I have seen it thousands of times over the years. A person is given a prescription for opiates for an injury they sustained in an accident. The prescription helped with the pain for the patient but as the pain subsided and they continued to take the medication, they discovered that they enjoyed the feelings very much. Instead of making a decision at this pivotal time in their life to stop, they made the choice to keep taking them and it started a spiral into a life they never dreamed they would enter.
The opiate epidemic is in full swing and the danger of this issue is gaining a lot of coverage in the news and the media. It is 100% deserved and needed and in the mix of the thousands of articles and news segments about it, it is becoming clear to our society that the stereotype of an addict is no longer true. We used to think of addicts passed out in dirty clothes in a city alley. Now a days, the overwhelming majority of opiate addicts wake up and work jobs and hide the fact that they have an addiction.
Being in recovery myself and talking with thousands of people a year, I hear stories from every walk of life. People are downright terrified that they are addicted to opiates. They do not know where to go and where to turn. They know that the drugs are negatively affecting their lives but they can not stop. They do not know how to stop. The first time that addicts stop using, they get sick and most of them have no idea what is happening to them. The severity of the issue becomes blatantly clear at that moment.
Families take a major hit because of opiate abuse. The addicted change completely. The loving and caring person they once were is a shadow of their former self. They are always depressed and tired and unwilling to do anything. The person who was full of life and wanted to explore each day never wants to leave the couch now. Their appearance begins to diminish and it’s importance becomes non-existent. The worst part of it all is the relationships that begin to deteriorate.
I hear from families that are distraught that they are losing a family member to an addiction to opiates. They want so badly to shake them and make them realize the pain they are causing everyone, but the addict can not be forced to get clean. I see it every day. People pushing their thoughts onto the addict, giving them ultimatums, putting a second mortgage on homes to send their kids to rehab. All while the addict themselves do not want to stop. They are not ready and I have to cringe because although I share my advice about how the addict needs to want the help. Parents and family members are going to do whatever they can and take whatever chances they can to try and save their loved ones. I can only hope that something will click in the addicts thinking that they want the help because if this does not happen, all of the hard work done by the family will be for nothing and the relationship between the addict and his family will be even more damaged.