Who Is Elizabeth Ervin

Welcome to Sober Healing

Thank you for visiting Sober Healing. Our mission is to produce healing content for the mind, body, and soul. Sober Healing is a Lifestyle site that helps me stay sober. I love writing. So it indulges my passion and keeps me busy. In addition, its purpose is to provide helpful and educational content for all aspects of life.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth

I am a mother of two beautiful girls and the wife of my best friend and superhero husband.

I studied Biblical Studies and Early Childhood Education at a Lutheran Liberal Arts College. Notably, I earned one of my greatest honors, a writing award, and a scholarship for my paper on the Transfiguration of Christ. However, I’m much less religious and more spiritual today.

Currently, I am studying for my Drug and Alcohol Certification. Additionally, I’m a freelance writer. I am passionate about helping anyone with whom God creates the opportunity. My joy is spreading the HOPE and GRACE realities in my recovery stories.

I’ve included my personal stories about addiction, rehab, and recovery with the hope of helping others meant to listen. These are true stories about how I began using and my subsequent addiction treatment.

Recovery From Opioid Addiction Is Possible.

Here’s my story. T/W Drug Use, Domestic Violence, and Cult Abuse

I am a D.V. and C.S.A. Survivor. Here is my addiction story.

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My Active Addiction Story

I’ve been living with addiction most of my life, progressing through the stages. I started drinking alcohol when I was 13 and began using drugs when I was 17. My substance use escalated over the years. However, I managed to work full-time jobs and get through most of college. My drug abuse never took over my life until I was prescribed opioids.

In my senior year of my Bachelor’s program, I began abusing prescription narcotics. After several motor vehicle accidents, I had chronic neck and back pain. Despite three years of chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and massage, I felt I was always hurting. However, after I got clean and sober, I realized that the narcotics amplified my constant pain.

Nonetheless, after being prescribed narcotics for five years, I developed an opioid use disorder. The schedule of a single mom trying to do better for her child is daunting. There was never any time for rest between working full-time and attending college full-time.

My baby was growing up in daycare, and I was desperate to create a place where that was no longer our reality.

The temptation to take an extra pill for an energy boost was detrimental to my health. Initially, it felt amazing, but it didn’t take long to spiral. Before I knew it, I was counting pills every day. First, I’d rationalize taking an extra one to finish writing a paper and then another to get through my weekend doubles at work.

Suddenly, running out of 180 pill scripts of narcotics a month was the norm. Can you imagine? Consuming 180 pain pills a month (6 per day) was not enough; I was on the streets searching for more! Unfortunately, this is a common characteristic of an opioid addiction story.

Does anyone relate to this story? Of course, you do; it’s become the prescription drug norm. His response was another pill when I was honest with my doctor about how I felt like I couldn’t function without them. Buying prescription narcotics on the street is an expensive indulgence.

Most certainly one I couldn’t afford. But you’ll give every last dollar when you’ve succumbed to opioid withdrawal.

The Withdrawals of My Addiction Story

First, waking up is brutal. Every joint in my hands hurt from being balled up during the night. Second, my back would spasm and cause me to jerk for what felt like every 30 seconds. Third, the restless legs are a nightmare. I’d stretch and twist and stretch again, and nothing helped. Lastly, the mental anguish of the physical suffering was unbearable.

My mood was as close to demonic as I’ve ever felt. I remember screaming with this internal rage that frightened me, but I was so sick I couldn’t control myself.

I’d torture myself watching marathons of the show Intervention. Sometimes I would cry out to God in despair, asking, “Why God? Please help me. I can’t do this anymore. Please spare me this agony.” It was a terrible position to be in as a mother.

Fortunately, I had a support network that cared for her if I was in withdrawal. But, of course, they had no idea the real reason I needed them to watch my daughter. So, like many addicts, I hid my drug addiction well for a long time. 

NOBODY SUSPECTED THAT FROM ME because I attended a Lutheran college and went to church every Sunday.

