My wonderful, awful, beautiful, terrible pill...

by Jennifer
(Quincy, MI)

I was addicted to the sleeping pill Ambien, and then it cost me my freedom...here is my tale:


I wasn't ever going to do this because I was just too ashamed and embarrassed. However I have come to the decision to not only share my story, but perhaps write a book someday, and really share my story, and hopefully help others.

Here it is, cut and dry. On September 19th 2011, I was convicted of 2 felonies and sentenced to 5 months in jail. (Actually I was given 9 months with 4 of it being suspended. I ended up serving 4 months, and was released on January 12th. I spent 4 long, agonizing months away from my children, enduring the most emotional trauma of my entire life. I lost 25 pounds, was spoken to like an animal, washed my underwear out in the shower, sat on my hands to keep from hitting another inmate who threatened to spit on me and called me a c**t... I saved another inmate who hung herself in the shower, and never stepped outside for fresh air from october unitl january.


I was cold and hungry 90 percent of the time, and was offered more pills in jail than I have ever been offered on the "outs"... I heard how to make meth, and I slept beside the lowest forms of scum in branch county. Never being allowed to sleep until they felt like shutting up at 4 in the morning. I was served a cold breakfast at 5AM every morning. Most of the time I just shared my food, or set it aside and tried to go back to sleep, again cold and hungry. After the other inmate hung herself, I was a little traumatized by seeing what I saw.


I had been helping her with seizures almost on a daily basis. Holding her head so she wouldn't crack it on the floor. Holding her until her nose bled after 4 subsequent seizures, one right after the other. Don’t even get me started on the incompetence of the jail nurse, and the correction officers not giving this girl her seizure meds on a regular schedule, sometimes not giving them to her for days because they were locked in the nurse’s office, and she had taken a few days off. So the girl continuously had seizures, but that’s a whole other story.


I was released 6 hours early on my outdate for the "act of heroism" for saving her life, and the Captain wants to put my name in for award...hmm that's nice. I could have really used someone to talk to though..but in our cell, it was fend for yourself and take care of each other... The most common heard phrase in jail? Well, let's just say, you better not complain about a damn thing because, "it's jail..DEAL WITH IT."


I heard that so much, especially when you asked someone to be quiet so you could go to sleep. There's a LOT of crying in jail. I know because my tears almost flooded the place. The hardest part? It's realizing that you're in there for something YOU did. It's all your fault, no one else's...not the judge, the cops, the jail officers, the other inmates, or your new probation officer (I heard a lot of girls want to blame the fact that they were back in jail on their PO...because you know, it's never a habitual offender's fault..)


So, the hardest part, is that your in this place..this awful, lonely, cold place, and you put yourself there. Then, to hear your children cry on the phone because they need you? To hear that they are having issues with this or that, or maybe they just want to hug you, and you can't..that was more painful than anything. I would have rather endured months of physical pain. Well, I sort of did...my heart ached every day.


I sat there through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, New Year, and My step-grandson turned a year old….I missed it all.


So, why did you put yourself in this position you may ask? What was worth losing 4 months of your life over? What was so important that you broke the law for it, and became a felon forever? Well, I will tell you....



NOTHING was worth it...but that never occured to me while I was committing my crime. All I could think about back then was this wonderful sensational, perfect little white pill, and what I would do to obtain it. I was hooked on ambien, a sleeping pill. I used it as an anti anxiety, and relaxant, or maybe I was just using it to die. For, if I hadn't been caught when I was, I would surely have been dead.


Taking anywhere from 10 to 20 of these hypnotic sedatives a day. There were many days when I should have never woken up. But I always did, and when I was awake, I had to deal with the reality of my life. My feelings, my sadness, my lonliness.. It was too much,and the pills made it better. I had to have these pills no matter what.


So, I took my experience from working in healthcare and at a doctors office, and I called in my own scripts. Yep, just acted like I was still sitting at the desk in the doctor's office, being my own little office assistant, calling in my own scripts. The doctor knew how much I needed these dammit! If she wasn't going to prescribe them anymore, than it was perfectly alright for me to do it myself!!


That is how I justified it in my own head anyway.....I got away with it for over a year. Until I was finally caught..Thank God. No matter how hard it was for me to be away from my kids while I was in jail, it ws sure a hell of a lot better than someone having to tell them I was dead.

