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.