Here is Me, High on Opiates

This picture is the only one I have from my active addiction story. It’s one of the only pictures I have of myself in college.

My eyes stayed pinned, and I wore constant-dark bags under them. But, if you’re unfamiliar with pinned pupils being an indicator of opioid abuse, then it’s easy to miss.

During this period of my opioid addiction, I was taking 10-20 pills each day. Can you tell? No one in my life did.

Do I look like I’m about to start using heroin? Well, giddy up, buttercup! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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The Heroin

If I couldn’t find pills, I couldn’t get out of bed, which meant missing school and calling out sick at work. Finally, I became desperate enough to try anything to end the hellacious withdrawals.

Heroin. It used to be that heroin was the one drug I swore I’d never touch, but in desperation, it’s enticing. My daughter’s father introduced me to heroin. I still remember catching him on the bathroom floor with tin foil and a hollowed-out pen. We weren’t together, but I still came unglued.

Until this point, I didn’t know that you could smoke heroin. I always believed it was a needle drug. Somehow this reality made heroin less scary.

He explained that the high was the same as the pain pills I’d been popping and that my withdrawals would be gone instantly. Also, if you’ve not experienced opioid withdrawal, there are no words to articulate the severity of the experience.

But, as someone who did all the drugs and drank all the alcohol, it’s the worst withdrawal I’ve ever endured. The physical torment is relentless, but the mental anguish is oppressive. I’d do anything to keep those opioid withdrawals away.

Ultimately, I gave in to the darkness and tried heroin. Well, it hit me so quickly that I immediately threw up. Then, before I could get angry, I was high. In an instant, all of my pain and suffering disappeared.

My smile was grinning from ear to ear, and I had an unparalleled euphoric experience. My first time was magical, but the euphoria wore off quickly.

My Homeless Heroin Addiction Story

Using heroin derailed my life; I found homelessness and slept in my car for weeks. I’d convinced my father that I was waiting on a Suboxone program to let me in so that he would continue taking care of my daughter.

Although my behavior reflected a lack of concern, I love my daughter and want her safe. Sadly, she wouldn’t have been safe with me in those conditions.

I realize that many mothers judge me for not being strong enough not to do drugs. Or, as I’ve heard it, “I would never do that to my kids. If she loved her kid enough, she would stop using. Or this one, I never would have started using drugs at all. I mean, come on, everyone knows that heroin is bad. I have no sympathy for her. She did it to herself. She deserves everything that’s coming to her.”

If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to read the comments on any news article about an addict. It’s deplorable. If you feel that way, I pray you don’t treat the addicted loved one in your life that way, and believe me; you’ll eventually love an addict.

Nevertheless, it was a tragedy. The farther I fell into my addiction, the more lost I became. I’d completely abandoned my life, daughter, and relationship with the Lord. My moral compass depleted, and I became a criminal to supply my daily habit. I hope you take away from this that you shouldn’t put “never” statements into the universe.

The universe might accept that challenge and has proven to do so in my life many times. And unfortunately, it didn’t take long to commit many sins I swore never to carry out.

The Needle

After three months of smoking heroin and crystal meth, I graduated to shooting. The scuzzball street rat I’d attached myself to introduced me to the needle. I’ll call him Eric.

Eric was a long-time heroin addict who recently had his car repoed and found homelessness. So when we partnered up, I had no idea how to find heroin in the manners he knew. Additionally, he had no place to sleep, so he used me for everything, and I used him.

Eric took me into the bathroom of a dingy motel room. I watched as he prepared his shot and injected it into his arm. Warning me never to use the needle while elaborating how disgusted that would cause him to be with me.

I didn’t know it at the time, but he intentionally drew attention to the ritual so that I would start banging with him.

Eric needed me to be as sick as him because I was his meal ticket. Also, I was smoking it; it was a massive waste in his eyes. So it benefited him for me to start shooting. It sickens me to understand this in retrospect.

I found us a flophouse to stay at, but Eric didn’t want to stay there. So naturally, he continued to shoot dope before me while discussing it to keep my curiosity peaked. Eventually, Eric pushed my first shot of heroin and immediately exploded on me.

