Your Health Seth Stratton | one year ago

#ThisIsSober: Tondra's Story

Many people believe addiction stems improper use of illegal substances. That is true; however, addiction can also happen with legal substances, such as alcohol or prescription medications.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVq96Ct48CM&w=560&h=315] Such is the story of Tondra, who was addicted to opioids. Opioids are a class of medications that relieve pain and are prescribed by a doctor. “Every pill I swallowed came from a prescription,” says Tondra. “I carried a little black book where I kept track of which doctors, emergency rooms and urgent cares I went to. I noted where I had the prescription filled and if I used my insurance or not. It was a system I had set up that was very easy once you learned the ‘tricks of the trade.’” The addiction took over Tondra’ s life, and her family eventually threw her out of their home, even changing the locks. They told her not to come back until she got the help she needed. So, she finally did. “My entire world revolved around making sure that I had pills in the bottom of a bottle,” says Tondra. “The pills meant more to me than my family or anything else. I could not travel, go to work or do anything unless I had enough drugs to get me through the day.” After finishing her treatment at Carolinas HealthCare System’s First Step, Tondra began picking up the pieces of her life that were broken by her addiction. Earning back the trust of her family and friends was her first priority. "I have a whole new relationship with my husband and my children, as I can function and be there for them,” says Tondra. “I enjoy life and all the small things that I never noticed during my addiction. I am not constantly preoccupied with my addiction. Instead, I focus on staying sober and on my family.” This year, Tondra celebrates her eighth year of sobriety. Her plans include travelling the world, going to concerts, visiting friends and spending quality time with loved ones. “Recovery saved my life. There is no doubt in my mind that had I not gone to rehab and gotten into a program I would be dead by now.”

All year long, we’re putting sobriety in the spotlight to help shatter the stigma around addiction and inspire people to change their lives. Read and share our stories – and join the conversation – using #ThisIsSober.