David’s journey to recovery
More than 40 million people in the U.S. had a substance use disorder in the past year. David is one of those people.
David is a great father.a loving husband.committed to his job.
But after a back injury, he struggled with continuing to use opioids.
Until he got treatment.
Wondering if it will ever stop
David has always worked hard and taken care of his family. He never smoked or drank as a kid, and has always avoided doctors.
One day at work, he hurts his back so badly he feels like he can’t take a deep breath. His boss sends him home early. The next day, he can’t get out of bed. His wife, Tanya, insists she drive him to urgent care that afternoon. The doctor there prescribes him 3 days of opioids. When the pain doesn’t get better, it’s 3 more, then 3 more. Then David feels like he can’t stop taking them without the pain returning.
He starts being more irritable and isn’t sleeping normally. Tanya starts getting worried because she’s seen so many people in their community get hooked on opioids. She decides it’s time to talk with him.
Where to turn
David agrees with Tanya that he needs to get help, but they don’t know where to begin. They know people who went into a treatment center, but David is worried about taking the time off of work. He decides he needs to go to the doctor again and ask where to go that would still allow him to work. David’s doctor gives him a few options including medication-assisted therapy and counseling, but doesn’t know a treatment center that could accept new patients right now.
Figuring out options
Together, David and Tanya work to find a treatment program. They don’t want to ask their friends or family for help because David feels ashamed. He’s grown up believing that Black men don’t need help, but Tanya convinces him to open up to their pastor. The pastor thanks David for coming to him. He suggests David and Tanya call the SAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-4357). The helpline gives them a list of treatment centers that take David’s insurance. After calling 6 of the doctors on their list, Tanya finally finds one that’s taking new patients and treats opioid use, but not for another 2 months.
Waiting for treatment
With the advice of his pastor, David finds a local support group to meet others who have similar problems and so he knows he’s not alone. David is skeptical but knows that something needs to change right away–not 2 months from now. After a few meetings, he starts to feel like getting off opioids is possible.
While doing yard work, David hurts his knee and he starts taking opioids again. He is angry at himself for relapsing, but starts going back to his support group while he waits for treatment to start.
Covering the cost
David finally starts his treatment program, but the bills start adding up, especially with David struggling to work his normal schedule. Tanya spends a lot of time on the phone with the insurance company and the doctors to make sure David has the right referrals and documentation. Tanya calls the treatment program to find out if they have scholarships or grants. The program reviews his financial situation and says that for two months, it can cover the costs that insurance won't cover.
Getting back to normal
David completes treatment, even though he relapses a few times during the process. He continues to go to his support group and starts seeing a counselor every week. He also starts going to physical therapy to help his back and knee–with less pain, he has less desire to use.
Each day is hard work, but he starts to feel like himself. He recognizes the toll this has taken on Tanya and is working to make sure she takes care of herself too.