His reaction blindsided me. Instantaneously, he began screaming that I was a fucking pathetic junkie.

There were tweakers around, and he announced what I and (he) had done, knowing they despised heroin. It’s not uncommon for people that use clear (meth) to avoid people doing dark (heroin). There is a continuous battle to prove how one group is better than the other regarding the low level they will sink to get their drugs.

The reality is that both groups are lost in their addictions and doing unthinkable things they wouldn’t do if their illness did not consume them.

The Near-Death Experiences in My Addiction Story

My heroin story involves two near-death experiences. Both of which are terrifying.

My First Near Death Experience

The first started as an innocent several-day meth binge that led to the craziest night of my life to date. So crazy that I’m still uncertain how much of it was real. Eric and I were fighting when he suddenly lept out of my vehicle as the light turned green.

My paranoia and fear of being alone caused me to ride around the usual hangouts searching for him. Finally, I swear I saw him leave a motel room and get into a vehicle. So I followed it to the freeway exit before the exit I used to call home.

Earlier that day, I had a “friend” put a rival on speakerphone. My enemy solicited help to hit a lick down (steal) in my hometown, and this girl was looking out for me. So that conversation, paired with Eric being there, was suspect and I was terrified.

My sister still lived in that home, and these people were ruthless. I legitimately feared for her life. I don’t know why I thought I was undetected sneaking around the house he went into, but the drugs convinced me I was good to go.

After hopping from bush to bush and crawling military-style on my elbows around the house, I got into my vehicle and retreated. However, as I was pulling off, a car’s headlights hit me, and the chase was on.

My heart pounded loudly as I reached upwards of 100 MPH. I pulled off the road quickly, positioned my car to face the street, and turned off my vehicle. Three vehicles zoomed by, and I swiftly followed behind.

Panic and horror set in as I watched them head toward my sister’s house and not back in the direction they had come.

Without hesitation, I speedily hit the yellow light not to lose them. I’ll never forget the roaring of the black Honda’s muffler. It was loud enough to hear it on the freeway. When we hit the exit, I couldn’t believe it. They turned left at the light when my sister’s house was to the right.

A small sigh of relief hit me before flying to her house to get her out safely. She wasn’t home. Quickly, I parked my car in an apartment complex nearby and ran towards the house.

After racing into the house, I heard the Honda. So I grabbed the house phone (my cell phone got stolen that day) and darted across the street. I retreated into the shadows of the dentist’s office back entrance.

Not only did all of the cars show up, but there was a moving truck with them! This bitch planned to clear out the house entirely. My heart was feeling as if it would explode from my chest.

At some point, someone spotted me and headed in my direction. Quickly, I slinked around the corner and into the atrium of the front of the building. An extended period passed before I heard voices walk by, but they didn’t come up the stairs.

So was it the people trying to rob me? Was it the cops? I was paranoid and terrified. So I did what any rational person would do and swallowed a piece of meth the size of a quarter. So that I couldn’t be busted if the police found it on me.

Before I knew it, I hid under the wheelchair ramp, getting soaked in the rain. My entire body trembled as flashlights approached me. Then, one person’s footsteps coming up the ramp forced my body to stop its shake. Back and forth, the flashlight taunted me.

After the lights and voices made their way around the building, I darted into the bushes. A voice shouted, “There’s the bitch right there!” The bushes were thick and full.

So I imagined myself thin as a pencil and prayed they didn’t find me. Then, finally, the feeling of sheer panic punched me in the chest when someone wearing a Juggalo paint mask grabbed at me. First, however, I saw the startled fear in my assailant’s eyes.

They recognized me! Immediately, they let go of me, and I ran as fast as I could through yards, hopping fences and never looking back. There is much more to that part of my addiction story (actively writing the book), but the relevant parts you need to understand for the next part are here.

