Voices in recovery: Woman battles Vicodin addiction
I am a 37-year-old mother of one child and I am a recovering addict. I grew up in a small town in southern California where my parents were self- employed hard workers. My father was an alcoholic and died at the young age of 56. During my high school and college years I tried drinking but did not like it. I got married at the age of 21 and moved to South Lake Tahoe when my husband got transferred. While living in South Lake Tahoe, my husband injured his back and was given a prescription for the pain medication, Vicodin. This was the first time I was introduced to Vicodin and it soon became my drug of choice.
At the age of 30, my life was going down hill. I was addicted to Vicodin when my husband and I got divorced. At that time, I was taking an average of 30 pills a day. Around this time, I started working in an office in which I had easy access to prescription pads and I started writing Vicodin prescriptions for myself. After a year of writing my own prescriptions, I was caught and arrested. The court judge ordered me to detox medically for 10 days in a Reno facility. I was also ordered by the court to enroll in a Drug Diversion Program available at Sierra Recovery Center. It was at this time I discovered that I was pregnant. While attending the Drug Diversion Program, I was rehired by my former employer. However, less than a week later, I started writing myself prescriptions again. Now, not only was I popping Vicodin, but smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol as well. All this despite the fact that I was pregnant. After 41Ú2 months of prescribing myself Vicodin I was, once again, caught and arrested.
Then in August 2003, I gave birth to a 21Ú2 pound baby boy who was three months premature. He was born with a hole in his heart and was not able to breath on his own and had to be airlifted to Washoe Medical Center in Reno. For two months I lived in an RV parked in the parking lot of the medical center. While my baby was in the hospital, I continued to commute to Lake Tahoe to work and attend out-patient services at Sierra Recovery Center. I stayed clean for four months and then relapsed. At this point, I entered a residential treatment for about 40 days offered by Sierra Recovery Center. I was transferred to the Women and Children’s Transitional House where I am still living today. I am proud to say I am now eight months clean.
I am very glad that Sierra Recovery Center created a Transitional House for women and their children. It offers a safe, supportive and comfortable environment for mothers and children alike. The other women in the house are easy to get along with because they understand what you are going through. We all might be recovering from different things, but we are all recovering and that is one thing that we all have in common. The structure that SRC provides is very helpful when you are trying to recover. We all have to be in by 9 p.m., we all have certain chores that we must do, and we must attend meetings. I was never excited to go to meetings, but I am now. Attending meetings helps to remind me that I am an addict and that I need to be vigilant.
Another good thing about living in the women and children transitional house is that I have someone to call on when I am tempted to take drugs again. The women have taught me how to have fun being sober and the Relapse Prevention class offered by SRC has been very helpful throughout my recovery. I have switched jobs and work only once a week. I don’t make much money and I drive a crappy car, but I am not loaded and I am very happy.
– Written by a Sierra Recovery Center client, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Vicodin is one of the most widely prescribed and most commonly abused prescription pain medication today. Vicodin successfully diminishes pain, but it is highly addictive. Over months of use, the Vicodin effects will become greater and more damaging. Most people who obtain Vicodin by committing prescription medication fraud are good citizens who wouldn’t commit any other crime. They are motivated to do this by the physical symptoms of their Vicodin addiction, which may not be recognized by physicians.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and/or drugs, we may have a treatment options for them. Call (530) 541-5190. There is a solution.