NATHAN | Greeley, CO

Opioids helped cover for the PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety that I have.

I am Nathan. A doctor prescribed opioids for a foot injury I’d sustained when I was homeless, mainly to help with the pain. I’d also suffered back and knee injuries when I was in the service. But the attraction that kept me continuing to take them, even past the injury, was in how opioids helped cover for the PTSD symptoms, depression and anxiety that I have. It started off slowly, but then my tolerance and everything increased, so I needed more for them to work. Withdrawals would kick in if I tried to get off them. Eventually, I had no choice but to start buying pills off the street. I tried to conceal what I was doing, but after six months or so, I decided it was time to get treatment. My wife knew what I was going through based on my previous experience with substance abuse, and was very supportive when I started methadone treatments. Because of those treatments, I’m not chasing drugs anymore. I’m very lucky. I’ve been blessed with my support group. My wife, my pastor and my friends–they’ve been understanding and loving through all of it. It’s been very easy to talk about. My mind is much clearer now, and my body is getting healthier all the time. And I’m motivated: just in the last month, I’ve gone back to work as a chef. Returning to work as a chef has been a significant milestone in my recovery journey. It feels incredible to be back in the kitchen, doing what I love and excelling at it. The familiar aromas, the sizzling sounds, and the hustle and bustle of the restaurant environment have brought a sense of purpose and fulfillment back into my life.