The Moment of Truth

Fast forward a week. The black Honda is on my tail when I get into my car to go anywhere. How is that possible? Even if I was paranoid that night, I wasn’t tweaking anymore. So this part was reality.

Eric and the others that I informed about what happened were not shocked. Additionally, they convinced me further that everything I went through was real. Unsuspectingly, I was set up and found myself in a motel room with a friend and six Mexicans with gang tattoos.

Before they entered the room (the setup), the conversations alluded to I would die.

Desperately, I called my father, attempting to speak to my four-year-old daughter for the last time. She wasn’t there. My heart sank, and I waited for what was next to come.

Tears streamed down my face uncontrollably at the thought of never seeing my little girl again. The leader assured me there was no rush and that he would allow me to call her again. Unfortunately, this did nothing to ease my fears about what I was in for after the phone call. However, to my surprise, the leader was friendly with me during his questioning.

Many inquiries concerned my daughter and how I found myself in this condition. Eventually, he instructed me to give her a call again. So this was it; this was how I was going to die. I’d seen a show called Gangland. It documented this gang, and I was unnerved at the possibilities of how my death would play out. 

Shaken and anxious, I redialed my father. He excitedly reported that my timing was perfect. My daughter and I sang Disney songs over the phone when we weren’t together. So I silently sobbed as we sang “At Last, I See the Light” from the movie Tangled.

Without warning, the leader motioned for me to wrap up my call, and I obeyed promptly. I’ve never been so scared in my life. Then, however, the leader said something in Spanish, which caused the other five members to leave the motel room.

Was he going to kill me right here? I believed it was inevitable. But instead, he told me a story about his mom. She had passed away, and he hurt sharing it with me. Then, he instructed me to return home to my daughter and exited the motel room.

To this day, I honestly believe that had he not witnessed me on the phone with my daughter, I would be dead. That house I’d been sneaking around at was a drug house.

All of the people in the three cars were part of the gang. They had all seen me rolling around in the yard. So he didn’t know who I was, only that I trespassed on his property. But, praise the Lord; he let me live.

My Second Near-Death Experience

Eric was a complete monster. Every chance he got, he belittled and verbally abused me. Finally, however, the dope-sick demons made him violent.

One day, we were dope sick, and I suggested we go back to my old house so we could lay down. My sister should be at work, and I still had a key. Once there, Eric began taunting me with obscene insults. His favorite was “pathetic fucking junkie.” The irony of it coming from him.

In severe withdrawal, my stomach was upset, and I went into the bathroom. Honestly, I don’t recall what I said to upset Eric, but I remember the aftermath. Suddenly, a violent pounding and screaming came from the other side of the bathroom door.

Eric was raging with the dope-sick demon, and I was in for a beating. Eric had not been physical before. So I was shocked when he busted through the bathroom door, ripped me off the toilet, and threw me to the floor.

Then, before I could pull my pants up, he grabbed me by my hair and slammed my head into the tub. Another bashing followed the immediate ringing in my head after hitting the ceramic tub.

Somehow I managed to kick away from him and pull myself into the family room. The window was open, and I screamed for help. Unfortunately, the entire weight of Eric’s body was quickly on top of mine. My neighbor’s lawnmower muffled any chance of being heard, but I continued to scream for help.

My entire body flailed about, pushing and clawing at him to get off me. Then, finally, I was able to get away. So I ran towards my bedroom, but he was quick on my heels. Suddenly, I was falling forward from Eric, pushing me down two stairs onto my face. Frantically, I flipped over, but it was too late; he was bearing down on top of me.

Eric put his hands over my nose and mouth; I couldn’t breathe! Desperately, I tried to pull his hands from my face. I was terrified as things were getting darker.

My feet kicked until they made contact with a rack full of DVDs that came barreling down on us. The commotion caused Eric to lift off of me and look behind him. I screamed, “I have a daughter, and you’ve met her!” Eric had three daughters of his own. It was like a light switch flipped, and Eric got off me.

I’ve never felt closer to death as I did that day. Eric would have killed me had that noise not distracted him. The weight of his body was heavy on my chest. Accompanied by him blocking my airways, I was very close to unconsciousness. So that’s twice God spared me.