Now, I am a free woman. I have 2 years of probation to get through, and 4 months hanging over my head... I have 2 felonies, and I am still expected to find a job. I can never again work in the career that I love so much, The only career I have ever seen myself in (healthcare).


I can never be around guns, and I will always have to deal with the stigma, and the stereotyping about being a felon. I hit my rock bottom for sure, and now it's only up from here. I will not let anyone's judgements or opinions of me affect who I am. I know I am better. I continue counseling, and I will go back to school eventually. I have a wonderful, supportive family, without whom I could never have survived this journey.


I AM a felon, but I am also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a grandma, and a friend. I have worked hard, both in my past jobs and in college. I have made the deans list, repeated a few math classes, and tried and failed, and then tried again. I have learned many new things. I love God and Jesus.


I survived 115 days without being able to so much as touch my own children. I have committed a crime, but that is not all I am. The crime does not own me, and it does not make me who I am. I am still proud of me...and maybe, just maybe, I can finally forgive me..

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Jan 31, 2013
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Insidious drug
by: Anonymous

I overdosed purposely in 2000 on Ambien. I wish consumers could become more educated about advocating for themselves with Drs. I developed an addiction to it, and I'm grateful it lead me to my bottom a few months after the OD.

Jan 21, 2012
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thanks for sharing
by: Susan

Thank you for sharing your story...We can only keep what we have by givingit away.

I can relate to much of your story as I am a registered nurse with the disease of addiction. I began my recovey journey in 1994 and remained clean and sober until 2003 when I went through major surgery and became addicted to narcotics. I I then diverted nubain for my own use and was caught...


My nursing license was placed on probation and ultimitaley I landed in divorce court. Following my divorce I began a relationship with another recovering addict. I had lost my driving privedges during my relaps and was caught driving on a revoked license. I did 5 months in prison. Went to prison with 3 years cleanand sober. During this time away my mother died of a broken heart. It was the worst day of my life.


Upon my release my boyfriend was waiting for me. We had a wonderful few years until he began a relapse. His drug of choice was heroin and I made the worst decision of my life. I brought home "waste" from my patients in order to help him as we couldn't get the help he needed from the VA..


He became violent with his drug use and I felt trapped. Anyway I was caught and charged with a felony. My life has been ruined. Following my arrest his drug use escalated along with the violence and I ended up getting an order of protection. He broke that order by holding me at knife point against my will and was given a 5 year sentence.


I had a complete mental brekdown at this point and literally didn't leave my house for 3 months. I am accused of violating my probation and am now looking at a 2 yr prison sentence....but I am clean and sober. I have been granted my nursing priledges back but have yet to find anyone willing to take a chance on me.


I am prayerful and I know that God will take care of me. All things happen for a reason. Life is so much better clean and sober even with the stress that I am under....

Jan 20, 2012
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To Jennifer
by: Rae

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks so much for writing in and sharing your story. What you have been through is a tragedy, but it sounds like you are finding a way to turn it into something positive.

It's unbelievable what drugs will do to a decent person. A normal, decent person will become a criminal and do anything it takes just to get what they want. I certainly don't say that with judgment because I understand how that happens.

I am lucky enough to have never been convicted of a crime, to have never gotten a DUI, and to never have hurt myself or someone else. I don't know why some people get lucky and why others don't, but I honestly believe that it's what we do with these experiences that matter. The way I see it, and it sounds like you would agree, you are lucky to be alive and to have realized that you needed to change.

I can't even imagine being in jail and being in that situation for 4 months, but I think it's amazing that you have such a positive attitude about it. Sure, it would have been better to not go to jail, but it sounds like it taught you a lot.

You will find something else that you love to do and that you are great at - I truly believe that. I always thought I had my life planned out on this specific timeline. My life is NOTHING like what I thought it would be. Whatever is out there, it is greater than us, and I believe we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

Thank you so much for writing to us - your story is brutally honest and your attitude is admirable. I think one of the greatest things about your story is the fact that you take responsibility for what happened. You aren't trying to blame anyone or anything, and I admire that as well.

I think taking responsibility for our actions and acknowledging that we need to change is the most important step to actually changing. Thank you again and best of luck to you!

Rae

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