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Letters From Listeners
Fighting Addiction
Fighting Addiction
08/17/2018

My husband gave me permission to tell this story.

My husband served in the Army and while in Viet Nam he became addicted to heroin. He was a door-gunner on a helicopter. Anyway, the camp's drug dealer was my husband's bunk mate. (I'm sure that's not what you call his barrack - hooch maybe??) Anyway, every time a deal went down the dealer gave everyone in the room a sample. Let's just say my husband got lots of samples on a regular basis.

He was getting close to being discharged and sent back to the States. He happened to read a book called "Needle Park" (heard they made a movie from the book). What struck him was these addicts would do anything (slash their wrists and pour the powder into their veins if they hadn't been able to shoot up when the "needed" it) and they would give up everything (their families, wives, kids) to get high. He said he decided right there to stop. He'd been doing heroine for 8 months. He quit cold turkey. He got very sick for a week. And then it was over! That was the end of his heroine addiction. He's a very strong man - but I wouldn't recommend this method.

There is an interesting twist. As of a few months ago my husband became addicted to Morphine. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer which is wrapped around his spine and aorta (the tumor actually fractured his spine). Oddly, his oncologist believes its Agent Orange related. He was on about 300 mg of morphine a day and at the beginning of January decided he felt the chemo was working (after his 2nd chemo treatment) and wanted to drive again. So you guessed it, he quit cold turkey! Didn't go so well this time! He spent 4 days in the hospital. They had to actually inject him with morphine to stop the throwing up and stabilize him. He couldn't eat for a week either. Anyway, they gave him a formula to reduce his morphine (he's down to 60 from 300) but he now realizes he may need to wait until he finishes his chemo and deals with the fractured spine.

But I wanted to say.... I am really proud of him! I'm proud of his service to our country (he received several medals for flying into combat to rescue fellow soldiers). I'm proud he decided he didn't want to let a substance control him and quit. And proud he is the most positive chemo patient and is just going to do what it takes to get well. He often says, "Why should I feel sorry for myself? I am just one of thousands battling this disease!" And I am confident that after his chemo and fractured spine is resolved.... he'll be morphine free.

Beverly

Tags: Addiction, Drug Addiction, Health, Personal Responsibility, Social Issues
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