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“Focus on your recovery!” A Methadone Treatment Success Story – Jacob

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“Focus on your recovery” is a message that Jacob, 26, of Arizona wants to share with others who want to overcome addiction. He’s been down the path of opiate addiction, and he’s seen the challenges that get in the way of success. Now working and going to school, Jacob embraces life and the dream to one day become an engineer. One day at a time, he is putting behind him a past of addiction that landed him in jail, in and out of rehabs and homeless. With one and a half years’ sobriety, Jacob is sharing his story so that others will know that recovery is possible:

I was 18 years old when I first tried Percocet; it was my senior year of high-school in 2010. At first, I was partying with people and taking pills. Pills are just social, right? I never planned to become a addict! Then at age 20, my use progressed to heroin which is cheaper and stronger. I had some family problems and my dad was abusive. When I got upset I would use over any and every problem. I blamed these problems on everything but the drugs or myself. The drugs made me feel numb. I am a very empathetic person so I always felt things too deeply and couldn’t handle my emotions. So, I used drugs to escape all my strong feelings.

Facts about methadone treatment

When I started heroin, I began to fail at things I wanted like continuing baseball after high-school or getting A’s for my scholarship to Arizona State University. (That scholarship went away.) I dropped out of college and my whole future was put on hold. At 22, I tried IV heroin and continued to use until the age of 24. During those years, my fathers abuse, problems, and my own will added a lot to the progression of my use. I kept lying to myself saying, “One more time,” progressing it more and more. I had always been able to manage life and then it fell apart.

My body, mind, and soul were a wreck. Not to mention my life was on the line. I was playing with life just like the game Russian roulette. I had two overdoses, was convicted of a felony and went to jail a couple of times. This record haunts me till this day, and I’m a year and six months sober! It doesn’t matter if I’ve done the time, paid thousands of dollars in fines, and completed probation and community service. Employers will always see my record.

The rehabs after jail didn’t work. Rehab was too much to take on at once: sobriety, health issues, life problems, money issues, family issues, and so on. You get sober right away, and they throw you out into a sober living house and then, “Now what?” A friend of mine died in a rehab because someone brought in drugs. I would use again and started getting sick off pills and I couldn’t function. I was so far gone that there was no way that I could get sober. I became homeless and knew it got real bad when I was choosing death over life. I wanted to kill myself and not live anymore. But I continued to use up and down even after I fully realized that I had a problem.

Then I went into methadone treatment. I just had to want it badly enough. And the methadone program worked for me. It has helped me take everything little by little. It has allowed me to make my recovery and life changes from this long addiction manageable. My mom and dad split up recently, but I didn’t use over it. I’m back in college and working. I’m back to being me. I think completely differently, and next I’ll take on the task of getting off methadone completely. I’m able to do that because I’m a completely different person than I was on drugs. My life is better in every way. I have been able to focus on healing, getting my life in order and balancing out a whole new way of living and thinking.

When asked, “What advice would you have for others with opiate addictions?” Jacob says:

Focus on your recovery! Dont focus on what other people think or anything negative! Just focus on the positive changes. We all need to support what works for each other and not compare or judge. I have many friends in recovery and we all have done it differently, but have many similarities in our shared experiences with addiction. This [methadone treatment] is the way that worked for me. You can find things wrong with anything or anywhere. The main focus is your recovery. The program is here to help and save your life. There will only be a problem with recovery if you cause one for yourself or allow others to. Remember progress not perfection. I know that people are scared. I want to encourage people to keep fighting. It’s tough. I’m not perfect. Addiction and life are both hard. So take your challenges one at a time. You have to know how bad you want it. You can do it, with help and support.

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