Battle With Addiction, Part 2: “Eight Long Years: D.J.’s Story”

Word spread that I was talking to people about their past drug addiction and dependency. I was surprised at how many people were contacting me, willing to tell their story. 

One mother I happened to know, reached out and told me her son D.J. was in recovery. They thought it might help others if they talked about it. So I met with them to hear his story.

TD: Tell me what you’ve been in rehab for.
DJ: I was addicted to Vicodin. 

TD: So prescription drugs. 
DJ: Yes sir. 

TD: What was that like?
DJ: If you go 5-6 hours without one, you start getting irritable. You’ve got to have em. 

TD: I thought it made you feel better. 
DJ: At first it makes you feel good. Happy. It gets you happy in the beginning. But later it doesn’t work so well. You take it just to get by. 

TD: What are some of the problems you had if you didn’t have the Vicodin?
DJ: Irritable leg syndrome where your legs just shake uncontrollably. Your bowels take over. You’re a nervous wreck; you’re just not a pleasant person. 

TD: How long were you using before you decided to get help?
DJ: It was about 8 years. 

TD: Seriously, 8 years?
DJ: Yes sir. 

TD: Did you take drugs when you were younger?
DJ: Yes, I smoked weed my junior year in high school. 

TD: How did that come about?
DJ: I just saw some friends doing it. Me and a couple friends just decided we were going to try it.

TD: What happened?
DJ: It made us relaxed; dreamy. We took a drive around the lake and it seemed like it took about an hour!

TD: Did you keep on using? 
DJ: A little. It wasn’t a set thing. I didn’t go looking for it. Just a couple times my senior year. 

TD: Did you drink?
DJ: Yes, but not much. Probably because I thought I’d get caught. 

TD: So how did you get into taking prescription drugs?
DJ: I had a bad breakup with a girlfriend. I had known of people trying it. They had been around before, but I didn’t have much interest. But this time, I bought five. 

TD: How did it make you feel?
DJ: I got a good buzz and went out with friends… you were in such a dreamy state.  

TD: Was it hard to get? 
DJ: It was very easy to get. 

TD: Really?
DJ: It’s like going to the convenience store and getting a bag of chips.

TD: When did you know you had a problem?
DJ: Maybe a year into it. I noticed I was getting it every weekend. 

TD: But you kept using Vicodin?
DJ: I thought I could beat it myself, but it never happened. It was just a roller coaster; each day you’d wake up and never know how you were going to feel. 

TD: Did you work?
DJ: Yes. 

TD: Didn’t it affect your work?
DJ: Yes, when I didn’t have them.

TD: So you were using more?
DJ: When I first started out, five would last almost a week. I would hand over pay checks to the guy and he’d give me what I needed for the week.

TD: How much Vicodin were you using?
DJ: One time I sold a $1,500 CD changer for $75 for 15 pills that lasted a day and a half. 

TD: That’s a lot. 
DJ: Some days were worse than others. But this is a low amount compared to some people. 

TD: So what finally happened to make you get off them?
DJ: I’d handed over my paycheck again and had $10 bucks. I was tired of eating them; I was tired of the lies. It was exhausting. 

TD: Who were you lying to? 
DJ: Everybody. My family. My girlfriend. We had a two year old son. She would try to say something but when I was as bad as I was, it was just one lie after another. It got to the point where I couldn’t keep my stories straight. 

TD: So what did you do?
DJ: I told them I wanted to meet with them after work; that I had something I needed to tell them. 

TD: Was it hard?
DJ: It was very hard. I was scared; I didn’t know how they’d react. I just spilled everything; that I was using all this time and what I was doing with my checks. 

TD: So what happened?
DJ: It was the hardest thing I’ve done, but it was one of the best things… They said they wanted to get me help and said they’d do whatever they had to do.
Mom: It was Friday night and I was so helpless. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do. 
We couldn’t get him in until after the weekend, and then our doctor was out on Monday. It was very hard on him. We sat with him the whole time. 

TD: What happened when they got him in?
Mom: We got to the center but then they wouldn’t take him because he had already detoxed. So we had to find a specialist that could prescribe something to help with the symptoms. 

TD: What are you taking?
DJ: It’s called Zubsolv. 

TD: Is it working?
DJ: Yeah. It took the urge completely away. Something in it blocks the receptors. 

TD: How long will you have to take it?
DJ: I don’t know. I’d like to get off it someday. The program I’m going through really helps. I don’t ever want to go back through that again. 

TD: How long have you been in recovery, drug free?
DJ: 5 months. 

TD: What do you want people to know about this problem?
DJ: They should know that they need to come out and get help. They don’t need to be alone through their addiction. 

TD: Mom, what do you want people to know?
Mom: It’s got to come from the person doing it. He had to want to do it. If these stories do not open some eyes I don’t know what will. I still thank God everyday I still have him and still pray to him to keep him on the straight path to his recovery.

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