I went from the Air Force to rebuilding New Orleans to Hell, hooked on opioids prescribed for an injury. Cannabis pulled me back up to life.
Large quantities of pain medications and ill advice from doctors is certain failure. Although I’ve lived with an injury for years I have done well working. I helped rebuild the city (New Orleans) after Katrina then went on to build the largest sector gates in North America, part of The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex. But, eventually, opioid dependency caught up with me.
All of this after my initial injury I received prior to hurricane Katrina, actively patrolling a military base while in the Air Force Reserves. I used to feel like I had a purpose and was a contributing member of my community, only to soon become one of the community outcasts after my injury and opioid dependency.
Cut Off From Physician Prescription, The Spiral Down
When the State projects started running out and work stopped, so did my insurance. It was pretty bad. The state had put some pressure on the doctors and they raised the age requirements. By the time I was working steady again, I could not get back into the doctor I was seeing as well due to his patient cap. I was, however, able to buy them (opioids) off the street with no real issues while I worked to get back under a doctor’s care.
My wife and I made this decision together. She has been with me since before I injured myself, so she knew I needed some form of relief. The pain meds just made the most sense to us, due to having always been prescribed them before.
I also did a few rounds of epidurals in the lower spine. It’s funny — I like to joke about it now, but I have had more epidurals than her and we are on our fourth child.
Opioid Dependency Takes Over
I almost wasn’t here for my family.
Things got too out of hand, my body was too dependent, and the street prices got real excessive. We couldn’t afford enough for me to keep up with work. It got to the point where it was hard to keep my body from detoxing. Mentally and physically, I was being drained, but still trying to stay strong for my wife and kids.
But, at this time, I had already lost all respect from my peers and family.
Everyone saw this guy who sat on his wife’s leg, as a drain on their kids, one who didn’t want to work, and only wanted to be loaded on pills. And using a “bogus” injury as an excuse. He can’t be hurt right? If he needed them the doctor would give them to him. That’s things family members would say about me and similar things were on the minds of everyone else.
We Lost Our Home
We lost our place eventually, hard to pay bills and pay for pills for sure. My wife and children went to stay with her parents; I got to stay in our car. For six months, through Christmas, I lived where ever I could peacefully park for the night. I would spend time with my family, bringing them to school and work in the morning and in the evening I would pick them up and bring them back to the in-laws’ house. The weekends we would spend at the park with the kids if the weather permitted.
We did the park for a while on Christmas day after we checked out of the hotel room we were able to get for Christmas Eve. This roughest part of my life by far. It was becoming too much, and my only support besides my wife, was a great friend on the other side of the world in New Zealand who did everything she could.
A Sign of Hope Comes From Above and I Start Over
I was at a point where I never thought I would recover my life and restore order for my wife and children. I was at the point where I was ready to tell my wife I was going to give up. And this is when we got the sign that changed our lives forever….
One Saturday, we were together at the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. I started telling my wife how I didn’t have it in me much more to carry on. I was thinking it was better off, as it would be for everyone else, if I was not with them. I already felt at my end and I didn’t feel it was right to drag the wife and kids through this anymore.
Call it what you want, but we call it a sign from God. Something caught my wife’s eye enough to calm things down. She pointed out the fact that my first born, who we named after my grandfather, was born on April 20th. On top of that, there we were at his burial plot, and the number was 420. She told me that she felt that my grandfather was trying to tell me something.
“Today I know that it is more than willpower and self control, addiction is a chemical imbalance of the brain”
As crazy as it may sound, we put a little thought into it. We had tried everything else. She told me I needed to hold on a little longer, and we would figure things out — and she was right.
We were able to get a place and get the family back together, and with the little money we had left from the move I took a shot and bought a bag of bud. I knew I had to do a little more than smoke if I was going to detox fully from opioid dependency. Still, I was nervous that I would mess things up as I did with every other plan I ever had.
I couldn’t figure why I didn’t have the willpower to just flat out walk away from the opiates. I always felt I was a strong individual, but I was never strong enough. Today I know that it is more than willpower and self control, addiction is a chemical imbalance of the brain.
A Mentor in the Cannabis Community
I would not have gotten here today without Jerry Krecicki, who I came across on Instagram. He is a cannabis influencer and has over 40 years experience with bud. Aside from his knowledge, he is a stand up guy with a heart of gold. I took a chance and reached out to him to see what his thoughts were on things and if he felt cannabis would do anything beneficial for me.
He told me about my endocannabinoid system and how it would help flush the toxins out of my body that the opiates were keeping in me. He told me that the cannabis should break the cycle of addiction the opiates had trapped me in.
The thing is, he didn’t have to do that or take his time to even respond to me. Him doing so saved me and my family. I just had to figure out the rest for myself, and I did.
The wife and I started reading up on the endocannabinoid system and how the opiates worked in the body. From there we went to decarbing and tryin’ to infuse some honey. I did that three times a day for the first few days. I felt better each day, allowing me to reduce my intake. Detoxing was worrying me so much though.
Ending Opioid Dependency: Detox Just About Kills Me
When I had previously tried to quit cold turkey, it ended with a visit to urgent care. The doctor told my wife to get me whatever drug I was addicted to because there wasn’t anything they could do since I was detoxing from opioid dependency.
A detox is one of the scariest things for someone with an opioid dependency. It’s bringing your body to hell. The pain it brings to your body and mind is indescribable. It almost makes you wish for death just so you can be done with things and not have to feel the pain any more. It’s what keeps almost everyone from trying to stop. I feel most would rather peacefully die from an overdose than try to fight through a detox. Luckily, with cannabis I did not experience any of that. My health and mood improved dramatically pretty fast. Before I knew it, my children counted out 1,000 pushups that I did over my first seven days of just cannabis.
Cannabis Pain Relief and Mental Clarity
Aside from improving my health, cannabis also gave me back control of my life. I medicate when I need to, on my terms. With the opiates I had to continually feed into my addiction and when I couldn’t, things would get bad. That’s not the case with cannabis. I may not be as mobile when I am out of cannabis, but I am no where near as irritable to be around.
I am always the same person. I have a better outlook on life and all of this has improved my family’s life as well. At one point I couldn’t do anything without pain medications and lost all motivation in life. I started feeling completely useless and unable to do anything. That’s another problem in the past now as well, thanks to cannabis.
Being hands on with cannabis allowed me to, not only break the chemical bond of opiate addiction, but also to start feeling accomplished again. It helped me focus and set simple goals that were easy for me to achieve.
Cooking With Cannabis — New Orleans Style
Slowly I would push the boundaries, and try different things, like cooking with cannabis. All the while seeing myself improve and the family’s quality of life improve as well. I became pretty decent in the kitchen. I was able to incorporate cannabis into a lot of my favorite New Orleans dishes. Once decarbed, you can basically use whatever high fat oil your recipe calls for to infuse with the cannabis, before cooking the meal. Out of all of this, putting my health in my hands was one of the most powerful things I have ever done.
If I can do it so can you.
Invest some time in things before you do, research and learn what you can. There is plenty of good information on the internet and plenty of people in the cannabis community that are willing to speak.
Tracy’s Advice After Detoxing From Opioid Dependency.
Do not ever feel like you are alone. I will try to be here the best I can to speak to whomever would like to talk. I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to be one. I definitely recommend taking things slow but ultimately make the healthier choice for you and your family.
I do ask that you go and give cannabis an honest try. Let your endocannabinoid system work the way nature designed it to and improve your quality of life. — Tracy Newby Jr. @medicated_cajun