According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is one of the most highly addictive drug substances available today with over four million Americans in 2011 reporting the use of heroin at least once in their lives. Around twenty-three percent of the individuals who try heroin become dependent on it, leading to their long-term addiction.
With extremely painful and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, heroin is also one of the most difficult drugs for an individual to recover from. Most individuals admit that they find it far easier to continue to use heroin and risk the dangerous side effects of long-term heroin abuse than confront severe heroin withdrawal symptoms that can often last for several weeks and are agonizingly painful at best. The successful rehabilitation of a heroin addict is nothing short of miraculous in that individual’s eyes.
Successfully Fighting Heroin Addiction
EC was twenty years old when she began to use heroin, and in her words, became a statistic. In her opinion, the most horrible long-term side effect of heroin use is addiction itself. The compulsion to use and abuse heroin was caused by her body’s physical tolerance of and eventual dependence on heroin. Where heroin once was a simple intrusion into her life, eventually more and more of EC’s time and energy was spent in obtaining and using the drug. She began to feel that heroin had actually changed the operation of her mind, where her only thoughts became how to get more money to buy more heroin.
EC has since researched heroin and its effects, and found that some studies report that physical dependence on the drug occurs with higher doses. However, she became dependent on heroin within a month of initial use, without increasing her dosage amount. She continued to build a tolerance for heroin as she continued to use it and eventually found herself spending one hundred dollars a day on the drug. She was haunted by the thought that she would run out of heroin and experience the severe and agonizing withdrawal symptoms, including severe muscle and bone pain, insomnia, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting, goosebumps, sweating and involuntary leg movements. EC also knew that even if she survived the initial heroin withdrawal phase, cravings and relapse could occur weeks or even months after withdrawal symptoms were gone and send her reeling back into addiction.
EC’s heroin addiction not only affected her own life and health, but the lives of her loved ones as well. They watched in anger and confusion as everything EC once was and cared about disappeared under the cloak of an addict who was willing to do anything to stay high. Out of all the promising choices EC had once had in life, none were left as she struggled against the demon that controlled her every thought and action.
EC is at a loss for words to describe the misery and agony she went through every day while she was addicted to heroin. She once read a 1999 medical study that indicated that heroin addicts are thirteen times more likely to die than non-users of the same age, gender, demographic and so on. Having lived on the edge of death and willingly reached for more heroin, EC understands why this would be true.
Luckily for EC and her loved ones, she made it out of heroin addiction with the help of the Narconon rehabilitation program. She was able to survive withdrawals with the help of dedicated, caring staff as well as a vitamin regimen and physical assists. She was able to prevent future cravings and relapses by detoxifying all drug residuals from her body. She also restored her self-confidence, self-respect and self-trust by figuring out why she had turned to drug use in the first place and taking responsibility for her actions. At Narconon, EC learned the valuable life skills that would allow her to move forward into a healthy, happy future, and solve the problems and challenges of life without returning to drug use.
EC is aware of the fact that many other heroin addicts aren’t as lucky as she was. Many wind up in prison, or worse, lose their life. EC herself had lost so much that she didn’t think she would ever be able to overcome her addiction and take back her life. She is happy to admit that she was wrong, and that with the help of the Narconon program she has now celebrated two years of sobriety. She is grateful to the program and the staff that helped restore her to a healthy, happy life.