Recovered by Confronting the Pain
Meet “Calla Lily Summer” (Anonymous). In this recovery story, our bloomer finds herself planted in a new town, without friends, without her boyfriend and without support from her mother who’s on her own recovery journey from opioid addiction. To grow, Calla Lily confronted the pain and rooted herself in a treatment path that was nurtured by the support of friends.
Stock photos. Posed by model.
The Moment I Knew Recovery was the Right Choice
I found myself in a dark place because of the stressors of being in a new town and a recent break up of a year and a half relationship. I was prescribed Oxycodone for two and a half weeks. I ran out and decided to ask my mother, who was prescribed opioids often, for some of hers. She looked at me and said no. I believe she knew I was going through a tough time. The look on her face and the “NO” she gave me was just the wakeup call I needed to realize that I was headed down a wrong path.
Facing Challenges in Recovery
My treatment was personal and not professional. Even though my mental struggle was not always treated with opioids, due to the circumstances I was under, opioids opened me up to a stronger form of escape and I craved that experience often so that I did not have to deal with pain internally. I wrote a lot, I prayed a lot, I connected with some people and occupied a lot of my time.The ultimate barrier I had was not even realizing that I had an issue. SHARE
My recovery took a while. Since I didn’t have a continuous prescription being filled, I used other substances like marijuana and alcohol to fill the void. If I was able to get refills or my mother would have given me hers, I believe I would have needed to go to deeper lengths of care. I did not even think that support was what I needed or even quality care. My actions proved that I needed it, because I reached out to others. I looked up a college to go to, I reached out to someone I saw that was Christian and I asked for help in finding a church. I never thought in my mind that I needed to get help, but subconsciously I was doing just that. The ultimate barrier I had was not even realizing that I had an issue. Another barrier was not having any valuable relationships with others that allowed me to express the issues I was facing. Eventually having more connections to people helped me accept where I was living. I believe occupying my time and connecting with others helped me gain support.
Sharing Opioid Addiction with My Mother
From a perspective of seeing my mother take opioids, my experience with her was very draining as well. She had so much physical pain from her back and bone issues that I took up a lot of slack in the house. Cooking daily, cleaning daily, assisting her at doctor appointments and helping her all around. Most of the time she was not present. I had to repeat myself often because her memory was shot. At doctor visits, she dealt with doctors that did not help her holistically, but they were quick to fill her prescription of opioids. Many times I went with her to the doctor just for her doctor to sign her prescription and never actually ask her about her wellbeing. I felt powerless and like the role of a daughter was switched to me taking on a parental role. I would do so much that it was hard to focus on my own issues. My mother felt she couldn’t do much, and while that was true at least 50% of the time, I believe she could have pushed herself a bit more. The opioids were her escape and it kept her at a standstill.
My Mother’s Path to Recovery
My mother’s road to recovery was connected to family. When I moved in and began to help her with a lot of physical things, I also helped her verbally. I also helped by linking my mom to the church I was going to after about a year and a half of attending alone. I believe her faith had a lot to do with her recovery. I may have planted seeds in her, but it took her own strength to say ‘no’ and decide that she did not want to take medications anymore. She began to take them as a last resort instead of a priority.
The groundbreaking moment I saw for my mother was when she decided that she did not like the way the opioids made her feel and she stopped taking them for herself. She also decided to get surgery after running from it for over 4 or 5 years. She was tired and seeking solutions. She saw other women who had the procedure done and looked alive and well. They gave their testimonies and it lifted my mother’s spirit and calmed some of her anxiety. She began to desire change and she eventually got it.Black women should be counted as equal when it comes to mental issues. SHARE
Depression and anxiety are real. I wish people would know that opioids should be used for physical pain and not emotional or mental pain. It is possible to try methods other than opioids to help with pain. Seeking physical and mental therapy and other forms of medicine would be the best route to take.
Addressing the Pain and Trauma
People should understand that a lot of people’s pain may be physical but it attacks people emotionally and mentally. Some people cannot cope with the reality that physically they cannot do what they used to do and it triggers them to go into depressive states and the only way they find happiness is by altering their mind by using opioids. I saw the pain in my mom’s eyes often because I knew she just wanted to feel normal. She expressed so much of her pain. She could not control her circumstances. Her physical pain was very overpowering. When you have life altering issues, it is very hard to cope. My mother was not able to do a lot and it broke her heart. It gave her a sense to give up often because it was so much to bear.
If people look at the “why” people are taking opioids and target that, people would have a better chance of recovery and growth.
If anyone feels like they are facing an opioid use disorder and needs help, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service in English and Spanish.