The Rock Bottom to My Addiction Story

If you keep waiting to hit rock bottom, rock bottom will never come. Every day is rock bottom. So make the decision sooner than later. Finally, my day came when I’d had enough of using drugs. So I initiated the first step and asked my parents to send me to rehab.

Scientology in My Addiction Story

It’s impossible to capture the magnitude of this unbelievable true story. So here comes the synopsis.

First, I begged my parents to find a reputable treatment facility. I’d done 28 days in a state treatment facility, which was a disgrace, but I’ll save that story for a different day.

My father was initially reluctant due to the cost ($40,000). However, he was on board after his wife said my funeral would cost half of that.

First, however, my parents explained that it was a prestigious facility with limited space. So there was an interview process to see if I qualified. I remember saying, “Dad, it’s rehab. If the check clears, they’ll accept me.”

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The Interview With the Reg

When my reg called to interview me, I was in the process of tying off to shoot up. So I put him on speakerphone and what followed was a barrage of despicable lies.

Before interviewing me, the reg shared his drug addiction story with me so that I would trust him more.

First, the reg told me I would have a single room with a television and mini-fridge stocked with sodas. Second, he elaborated that there was a heated pool and hot tub, but best of all, there was a massage therapist on staff. So you could get a massage daily.

Third, my reg promised me one-on-one counseling, elaborating that I would work with my counselor through trauma during the entire 90+ day process.

Lastly, the location was essential to me. The ocean is my haven, and I wanted to go to the California treatment facility. My reg assured me that I would have beach access daily. He even embellished that I could choose to have my counseling sessions barefoot in the sand. It sounded like a Sandals resort, and I admit, I was excited. However, none of what the reg said was true.

Before accepting my admission to Narconon, I insisted on medical detox. I’d tried detoxing myself several times and was terrified of being that sick again. The reg assured me that wouldn’t be an issue. So I agreed to get on the plane.

The Medical Detox

The medical detox was impressive. It took place in a massive mansion in Murrieta. I’ve never seen anything as exquisite as the inside of this home. Also, I was the only patient there. So I had it all to myself. Later, Narconon staff informed me that I was not a patient but a student.

Upon arriving at the mansion, I met my withdrawal specialist (WS). She was the person who would be with me through my entire medical detoxing process. However, I didn’t know at the time that she was not a medical professional.

A couple of months before I showed up, she was a student in the Narconon program. She had stayed as an intern and was now helping students through their withdrawals.

Honestly, I was too sick to realize how alarming that is—considering that opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol withdrawals can kill you.

Shouldn’t medical detox include medical staff? The doctor they took me to was a Scientology doctor, but I didn’t know it. We went in through the back door of the building. The doctor took my blood and prescribed me Subutex and Valium.

I was dead to the world for the first two days of my medical detox. The valium knocked me out so heavily that I couldn’t open my eyes. Then, finally, my WS came to check on me at 4:00 P.M. because I had been asleep since 7:00 P.M. the night before!

I was there less than a week before they sent me to the drug-free withdrawal program. So this part of the program is where most students start their withdrawals. I was still heavily sedated from the valium. So much so that I had refused my last doses. That’s saying something from a drug addict.

My WS eventually shared her addiction story and how she came to be on staff at Narconon. However, she refused to answer any questions about the center.

She admitted that she wasn’t allowed to answer those questions, elaborating that I’d understand soon. So that was unnerving from the beginning, and no one will answer your questions. Again, constantly redirecting to the present time.

The Drug-Free Withdrawal

Narconon stands for no narcotics. So that means zero substance use. They prohibit drugs of any kind, including antidepressants and antipsychotic medications. Additionally, Narconon informed me that I no longer needed blood pressure medicine because the “Sauna program” would cure me of that ailment.

Scientology denounces Psychology; therefore, medications for bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, or stress disorder are unnecessary.

