The Face of Recovery
Amy R. began using prescription opioid pills in 2005 as a result of chronic back pain. Her doctor wrote an opioid prescription for her to cope with the pain until they could find the root cause of the ailment and successful treatment. At first, Amy took her pills as recommended on the pill bottle, but one day she tried taking a few extra and everything changed. She found that her anxiety and fears would go away when misusing the pills.
Eventually, Amy became dependent on prescription opioids, a battle that would take her years to overcome. She ended up unemployed because there were times when she was too consumed with the drug to focus and go to work. Ultimately, spending all of her money on pills led to the loss of her home.
Trying to quit, she could never make it past the third day because the withdrawal symptoms would become so painful that she had to go back to the pills. “The one thing that was going to make it better was to go use,” Amy said. “Other people can quit cold turkey, but that didn’t work for me.”
Deciding to find a treatment program, she was turned down by one center, but kept searching. Amy found a treatment center offering Methadone for their patients. “I was one foot into treatment, one foot out of treatment,” she said. “That’s how most of us are at first.”
Amy was not as committed as she wanted to be, but she experienced a wakeup call when the treatment center discovered she had continued to fill opioid prescriptions throughout her time in treatment. However, she was not taking the pills herself; she was diverting them to help pay for the treatment program. After this, Amy started taking her recovery more seriously. She began listening more at group meetings, and she found herself wanting to emulate others’ stories of recovery.
“There’s not just one way to do it,” Amy said. Medication-assisted treatment worked for her unlike other methods she tried: “I wouldn’t have been able to recover without Methadone because it kept me from being sick.”
Now, three years into recovery and yearning to help others, Amy received a recovery coach certification on August 11, 2017. As a recovery coach, Amy will help people find resources they need—providing support through the stages of their recoveries. “I don’t like to hear that other people suffering with addiction don’t have support groups,” she said. “There is a need for people like us. I want to be that positive voice for others.”