Addiction & Recovery

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.