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    Posted March 7, 2015 by
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    How did you beat your habit?

    More from ERoberts

    The Cost of Prescription Drug Addiction

    There have been several periods in my life where I had to depend on pain medications simply to survive. I had to learn how to walk again at the age of 30 after receiving 2nd and 3rd degree burns on both of my legs from my knees down. I was cleaning a fryer at work and had 3 ½ gallons of 350 degree grease spill down both my legs. At one point 2 doctors told me I may never walk again; I have climbed 3 mountains since then.
    During my treatment and recovery I was on a list of pain medications from morphine, darvon, and finally darvocet. It took months and support from my family to get my life back to what might be considered normal and to rebuild a new career, I could no longer work around heat.
    In the year 2000 I had a severe thyroid condition where my thyroid was slowly turning into basically hard rubber and was crushing both my vocal chords and my esophagus. It also became fused to my neck muscles and as it shrank was slowly strangling me to death. This went on for a period of over 4 months before a doctor finally decided to operate and was able to save my life. During this period there was a point where I was taking over 100 MG of hydrocodone a day along with several other medications.
    After my operation there were several weeks where I once again had to fight a dependence on the medications I had been given and only with the support of my family was I able to survive.
    It has been over one year since we lost my brother-in-law Marty, Martin Coyne, to an overdose of prescription pain medication. This left a son without a father, a wife without a husband, and a family that only has photos and videos to remember him by.
    His story unfortunately is played over and over again each day and only now are more people in our government finally making moves to try and find ways to fight this problem.
    In many cases there is a fine line between a doctor who is trying to ease the pain of their patient and one who simply looks at their patients as an income source, willingly or sometimes unwillingly becoming their pusher and supplier instead.
    Sometimes having the support of a family can help, sometimes the problem becomes one where outside help is necessary. Unfortunately there is such a shortage of funding, hospital beds, and care workers to deal with those in need.
    Too many people are left without support and in the end too many lives are being lost.
    I make my living as a customer service agent for a car rental company. I am also a writer, author and poet. Most of what I write comes from my life and from those around me. Here are a few poems that are taken from my latest book “When Words Escape You, You Can Use Mine.”


    A mother sits on her bed
    Last night
    Her son stole her car
    Crashed it into a streetlight
    About a mile from their house
    He was driving drunk
    In the last three years
    He’s been arrested 12 times
    On three occasions
    He spent a few days in jail
    But every time ended the same way
    They sent him back home
    To her
    She’s asked for help
    Pleaded for some kind of intervention
    The answer is always the same
    There’s no money
    There’s no room
    There is no other place
    For him

    A wife spends another evening
    On the phone
    Calling hospital after hospital
    Her husband came home from work yesterday
    Fired again from another job
    He was stoned at work
    He is lying
    Passed out
    In the bedroom
    Covered in his own waste
    She could not get him into the shower
    She spends hour
    After hour
    Trying to find a single place
    That has a bed
    The answer is always the same
    There’s no money
    There’s no room
    There is no place
    For him

    An old man pushes his grocery cart
    Into an ally
    Slowly he starts building his “shelter”
    A make-shift structure
    Of boxes and boards
    That he carries with him
    In the basket each day
    He used to have his own business
    He used to have his own home
    Everything changed
    When they found out his wife had cancer
    What money they had
    Disappeared in less than a year
    And soon after
    He lost his wife as well
    He tried to find a place at a shelter
    First one
    Than another
    The answer is always the same
    There’s no money
    There’s no room
    There is no place
    For him

    Three lives
    All sitting at the edge of desperation
    So many others
    Teetering on their very edge
    All of them in need of some kind of miracle
    All of them searching for the one thing
    That they need most


    Ed Roberts 12/27/13

    A Different Kind of Hell

    Hell isn’t waking up behind the wheel of a car
    And not being able to remember
    Where you were
    Or what you did the night before

    Hell isn’t waking up in a hospital
    To find that you had OD’d
    And not being able to remember
    What on

    Hell isn’t looking at a face in the mirror
    And not being able to recognize
    The person looking back at you

    Hell isn’t even being told
    That you have contracted AIDS
    From sharing a needle
    And that your liver is beginning to shut down
    From all the alcohol you have consumed

    In some people’s eyes
    All of these things might be a glimpse
    A vision of Hell
    But I can tell you
    There are places worse

    Hell is
    Seeing someone you love
    Who you would give your very life to protect
    And being forced to realize
    That there is absolutely nothing that you can do
    To protect the one you love
    From themself

    Ed Roberts 5/18/13

    And finally

    Two Bottles of Pills

    Two bottles of pills
    I found them in the van
    Hidden at the bottom
    Of a container of wipes

    Two bottles of pills
    That had been refilled
    Refilled four days
    Before my brother-in-law

    I sat there
    Holding one of the bottles
    In my hand for several minutes
    Oxycodone 15 milligrams
    90 tablets
    Is what the label read

    There were only 39

    Out there somewhere
    I knew there was a man
    A “doctor”
    Who had written these prescriptions
    In so many way
    A man
    Who had loaded the weapon
    That took my brother-in-law’s life

    I sat there in this van
    At night
    Holding this bottle in my hand
    And I cried

    I cried
    Because a life was taken
    Far too soon
    He was two years younger than me
    Had a wife and a son
    A son who had just come home from the hospital
    Who had gone through hell himself
    Now a husband and father was gone

    I also cried
    Because somewhere deep inside me
    There came a voice
    That said
    “You could take these pills home with you
    You live in pain
    All the time
    You need them”

    I’ve heard this voice before
    Twice in my life
    On two separate instances
    I had fought for my life
    Undergone pain
    Very few people can ever begin to imagine
    During both of these times
    I needed these pills
    Wanted these pills
    To keep my life together
    Each time
    I used them for several months
    Both times
    I ended up having to fight
    To finally break free

    For a few minutes
    I sat holding a bottle of pills
    Crying because I knew that the voice was still there
    Knowing that if I did give in
    I would certainly find a way
    An excuse to take one of these pills
    And later
    An excuse to take more
    But I knew where this road leads

    I took the pills inside
    And gave them to my sister

    She might find a way
    To use these as a weapon
    A weapon against the man
    Who loaded these bottles in the first place
    And I knew
    She loved me enough
    To understand
    Understand why they could not come home
    With me

    Ed Roberts 11/15/13
    (For Marty)

    If you find yourself in a situation where a loved one is fighting drug addition never be afraid to reach out, reach out to anyone and everyone who will listen.
    If you find yourself fighting this battle alone please realize there are those out there who want to help you, finding them might not be as hard as you think.
    Albert Einstein once said “A wise man knows the vastness of his own ignorance and his own insignificance to that of the Universe.”
    To this I added “Each and everyone of us is a priceless, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind creation in the eyes of God.”
    Each and every life matters.
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