My name is Hayley Rose and I am the middle child in my family. My brother is 2 years older than me, and my sister is just 14 months younger. Growing up I was a carefree child. I loved animals and I’ve always been able to find the good in everyone. When I was two years old my grandpa described me as the “most loving child he had ever met.” I was happiest when I was outdoors, and spent most of my time playing with my brother and my sister, who was often mistaken as my twin. We were best friends, sharing everything in our lives.
When I was in fourth grade I earned the “try your hardest” award. School wasn’t easy for me, but I never gave up, studied hard and did my best. I was a fast runner and good at sports. I played soccer, baseball and volleyball.
When I was sixteen I met and fell in love with an older boy. By the time I was seventeen we had started using prescription drugs together. I told myself that since it came from a doctor, it must be safe. My senior year I quit volleyball and softball, a decision that I will always regret. My family attempted to intervene, but didn’t realize the challenge that drug addiction brings. I convinced them that I had stopped using. After I graduated in 2004, I moved in with my boyfriend. We lived together off and on for the following year. During that time we continually tried to stop using drugs, but were not successful. By fall of 2006 we were both completely addicted. I had stooped to new lows to keep myself in drugs. This included lots of lying and stealing. I had witnessed terrifying overdoses and drug use. I performed CPR four different times on people who overdosed on Fentanyl, a prescription drug that even I was too scared to try.
When things got rough I always returned home. My family attempted to help me, but again they didn’t realize what they were up against. Addiction takes over a person’s life and changes their personality. Usually a few weeks after returning home I would be called on to explain something missing, or a lie that I had told. Then they would kick me out and I would disappear for a couple of weeks. By the time I came back they were relieved to see me and continued to hope that this time I was better.
In the fall of 2006 things had gotten so bad that my boyfriend and I both agreed to go to a treatment center. First I had to get clean, which required me to go through withdrawal from the prescription drugs that I was using. After some incredible persuading from my counselor, my mom and sister took me to a hospital near Seattle to go through the detox period. After a few days I was taken to an all women’s rehabilitation center. There I finished going through detox and began my recovery. I learned much about addiction and about myself. My boyfriend also attended a rehab program during that time, and we were in touch with each other daily. We hoped to help each other stay clean.
Once out of rehab I moved in with my sister. I found a job and tried to move forward. Even though I kept going to counseling, I found that it was incredibly difficult to stay away from drugs. I constantly wanted to use, and continued to feel the effects of withdrawal. When I discovered that my boyfriend had begun using again I found myself using again also. I lost my job and my place to live. I was now homeless, and didn’t want to return to my parent’s house. I ended up living in “felony flats” in Spokane. I struggled through every day and witnessed frightening arguments and fights. I had no transportation, and no way to get a job. Just getting through each day became a huge challenge. I continued to see my boyfriend, but we could only get along together for a day or two before we started fighting. Again, the challenge of each day became how to get enough drugs to get through the day.
After an overnight stay in jail I realized where I had ended up. I was afraid that my next stop would be either death or jail. Terrified, I made the decision to get clean again. This time for myself; my life depended on it.
In June I returned home and worked with my parents and counselor to find ways to help myself get clean. I began taking controlled doses of methadone to help the effects of withdrawal. I began seeing my counselor regularly again. I was determined that this time I would make it.
I was still in love with my boyfriend and tried to help him get clean again also. Then in July the unthinkable happened. In an instant my entire life changed. I received the news that my boyfriend had been killed in a car accident. I couldn’t believe what I was going through now. Talk about a whole new set of struggles and the grieving process too. With the help of some wonderful friends, my sister, brother and parents I made it through the week that followed his death, and the funeral service.
Since then I am determined to stay clean and have managed to keep moving forward. Some days are still incredibly difficult, but I have a job now and am able to work a few days a week. I am clean which is an amazing achievement. I want to share my story to help others to understand the challenge of addiction, that prescription drugs are as dangerous as any other drugs, and the fact that it can happen to anyone.
I now have a new boyfriend who is incredibly supportive, and drug free. We have many close friends who are also drug free. There is no way I can relate the horror of the life of being addicted to prescription drugs. The things I’ve seen and done, places I’ve been and the pain I’ve caused my family I can’t reverse. I am still recovering and plan to never return to the nightmare life that addiction brings.