The medical detox is not their preferred method, costing an additional $4,000. Knowing that most of these people come in due to opioid use disorders and alcohol abuse and that both alcohol and opioid withdrawals can cause death; it’s a frightening reality.

Despite being nearly incapacitated by the valium, my first duty at the new withdrawal house was a packet of paperwork. Fortunately, I wasn’t the one filling it out. Instead, I remember lying over the table, exhausted and begging to sleep.

I didn’t understand what had changed between medical detox and this house? I’m a drug addict going through the worst feelings to date in my life. So why couldn’t I sleep?

I don’t remember everything about the student intake paperwork. But, I do believe there was a tape recorder in the room. The WS questioning me asked if I was a reporter there to do an undercover story. This question grabbed my attention. What a strange question? I commented on it, and the WS laughed with me about how silly a question it seemed.

The Center

When I arrived in Warner Springs, whispers circulated about Narconon masquerading as a front group for the Church of Scientology. But nobody knows what that means. Does anyone in a cult realize the implications?

We were all commanded to keep quiet. I’ve never experienced a group so adamant in denying who they are. Why would a Church deny who it is and what they’re teaching?

Mental health medications weren’t considered necessary, which isn’t very comforting. For example, one student threatened to stab another student with a wire coat hanger after not receiving his mental health meds. He had crawled up into the top of the closet, waving the hanger and threatening people.

One person speculated he had bipolar disorder, and another suggested they had seen this with posttraumatic stress. However, no one there is qualified to make a diagnosis, and they shouldn’t be able to deny medications. That kid left that night, and we didn’t see him again.

The entire staff at Narconon are recovering drug addicts who went through the program, interned, and then got stuck there without realizing what they’ve signed up to do. There were lots of young people and a few older students. However, most of the people in charge of me were younger.

There are no licensed substance abuse professionals on staff. All training to obtain titles such as Withdrawal Specialist is completed from books by L. Ron Hubbard.

Narconon ran out of basic supplies weekly despite a forty-thousand dollar price tag. Additionally, we had to purchase our laundry soap when they ran out, and that was weekly.

Furthermore, if you want to wash your hands, you’re responsible for hand soap in your room. The hot tub was disabled, and the unheated pool was filthy. No one went swimming, and it is California.

The Sauna

The sauna or the new life detoxification program is dangerous. Narconon’s sauna program includes taking up to 5000mg of Niacin before running for 20 minutes.

Then, it’s followed by sweating in a hot box for five hours. According to the National Institutes of Health, doses of Niacin over 500mg can cause diarrhea, easy bruising, and may increase bleeding from wounds. Furthermore, 3,000 mg/day (or more) can cause nausea, vomiting, and liver damage.

In addition, students wash a handful of birdseed down with a cup of oil with a loogie-like consistency and the daily vitamin and cal-mag requirements. Finally, an intern monitors student reactions to the niacin.

Niacin Reactions Include:

  • Extreme Flushing
  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Tingling

Narconon alleges that the niacin and sauna combo flushes out all the drugs you’ve ever done in your life and their residuals. Including essential medications like ibuprofen.

They claim that tiny shards of drugs can (and have) penetrated and pulled from beneath your skin. Fortunately, my body didn’t react to the niacin, and I never exceeded a 2500mg dose and was out in 22 days. However, many of my comrades weren’t as fortunate. One friend hung in there for a solid 45 days.

The Cult of Destruction

Every addict seeking treatment becomes a practicing Scientologist at Narconon’s Scientology rehab, but they don’t know it. The Narconon staff informs people that drug abuse is the condition we’ve put ourselves into voluntarily.

Additionally, Narconon denounces the 12-step model of recovery. Instead, drug addiction is taught as a choice and not a disease. Reiterated, it’s your condition that you’ve put yourself in.

There is no addiction treatment going on at Narconon. The entire program is eight books based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. The founder of Scientology.

However, Narconon staff insists the weird exercises we were performing were not related to Scientology. Instead, they emphasized that L. Ron Hubbard was a humanitarian and did many great things before losing his mind to Scientology.

