Disclaimer: This story contains mentions of a suicide attempt which may be disturbing to some.
“‘4-20’ or April 20th was a day that took on new meaning in my life 13 years ago. It was the day I decided I couldn’t live one more second how I was. I struggled for years on how to categorize/identify myself when it came to my addiction, a disease that many of us walk with but very few of us talk about it.
I was so far up s**t creek, and not only did I not have a paddle, I burned the boat.
I found myself no longer recognizing the person in the mirror. I had done the one thing I said I would never. I had gone and gotten myself addicted to pain medication, but I was ‘different’. I was ‘different’ because my drug dealer had an MD at the end of her name.
I lived in denial and shame for a significant amount of time: sure, I had put on 45 pounds and single-handedly kept Hostess in business, but I also began obsessing over the medication and started counting down the days before I could pick up my next prescription, and I still convinced myself that I was ‘different’ from the heroin addict I was sitting next to in my NA meeting. Shame is a m*****f*****…but that’s what this disease will do.
It will convince you of almost ANYTHING. When I first started in my recovery and attending meetings, I would say I was going to Walmart because I didn’t want anyone to know where I was going. I don’t think I have actually said that out loud before.
This disease had convinced me I was the world’s biggest piece of s**t and the best thing to do would be to remove myself from it. I kissed Corbin goodbye, picked up my script, and drove to my grandfather’s grave. I wrote a goodbye letter, that I still have, took probably 30/40 pills, and began to nod off while the last 3 years played over and over as I drifted…
I pray you never feel this type of emptiness—it’s almost impossible to describe…as I’m sure what was the beginning of an overdose, I laid my head back and a ladybug flew in my mouth (hand to God), and I puked up most of what I had taken, it was nothing short of divine intervention that saved my life that day.
The next day I called my mom and said two of the scariest words because I knew what was waiting on the other end. When my mom answered, all I could get out was ‘I’m ready.’ So without any explanation needed I detoxed, at home, cold turkey, with my mom by my side. It was brutal, and I mean brutal. Your skin feels like it’s going to turn inside out and fall off, your body aches so bad it hurts to put clothes on, and the anxiety detox brings is like nothing I’ve ever experienced!
I can remember thinking, ‘I wonder who I will be when this is all over?’ I had to rediscover what telling the truth felt like—I had gotten so used to lying, to anyone, about anything that telling the truth felt ‘wrong.’ I had lost my sense of humor and my ability to live a happy, joyous and free life. Make no mistake, I have had my moments in 13 years (death, sickness, life happenings) that have tested my faith in my ability to remain sober…but it has all been worth it!
My worst day now doesn’t even come close to my best day then.
We walk amongst you: we are mothers, fathers, doctors, coaches and so many more. I am not ashamed or anonymous (although that anonymity was something I cherished until I was ready.) I am damn proud of my journey. I have learned some wounds may never heal and they will forever sting when I am reminded of relationships that didn’t heal, but that’s okay—I’ll take that pain because I know what it’s like to feel nothing at all. I have the greatest tribe around me, and I am humbled by their presence in my life. April 20th marked 4,749 days of living one day at a time.
I share these because I think it’s highly important to show that addiction doesn’t always look how you think it will. I was very good at pretending.
10 million people misuse opiates each year
Approximately 7/10 overdoses are due to opiates
60 percent of people increased their drinking/use during Covid
Every day 261 individuals die as a result of their alcohol
4 out of every 5 pharmacy prescriptions filled is an opiate
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cheramie Davis from Olathe, KS. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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