“Before, I was just surviving. Now I’m living” — Adrian’s Story of Hope

Five years ago, Adrian and his wife were so broke they couldn’t afford cell phones, a computer, or internet service. To pay for the pain pills they were addicted to, Adrian donated plasma and sold items here and there.

For all that, the pain pills didn’t even relieve the pain that plagued Adrian after two serious accidents.

“At 41, I felt like an 80-year-old man,” recalls Adrian, now 46 and an Ideal Option patient. “I was hobbling around, shuffling from one place to another. I was constantly tired, and my head felt foggy. My back and legs hurt all the time.”

Driving around town, Adrian would see homeless people and think, That’s how I’m going to end up, I’m not going to have a damn thing to my name. There’s got to be something better than this. This is not who I am.”

Adrian’s life veered off track in his early thirties, when he joined the army and injured his collar bone during basic training. He was prescribed hydrocodone pills and before long, realized he was addicted.

But the pain never stopped and, unable to perform his duties, Adrian was discharged from the army.

“The addiction problem followed me after I got out,” he says.

Adrian landed a job at a security company but was badly injured when the company truck he was driving slid over railroad tracks, then flew off the road before slamming into the ground. Adrian was tossed every which way, sustaining multiple fractures and gashes.

At the hospital, Adrian was given morphine. “That’s when my drug use really got bad,” he recalls. “I felt this rush, this numbering sensation. Everything felt really good.”

But the feeling never lasted.

Laid up in the hospital, Adrian watched the clock like a hawk, counting the minutes until his next dose of morphine. He was released with a prescription for pain pills but found that he needed more.

His wife at the time also was addicted to pills, and, using family money, she kept Adrian supplied, more or less. But whenever he’d run low, he’d feel miserably sick, alternating between cold and sweaty.

Determined to get his life together, Adrian left his wife and moved in with his mom. He tried college but dropped out, burdened by student loans. For a while he unloaded trucks at Wal-Mart, but his injuries got in the way.

Then he moved in with his dad, who told him, “You’re a mess, man.”

Things turned around when Adrian met his current wife. Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, she was dependent on pain pills, too. But, like Adrian, she wanted a better life.

“We said, ‘This is not working. We’re wasting more money. We could have cellphones and internet.’ Instead, we had old-school TV, where all you could watch were daytime soap operas.”

On the advice of a cousin, Adrian’s wife enrolled in Ideal Option and started on Suboxone. She felt so good that Adrian decided to enroll, too.

As soon as he began taking Suboxone, he lost interest in pills. “I didn’t need that stuff. And I don’t need it now. I never even crave it. Suboxone is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Today, Adrian no longer shuffles around like an old man, and has his energy back.

He takes his 6-year-old son to the park after school, to feed the ducks and play on the equipment. At night, they read nursery rhymes.

“If I was on pills, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him,” Adrian says. “I’ve got my head out of the clouds and back into reality. I like reality. Before, I was just surviving. Now I’m living.”

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