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Grateful to be alive

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by Mallard, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. Mallard

    Mallard Member

    Hello All,

    I'm new to this forum but have been looking for a place to share my story and support other addicts in their quest for freedom from substance abuse. I am 5+ years clean off opiates and Xanax and am finally living my life. I wasted my best years being a zombie, and even though I love a good zombie movie, I was tired of being one!

    My addiction started in college with panic attacks. At that time, in the 1980's, they were not discussed and known about as they are now. I remember my first experience of being able to label what they were when Glamour magazine had an article and Oprah had a show about them. I felt such a relief, as I knew I wasn't alone, and treatment could begin.

    Before I actually saw a psychiatrist about them, I began medicating myself with codeine cough syrup after having been prescribed it for walking pneumonia. It calmed me, and I thought I had found a solution. Also, at that time, you could get it without a prescription by just going to a pharmacy and signing for it. Needless to say, my addiction began and I spent about 5 years putting miles on my car driving around and around looking for more pharmacies to buy my "happy syrup" as I called it. I had so many bottles hidden under my bed. I don't know why I didn't throw out the empty ones, but maybe it was divine intervention, because my parents finally found them and it was off to rehab.

    I came out of there walking on a cloud! I was free!! I was able to start my life I thought!! And I did, for a time. Until that first car accident, and then the second car accident in less than a month. First car totaled after being broadsided by a van as I was going 50 miles an hour. The medics couldn't believe I didn't go through the windshield from the impact. Funny thing though, that was the first day I had said to myself, I think I'll put my seatbelt on today. Again, divine intervention? And of course, my doctor prescribed opiates. It started small, with Tylenol 3's, then went to 4's, then Vicodin and this went on for years, until I took 18 Vicodins and woke up in my bed with my husband and 2 police officers trying to put me in an ambulance. Talk about scary!! I wound up in the psych ward for rehab #2.

    After that, I began my life again. I started the best job I ever had working at a zoo. One day, I was in the barn loft putting up hay bales and I feel through the door into a pen down below and got hurt. And what happens when you're in pain? You guessed it, pain killers, again. And wouldn't you know, but the zoo had people doing community service there for drug issues and they told me about methadone. And so began the worst 10 years of my life.

    At first I thought I had found my final solution. I got high that first dose. And, it was legal, not cheap, but still legal! No more scamming doctors for pills!! I was initially in heaven! Until the high went away, and I kept upping my dose. My counselor kept telling me that was fine, you need to be "comfortable." Well, comfortable for me was barely conscious! And then I decided it would be a good idea to start buying doses from other clients to feel how I wanted to feel. And some of them introduced me to the man on the street who had even more. So, 10 years slipped away pretty quickly.

    I had gotten a divorce during this time and moved back in with my parents because there was no way I could hold a job. I could barely stay awake! I was given an ultimatum when they had finally had enough. You get help, or you live on the street. Help was pretty much my only option if I wanted to live, and at the time, I didn't really want to live, but my family wanted me to, so I did it for them, and as time went by, I actually started to feel like I wanted to live too.

    I won't go into the gory details of the 18 months it took me to get off methadone, but I will say, that again, I'm lucky to be alive. Those first days and weeks, I was hallucinating, rarely sleeping, and just laying in my bed watching my clock not move. If it wasn't for my family and their faith and belief in me, I know I would be dead.

    My life is amazing now, and after over 25 years, I can finally say I am happy and free. I've been looking for a way to help other addicts feel this way and I'm hoping that by sharing my story, I can give someone else just that little spark to believe in themselves, and know they are worth saving. Good luck to everyone here and if I could do it, you can too.
  2. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I am new here as well but we sit in different seats. I am a mother ( in a figurative sense), an aunt and a friend to many who are dealing with addiction.

    I am an addict myself; a different kind of addict. Mine is an addiction to being a sounding board for persons. I have been doing this from as far back as I can remember. Often people just want someone to talk to.

    I am glad that you are at a happy place. I was encouraged by your story and I trust that others will be encouraged as well. Continue on your path to further success.
  3. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    Wow, you literally have been through a lot! And even though there are a lot of years that was wasted on those drugs, remember that it's not too late. I'm glad to hear that you're doing fine now and I hope that this will continue. You are great!
  4. GenevB

    GenevB Community Champion

    This is amazing! You are a never-give-upper! Congratulations for overcoming the obstacles in your life and getting close to becoming the strongest version of yourself. I think that every single one of us should be grateful for being alive, not just you, there are a lot of people who were born with problems, and we still don't realize how lucky we are for being "normal". Welcome to our forum!
  5. Mallard

    Mallard Member

    Thank you all for your generous words!! Yes, we should all be grateful to be alive! Everyone
    has problems, but it's how you overcome them that makes you the person you are, and right now, I can finally say, I love who I am!
  6. Davienna

    Davienna Community Champion

    It's just the grace of God my friend, he was very much alive and with you through it all. I really feel happy for you that you have overcome and is able and willing to share your story and help others. As the old saying goes "everything bappens for a reason". God allowed all those things to happen for a purpose. Welcome to the family and keep sharing:)
  7. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    Hi Mallard. Your story is incredible! And so are you! But more so God who has obviously not left you in your weakest moments. You are still alive because He wants you to be His living testimony of how great and faithful He has been in your life. You can help and inspire others to get out of their addiction, no matter how long and hopeless their addiction may seem.

    Congratulations to you!
  8. Mallard

    Mallard Member

    So true, so true Davienna!! God did get me through and I know He has a plan for me and I pray I am finally on the path that I'm supposed to be on.
  9. Mallard

    Mallard Member

    Thanks notodrugs as well. I can't tell you how sorry I feel for people who don't have faith. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves and when I was going through all of this, and didn't think I could make it, my mom kept telling me, He will never give you more than you can handle. Getting clean was the hardest thing I think I'll ever have to do in this life, but it's made me the person that I am and I'm finally proud to me.
    notodrugs likes this.
  10. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    When people see how faithful God has been to you, that can influence their faith. You are also blessed Mallard because you have a family who holds on to Him and pulled you along.

    I can imagine how hard it had been being in your situation, but you managed through it all. So you should be proud of yourself! It is also a conscious choice on your end to stay sober. You have helped yourself to stay clean for over 5 years and that's really amazing! That's why you're a great inspiration to others.
  11. Mallard

    Mallard Member

    Thank you thank you thank you notodrugs. Yes, I am blessed with an amazing family and our faith. Never thought I would be an inspiration to anyone, but if I can help one addict, then I have truly done something with my life.
    notodrugs likes this.