Trigger warning: This article contains references to childhood abuse.
What is your story with opioids?
I did not have a normal upbringing. It was gruesome and tortuous.
I was born addicted to drugs and at three years old, my mother abandoned me and my sisters in a crackhouse. I bounced around different foster homes and none of them were good. My sisters and I experienced regular abuse, both physical and emotional.
The first time I ever got the taste of opioids was when my wisdom teeth were taken out. I was prescribed a very high dose of Vicodin (I don’t know why). I remember that it made all the nightmares of my childhood go away but I was still young and didn’t understand the complete concept of addiction.
Pills became more readily available and by 15, I had snorted heroin. That was the beginning of the end. After that it was ups and downs. I would spend months using followed by months trying to get clean. I was unhappy and miserable, experiencing frequent panic attacks.
I wanted to stop.
Did you look for treatment before Ophelia?
I tried everything. I attempted detox programs, meetings, and rehabs. Inevitably, I would always find a way back. I once visited an in-person Suboxone clinic but I live in a small town and I hated people looking at me as an “addict.” There was no privacy.
It is bad enough that we have to deal with addiction everyday. Having people judge you on top of it, makes every day feel insurmountable.
How did you find Ophelia?
I was at a point that I wanted help. One of the worst ODs happened when a family member found me facedown on the bathroom floor. I had also discovered Kratom and was spending too much money.
You won’t recover until you want it and at that point, I wanted it.
Around that time, I heard about Ophelia. I ignored it, believing it was a scam. But a couple weeks went by and the name popped up again. I didn’t want to keep trying treatments that didn’t work so I scheduled a call.
What has been your experience Ophelia?
After the first call with Allison, my clinician, I thought “oh crap, this is real!” I’ve also met with their peer coach, Aziza. They are both absolutely amazing.
It's completely different from my Suboxone clinic experience, where I sat in front of a doctor for 2 minutes and left with a script. My team asks how I’m doing and we talk about goals and ways to accomplish them. Allison genuinely wants me to do well and that's helped keep me going.
Ophelia has changed my life.
What is a common misconception you felt as someone dealing with an opioid dependency?
I’m not a bad person. Being called an “addict” does not mean I'm stealing purses from old ladies. Everyone makes mistakes and wrong decisions.
Can you share a piece of advice to give with others in similar situations?
You have to know you aren’t alone. You can learn from your mistakes and make a difference, and that is what counts.