Katie began experimenting with alcohol and drugs as a teenager. After a 45-day stay in a rehabilitation program, she had battled her addictions and was ready to start a new alcohol- and drug-free life. Unfortunately, a jaw injury led Ann to the fight of her life.
Katie’s jaw was dislocated, creating tremendous pain through her head, face and neck. She was diagnosed with severe TMJ and underwent two surgeries. To manage the pain, physicians prescribed Katie with Lorcet and Vicodin. “The pills were great because they took the pain away, gave me energy, and made me feel better about my troubled marriage,” says Katie.
Doctors told Katie that managing the pain with opiates was the only option for her condition. “The painkillers got stronger and stronger,” she recalls. “But at some point, I stopped taking the medicine for the pain and started taking it for the high.”
Katie’s doctor expressed concerns early on that she may have an addiction, but Katie didn’t want to hear it. Instead of seeking treatment, she just went to another clinic. With her marriage falling apart, she took more and more pills to dull her emotional pain. “One month prescriptions were gone in a few days,” Katie says. “I was seeing two different doctors for prescriptions and always had an excuse as to why I was filling them early.”
When the pills ran out, Katie went into withdrawal. Desperate to feed her addiction, she stole pills from family and friends and faked ailments to get drugs from emergency rooms. Then she began forging prescriptions. “It started with just changing the date on a prescription so that I could fill it sooner, but before long, I had created my own prescription form and was able to write out my own prescriptions,” Katie says. “I went from one pharmacy to another filling prescription after prescription. I was close to overdosing just about every day. My whole life revolved around my addiction.”
Her world came crashing down when a pharmacy caught on to her forged prescriptions. Kaite met with her physician and denied the forgery, but her doctor told her the police had been notified and that until she was cleared of any charges he could no longer provide her with prescriptions. With that, he gave her the number for ARTS. “At that point, I knew it was over. I was possibly facing felony charges and could lose my kids,” Katie says. She called ARTS and was admitted into the outpatient program a couple of days later.
Today, Katie is thriving. She has been in the ARTS outpatient program for more than four years and has been sober the entire time. Kaite credits methadone with stabilizing her life and helping her move forward. She works with people affected by developmental and physical disabilities, and recently received a promotion. In addition, she is a Den Leader for her son’s Cub Scouts troop and volunteers at her children’s’ schools.
“I am truly living my life thanks to the help and support I found when I came to ARTS,” Ann says. “They have given me the tools to take back my life.”