“I feel joy in my heart that I haven’t felt in a long time” — Michelle’s Story of Hope

Into her early thirties, Michelle had no history of addiction to alcohol or drugs. She’d even smoked cigarettes for a month and had no problem quitting.

But after her husband started using Percoset — “supposedly for pain,” she says — Michelle started dabbling in pills, too. “I tried it and thought, I have a bit more energy, and I feel confident.”

When volunteering at her daughter’s preschool, Michelle says, the pills made her feel “bubbly.”

Her husband’s opioid use escalated, and when he began buying pills off the street to supplement his prescription, Michelle would share his supply. Gradually, she noticed her tolerance building, her finances draining, and her anxiety increasing.

“Anxiety makes you hide from life,” she says.

She no longer had the energy or mental focus to play with her daughter. “If she wanted to paint, I’d say, ‘Not right now, baby.’”

Along with taking pills, Michelle began drinking more and dabbling in other drugs. She was often hungover, telling her daughter, “Oh, Mommy’s sick again.” Michelle and her husband fought constantly, especially over unpaid bills.

Her husband wasn’t working, and Michelle drove for Instacart, spending all her earnings on “pills and bills.”

Her husband began buying pills that he thought were morphine but turned out to be fentanyl. Soon, Michelle was dependent on fentanyl, too.

“I needed more and more,” she recalls. “I knew it was wrong, and it was destroying my body. I’d wake up and feel sore, and my body would feel swollen. I couldn’t control my brain.”

She kept telling herself, “Eventually, I’ll stop these.” But she couldn’t.

Unable to pay rent, Michelle and her husband got evicted from their home and moved in with relatives in another state. They quickly ran out of pills, and her husband, deeper into addiction than Michelle, endured severe withdrawal.

“He was shaking, sweating, screaming in bed — it was dire,” Michelle says. Michelle found Ideal Option online and booked an appointment for her husband. He began taking Suboxone and appeared to stabilize. Michelle, who was not enrolled, took a small portion of his Suboxone.

“I didn’t think I was bad enough to need my own Ideal Option appointment,” she says.

Soon, Michelle discovered her husband had stopped taking Suboxone and had gone back to fentanyl. “I’d find tinfoil in the car — I didn’t even know smoking fentanyl was a thing,” she says.

One day, her husband grabbed his backpack and left the house. He took his Suboxone with him, apparently intending to sell it on the street.

“It was a blessing that he left,” Michelle says. “But then I started going through withdrawal, too. I didn’t sleep for three days and had the worst restless leg syndrome and anxiety.”

That’s when Michelle made an Ideal Option appointment for herself. Since then, her life has done a 180. She has a kind boyfriend, a fulfilling job in sales, and peace of mind.

“It’s freeing. I feel joy in my heart that I haven’t felt in a long time,” Michelle says. “I’m not dulled by drugs. I feel the sun shining on my face.”

Best of all, Michelle finds joy in spending time with her daughter.

“We go to the arcade. We go to the park and play. We go out for ice cream, and study her words for school. She feeds off me. I can see that she’s not anxious. When Mommy’s happier, she’s happier.”

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