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“I knew if I didn’t get help, I was going to die.” — Roy’s Story of Hope

For most of his adult life, Roy managed to juggle drugs, alcohol, employment, and relationships. 

He’d go through phases of substance abuse — drinking, cocaine, sometimes both. He’d wait tables, sell cars, drive a truck, manage a grocery store. When one job didn’t work out, he’d find another. When one girlfriend left, he’d move in with another. 

For the most part, Roy says, “I thought I was fine. I had money in my pocket. I was paying my bills.” 

Then, in his late forties, he was introduced to heroin by a girlfriend. Soon, he was snorting fentanyl. For the first time, Roy recognized he wasn’t fine.   

“By the time I realized what was going on, I was fully addicted,” remembers Roy, now 55 and a Maryland Ideal Option patient with nearly four years in recovery.

He was no longer partying to get high and have fun. He was doing fentanyl to avoid feeling wretchedly ill from withdrawal. 

When his supply would run out, he’d get leg cramps, sweats, diarrhea, dry heaves. “I couldn’t walk. I literally couldn’t move.” 

He got evicted from his apartment, broke up with his girlfriend, and moved in with a niece. He tried to go without fentanyl, but after four days became sicker than ever. 

“I knew If I didn’t get help, I was going to die. There were no other steps for me — it was either rehab or death.” 

Roy made his final fentanyl purchase, then drove off to find a rehab. He doesn’t know what happened next but remembers driving on the highway at night, in the rain, in a wrecked car. A state trooper pulled him over and escorted him off the highway.

 Roy walked 7 miles to the hospital, only to learn that he needed a referral to check into rehab. He kept walking, and snorting fentanyl, until he reached another hospital.

 “When I got there, I snorted my last pill and went to the ER,” Roy recalls. After a 10-day hospital stay, he enrolled in inpatient rehab, then transitioned to a sober house.

 A year into his recovery, Roy drove to pick up some belongings at a house where he’d once lived. He found 6 pills in a DVD player.

 “I ruined a year of sobriety in 3 minutes,” he says.

 Roy called the owner of the sober house and said, “I messed up. I have no excuse. I did what I did.”

 He went back to treatment and moved into another sober house.

 Today, Roy is the manager at that house. His job is to keep tabs on the other seven men who live there.

 “I give the drug tests and make sure they’re going to the group,” Roy says. “I call them out on their b.s. I listen to their stories and tell them my story, and I don’t sugarcoat anything. I believe it’s a matter of life and death.”

 When Roy first moved into the house, he’d planned on staying for six months and then moving on to his own place. “But opportunity knocked, and I took it. I thought, ‘If I can help somebody else, it’s worth it.’”

 Much to his surprise, Roy loves his job. “I don’t make much money, but I have what I need, and I’m happy. I don’t chase the dollar bill anymore. I don’t have any pressure on me.”

 The only part of the job Roy doesn’t enjoy is evicting house members who break the rules. Most of them are willing to go back to treatment, he says, but that’s no guarantee they’ll make it.

 “I know dozens of people who think they’ve got it under control, and a week later they’re dead. I’ve had a lot of people close to me die.”

 Roy is amazed he isn’t among them and doesn’t take anything for granted — not his recovery or his relationship with his youngest daughter.

 Though he is estranged from his two oldest children, his youngest recently called to wish him a happy birthday.

 “She said, ‘I couldn’t stand being around you before.’ Back then, she never would have called me. I feel lucky to have her back in my life.”

Specializing in addiction medicine since 2012, Ideal Option has helped more than 75,000 people just like Roy get started in recovery. Click here to make an appointment at Ideal Option today!

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