Recovering from addiction is a lot of work, but it is worth every ounce of energy required. The alternative to taking steps to change one’s life for the better rarely has a happy ending. Such words are not said in an attempt to scare people into recovery; they instead acknowledge the reality of untreated addiction.
Talk about the devastating effects of opioid use has dominated news cycles for two decades. Most Americans know the risk of overdose that accompanies prescription opioid and heroin use. In the blink of an eye, young lives are cut short because of addiction.
Millions of Americans, possibly six million according to one report, are living with an opioid use disorder. This family of drugs is extremely potent, highly addictive, and carries the potential for overdose death. Those whose addiction progresses to intravenous use are also at risk of contracting life-threatening diseases.
While all of the above may seem like plenty of cause to stay away for most people, that is not the case for men and women living with the disease of addiction. Once an alcohol or substance use disorder develops, the risks are rarely enough to dissuade continued use. Most people continue using for years despite the myriad negative consequences.
Many people eventually decide to seek help and work a program of recovery, but the disease is fatal for hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions around the globe each year. Perhaps there is hope that can be distilled from the countless stories of tragedy and premature deaths? Maybe they can inspire others not to become a statistic of the opioid epidemic?
A Young Women Shares a Message of Hope
Most Americans know that opioids and IV drug use can result in overdoses. They also know that sharing needles spreads infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. However, fewer men and women are familiar with Endocarditis, an infection of the heart that is often resistant to antibiotics.
Antibiotic-resistant Endocarditis is fatal. The infection, which causes inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, is likely going to be the end for a young woman in Vancouver, Washington, KCBY reports. Alee Hines, 25, has been diagnosed with Endocarditis since the age of 21.
Doctors have shared with Alee that there isn’t more they can do, short of keeping her comfortable in hospice for the remainder of her days. Hines has had two heart surgeries already but is not a candidate for another. Sadly, she is out of options, but she believes that her story can be a message of hope that might influence other people’s decisions.
Alee says she started drinking at age 13; later, she became addicted to heroin and methamphetamine. On numerous occasions throughout her short life, Alee made attempts to recover. However, Hines said she didn’t want to “sacrifice the time” to seek long-term treatment.
“I think I just didn’t care enough about my life,” Hines said. “And I could see that it was consuming my whole life. But I couldn’t shut it off.”
There isn’t an easy way to talk about these kinds of stories. How does one find a silver lining in a story about a young lady who is dying? The only course of action is not to let Alee’s experience go unnoticed. Right now, there are millions of young people in the grips of addiction, some of which who could one day find themselves in Ms. Hines’ position. Hopefully, Alee’s story will inspire others to seek addiction treatment and embrace recovery.
“Don’t be ashamed,” said Samantha Hines, Alee’s older sister. “Ask for help. Invest your heart and soul into recovery. Listen to the people that have already been through it. Obviously, if they’re clean and sober they’re doing something right.”
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Southern California Addiction Treatment Center
At Hope By The Sea, our thoughts and prayers go out Alee and her family. If you or someone you love is struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, then please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you safely detox from opioids or other drugs and show you how to lead a productive and healthy life in sobriety. The miracle of recovery can be yours too!