Also, this was before Leah Remini came out with her big Scientology expose and show. So nobody knew what Scientology was or what Scientologists did.

We understood this wasn’t a drug rehab, and we weren’t receiving any addiction treatment or amenities promised by the reg.

The worst part about Narconon is that nobody receives addiction recovery, and they continue to get away with it. As a result, many friends went home, overdosed, and died.

I’ve included this in my addiction story to warn people about this fraudulent and dangerous scam. So please research the rehab before sending your loved ones to a Scientology camp. Narconon is only one of the Church of Scientology front groups masquerading as drug addiction treatment centers.

Here I Am, 7-Months Clean and Sober.

I IMMEDIATELY PRAYED when I realized that Narconon was a Scientology front group. It was me reconnecting with God after the hell I’d survived.

I prayed, “Lord, please protect me from any evil or oppressive spiritual forces here. Keep me shielded from absorbing anything that isn’t of you, Lord. Please only let me take what I should from this place and guard me against the rest.”

So I genuinely believe and know that God did precisely that in my heart. I took some good things from being there, such as doing the overts and withdrawals part of the program. It essentially was a confession of sins and a huge weight lifted from me.

However, I would never recommend sending your loved one into the hands of this disingenuous cult.

Surviving a Cult Recruitment During My Addiction Story

So, I survived a cult recruiting. I stayed and interned, coming close to staying on as staff. The entire time being encouraged despite it keeping me away from my daughter.

However, God intervened and got me out of there quickly afterward. I didn’t need the internship program; I needed the extra three months of clean time.

Once that time passed, scientifically, my brain was healthier and capable of making better decisions than when I was dope sick and feeling like death. My most significant success factor in coming home was that I hadn’t been homeless in my hometown.

So I wasn’t coming back to my old stomping grounds. There weren’t triggers in every parking lot or secret squirrel spot where I used to get high. That would be more difficult, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Take longer than 30-days for your rehabilitation plan. Stay away as long as possible to get healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Your addiction story deserves to graduate into a recovery story. Be sure to give yourself adequate time away from old stomping grounds. Or leave them behind altogether, preferably.

I was at Narconon for seven months despite not receiving any drug rehabilitation, allowing my brain chemistry to begin healing. I was thinking clearly without the drug abuse and devastating withdrawals.

So it wasn’t difficult for me to choose not to use heroin again, but that’s not everyone’s story. Fortunately, my desire to never abandon my daughter again outweighed my desire to relapse.

That’s not to put down anyone or put me above anyone. God saved me by grace alone. I know and believe it. It’s my story, and I understand that it’s not everyone’s. We all recover differently, and it’s essential to acknowledge and respect that.

I’ve since learned that the facilities I had my experience at are no longer operating there but are still everywhere. They’re all over the United States, but they’re also worldwide. Let me reiterate; they have several names for their Scientology front groups. They offer no health services. Every step of the program is Scientology programming. 

Please do exhaustive research before going or sending anyone to a random addiction treatment center. Too many people have passed away from going home and immediately overdosing.

My Recovery Story

After leaving Narconon, I abstained from all substances for over two years.

However, I never left my house. I worked from home and had no social life. So I accredit that success to that reality.

After having panic attacks resurface, I began smoking cannabis as an alternative to prescription benzodiazepines. Or other pill-form medications. Heroin was never my drug of choice.

Despite initially believing so, heroin was the demon that grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let go. Heroin was the devil in my addiction story, but it was always the prescription narcotics I loved.

So it took me several years to feel comfortable taking pills, including Tylenol and ibuprofen.

I’m a massive advocate of mental health care and have experienced tremendous benefits in therapy. My anxiety was present the first time I went, but it became apparent that my therapist believed in helping others.

I’ve been in recovery for nearly nine years now, and part of that is addressing trauma and working through old wounds.

