Healing of drug addiction of many years' duration
A. M. (42), Wels (Austria)
"Don't you want to have a smoke, too?" It was an invitation with disastrous consequences for my entire later life. I had just turned 17, was very shy and had no self confidence at all when my friend - later my husband - and I were invited by an acquaintance to have a joint (hashish cigarette). This kind invitation from so-called "friends" was followed by more of the same, which we happily accepted. The trap was set, und we walked right into it like so many before and after us. Just a short time later we began to buy hashish ourselves, which we used only on weekends in the beginning.
The addiction insidiously takes over
After about two or three months we were already smoking every evening, and after around six months also during the day. Even when I went to work I never left the house "sober". It wasn't so easy to know how many grams I was using daily because I seldom smoked alone. I assume it was about three grams, probably more. The consumption of hashish became a permanent part of our lives. I was able to conceal the outer signs of drug consumption quite well by using eye drops to reduce the redness.
The range of drugs expands
The spectrum of stupefying substances is gigantic, and I tried out all the possibilities. I was soon taking whatever I could get my hands on. There were LSD trips, speed, cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, pills (Lexotanil, Rohypnol, etc.), alcohol - sometimes I would take a few pills and at the same time drink tequila and beer until I didn't feel anything any more - and naturally heroin!
When I think back, I wasn't sober a single day. It all happened so insidiously - after all, all of our friends were people who also took drugs. Back then I thought I still had it under control, but that was in no way the case. When I was 29, my husband died in an auto accident.
I lost my inner stability
From then on things really went downhill. I lost my grip on life and was not capable of holding a regular job. To deaden the emotional pain and to forget, I began to shoot heroin as soon as I got up on the morning. The six years that followed were the worst of my life. I used from one to two grams of heroin daily, depending on the quality, and accepted whatever was available at the moment
Without heroin I wasn't able to do anything at all, couldn't eat or drink. Not even a swallow of water would stay in my stomach, and then there was vomiting, diarrhoea, shivering, cramps, and coldness and pain in my entire body. It was so bad that I just wanted to die. Then, when I took heroin again, all the pain would disappear, I could eat and drink again and I would feel good.
In addition there was the fear of the police, because it wouldn't work unless we sold drugs to one another. I sold all my valuables and owed the bank a lot of money. Although 5' 6" tall, I weighed only 99 pounds and was a physical wreck.
Sometimes I just wanted to die
To spare my parents the pain caused by my appearance, I broke off contact with my family. At that time I had no contact with other "normal" people. Nevertheless, my parents and my family never gave up. My mother told me later that she had always prayed for me over the years. My sister and her husband often tried to help me stop, but I never succeeded.
With the aid of a doctor my mother knew I went four times to a hospital for withdrawal, where I was given 10 codicol, 120 mg every 12 hours to help the physical withdrawal.
In spite of the medication I had pain all over my body and sleep was impossible. I wasn't even able to get through the physical withdrawal one single time. Therefore I had a friend bring heroin to me at the hospital. And so I went home again every time without any real improvement. Often I didn't have any more money for heroin, so I ate poppy pods and all kinds of things to stick out the physical withdrawal. At this time I often just wanted to die and simply didn't know any way out.
A flyer shows the way
When I came to the Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends I had 18 years of drug addiction behind me, more than seven of them firmly held in the grip of heroin. At a doctor's office I found a flyer with an invitation to a Physicians' Lecture. My brother accompanied me, and even then I was in no way sober.
Afterward, when driving home with my brother, I thought, "Now you're going to stop smoking hashish! " My brother didn't believe me, as I had already said that all too often. At that moment I wasn't thinking of hard drugs such as heroin at all. But from that evening on - it was October 22, 1998 - until today, in June of 2006, I have never again used heroin, cocaine, speed, etc. Astonishingly, I had no withdrawal symptoms of any kind. The yearning for drugs was simply gone. After about two months I did start with hashish again for two weeks, but then that, too, was over for good.
Since November of the same year I have been regularly attending the community hours and following the teaching of Bruno Groening. I have great joy in life again and have very good contact with my family, too, once again. Every morning I feel happy to still be alive. My weight has become normal and I am able to hold a job again. Of the 20 "friends" I had during my period of drug addiction only five are still living. Therefore I can really appreciate that I am able to live a normal, healthy life.
According to her own statement, Ms. M. used illegal drugs for 18 years, during seven of which she was dependent on heroin to a high degree. It had begun when she was 17 with the gateway drug hashish (cannabis), with rapid progression to regular consumption. Then LSD, speed, cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogenic mushrooms as well as different psychoactive medications in combination with alcohol were added. After the death of her husband, Ms. M. lost complete control of her drug consumption and became severely heroin-addicted (one to two grams per day). A successful physical detoxification was prevented again and again by the usual severe withdrawal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, shivering, etc.) of withdrawal from opiates. She was unable even during four hospital stays to get through a withdrawal. After 18 years of intensive drug consumption, Ms. M. was a physical wreck, in debt and involved in drug-related crime.
From a psychologist's standpoint such a spontaneous healing is neither explicable nor at all understandable. In over 90% of the cases, such long-term drug addicts undergo a course of detoxification followed by therapy only to usually have a relapse within two years at the latest. Ms. M., on the other hand, was never able to complete a withdrawal, not to speak of having therapy. This spontaneous healing is a miracle for me.