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How going viral ruined my life, then saved it
I woke up one morning in August to my boyfriend of 7 years, awake and asking if I wanted to go get breakfast. It was early and I was tired but I'm not one to turn down food, plus, my boyfriend worked midnights so I wasn't going to pass up the chance to spend time with him either. I got up and got dressed and started getting our daughter ready as well. I was in recovery from addiction and loved doing "Normal" things with my family, especially since my ex had custody of our 9 year old son and I didn't have a "Normal" family to do "Normal" things with for a few years, until my daughter was born.
We had already decided on a restaurant but he asked me which way we were going while we were pulling out of the driveway. East or West. Seems simple enough, but going West would take us towards our old stomping grounds, which I tried to avoid as much as possible. I thought about it and the restaurant that I wanted to go to would be about 10 minutes closer if we went to the West. I felt confident in my recovery enough that I felt that we could go West and be okay, so we went.
I had recently found out we were expecting again and decided to quit taking my Subutex. I hadn't let my doctor know, because I knew he would be against it, but I had quit taking them successfully while pregnant with my daughter so I thought I could do it again. I had gone a few days without them now and thought I was going to be good but ended up starting to feel sick. I knew that sometimes the withdrawal could take longer to kick in for subutex compared to Heroin and other Opiates but I wasn't prepared for it to hit me the way it did. I was completely fine one minute and the next I felt terrible. Looking back I think being where I could get something made it worse, because I knew all I had to do was make a phone call and I wouldn't be sick anymore, so that's what I did, without putting much thought into it at all.
I had been attending meetings and going to IOP but I wasn't really working a program like I should have been. I thought being on subutex was enough. I wasn't talking with my sponsor or working on my steps, which is probably why I chose to use after being in recovery, despite the fact that our daughter was with us. I didn't think it was a big deal, it's not like I haven't done it before, nothing bad has ever happened so i felt like it was okay. She was only a year old, it's not like she would ever remember. This goes to show how sick I really was.
We pulled into a parking lot and I did my thing. My boyfriend tended to overdose sometimes so I made him switch me seats so that I could drive. (I don't know why I thought that this was a good idea, I tended to overdose just as much.) He finished doing his and I started to pull off when I heard him yelling at me about almost hitting a car and I stopped, only to overdose behind the wheel. He got out and pulled me out of the front seat and ended up overdosing as well before he could get me or himself back in the car,
I woke up to a paramedic above me and found them administering Narcan to my boyfriend. They had me go over and sit on the bumper of the ambulance while they worked on reviving him. I was asked a few questions but didn't really remember anything and was transported to the Emergency Room. By the time I got there I was coherent enough to start remembering things, like the fact that our daughter was with us and wondering where she was and what was going to happen to her.
I didn't have to wonder for very long because not long after arriving at the ER, a cop came in to ask me about my daughter. I admitted that she was our daughter and he responded with "Well that's unfortunate." I was irritated but I understood how bad it looked to overdose with our child in the car. He informed me that Children protective Services would be coming to talk to us and he left. I cried myself in and out of sleep until a Nurse came in to tell me my boyfriend was discharged and should be in shortly.
After my boyfriend made it into my room, I sent him to get me something to drink from the vending machine. The nurse came in to tell me that I was being discharged, she needed to take my IV out. I didn't have one in, so I assumed I was done and asked her how to get to the vending area. She pointed the way and I went and joined Cody. I felt it had been a while and we never heard anything from CPS so we assumed they had came, picked up our daughter and left. This wasn't the case and ended up unknowingly leaving our daughter at the hospital.
I spent some time screaming at my boyfriend, putting all the blame on him for allowing us to relapse, resulting in our overdose. (Just like an addict to not take responsibility for their actions) We started walking because our phones were in the car which had been impounded. I was a mess. I was screaming and crying and basically vomiting all over myself the whole way. We went to a gas station to get cigarettes and something to drink and continued to walk aimlessly. I knew I had to work that evening so I knew I had to find a ride home. We stopped by one of his friends house but nobody had answered so we continued to walk to another gas station and asked to use the phone.
We called my sister and gave her a short explanation of what was going on. I, of course, lied my ass off, claiming that I had a seizure while driving and they took our daughter because of it. It didn't take long for the truth to come out. After picking us up and going to get our car, she showed me a picture that was now surfacing the internet. It was a picture of my boyfriend and myself, slumped over on the ground in a parking lot and a complete stranger holding our daughter, giving her some water.
Somebody was driving by when they seen us and decided to stop and help. And by "help" I mean to take a picture of us, to post on their Facebook "to raise awareness." It went Viral almost instantly. I couldn't even bare to read the comments under the picture. There was everything from people "God Blessing" the couple who found us to people saying that we didn't deserve children and they hoped that we died, mostly the latter. In between those, there were people defending us and reaching out, telling us that there was still hope, and if it wasn't for those few people, I would probably have continued to use until death mercifully took me out in the form of another overdose.
I really felt like my life was over. I thought of ways to escape to places where nobody would know me. I played with the idea of moving to Flordia, where my aunt is also in recovery was living. I deleted Facebook so I didn't have to deal with people anymore. I more or less decided on becoming a recluse and hoarding away in my house for the rest of my life.
