My name is Jen and I am from Upstate, New York. I am telling you my story today in hopes that it will have an impact and save at least one life.
From the time I was young, I was always involved in every possible activity that was available. I got good grades in school and always thrived at everything I did. I have a great family that cares a lot about me, and always had lots of friends. People always thought I was going to do something great with my life.
Inside I felt completely different from everyone around me. I never felt like I fit in or that I was doing a good job even though everyone around me was always telling me how smart I was and that I was doing extremely well. I don’t know why I felt this way. I just wanted to feel like I fit in. I searched for anything to relieve this feeling. I ended up turning to pills and later to heroin. I tried for years to get clean, struggling with this even more powerful feeling that had overtaken me. That more powerful feeling was my addiction to opioids. Now, looking back, all the things that I had worried about before addiction were trivial. I wish I could have had the knowledge of what I was doing to myself, all the hopes and dreams I had, and those of so many people who cared about me.
Once I became addicted to drugs my whole life changed. Simple things like working and taking care of myself and loved ones became so difficult unless I was on the drug. When I didn’t have the drug a feeling overcame me that all I needed or wanted was that drug because the physical addiction I had was destroying my body and gave me incredible sickness when I didn’t have it. It was more powerful than I could control. My mind changed and the drugs were slowly killing me. The drug controlled my life. I was not me anymore, and I felt so hopeless that there was not anything that I could do about it. I stole from stores and loved ones just to maintain my drug habit, which I regret very deeply. I had friends that prostituted themselves just to make enough money to get the drug to make themselves feel better. I was watching all my friends around me overdose, and some to the point of death. Their life was taken completely, and it was devastating. These were friends who I cared about deeply that I will never see again because of this horrific addiction. I was destroying myself, and everyone who cared about me was affected. This in turn made their lives harder. I never wanted any of this. All the guilt and shame that I know I carried because of all the things I have done did not help matters any. I was in and out of rehab because from the moment I knew I had become addicted I wanted help. I broke down to my family begging them to help me. They tried, but I had been using drugs for so long that it was so difficult to change. One day, I had enough and just wanted to better my life. I broke down completely and was on the verge of suicide. I asked God to take my pain away and pleaded with Him to save my life. Afterward, something was very different.
I am almost 3 years clean today and my life is beautiful. My family has forgiven me, and I am getting my life back on track. All the years that my addiction had taken from me and the people I have lost will never be able to be recovered. The addiction had taken over everything and I was a stranger to myself and everyone around me.
If I had any education on drugs and what they do before this began, perhaps I would not have made the same choices. If I had let someone know what I was going through and asked for help sooner, I may not have hurt so many people and carried this burden for so long. I have lost so much of my life and so many people I cared deeply for. My family was burdened with all of this because my choices affected myself and caused so many people around me pain.
My hope is that The Mantis Foundation can help save even one life because just one life affects so many people surrounding it.
The foundation is looking to help create more programs for people struggling with addiction. The sooner we get to them the better chance we have to make a difference on the Opioid pandemic and change lives. Please Help.