Recovering from Addiction after Surviving a Drug Overdose
The loss of a pregnancy brought her unimaginable pain and grief which led to her substance use disorder. After surviving a drug overdose, she started journey towards recovery.
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TW: this story discusses multiple forms of trauma, including overdose, miscarriage, and mental health.
Misusing Substances After Pregnancy Loss
After my very first miscarriage, I tried to numb the pain with everything I could think of. My child’s father and his friends brought me bags and bags of pills. I didn’t know what they were, but I didn’t care. I just knew they would make me not feel what I was feeling. Some I swallowed and chased with alcohol, some I inhaled through my nose. At 17, I would do anything just to chase that high. When he left me 3 days later, my mom started giving me muscle relaxers. That’s how my addiction to Benzodiazepines started.
A Near-Fatal Overdose
At 24 and multiple miscarriages later, I was working a dead end job in a factory. I was also going through some legal troubles with my family. Having my younger cousins taken away from my life because of a terrible decision — I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. I was self medicating just to get through my long hour shifts. I couldn’t even manage to get on my feet. I was taking multiple pain meds, anxiety pills, muscle relaxers and chasing them with alcohol before my shifts.
One particular night, I brought my cocktail of drugs with me to work and brought them inside. I remember going to the bathroom and taking more. I had taken over 30 pills as opposed to my usual 21 per night. I remember going back to my line and being fine for a little while…suddenly it hit me that I wasn’t ok. I went to the line inspector and asked her to call 911. The next thing I remember is fading in and out of consciousness and hearing my supervisors holding me on a stool. She was screaming to get help. An ambulance pulled into the factory. That’s the last thing I saw. Then I heard the EMTs were screaming “she has no pulse,” “she’s not breathing,” “there’s no heartbeat!!” I remember thinking I was talking to them and complying with their requests to squeeze her hand…I opened my eyes voluntarily, but I was wrong. I was awake and alert in my head, but to the outside world, I was already gone. The sternum rubs, the begging, the pleading for me to come back…Finally, I woke up. It was a second chance not many people could get.
Maintaining Abstinence with the Support of My Friends
When I finally got home from the hospital, I flushed everything I had and quit pills – cold turkey. I went through the withdrawals and everything by myself. I was never offered any kind of treatment. Even when I opened up about my addiction to family, friends, and medical professionals. No one but my close friends knew I had been an addict until years later. My friends supported and encouraged me. I tried programs, I tried meetings. At the end of the day…abstinence is what works best for me.Take it seriously. When we express the need for help, help us. Don't just toss us to the side as if our addiction is normal. Click To Tweet
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.