Losing it and Getting it Back
Dwayne has a relaxed sort of charisma. He’s well dressed, well-spoken, a very charming person to speak with. Life hasn’t always been kind to Dwayne, but when you speak with him you can tell that life’s challenges have not held him down. Despite falling into drug use, addiction and nearly losing everything as a young man, he realized when he had a problem and needed help. He came to THS and with the tools he was given, Dwayne rebuilt his future.
Challenges and a Bright Future
Born and raised here in Washington, Dwayne started adult life with a challenge, “(When I was) 18 years old my Dad basically said you have three months to figure out what you’re gonna do. I’m kicking you out when you graduate.” Not one to miss a step, Dwayne took this as an opportunity to strike out on his own. He entered a trade school not long after and worked small jobs while he got through school. Dwayne left with the skills and drive he needed to make it. He took a job at a small company and found that he was incredibly talented in his craft. Dwayne kept getting better, kept expanding and growing in his position, but his trajectory would be cut abruptly.
A Troubling Influence
The owner of the small company Dwayne was working at had a troubling habit of bringing cocaine and heroin to work. It didn’t take long after starting there that Dwayne was offered some. As Dwayne said, “He introduced it slowly…after work, on the weekends and then it just kind of rolled from there.” Dwayne took to using it more and more, always for fun and never because he needed it. It didn’t take too long before he slipped.
Dwayne had a promising start to his career, but addiction made him lose sight of the life he was building.
I was at the top of my game and eventually you lose everything, you lose your job or your business, then you lose your friends, you lose your family…You’re always asking for money because you spend everything that you had and then you’re just completely down and out.Dwayne
“(I) remember one day I woke up and I felt really awful…when I smoked more of it [heroin] the sickness went away…I knew I was addicted of course” Because of the unique way in which opioids work on the brain and body, the typical withdrawal symptoms ‑ anxiety, muscle cramps, nausea, and jitters – become severe and debilitating. This is why Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which uses medications like methadone and suboxone to keep withdrawal at bay, is the most effective way to start the process of recovery from opioid addiction.
Connecting to Care
Dwayne connected with THS in the hope of entering the MAT program. He’d tried methadone on the street and found that it took his sickness away “It gave me a good sense of well-being, centered feeling again. I felt like myself and I never felt intoxicated on methadone” said Dwayne. When he came to THS, he was assigned to a care team who worked together with him to provide the care and recovery support he needed. By working with his counselor and physician, Dwayne was given the tools he needed to rebuild his life. It wasn’t easy, but with hard work, caring support, and evidence-based treatment, Dwayne was able to start again.
Success and Recovery
Today, 25 years since entering treatment and moving past his addiction, Dwayne is now a successful business owner. His talent, skill, and drive helped him take back all he’d lost and more. He still receives treatment, but it doesn’t define him. His care is the same as any chronic condition, he sees his provider and gets the support, therapy, and medicine he needs. Dwayne wants others to know what worked for him in his recovery; “Find something to do and just immerse yourself in it. Be so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything else.”