As a teenager with a history of heroin and meth use, Sarah had to take countless drug tests. Whether she passed was hit or miss, but beforehand, she was always anxious.
Now 20, Sarah recently started a job in internet sales, and to get hired, she had to undergo yet another urinalysis. This time, she was happy to comply.
“It feels so great to know you’re going to pass — not having to count the days it will take for the drugs to get out of your system,” says Sarah, an Ideal Option patient in Montana.
She’s only a few months into her job and loves interacting with customers. “It feels like an adult job, and it’s fun,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this.”
During her years of active addiction, Sarah didn’t take work seriously. She delivered take-out, served fast food, and pumped gas, always snorting or shooting up in the bathroom on breaks.
She’d been drinking alcohol and smoking weed since age 15 — “everyone at school did it” — and started meth her senior year. She never gave her future much thought and considered her drug use a phase.
“I liked how meth made me feel,” she says. “I had more confidence than usual and more energy. I could stay up all night and for days on end.”
She figured she had it all under control.
“I was like: Oh, I’ll just do it on the weekends or at night. I didn’t think it was going to take over my life.”
But soon, drugs were all that mattered to Sarah. Her mom caught on and sent Sarah to live with an aunt and uncle in Oklahoma. Without friends, a car, or access to drugs, Sarah stayed sober for two months and convinced her mom she was ready to come home.
Back in Montana, Sarah got a job at McDonald’s — then got fired a week later for using meth at work with her manager.
“I didn’t have a job and spent my time hanging out with friends,” Sarah recalls. “Everyone was doing meth. I knew I was addicted to it, but I was hoping at one point I’d be able to stop.”
Before long, Sarah moved back down to Oklahoma. By then, she was using daily. She delivered for Door Dash, blowing her paycheck on drugs.
Though she tried to hide her drug use from her aunt and uncle, her erratic behavior gave her away.
“One time I was convinced the house was infested with fleas, even though we didn’t have a dog,” Sarah remembers. “I flea-bombed the house and vacuumed the carpets like crazy, saying, ‘There’s fleas everywhere!’”
She agreed to enter a 30-day inpatient program in Oklahoma, but two weeks after completing treatment, she started shooting heroin with a girl she met in the program.
A few months later, she moved back in with her mom in Montana, but they fought constantly over Sarah’s lying and drug use.
“I told my mom I wasn’t using — that I was gambling away my money or that someone robbed me.”
Sarah tried to quit drug on her own, but the misery of withdrawal would drive her back. “I’d get chills and diarrhea,” she remembers. “You feel like you’re crawling out of your skin.”
Eventually, for the sake of Sarah’s younger brother, Sarah’s mom told her: Get sober or get out.
Sarah agreed to enroll in Ideal Option, and her mom drove her to her first appointment. She started on Suboxone and was stunned at how quickly her cravings vanished.
“Oh my goodness,” she says. “I know for a fact I would not be sober today without Suboxone.”
Today, Sarah lives with a boyfriend she met in outpatient treatment. She’s close with her mom and brother, who are proud of her.
“My brother tells me all the time that he’s glad I’m back the way I used to be,” she says.
Sarah loves not having to worry about maintaining a drug supply or getting caught using.
” I feel like I’m on a really good path,” she says. “I don’t sit here and think about drugs all day long. I don’t even want to get high.”
While she enjoys her job in internet sales, she has her sights set on nursing school.
“I’ve always wanted to be something in my life. I like helping people, and I think nursing is a career I’d really enjoy.”