Boy, where do I begin?! Okay here it goes. First off, my name is Angelica ( Angel for short) ..I’m 30 yrs old. I was an IV heroin addict for 10 years. I shot dope from the age of 19 years old to 27 yrs old. But I’ve smoked weed and tried other things here and there before my real addiction started. I had no trauma or abuse in my life.
My parents were/are loving and hard working.
My dad is retired from the army. Served 20+years. My dad was a bit strict. There was always yelling in the house from my dad. He yelled about any and everything. But he was never physically abusive.
Now I know it was emotional abuse, but at the time I didn’t know that. Every time I got in trouble, my dad would always give me a big ol lecture. I hated it. It increased my anxiety even more. I didn’t wanna be home because of it.
I guess it all started when I was a teenager.
I was very naive and easily influenced. I had a void deep within my soul. I would stay out late when I was like 14-16 yrs old. I would easily get attached to boys. Always got in long term relationships.
I started running away from home to be with my boyfriend at the time. My parents actually had to put out a missing report on me cause I ran away for like 2 months. But I finally came back and continued on with high school.
I did well for a while.
I made friends with this girl. She also lived in the same subdivision I lived in, so I was always at her house after school. We would smoke weed and drink beer.
Table of Contents
Introducing the Hard Drugs
And then she introduced me to crank. We did that for a little bit. Then I got introduced to B-town (heroin) and I snorted it a couple of times. Never really like it cause it didn’t do much for me at that time. So I stopped all that and just smoked weed.
And I eventually dropped outta school. Fast forward a year later at 18 years old I met this guy, just one year older than me and we started dating. Little did I know, he was an IV heroin addict.
But I was already wrapped up in him. I snorted H here and there, then I started sha-banging it (where you put it in a needle and spray it in your nose). And I then eventually had him shoot me up. I was hooked. I fell in love with heroin.
Full-Blown Heroin Addiction
I had no job, so I started stealing. From my family, strangers, whomever. It quickly became about needing a fix to survive. Didn’t get high anymore.
My life quickly went on a downward spiral from there on out.
From being in the streets, bouncing from house to house, hustling, prostituting to overdoses. I managed to avoid jail time if you can believe that. I eventually learned to inject my own self, so I did things on my own.
I had a few dope partners throughout the years. But I ended up being on my own. I couldn’t support someone else’s habit too. So my days were just an endless cycle of hustling and shooting up. It was exhausting.
But I was a slave to heroin.
I’ve been in some detox centers but it was never my choice to quit. I just wasn’t ready even though I was living in misery all the time. I had my time with methadone too but I got high as a kite on that shit and abused it big time. Just took it to avoid withdrawals. My health was horrible. I was so skinny. I had bad tracks on my arms, hands and feet. I’ve had many abscesses.
I had trouble shooting up cause I was using up all my veins. I caught Hep-C. I’ve overdosed a few times. My heart even stopped for 2 minutes from a combination of Xanax and heroin. The daily use of heroin got boring as I was just maintaining my addiction. I started doing speedballs, and crack too.
And even still I hadn’t hit rock bottom.
All the while I was living with whomever let me stay at the time. I lived with a very much older guy for the last 3 years of my heroin use. He was actually cool enough to let me live with him with no strings attached. So I had a place to stay but I was still in the streets searching for my next fix.
Okay, this next part I’m going to share is very hard for me to talk about. I ended up getting pregnant and used throughout my entire pregnancy up until my water broke NO JOKE!
That was my rock bottom. At 8 months pregnant, my mom finally convinced me to seek help. But seriously at the time, I had no idea that there was help for pregnant drug addicts. I was so consumed in my addiction.
I was in complete denial.
I had my baby in the hospital via c-section. I didn’t see him until the next day. This is where my life was about to change. As soon as I saw him, that was it for me.
A New Chance at Life
My fears and urge to use went out the window immediately so to speak. I knew right then and there that I had to change. Not only had to but I really wanted it. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and started treatment immediately. I was already excepted into a methadone clinic.
But I decided to take Suboxone which they also dispensed.
Of course, my son suffered from heroin withdrawal and I visited him everyday. He stayed at the hospital for 22 days. Thankfully he didn’t suffer all that bad according to the nurses that were caring for him. Also, of course CPS was already set in motion.
I was living with my parents at this time. My parents were the safety-plan, meaning my son was in there custody for the time being.
