I’d like to take a few seconds to introduce a guest blogger. For me, when it comes to recovery from opioid addiction, this is a person I respect and admire. Of course that’s not to say I don’t respect everyone who goes through a Suboxone detox, it’s just that she lives in recovery every day, and reminds me of what can happen.
“Hi my name is Colleen and I’m an addict, and I’ve been an addict since I began stealing my mom’s pain medications from the medicine cabinet when I was sixteen. By today’s standards in the teenage world, I think I might be a late bloomer. Other than with a sponsor, I’ve never written any part of my story and although I’ve a lot of clean and sober time since my Suboxone detox and rehabilitation, I am happy to share what happened, how I got sober, and what I do to stay that way.
“I grew up in a small town in northern Maine. Oddly enough, Rob (Recovery Rob) grew up a few towns away from me. I am just a few years younger than him. And no, they don’t grow addicts like they do potatoes. My father was absent most of the time. He worked on a fishing boat and would be gone months at a time. We lived inland on a family farm, where my mother’s parents lived. There was a small addition, almost a separate house attached in the back of the large farm home. My mom is an only child, my dad is too, but I am not. I have seven other brothers and sisters. Only two of us are in recovery. I am fifth in the order, nearly smack dab in the middle. The next up the chain, Chuck, is the other addict in recovery.
“I guess for all intents and purposes, with my father gone a lot, my mother and my grandparents, Gram-ma Nan and Gram-pa Ernie raised us kids. My grandparents loved us as best they could, but I don’t think having eight kids around the farm was something they’d intended for their later years. After all, they’d only had one child. However, I think they saw the gold in having that many grandchildren. There was a farm to run and well we quickly became workers. They paid us, not a lot, but at least it was something. They grew potatoes, corn, and various other vegetables. We also had livestock like horses, cows, chickens, and pigs. I learned at a young age not to get too attached to the livestock, as they’d eventually end up on our dining room table, or sold at the county fair.
“When I was eleven, my mother began to complain of chest pain and was having trouble breathing. It was the late sixties, she was a two pack a day smoker, and the Surgeon General hadn’t placed the warning on the side of the cigarette packs as of yet, but I don’t know if that would have stopped her. We didn’t really know what it was at the time; my grandparents just thought it was exhaustion. They clearly didn’t think it was lung cancer from smoking, as they’d both been smoking for nearly thirty or more years without any problems.
“It was late in September, the school bus dropped me off, and my younger siblings were with me. My older siblings each had become involved in other activities afterschool. Since I was the oldest of the bottom half, I seem to become my younger siblings’ guardian. When we entered our home, we saw our mother slumped in the corner, she was barely breathing.”
Watch next week for more on Colleen’s story.