Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

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Healing from Opioid Addiction

by Ann Chiappetta

If the opioid epidemic seems like something to ignore, you might reconsider it as the one of the largest issues our culture faces. Opioid use can lead to opening the door to other drugs, what some substance abuse counselors refer to as a gateway drug.

Witnessing our 23-year-old lose her ability to walk, talk, or behave rationally after being offered a potentially deadly street drug was hard enough for us to understand; knowing it could have easily killed her was terrifying.

My daughter was lucky. Yes, she thought, until that night, that she was invincible, that it was “no big deal, just a “bad bump.” What began as getting high by snorting crushed opioids escalated to seeking out stronger and more dangerous drugs like heroin. She was the lucky one. Her friend wasn’t so lucky, eventually ending her life three years later from a drug overdose at age twenty-five.

My daughter is a gifted twenty-six-year-old with anxiety. She has made poor choices about some things, like that night. What could have ended in tragedy was dumb luck or Divine intervention, or fate. She cannot remember what happened that night; twelve hours of her life. Total black-out. Not an overdose, but too damn close for comfort. Some of her friends are gone now and the families will grieve not only for lost innocence but for a life lost to them forever.

It’s three years later and she is still clean and sober and involved in a local treatment program. My husband and I experienced the denial, the pain, and anger both personally and as a couple. We got through it together. When things were at the worst and I watched my daughter be escorted from our home in handcuffs, the grief was overwhelming. I wanted to scream and never stop. But it passed and we all picked up the pieces and so far the glue holding us back together is holding.

We are a fractured family. We do our best to put our best face forward and believe the worst is behind us. Addiction affects the entire family, not only the addict. Get help, talk to a substance abuse counselor, even if your loved one won’t seek treatment. Do your best to protect yourself and encourage other family members to reach out. There is no going back to a time before opioid addiction, but moving forward to healing and reconciliation with yourself and loved ones could happen.

About the Reviewer

Ann Chiappetta M.S. is an author and poet, making meaningful connections with others through writing. Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her books—a poetry collection Upwelling: Poems, a memoir Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust, Words of Life: Poems and Essays, and a short story collection A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future—are available in both e book and print formats from Amazon. Visit her site to learn more about her work.

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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