After Sheldon sprained his ankle playing basketball, he was prescribed oxycodone, an opiod that led him to heavy drug use and then addiction. Fortunately, for Sheldon, his addiction did not involve heroin, which is often the case.
According to a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Americans between the ages of 12 and 49 who had abused prescription painkillers were 19 times more likely to have initiated heroin use recently than those who hadn’t and a staggering 4 out 5 new heroin users reported abusing pain pills in the past.
Now the good news. Sheldon recently and successfully completed the Inspirations for Youth and Family (IYF) teen drug and alcohol rehab program. Sheldon had a dependency on pretty much everything. Just like many that go through Inspirations, Sheldon was a very good student, but his grades started slipping when he started using drugs.
Here are the excerpts from the interview with Inspirations for Youth and Families Director of Education, Denise Achee.
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Inspirations: “So what brought you here?”
Sheldon: “I had a choice to go to jail or come here. I chose here, which was an excellent choice.”
Inspirations: “So you were a very good student.”
Sheldon: “I was until my grades started slipping. They went from getting perfect scores on state tests, to above average to average to just enough to pass and scraping the bare minimum. Everything just declined.”
Inspirations: “So how was your experience here?”
Sheldon: “It was great. At first it was really hard to like get adjusted and everything but as soon as you started working, and as soon as you started getting into it you don’t actually think about going home all the time. It’s way better, because you started working on yourself. You actually learn how to become better. It is so much more productive than sitting and wallowing in your thoughts.”
Inspirations: Do you feel like you gained some new tools?
Sheldon: “I have a whole tool box. I am ready to just go out there and find a new world. I am totally looking at the world from a different perspective now then I was when I first got here. So I am kind of grateful for that.”
Inspirations: “Do you think this type program is good for anybody?”
Sheldon: “Yeah this program is good for anybody. You just have to come in and accept your rehab and find your way out of it. You have to take your accountability of what you did. You can’t just say oh yeah I messed up but I don’t need to be here. Obviously you did something to put yourself in this position. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
Inspirations: “What was the first drug you used?”
Sheldon: “Oxycodone after breaking my ankle and then it went to weed, mushrooms, acid, cigarettes to all sorts of things.”
Inspirations: “So how do you feel now?”
Sheldon: “I am so ready to go home. At first I was just like I wanted to go home so I can go back to my old ways. But now I want to go back to NA meetings. I want to do this and I want to do that I want to aspire. I want to have all this ambition. It is more like a drive to be a better person. Instead of being boarded up in mom’s basement. I only see possibilities now rather than impossibilities.”
Inspirations: “So it is true when you were using and you went as deep as you went do you feel now that you are sober the fog has lifted off and you are now at a whole new perspective.”
Sheldon: “I hit rock bottom. Once you stop using drugs and get all the toxins out of your system, it’s like your body starts working the way it is supposed to. It is like looking atop a mountaintop seeing over the whole world. This is how life was supposed to be and you were taking four or five detours and ending up back where you were. It is just not how you were supposed to live. So it’s better to have your mind working, you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. Your mind is in the right place. You’re dealing with your problems so it becomes what it needs to be.”
Inspirations: “Did you blame your parents about your substance abuse problem?”
Sheldon: “I blamed everyone but myself. In every way, shape and form I would deny my addiction. I could throw four or five names together and no one would know who they are and blame it on them. I would just deny it, deny it, and deny it.”
Inspirations: “How is your relationship with your parents now?”
Sheldon: “So much better. I feel the trust. I feel the respect. Back when I first started using, I felt isolated and I didn’t feel like I was a part of my family. I thought they were looking at me through steel bars and I was the freak. Now we are going on vacations and doing what we need to be doing as a family and I feel comfortable doing so. Even when I am uncomfortable, being here has taught me to be comfortable about being uncomfortable. So it is kind of weird in the sense that I may not like doing certain things, but there is enough in my heart, there is enough respect in the air for me to just say yeah this may not be what I want to do, but I might gain something out of it. I might just be sitting her for a purpose. You can’t always defeat yourself before things already happen. You have to try.”
Inspirations: Do you think that therapy would be useful for everybody?”
Sheldon: “Yes, literally everybody has problems and having issues is a part of being human. It is good to talk to someone who is trained to uncover those feelings and let you feel what you need to feel.”
Inspirations: How long did it take you to have that fog lifted off you and have a new you emerge?
Sheldon: “It took me about one month. When I first got there everyone said oh yeah it took them only a few weeks before they felt back to normal. But in my opinion, it takes a good month of establishing a routine, structure, having your medicine in place, exercising and getting all your toxins out of your body and once that happens, you will feel your body running right and you will be thinking this is the way your body should be functioning. Your brain just works so much better this way.”