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An Addiction Recovery Success Story - Susan’s Story

“It doesn’t matter how educated you are, what your color of skin is, if you are a boy if you are a girl, a substance abuse problem will take everything in your life.”

St. Louis, April 2021 – Susan’s story is like so many others.  She was brought up in the middle class in the middle of America. She earned two college degrees. She had a job as a nurse. Susan thought she had ticked all the right boxes for a happy life. 

Then she injured her back. 

She was given medication to deal with pain.  That is how her addiction started – with prescription pain killers. It grew from there.  Her life began to spin out of control.

“It just starts to spiral,” said Susan.  “and it continues to spiral until you have no idea how you got into the middle of this humongous typhoon.”

As her addiction worsened, so did her desperation.  Susan began stealing prescription drugs from the hospital where she worked.  She even stole from her own mother.

When pills became harder to find, she started snorting heroin.  

Susan’s family tried to help her.  Her family talked her into getting help at a residential treatment center in Florida.  She went to Florida, but it didn’t take.  In time, Susan lost her job. She was arrested for felony drug possession. 

“It doesn’t matter how educated you are, what your color of skin is, if you are a boy if you are a girl,” Susan said.  “A substance abuse problem will take everything in your life.”

Susan felt like her life was circling the drain.  Then a friend reminder her about a mutual friend from high school days, Dr. Arturo Taca who ran an addiction treatment clinic that had successfully helped patients like Susan using an innovative, personalized, medical approach to treating addiction.  

“She looked terrible,” Dr. Taca said about the day she came to INSynergy for help, in contrast to the Susan he knew from high school.  “I remember how she was so much fun to be around.  Vivacious.  Full of energy and full of life.”

When Susan first came into INSynergy, she was exhibiting some of symptoms of opioid withdrawal.  

“I was sitting in the chair shaking,” Susan said about that day.  “My legs were jittering when he knelt down in front of me.” 

“He said Sue a lot of people have come through these doors to get help,” Susan said Dr. Taca told her. “But out of everyone, you have surprised me the most.”

Dr. Taca treated Susan first with the Bridge, a nerve stimulation device used to alleviate the often painful and uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal. 

A few days later, Susan began receiving Vivitrol; a monthly injection that blocks drug and alcohol craving, giving her the relief she needed to allow talk therapy counseling to help her finally reach sobriety.

This time, treatment worked for Susan.

“I had to make up my mind.  Do you want to live or do you want to die Susan? There’s no in-between,” Susan said. “I wanted to live.”

“Her success is hers,” said Ashley Halker, MHA, INSynergy’s Director of Operations said. “INSynergy is here to help patients,  but each and every one of our patients has to do the work.”

“We are just here to hold them up,” Halker said.  “The analogy I like to use is that our patients have broken legs and we are just the crutches to help them walk.”

“Everybody there is amazing,” Susan said about her experience with INSynergy. “Completely life changing. I wouldn’t be here (without their help). And I am beyond grateful.”

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