“A Dopeless Hope Fiend”

A decades-long addiction brought me to my knees, but David Lawrence Centers helped me stand tall again, with dignity and respect.

By John

I wasn’t supposed to be here. I mean, not even here on this earth.

I knew something wasn’t quite right in my childhood, when my dad called me a “bastard child” and my uncles called me a “miracle child,” only to be shushed by my aunts.

I asked my mom what they meant, and she never really explained . . . until I was in my 30s and one day, when we were both under the influence, she told me that she had tried to abort me when she was pregnant.

By then, though, I was pretty deep into addiction. My mom never neglected or abused me as a child; she loved me and took care of me. But I had always dealt with depression, often feeling unworthy to live.

I self-medicated with all the wrong things, drinking and drugging. When I injured my back in 1996, I was prescribed painkillers . . . and that eventually turned into an opioid addiction.

I had been what they call a “functioning addict” for decades, keeping a job, paying my bills. But the opiates brought me to my knees. They’re horrible.

I was in and out of trouble with the law. I spent more than a year in the county jail. I was homeless and buying drugs on the streets. It was no way to live.

I attempted suicide several times. In November 2009, I took 90 Soma (muscle relaxants) and washed them down with half a bottle of Crown Royal. When I woke up in the ICU three days later, the doctor said, “We didn’t think we were going to get you back.”

I told him I needed help, and they sent me to Crossroads, the addiction recovery program at David Lawrence Centers . That straightened me out for a while, but then I quit taking my antidepressants, which led to a relapse. I’m the kind of guy, if you give me any wiggle room, I’m going to wiggle right back into relapse.

But not anymore. Because, in time, I ended up at David Lawrence Centers again. In addition to the counseling and addiction recovery, I was prescribed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone. It’s like a miracle drug. It eliminated my cravings for any other drugs, and even helped to alleviate some of my ongoing back pain. I never want an opiate painkiller again.

I still get counseling at DLC, both group therapy and one-on-one. I’m in a 12-step program. I’m clean and sober, and I’m enjoying time with my young grandchildren. I’m also hoping to get a job again soon. Life is good.

I don’t know where I’d be without the help of David Lawrence Centers . I’d probably still be out there using drugs, on the streets . . . if it hadn’t killed me.

I can’t say enough good things about DLC. I was emotionally, spiritually, and financially bankrupt, and they treated me like a millionaire. They took good care of me and treated me with dignity and respect. They made me feel like I deserve a good life.

I walk in freedom now. I’m comfortable in my own skin. David Lawrence Centers took me, a hopeless dope fiend, and transformed me into a dopeless hope fiend.

It’s great to have hope again. Because without it, what else do we have to hang onto?

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