Eve, age 46, is a long-time nurse. When she was younger and working in the hospital, she was helping an obese patient from bed to their wheelchair. The patient became unsteady, and when Eve reached to steady the patient, the patient fell, pulling and twisting Eve’s back as they tumbled to the floor together. The patient was fine. Eve acquired a slipped disc and horrific pain, leading her to seek treatment for her pain and injuries.

From Simple Treatment to Debilitating Dependence

She diligently performed her physical therapy exercises and was prescribed nonsteroidal pain medication which barely touched the discomfort she felt on a daily basis. She needed to return to work and, at the time, she was prescribed Percocet, which was a godsend. She was able to work full-time, but not without the Percocet. Eventually she developed a tolerance to the medication, and even though her doctor increased the dose from time to time, she often used more than was prescribed.

She began to find ways to take pain medications from her patients, either shorting them from their full dose, or using leftovers from vials. When she remembers back to this time, she can hardly believe it was really her. Eventually, she was caught and was required to go through the Health Providers Monitoring Program for five years.

After this, her recovery was solid. She was grateful to be able to practice as a nurse, her beloved career.

Life Stress Leading to Relapse

Six years into recovery, Eve’s 9-year-old son was diagnosed with a seizure disorder that came out of nowhere. Three months after that, her husband was diagnosed with a rare gallbladder cancer. Continuing to work full time, parent three children, and now deal with devastating family health issues, Eve no longer took time to attend recovery meetings or in her words, do any self-care at all. Eventually she turned back to opioids in the stress of the situation.

She did not allow herself much time to get too mired in this downward spiral. She chose to act quickly, remembering how quickly this can get out of control. After several months of buying narcotic pills, she “cried uncle” and contacted the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine. Four years ago, she completed an Accelerated Opioid Detox and has been coming for long acting naltrexone monthly ever since.


A Family on the Path to Recovery

Her husband’s cancer has progressed, and he is on experimental treatment regimens with a poor prognosis. She recently took him for a weekend in NYC, which he was able to enjoy beyond his wildest dreams. Her son is carefully monitored with his puzzling neurological condition and has started college at the same university as his sister. She has one child still in high school.

Eve has recommitted herself to her recovery. Not only does she have a home group and a sponsor, but she now is also a devoted sponsor herself, working mostly with nurses who have experienced their own struggles with opioids.

“I can’t think of myself as a victim, regardless of what is going on in my life. Being in recovery and going to meetings has shown me there are always people who have it worse than me. If I can be a support for one person and help them to stay sober one more day, I feel like I’m achieving my purpose on earth.” She also emphasized that she has learned to put her recovery and self-care before everything else.

These are the stories and the patients that make me so grateful to have the career I have. It is humbling to be in the presence of people who have turned their lives over in such profound ways.

Please know there are so many resources if you or a family member is struggling with an opioid or alcohol use disorder. Getting off the substance safely is the first step. That’s been our specialty at the Coleman Institute for about 30 years. Many insurances are paying for these types of services, so please give us a call if we can be of help.

Accelerated Opioid Detox with the Coleman Institute

As one can see from Eve’s story, opioids, even when prescribed as a pain medication, can cause a dependency. With an increasing tolerance, and higher dosages as a result. This can spin out of control quickly without help. Although the actions an individual takes when suffering from the disease of the addiction impact themselves, they also impact families, loved ones, employment, and even their daily lives.

If you or a loved one are suffering from an opioid dependency, please reach out to the Coleman Institute. You deserve a life free from addiction. Schedule a callback with us today to find out more information. Take care.

Joan Shepherd, FNP