LETTER: Those battling drug addiction aren’t ‘hopeless junkies’

Published 1:19 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2018

I am writing to talk about the perception of substance use disorder and the judgment surrounding it.

My name is Amber, and I am a person in long-term recovery from drug addiction. I have done a lot of terrible things in the midst of addiction.

I have been in and out of Clark County Detention Center and have been administered Narcan on three separate occasions.

I lost my husband to an overdose four years ago. We were not bad people we were just sick. I never felt worthy of recovery.

I was covered in guilt and shame with no hope of a future.

After I lost my husband, I spiraled quickly, but one day I decided I wanted to live.

I checked myself into a detox center and had remained sober ever since. I started attending Celebrate Recovery and continue to work a program three years later.

The third annual Rally4Recovery will be held Friday in downtown Winchester and Saturday at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College Winchester-Clark County campus.

If you want to see a change in our community, please attend this weekend-long event.

It is a time of remembrance and celebration. We celebrate because we are the few who have made it out of the hell of addiction. We celebrate because we are walking testimonies and miracles.

We are proof recovery works and it is possible. We are not ashamed. For anyone who wants to see a difference in the drug epidemic events like these is crucial to attend. You will meet the people who are on the front lines.

My grandmother once told me when I made fun of someone that I had no idea what they had went through and that unless I walked a mile in their shoes, I had no right to judge.

Unless you have been through debilitating drug addiction, you can’t imagine the shame and embarrassment someone feels.

Unless you have had a close family member/friend with a substance use disorder and slowly watched them disappear into something you never thought possible, you can’t understand the guilt and emptiness the family feels.

No matter what side you are on it is one of the lowest places to be with virtually zero hope of rehabilitation.

Parents, significant others and children ask themselves why the drugs are prioritized above everything including their well being. Addicts ask themselves why they aren’t strong enough to change.

The truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter if you think it’s a disease or if you believe in Narcan.

Having an opinion isn’t going to fix this epidemic.

Coming together as a community and approaching the problem with many different solutions is the only chance we have.

Ask questions. Educate yourselves. Help someone. End the stigma. End the judgment.

We must realize until we can unite together, we will see no significant change.

Clark County sees anywhere from 10-20 overdoses a week.

A baby born in Kentucky has twice the likelihood of being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Children are being raised by someone other than the parent more times than not.

We have lost too many people. Not just hopeless junkies. Someone’s child, husband, wife, sister, brother, mother, father, friend and members of our community.

Before judging other addicts, we need to come together as a community and do whatever we can to help them.

I was hopeless. I was administered Narcan multiple times. I would have been getting clean needles if the syringe exchange was available then.

But without these things, I wouldn’t be alive to help other fellow addicts. I am here because of the controversial methods being offered to save the lives of addicts.

We have to do whatever we can to make these people stay alive until they want to live for themselves.

Love and forgiveness are two of the hardest things to give but the most vital to all of us.

The drug epidemic has ravaged our community.

What are you doing to change that?

 

Amber Fields Hull

Program Director 

Achieving Recovery Together

Co-Director Rally4Recovery