“I have food in my cupboard and a roof over my head, and I’m happy” — Jim’s Story of Hope

Jim remembers the day he called Ideal Option as “the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life.”

His doctor had cut off his opioid prescription, and for months, Jim had been scoring pills off the street. But one weekend, he struck out and plunged into withdrawal.

“I was nauseous, vomiting, anxious, depressed, aching, feverish — it was indescribable emotional and physical pain. I hadn’t closed my eyes in two days. I was so desperate I would have done anything just for an hour of sleep.”

A connection led Jim to a woman who was illegally selling her strips of Suboxone. Jim knew nothing about the medication and ingested the strips incorrectly. Even so, the relief he felt was dramatic.

“Within 30 minutes, I felt almost normal,” recalls Jim, 56. “I was absolutely amazed.”

Eager for a legitimate prescription, Jim searched online right away and scheduled an appointment with Ideal Option.

“They were so non-judgmental and empathetic,” Jim recalls.

It was this empathy Jim remembered four years later, when he relapsed and returned to Ideal Option, re-starting Suboxone and cementing his commitment to recovery.

“I like to think that after being a knucklehead for so many years, I’ve learned a thing or two.”

Jim was in his thirties the first time he used a substance other than pot or alcohol. He’d started a subcontracting business with two relatives and was working nonstop to get the company up and running. One day, a friend suggested meth. “He told me, ‘If you’re putting in long hours and need energy, this will do the trick.’”

Within a month, Jim had stolen $7,000 from his new company to maintain his meth addiction. He and his wife and kids were living out of their car.

“We sold everything, even our furniture. All we had were the clothes on our back and what belonged to the kids.”

To maintain his supply, Jim began burglarizing houses and robbing drug dealers. Eventually, he got caught and spent 7 years in prison and halfway houses. Upon his release, Jim got himself together, earning an AA degree and training as an HVAC technician.

“I was making the best money I’d ever made in my life and staying out of trouble,” Jim says.

But before long, Jim was plagued with back injuries from his stint as a military paratrooper. That’s when he sought prescription pain medication.

“The doctor did explain that I would become addicted, and it was my choice. He prescribed a low dose, but as the years went on, my tolerance got higher and so did my dose.”

Then, suddenly, his doctor left the practice and his new doctor canceled his prescription.

“Next thing I knew, I was buying on the streets,” Jim says. “I was using a lot more than I should have.”

He was also spending more than he earned, at a time when he and his wife were raising their granddaughter.

“I was throwing money away hand over fist,” Jim says. “The three of us were living in a 600-square-foot apartment. We could have had a decent place to live and better clothes – it was ridiculous.”

Jim couldn’t afford to fully stave off withdrawal and often felt miserable. He’d go days without showering and barely ate or slept. He’d call in sick at work and snap at customers.

“Normally, I don’t get frustrated easily, but when I was hurting, I was totally different. I’d get anxious, and I had a short fuse.”

Even his young granddaughter noticed. “When I was sick and cranky, she wouldn’t have much to do with me. She was kind of scared of me.”

All that changed after Jim hit his low point and called Ideal Option. He was back to normal at work and back in the good graces of his granddaughter. “She couldn’t get enough of me,” he says.

In fact, life was so good that after four solid years in recovery, Jim decided to wean himself from Suboxone.

All was well —  until he and his wife split up. With nowhere to go, Jim began sleeping in his car, and his old back pain flared up.

“I used the pain as an excuse to go find some pills. I was like: I can handle this. I’ve been sleeping in my car for a month, so I deserve to have a day without pain. I did the whole rationalization thing.”

After using three or four times, Jim knew exactly where he was heading. He didn’t want to go there.

“I knew how fast I could lose a good job and my home and every possession I’d worked hard to regain.”

Jim hesitated to call Ideal Option, but only briefly.

“I was embarrassed to tell them I relapsed. I was one of their prized pupils and didn’t want to disappoint them. It was tough for me.”

But Jim’s desire for recovery won out, and he requested an appointment online.

“They made it so easy,” Jim remembers. “Right away someone called and said, ‘What can we do for you?’” The same day, Jim went to the office and re-enrolled.

“Just like before, within 30 minutes of Suboxone, I was back to being Jim.”

Jim has his life back again and says he is done taking chances.

“I can pay my bills and look myself in the mirror. I don’t have a landlord chasing me or someone trying to repo my car. I have food in my cupboard and a roof over my head, and I’m happy. I wouldn’t have any of that if it wasn’t for Suboxone and Ideal Option. I’d probably be in a grave.”

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