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Hiking with a Best Friend

Cali Sober Lifestyle

Many people in the recovery realm acknowledge California (Cali) Sober as an effective medicinal treatment of opioid use disorder and alcoholism. However, most medical professionals dismiss cannabis use as a sober or effective recovery for these substance abuse disorders.

Additionally, people in 12-step recovery programs don’t acknowledge cannabis as sobriety. My personal experience with Cali sober living is an excellent alternative to using opioids. However, it wouldn’t be ethical of me not to acknowledge the reality of marijuana addiction.

Marijuana, like any pain management, can be abused. I have a marijuana addiction story. I’ve used weed as an unhealthy coping mechanism. When my parent’s died a year apart, I began smoking round the clock. It was no longer about medication. It was an escape.

I ate edibles and RSO – smoked dipped joints, dabbed, and smoked every hour of my day. In addition, I vaped on my weed pen all day. At that time, my habit costs more than my rent.

You’re lying to yourself if you believe this behavior isn’t addiction.

I’m not suggesting that cannabis is even the same caliber as opioids. It’s not. So smoke weed before using opioids. But if you’re using marijuana products all day long, that is called addiction.

Also, my marijuana addiction story didn’t derail my life. I functioned at work and home. Weed never caused me to feel so desperate that I would lie, cheat, and steal to support my habit.

Marijuana and heroin are not the same things; I get that. However, in my recovery story, I’ve experienced a period of marijuana addiction.

So I wouldn’t get too comfortable there. You know if it’s medicinal for you or if you’re abusing it. The answer could be both. But, the reality is that it’s not opioids.

Marijuana is widely accepted and legal in many states, and people refuse to acknowledge it as a medicine that can be abused. Despite the reality that other pain medications are also abused. Instead, they make excuses for you and cosign on it not being a big deal.

So while it’s true that marijuana is nothing compared to opioid abuse, it doesn’t negate the fact that addicts can get lost in the 420 culture.

I live a Cali sober lifestyle off and on. Mostly, off. Sometimes I smoke, and sometimes I don’t. I’m not smoking it all day or every day, but it has medicinal value for anxiety, chronic pain, and headaches. Taking benzodiazepines for anxiety would likely unravel my sobriety and lead me back to heroin, and I don’t miss using drugs. I’m grateful to be where I’m at today.

Marijuana doesn’t influence me in the same manner. Instead, it’s a helpful substitute for panic attacks (provided it’s the right strain). In addition, it alleviates headaches instantly, which is a chronic condition for me. But I am aware of my limitations and know that I have crossed them before. I’m also honest with my doctors about my opioid use disorder and marijuana use if I’m actively smoking.

I don’t encourage people to start smoking weed unless it’s for medicinal purposes. However, from the perspective of treatment for opioid use disorder, I understand and support you. I’ve been you. You’re doing great. Stay away from opioids. Please.

My Addiction Recovery Community

Are you looking for a recovery community that recognizes medication-assisted treatments such as Suboxone and Marijuana as active recovery? Then, please join us in the Sober Healing Group and share your recovery story.

It’s a judgment-free safe space for people like you and me. We don’t argue about the definition of sober. Instead, we acknowledge your commitment to recovery, you fucking badass!

Thank you for getting to know me through the vulnerability of sharing my addiction story and subsequent cult rehab story. My personal stories are tragic, and it’s embarrassing to share some intimate details publicly, but I believe in the power of true stories. I hope that my drug addiction and recovery stories have an impact. I have a heart for helping others. I pray God uses me in this way.

I’m grateful to make new friends in recovery.

If my recovery community isn’t for you, that’s ok, but please find a recovery group representing your sober journey. You can’t do this alone. Everyone needs a robust support system.

Featured Articles by Elizabeth

I’m looking to share true stories about drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and addiction recovery. Do you have an addiction story? I’m happy to read any personal stories of addiction and recovery and eager to read stories of addiction from women. These personal stories of triumph help others in recovery by providing hope.

If you have an addiction story or recovery stories that inspire and give hope, email me at elizabeth@soberhealing.com. Your substance abuse story might be the first step for someone else to take action.

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