Beating Opioid Addiction | Joy’s Story

>> The first time I tried heroin, not only did I like it, I loved it It just gave me a sense of peace that I didn't have to worry about stuff anymore

I just wanted to be free of worrying about stuff all the time You know, I was a correctional officer at the Maryland Pent and that's where my disease started It's a stressful place and a lot of the correctional officers there used I wasn't even thinking at all I had to use because I gotta to go work and I realized that I was sick

My mother was an open person so she told the family, you know, "Joy is sick, so we have to support her" Now I realize the stress I put them under, for them to see me that way But, when you're caught up in the disease, you can't see nothing but your pain I didn't want anybody to look down on me I didn't want to disgrace my family so I just faked it

I figured as long as I looked good, and I went to work everyday, and I wasn't, or so I thought, I wasn't hurting anybody That's what I thought The people I admire the most and still do today is my mother and my grandmother You know, my grandmother was the wisest person I ever met My mother was the strongest person I ever met

I was raised with my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother I got to run from person to person, getting love and everybody telling me I'm wonderful We lived around a lot of woods and unexplored areas I loved running in the woods and finding new things to do I had a German Shepherd, she used to come in the woods with me, I felt safe because she wasn't gonna let anything happen to me

I was lost in the disease of active addiction for 30 years I saw me, it broke my heart, I saw me and it was the most traumatic thing that I've ever seen in my life and I cried out to God, please So my cry led me to a phone call and my life just started changing drastically >> We work really hard to take away aspects of addiction that prevent proper treatments so we work really hard to take away shame We often fail to realize how much social circumstance impacts how people take care of themselves or how they address their health care

So it's putting together a team of people who have insight into the fact that when we take care of patients, we have to address all aspects and especially, their social setting >> Now I'm a peer recovery coach at Hopkins Bayview So I see people sick just like I remember, when sometimes, most of the time, their pain fills the room I talk to them, I inspire them, you know and try to encourage and let them know where I come from, let them know it's possible And the young people, I try to let them know that, you don't have to waste 30 years

You can do it now >> A peer recovery coach can see someone in the emergency room and then if that person gets admitted to the hospital, the same peer recovery coach goes up to see them wherever they are and this fear, anxiety of being in the hospital and all of a sudden, there's a familiar face of someone who I met in the emergency room, of someone who knows about my addiction and is non-judgemental and understanding >> I say I'm free all the time from the disease of addiction because I'm free to choose I didn't have a choice when I was using And I'm free to make my dreams come true

See, I'm truly free today I'm free to love because now, I'm learning how to do it 'cause I didn't know how to before So, I mean The sky is the limit, the sky and beyond (inspirational music)

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