Opiates Almost Killed Me. But I Got A Second Chance At Life.

My name is Heather and I’m in long term recovery from major depressive disorder and substance use. I have been in recovery going on 5 years. I need to express how grateful I am for being given another chance at life.

Opiates were my choice and it almost killed me. My use of opiates started out innocently. I had several knee surgeries and other ortho type ailments. I was given opiates. I’m not going to place blame on my physicians. Honestly, my brain liked the flood of dopamine opiates provided. I became addicted to the energy and euphoria it gave me. I became super mom, super nurse, super wife. The euphoria helped me become sociable. I have always struggled with low self esteem. I think I can trace all my troubles back to my childhood. Absent father and emotionally neglected mother is my beginning. My parents didn’t know how to cope with stress. They both suffered from depression. My father was neglectful of his responsibilities and my mom was left to carry the weight. My parents divorced when I was 10. It was devastating. My father left a trail of broken promises. I waited for him many weekends only for him to not show up. I resented him for many years. I was always searching for him in other relationships. His absence left a void. It turned me into a clingy people pleasing person. I didn’t know how to have a relationship. I was searching in all the wrong places. I was neglectful of my needs. I desperately wanted to be and feel loved.

I met my husband in 1994. We have been together almost 24 years. We have 2 beautiful children, Cameron and Deanna. I almost lost all of it in 2013. My addiction was raging like a wildfire. I had lost my job. My depression started taking me to a really dark place. I literally spent the summer of 2013 in bed. That’s where I felt the safest. I closed off from all family and friends. No one really knew what was going on in our home. I started using alcohol to help me cope with withdrawal from narcotics. That’s when my husband put the brakes on my self destruction. I was admitted to a detox facility and then on to a 30 day program. That was the beginning of my recovery journey. During this time I cut off contact with my father. I learned he was a big trigger for me. I stopped communicating with him for almost 3 years. I had to take care of me.

Unfortunately, I was never going to get the chance to speak to him again. I was awakened in the early morning hours of April 18, 2016 to a Wildlife officer standing at my front door to inform me my father was missing in Falls Lake. He had been fishing that day. My dad was going to another cove. He was traveling at a high rate of speed. The boat flipped in the air hitting my dad. He was missing for 5 days before his body was recovered. I was numb for that whole week. I immediately made an appointment to see my therapist. My recovery had to be protected. In the past I would’ve used this excuse to numb the pain. I spent 8 weeks attending grief counseling. Smartest decision I ever made. My recovery really began to take off. I made peace with my father. I have to wonder at times if his death was a gift to me. I was no longer stuck at being 10 years old.

Today I am a certified recovery coach and peer support specialist. I am in the process of starting CSAC training. I also started a peer support group called Still Standing. My life is beautiful today and I couldn’t be more happier. I am person thriving in recovery and loving it.