I had an ironic encounter with someone the night before the Seabrook House Foundation’s Charity Golf Tournament that really made me thankful for where I’m at now in my life.
For those who don’t know me that well, I have been sober going on 12 years now and abstinent from gambling for the past 4 years. As I was waiting for my colleague’s flight to arrive, I decided to sit and watch the Giant’s game that was on TV at the hotel bar. Some people may have raised an eyebrow at a recovering alcoholic/gambler sitting in a hotel lobby bar 7 miles from Atlantic City on a Thursday night watching a football game, but fortunately for me, today I can watch a game with my favorite Diet Coke.
After a while watching the game, my legs were bothering me more than normal, and that led me to limp a tad more than I normally do. The waitress noticed, and asked me immediately what I was taking for the pain. When I told her Tylenol she asked me “Why not Oxycontin?“.
Sallie, as I will call her, seemed sincere and innocent with her question. As an addiction professional my mind started to realize the reality of living in a society ignorant about prescription opiates. This young woman spoke of Oxycontin as innocently as a Tylenol. I expressed to Sallie that I felt the danger of dependence with those types of drugs was not worth the risk. She agreed. When I told her I worked for Sunrise Detox Center and was attending a fundraiser to support a local foundation for treatment, her jaw hit the floor.
After a few moments, Sallie re-engaged me in our conversation. She confided in me that she had had an addiction problem at one time with Oxycontin. She had stolen from her boyfriend and father in the past to support her habit and now she was on Suboxone, but felt she couldn’t get off of that either. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m terrified.”
I recognized the look on her face. I knew I was there once before, lost in the panic and confusion of addiction. Sallie told me that her job waiting tables didn’t help her avoid addiction either, as some of her colleagues offered her drugs on a daily basis.
I told Sallie that had many options available to her. I gave her our admissions number – (888)443-3869, and I strongly recommended detox plus 28 days of rehab. I explained it would give her the best chance of success. I also encouraged her to seek support in 12 steps. Especially as a woman who had long term sobriety.
As I left for the airport to pick up my colleague, I realized that I am lucky to have found recovery, and lucky to be working at Sunrise Detox. I have acquired so much of the knowledge I have today about addiction from my work with Sunrise Detox.
I also left the sports bar thinking that maybe someone or something had put me in that ironic situation, so that I could possibly affect Sallie’s life in a positive way, and be reminded of my good fortune and the results of my own recovery efforts.