforts to provide adequate services for people in need of substance abuse or mental health treatment. The panel concluded the following:

“Drug treatment capacity is insufficient. Behavioral health providers are overburdened. State funding is inconsistent. Housing for recovering addicts is non-existent.” [1]

Unfortunately, this is the situation in every state, not just Florida.

These are very powerful conclusions that are concise and cut straight to the heart of the issue. As part of the drug & alcohol treatment industry, Serenity Springs is grateful for these words. It seems that Floridians and probably most Americans are unhappy with the state the treatment industry as a whole. Serenity Springs is proud to stand as a reliable solution in the face of a growing and seemingly insurmountable epidemic. We have faith in the strength of our program and the fact that lives and families are being improved daily due in part to the tireless work of our staff.

RA smiles while working the steps with client at Serenity Springs

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

While much of the content that makes it to the Serenity Springs blog is editorial in nature, it is still bolstered by facts and evidence. The opioid epidemic that has gripped the nation seems to be picking up speed, as some of our nation’s leaders are mobilizing in attempts to slow it down. Treatment professionals at Serenity Springs in Edgewater, FL and New Smyrna Beach, FL will both agree when talking about the unthinkable levels that this epidemic has reached. We must address this on a case-by-case basis if we want to see people overcome the powerful grip of addiction.

Our only argument we have against that panel in Daytona Beach last Friday is this: We want everyone to know that there are some options on the table that have not been fully utilized. Our treatment program provides recovering addicts with the solution that will take them back to the sober way of life. This epidemic has taken enough lives and ruined enough families over the past fifteen years. At a fair cost, we will guarantee outstanding results and positive changes to those in active addiction.

For now, Serenity Springs builds custom treatment plans that are used both inside and outside of our drug rehabilitation programs. These plans include job searching and finding a sober living environment in an area where real recovery exists. As a result, under the care of Serenity Springs and its full continuum of treatment, people are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Serenity Springs logo white

Our intensive outpatient program is always an option to those that cannot afford the cost or time that is necessary for completion of our residential program. We are reintroducing a multi-session format to accommodate the increase in drug abuse associated with the opioid epidemic and the growing need for treatment. Not only is it cost-efficient; our program breaks down and teaches the 12 steps in a way that is just not offered in meetings. We also encourage and hold the addict accountable for working an honest and thorough program of recovery.

What is offered at our outpatient (IOP)?

A therapist is available on-site at our outpatient facility, which is located at 313 Julia Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. Therapy sessions are available with behavioral psychotherapy to build awareness and ultimately highlight some of the underlying causes of addiction.

MPTI Certified Personal Trainer, Jessica Lawrence, teaches 12-Step Yoga, once a week initiating the physical healing process. This helps with repairing damages from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Last, but not least, our clients are provided with a “Harvard education” in recovery and the 12-Steps. Kathy Stanton, our IOP Director, makes sure that every client is working a solid program and meeting the requirements on a case-by-case basis. When she and the rest of our treatment team feel that a psychic change has occurred and the client is doing all he/she is asked, they will move on to the next step…

A happy, joyous, and free lifestyle!!

12 step yoga at our Men's Residential program (outdoor yoga)

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REFERENCE


  1. Mike Finch II. “Chitwood: ‘Easier to get high in Florida than get help’ for opioids.” The Daytona Beach News-Journal. 27 Oct. 2017. Web.
a mother staring up looking worried in black and white - Mother's Eyes (heroin addiction & sons) blog

Heroin Addiction: Through a Mother’s Eyes

October 18th, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Opioid Epidemic, Treatment 2 comments on “Heroin Addiction: Through a Mother’s Eyes”

As an expectant mom, I ate healthily, did not drink coffee or alcohol, and I delivered my babies without any drugs, “Lamaze Natural Child Birth,” and that with 8-9 pound babies with big, round heads. I breastfed and even made baby food. I wanted my children to have a jumpstart on a healthy life. My husband and I encouraged healthy eating, exercise, being good students, and attending church. We were extremely involved in their lives.

My husband did a number of things with them: coached them in sports, Boy Scouts, fishing, camping, and taught them to be honest and loyal. He also taught them that hard work would result in success and satisfaction. So upon discovering that two of our three sons were dealing with addiction to opiates/opioids (Oxy, Methadone, Morphine) and benzos (Xanax & Klonopin), we frequently asked ourselves,

“What did we do wrong? What else could we have done to prevent this?”