I wish I could say that this was the last time I ever got high, you would think the consequences would have been bad enough, but after what had happened, I couldn't stand to feel anything. On top of my daughter being immediately taken to Foster Care, the picture had reached everybody I knew, including my job so I was now unemployed. I spent the next few days hiding in my room, finishing off the rest of what we had (the cops left it in my car) before deciding that I was done.
We had to go to court for child endangering, where we were immediately taken to detox. I had been cowering in my house because I was afraid there was going to be a mob with pitchforks and flames outside my door, along with avoiding the reporters so I hadn't spent much time in public recently. I was glad to be around people who understood. I got to be in detox with my boyfriend which is unusual, but I was already pregnant, what else could happen? They recommended him to outpatient treatment but because I was pregnant, they decided to send me to an inpatient treatment center so they could keep me on the Subutex, as coming off it could put the baby in danger.
I went to a treatment center and was supposed to stay for 90 days and ended up leaving after a week. The place was new and was a complete mess. The girls were always screaming and fighting for some reason they weren't giving me my anxiety medication so I was having panic attacks. They also quit giving me my nausea medicine so I couldn't keep anything down, being in my first trimester of pregnancy. I decided on leaving and finding a place better equipped to help me while I was pregnant. The counselor who walked me out apologized for the chaos, it was still a fairly new facility and they weren't sure how to keep the girls in line yet.
My brother and mom had picked me up and after making it home, my brother who was also an addict had tried to get me to get high with him, because he had no money himself. Normally I would cave, he had always been my biggest influence to relapse but I had already had a couple weeks clean and knew I didn't want to continue to use while pregnant. He argued that I was going back to rehab but I still said no. It was the first time in a long time I had been able to resist my brother's temptations.
The first treatment center I tried to get into was another 90 day program. I was excited to go, until I looked up the reviews and seen a couple bad ones, stating that the place had bed bugs. So that was out. I was trying to get into a place before I had to go back to court, almost certain that they were going to send me to jail for leaving rehab. I tried another place but was informed that they wouldn't take me while pregnant but was recommended to a nearby hospital for detox. The problem was that I was trying to quit Subutex, not heroin, and nobody wanted to take me off Subutex while pregnant so it was a lot harder to find a place than I thought it would be.
The day came to go to court, and my boyfriend's sister came with me in case I went to jail. Luckily, the judge was understanding after I told him that i didn't want to remain on medication assisted treatment and was planning on going straight to detox after I left court, so he gave me house arrest and probation and let me go. Unfortunately, this detox wouldn't detox me from suboxone either, so I went home in a huff, feeling defeated.
I decided to detox on my own at home. I had done it before and I knew I could (hopefully) do it again. I had a friend bring me over some detox meds and I set my mind to it. I tapered off my last few subs and continued to take non narcotic detox meds to help through the withdrawal. It wasn't the worst thing in the world, but it seemed to last forever. I didn't sleep for more than a few hours a night for weeks, then one day I slept in until 8 AM and felt better. It was over. I did it, I fucking did it. It was like the rain stopped, the clouds cleared away and despite what I have done, the sun was shining again.
But life wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. I signed up for IOP and on my way the there I got hungry and started to peel a banana. I came up over a hill and there was 3 cars just stopped in the middle of the road and I hit the last car in the row. Apparently there was a 3 car pile - up and I became car #4. I was going so fast i thought for sure I was going to die, or wind up with something broken at the very least. The air bag went off and hit me in the face and I sat there for a minute in shock, doing damage control. I felt fine and got out of the car to access the damage.
The EMTs showed up and asked if I was okay and I replied that I was but I was pregnant, so I should go to the hospital just in case. They agreed and when I was put into the ambulance, I had a sense of peace fall over me. I felt like somebody was watching over me and the baby. Yes, I just totaled my car but I was safe, I had full coverage for once in my life and I had a little bit of money put back to be able to buy a new one. Things were going to be okay.
I can honestly say that going viral and the incident itself was one of the worst moments of my life. I felt like I was the most hated person in the world and it was one of the loneliest times I've ever been through. But I am also grateful today that it happened. Through all the BS and missing my daughter, I got stronger. I felt I had something to prove to all the people who said I didn't deserve children. I could never give them the satisfaction of going back out and using again and proving them right. That one decision resulted in such a way that it helped me to turn my life around.
My sister eventually got kinship of our daughter and we were able to see her a few times a week. I see my son a few times a month, I wish it was more but I will take what I can get. I got into a different IOP program and recently completed that. I've been in close to ten different outpatient programs and have never been able to finish one, and I finally finished one for the first time ever, and I must say I'm pretty proud of myself. I've been attending 12 step meetings regularly, meeting with my sponsor once a week and working on my steps. I started working again, as did my boyfriend. We bought a new car which is nicer than anyone we've ever owned before, and he still has his car to go back and forth to work in. My daughter should be home in a few months just in time for the new baby to come home and for her to be a big sister. Things are starting to fall into place again. Yes, I made a horrible decision and had a setback but life goes on. It wasn't the end of the world like I originally thought. Today, Life is good.
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