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Friday, August 17, 2007

I went wherever help was available: Recovery from addiction

Shivakumar’s story

I am a 37 year old recovering drug user. When I was 19, my friend and I had a road accident in which I broke my left hand. I was hospitalized at the same hospital where I was working. The pain was unbearable so the doctor gave me an intramuscular injection. For three hours there was no pain and the drug was giving me some high – which I was enjoying! When the drug wore off, I started feeling pain again, the high was gone, and my addictive personality was calling for me to take one more shot without the doctor’s knowledge. So I raided the hospital storeroom and took another injection.

For three years, I kept taking injections. My physical condition deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t perform my duties. Being around drugs at the hospital on a daily basis didn’t help, I came to realize, so I decided to move on.

Once out of work, I started to mingle with brown sugar users and very soon, I got hooked to it and cannabis. My drug use landed me in a local jail three times. It was there that I became ashamed of myself. I wanted it all to end. So I loaded a barrel full of drugs hoping for a last dying trip.

When I came to, I was in a hospital. After a few days, I was released and I started using again. I injected for six months but, this time, my family came to help me. They took me to TTK Hospital, where I enrolled in a three-month treatment program.

It didn’t take long for me to relapse. Again, the downward spiral which led to my second suicide attempt. After that, I went back to TTK and cleaned up my act, went to self-help group meetings where I got strength and hope and I went wherever help was available. With God’s grace and the precious help I found at TTK, I am recovering from drug dependence, staying away from all drugs for more than ten and a half years now, and still attending the self-help meetings on a daily basis.

Since I beat my addiction, I have been working at TTK’s Outreach Center for six and a half years as the buprenorphine project coordinator. My work and the pharmacotherapy allow people to get jobs, enjoy their family lives and maintain decent social relationships.

Advice: Look for ways to apply what you have learned the hard way to help others, as Shivakumar is doing.

Read a sad story about problem drinking, or read Shivakumar’s source story.

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