Professionals, friends, and family reassured us that it was not what we did or did not do. THIS WAS NOT OUR FAULT! As responsible, supportive parents, this was very difficult to accept. We had no answers. Even after our sons reassured us that it was no fault of our own, but rather the poor choices they made, we felt like we failed as parents.

two brothers one mocking the other in matching plaid shirts - younger and older brothers

Life was Difficult

We sent them to detox after the two of them spent a week at our home, with much pain & discomfort on their end, and stress on our end. We did not know what to do! This was very dangerous!! Their detox from the staggering number of benzodiazepines they were ingesting was done without any medication or professional advice. They could not stomach much, they could not sleep, they couldn’t even put words or thoughts together. Out of our love and hope to “fix” their problems and “cure” their drug addiction, we sent them to a drug & alcohol rehab. This is what parents do, right? But their four-month stint in rehab was finished, what is next?

What came after rehab?

They came home to live with us after completing detox and rehab, and we lived on pins and needles. We worried every time they went out. We worried why they were struggling with finding work, both with college degrees. They were known in town for their athleticism, well-liked for their senses of humor and charisma. But their lives were so different now. They were not used to this lifestyle.

son is looking through the window
"They were not used to this lifestyle."

So many of their friends we dropping out of their lives, Several friends were struggling with addiction as well (NOTE FROM SSRC: This was 2012 and doctor shopping was over, which in turn meant fewer prescription opioids or painkillers on the streets at higher prices. Heroin addiction was rapidly spreading throughout the country, fueling the opioid epidemic). At one point, we had to hide purses and wallets, as we suspected money was disappearing. We were in denial about the power of opioid addiction and addiction in general, saying to ourselves,

“They wouldn’t steal from us… maybe we misplaced it?”

We were afraid to leave our home for long periods of time, unsure of what would go on in our home. The stress in our lives put a damper on living as we definitely imagined our lives would much easier at this point. The most difficult thing was learning the difference between assisting and enabling! To this day, we still do not know. It is a fine line between the two, and neither the assisting or enabling are defined (more about this here). I know we made plenty of mistakes in this area. Another mother, who lived with this for more than twenty years, said something I will never forget. She said,

“Addicts have mastered the skill of lying, and as parents, we really want to believe them.”

mother hugging happy son

I can honestly say that hindsight makes it easy to criticize our own actions and mistakes. One thing I know, I love them UNCONDITIONALLY. Most parents will continue to fight, love, and support their children. This thing called addiction is tough; we are forced to take it one day at a time. My youngest calls me every day now, knowing how the worry affects me.

Neither of us wants those feelings of shame (for him) and worry (for me) to happen again. Relapses have occurred, but he still calls regardless after he heard how this affected me as a mother. He is now in Florida and no longer lost or alone, 1000+ miles away, as we remain cold most of the year in New Jersey. His older brother, unfortunately, passed away two and half years ago.

We Appreciate Serenity Springs

Our son went to Serenity Springs Recovery Center in Edgewater, FL almost three years ago.The support of their staff, alumni, and even their owners/managers have helped him stay on track. It is remarkable to hear this after witnessing other treatment centers would send him right back into life without any type of structure to ease back in. Relapses occurred on both drugs and alcohol, getting worse each time. He even added a few new additions to his rough journey of recovering from his “pill problem.” At one point, he was convinced that his problem was strictly Oxy and Xanax. Everything else was fair game. That went on for a while, each time ending with state-run rehab, arrests and/or jail time. We believe he has finally stopped the bleeding and struggling to find happiness and fulfillment. Again I have to extend a big thank you from our family to Serenity Springs in Florida. That phrase that I was unsure of is making sense now!

STOP RECOVERING AND RECOVER

Want to know the real meaning?

STOP RECOVERING

AND RECOVERING

NEVER GIVE UP HOPE

We did not and will not give up on the daily struggle that addiction continues to be. We have taken our lumps in stride as a family. Our family is now stronger and our son’s second family has become larger in New Smyrna Beach, FL. One thing remains the same though: while our lives keep moving, we continue to live ONE DAY AT A TIME!

 

Written By: Louise (mother of a Serenity Springs Alumni)

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