My Hurricane: A Triumph Over Addiction and Depression

by Debbie Liske
(Durham, NC)

For three years I fought insomnia with a prescribed sleeping pill called Ambien. On Christmas Day, 1999, my Dad died of a sudden heart attack. The next year I started abusing the pill to avoid grief. I lost my job and most of my friends. I put my family through hell. My life was unmanageable, my addiction took control. I took the pills all day, every day, going from doctor to doctor to get more prescriptions.

Ambien has a hypnotic effect with amnesia. It allows you to function in a complete blackout. The main thing that kept me alive was that I had a dog and a cat to take care of. They needed me.

On September 4th, 2000, I took 8 pills, went for a drive with my dog, fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a tree at 45mph in the Cary Towne Center parking lot. I totaled the car. No air bags. Broke my face up badly. I was unrecognizable for a while. Had a plate drilled into my orbital socket to hold up my eye. I could easily have died. But none of that made a difference.

What mattered was that the little being that kept me from drowning during that entire year was in the back seat. What FINALLY “woke me up”, was that I put my dog’s life in danger. He actually survived without injury, somehow.

I never took another sleeping pill after that day. I never drank alcohol again either so my judgment would not be impaired. September 4th, 2000 is my sobriety date. Life gets better every year. I've never been so happy.

I have released a music video called My Hurricane that tells this story. I hope that it leaves you with a feeling of hope and a sense of triumph over the storms that life can sometimes bring.

Watch the My Hurricane video here:

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