As long as I abided by my CPS case-workers rules, I was able to live there with my son under supervision of course. If I had one dirty drug test, I would be forced to leave my parents house. That would put the beginning of my sobriety at risk and I would lose my son.
But that never happened cause I was done with that life.
I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to BABY-U (a program for mothers on MAT treatment) at the treatment center I was going to and I had counseling 3 times a month. I also got referred to a therapist, mandatory due to my CPS case worker. Which I am forever grateful for. I was able to work out my issues with a counselor and a therapist.
Got to the root of all my troubles. Things went really well. I was only on CPS for like 10 months. My CPS case-worker could tell I was serious about my recovery and more importantly being a good mom.
And my son did great. No complications of any kind. He is now 3 years old and is just the light of my life. He saved my life (My Savior). I also took care of my health. I started gaining good weight. My hep-c was/is in remission. Most of my track marks cleared up. (Still have scars of course) I took back my life!
Tapering off Suboxone
I was on Suboxone for 3 years. I started at 2 mg and gradually went up to 12 mg within a year. Then successfully tapered down to 1 mg within another year. It was time to come off this drug. It’s served its purpose for me.
But it was also giving me unpleasant side affects such as fatigue, major mood swings, numbness, swollen hands, excessive sweating, constipation, teeth problems etc. I felt safe and ready to be free of MAT TREATMENT and my counselor agreed.
So I discharged myself at 1 mg.
I already had a good stockpile of Suboxone so I was able to taper further. It was around this time last year that I found the most awesomest, helpful group on FB. A Suboxone Taper Support Group. Those people’s experiences and info helped me to get off Suboxone.
They gave me hope. Before hand all I could find on the net were horror stories about coming off Suboxone.
My Taper Schedule
I did a looonngg taper. I tapered from 1 mg to 0.13 in a 9 month period or so. I was on 1 mg for 3 months, 0.5 mg for 2 months, 0.25 for 2 months, and finally 0.13 for 3 months. Jumped from 0.13 mg and never looked back. To my amazement, I didn’t suffer all that bad from withdrawals.
I had the common withdrawal, like body aches, sweating, watery eyes, running nose, sneezing and yawning so much that my jaw hurt. I was able to tolerate all that.
It was my horrible leg cramps that got to me.
And the sleep disturbances due to sweating. I was able to fall asleep pretty easy but kept waking up every 5-10 minutes. And I also had vivid dreams.
Supplements to the Rescue
I followed some suggestions from the FB group and started taking magnesium, B-6, B-12, sublingual B-12 complex. Cut down on sugar and junk food. Drank plenty of water. Had some Tonic water and Gatorade once in a while. I knew that all these things combined were ultimately helping me get through my sub detox. I didn’t suffer with leg cramps anymore. My bowel movements were improving.
My detox was becoming more and more tolerable.
Soon enough I didn’t even think about what I was going through. My emotions were coming back. I could cry easily and loved laughing. Music sounded great and was very therapeutic.
My New Life!!!
I am now 4 months off subs and I’m doing great. Feeling about 80% good for the most part. There’s highs and lows but I’m managing. Continuing my vitamins and eating healthier along with being as active as I can. I gotta keep up with my energetic, full of life son after all.
I have found a fulfillment within myself to help others.
I stay active in my FB Suboxone group and give advice and suggestions. I share my experiences and what I’ve learned. It gives me joy knowing I can help someone out there in similar situations.
I haven’t really had major cravings. I’ll just get subtle triggers but I’m able to stay grounded. I don’t know what it is but I’ve gained so much self-control, it’s awesome. Plus, if I were to ever get that urge, I’d just look back on how my life was before. I definitely never wanna live like that again. It’s NO LIFE for anyone. I have so much to lose now.
I don’t know how I survived it, but I’m obviously here for a reason.
I’ve come out on the other side. My son is my # 1 reason. He is where my strength and determination comes from. As of now I’m a stay at home single mom still living with my parents.
Right now, I’m not back into society yet. My only support is my family and my FB groups. I know I should probably go to meetings but I’m afraid only because of my past experiences with them. I guess I need to find one that’s right for me. I’m just extremely proud of myself for how far I’ve come.
So, just know, you’re not alone.
Everyone has there vices. I was ashamed of my story once…But I’ve shared it with many people and gotten positive responses. It feels good to be able to inspire someone. If you’re still struggling, just know that it’ll get better, but you’ll have to want it. I’m 3 years clean from heroin and 4 months off Suboxone.
And life is good!