Guest Post – The Opioid Crisis

A friend of mine from years ago, a man who I didn’t get to know very well before he was off of my radar (until recently), has been going through the most trying time as it relates to his own choices and actions. He has some thoughts to share regarding addiction. He has some thoughts to share with encouragement for you! He has a story to share, and it’s early in the developing stages. I’m cheering him on from the sidelines, praying, hoping that he will make it through the very difficult season that he is in currently.

Opioids leave destruction in their wake. I remember the day I confessed my addiction (8 years and running) to my wife. Shock and disbelief filled her eyes. One can only imagine the thoughts racing through her mind as an 8 plus year battle with addiction came crashing down on our 8 year marriage.

“Who is this man I married?”

“Did he buy drugs on the streets?”

“Who does he owe money?”

“Has he been dealing drugs?

 

She really could only conclude one thing at that moment.

 

“I have no idea who my husband really is.”

The next day she came to my work and told me I needed to get help. I needed to check into a rehab facility.

“I’ve been unknowingly enabled you long enough.” She said with determination.

So many questions filled my mind.  

What about my job? What about you and the kids? How will I afford this? How can I Not afford this? This is my life at stake! This is our future in jeopardy. I checked into rehab after work that night, just an hour away. Several calls were placed to even make this possible. I checked into a place I’ve never been, without a clue whether insurance will pay for something or any of the treatment. I was without a clue to the future of my marriage.

Being monitored closely in the rehabilitation center, I woke up the next morning with a start.

The nurse said, “Are you hungry?”

I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Reality sunk in and I was forced to face the harvest that I had planted. Regardless of my feelings, breakfast was good. In treatment, in detox programs, there are classes and sessions that I had the privilege to attend.  I went to the first session and then I went back to bed because I felt tired. Weary. Sick. And my body wasn’t responding well to the new environment without my drug of choice.

Over the next four days, my wife would call and I would share about the things I was learning. While I was hearing things from the sessions, there wasn’t a lot of change within me. Then one day she stopped calling me. I kept calling her and she didn’t answer. Days passed.

I missed my daughter’s first birthday and to my surprise, I was served a “Protection From Abuse” order… My stomach sank and I felt helpless. Two days after that I received divorce paperwork and my whole life started derailing before my eyes. I sat down and wrote out my core values in a tear stricken state of despair and emptiness. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t restore my marriage if I tried or I would be breaking the law by violating the “Protection from Abuse” order.

The next two weeks were full of vivid emotions and experiences from getting clean and adjusting to life in a rehabilitation facility.  

They say addicts have three options; jails, institutions, and death. I was in an institution, and my marriage had just died a miserable death. The only thing left was jail.  God be gracious to me.

I was left alone with God to examine my new world and plan for the future. In my small rehab room in Moundridge, KS I made some vows to God and faced each day with fear and uncertainty. He showed me what I had always preached and never believed. He is Enough. With hopeless failures and pain, He has brought me comfort no medication could relieve.

When I got out of rehab, my pastor drove me to my car in the church parking lot and I hopped in and started a shouting match with God about what was fair and unfair. I told God what was up, that day. The first night on my own, nobody would take me in as even my closest friends had been briefed on my circumstances and we’re afraid for their families. What I experienced was a byproduct of sin and a glaring new reality. I had what I call a contagious opioid cancer that scares people away from a relationship with an addict.

I crashed at fellow co-workers house the first night and had to leave by 9 am because he had work and I could not stay at his home. I had nowhere to go until 4 pm when I had an interview at a safe house, an addiction recovery house. My new life began with a trunk full of clothes, a mandatory weekly UA and a house full of 8 other guys. All pride was shattered, and humility became my only option. My own loved ones feared my next step and I couldn’t trust myself. I just started moving forward through each and every day with fear, pain, and uncertainty.

These next two months became the hardest days of my life. While I mourned the loss of the daily life I had with my wife and kids, I kept going. And I keep on going. I’m just now at a place where I am talking to my wife again. We have what seems to be a long road to go before we are back to some semblance of a relationship, our old normal is gone and we are both mourning the loss of our 8-year marriage. There are days I long to make pancakes and snowmen with my 3-year-old or feed my daughter a bottle but for now, I settle for weekly visits.

This road has been so painful. I’m certainly not stronger than anyone else, but I would not wish this on my worst enemy or without God. Better days are ahead and I keep moving forward.

In summary, opioids’ kill people and destroy lives, most people don’t realize they are addicted before it’s too late. The impact on loved ones is horrendous.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.

You can read more of his story at https://thehopefulsinner.wordpress.com.