I owe it to Oprah

I never knew an addict. At least, not one who admitted it to me.

The only time I ever heard about addiction was in a testimony: what someone was like before they became a Christian.

I didn’t think it was possible for a Christian to have an addiction problem.

And I didn’t know the signs.

What I did know, back in 2003, was that we had serious financial trouble. And we fought a lot. And Dave would go out to get something and be gone a long time. And he was failing in seminary. And he’d have a migraine a few days out of every week. And he had insomnia.

I accused him of everything under the sun. From irresponsibility to having an affair.

I was completely blind.

At some point late in 2003, while the kids were napping, I turned on the tv to watch Oprah.

I was only half paying attention. Folding laundry. Enjoying the quiet house. And then . . . stunned.  As a man talked about his wife, everything — I mean everything he said could have been said about Dave.

And then . . . the revelation: the real problem — she was addicted to a prescription medication . . . I don’t even recall what it was.

But I ran to the computer to look up the side effects of tramadol and could not believe what I was reading. This drug, which was not regulated or classified as a narcotic, and which had been touted to be non-habit forming, had a very, very serious side-effect: Addiction. As powerful as heroin.

Oprah changed everything. And though I’ve hardly watched an episode since, I’ve been tempted many, many times, to write and tell her what she did for me. It would have been a good year to do that . . .

So, thanks Oprah. I needed you.



5 thoughts on “I owe it to Oprah”

  • I don’t know you, but I am an old friend of your sister, Tam’s.
    I also was a pastor’s wife for nearly 10 year’s. I was a full time stay at home mom/wife, and for much of that, what most would consider the epitome of motherhood/wife/pastor’s wife. That was, until I started getting sick in 2005 and dealing with severe chronic pain.
    I had a diagnosis of so many things from fibromyalgia, to lupus. I had a doctor prescribing initially hydrocodone (which helped the pain, prior I never had any struggle with drugs or alcohol, in fact, never touched any of it because both of my parents’ struggle throughout my childhood, I never smoked a single cigarette in my life!). Well, as time went on, the hydrocodone went to Percocet, and then on to MS contin, and then BAM! The Almighty Oxyctontin. At least for me, it was.
    It became my idol. My God. I was so addicted and began to abuse it horribly around 2008. I barely remember 6 months of my life. I lived in bed, drugged up and lit up. A shell of the social/people person I once was. I stopped bathing, even brusing my teeth. ALL i cared about was swallowing, or crushing, even snorting those pills.
    Eventually, I lost everything. EVERYTHING. My husband left me, took my three wonderful children. I got a DUI for driving under the influeince of prescribed substances.
    God shook me to the coare after all this and on December 30,2008, I flew from Washington state to Boca, Florida for a 30 day in patient detox program and then afterwards to Huntsville, Alabama for a 5 week out patient.
    Lots still happened throughout this time. My husband continued with the divorce despite my efforts. It was too late. My mother commited suicide in the same time period. I broke my arm and had surgery= they installed a metal plate and pins in my arm. Which meant, back on a form of narcotics for a time. Mix that with my mother’s death and I slipped again.
    Back up, starting over… so many “do over’s.” Once you’ve opened your brain up to addiction, it’s a chronic struggle when you get even a headache.
    I would give ANYTHING to go back in time and just have learned to live with the pain. It was more manageable than the loss of everything I loved and knew but God has allowed me to walk this path, and has stood beside me through every despicable thing I fell into and loved me anyhow.
    And even though some days I am crawling in this race, I am still in it. HE can do this, especially with the support of a spouse like you. I don’t have that… unfortunately, that just isn’t what I received. Mine left. But I have a faithful God that never will.
    Press on and praise God for your transparency. People need to know about this and hear the hope in the midst of the struggle!

    • Sasha,
      Thank you for sharing your story so openly. It’s so hard for many, many people to understand how addiction happens to people who never sought a vice. They don’t realize how some bodies respond differently than others to synthetic drugs until it’s too late and addiction has a deathgrip on their loved one. Stories like yours are the whole reason I have “come out” about our story. I don’t want to see another marriage and family destroyed by painkillers. I hope that you will come back often and share about your journey. If I know my friends who are reading this — especially the ones who’ve been there — I know they’ll pray specifically for you.

  • I owe more to Oprah than I care to admit as well. Thanks for your honesty in sharing your story. I’m really proud of you guys and look forward to what God can do in all of our lives as you share your truth so unflinchingly.

    • Tam, you inspire me & challenge me. And I’m linking your blog here so people can read your cancer survival story. What a woman!
      And, yes. Whatever anyone says about Oprah, she sure got us talking about things that we never would have otherwise.

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