Life after addiction

This is the conclusion to the three-part series about Jacob and Marci—a son struggling to find sobriety and happiness and his mother who’s fighting for his life

Jacob spent one month in jail for possessing and using heroin while on probation for doing the same. He figured he’d wait it out and get high as soon as he got out, but the judge offered him a different option: Adult Treatment Court (ATC), and his first day in jail became his last day high.

“I knew a lot of things were going bad in my life once I’d been clean for enough time to really think about it,” Jacob said. “I wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have anything.”

ATC is an intense probation. Between 6:00 and 10:00 in the morning, Jacob would text his schedule to his probation officer. During his first 30 days in the program, he also called to check in twice every night, at 6:00 and 10:00. Jacob submitted to a drug test four times every week and attended 12 to 15 hours of recovery classes or meetings a week. The schedule purposefully does not allow room to return to old habits. Jacob went to meetings and his home, and that was about it.

Jacob also received monthly Vivitrol injections at Pokagon Health Services (PHS). Vivitrol is a medicine that blocks the body’s receptors to opiates. So no amount of heroin was going to get Jacob high anymore. He received these for a year, and now he’s living clean without them. He’s been clean for 600 days, and counting.

“Different things will help different people, and different types of meetings will help different people whether it’s groups, or whether it’s one on one counseling, or whether it’s a spiritual, or religious based recovery, or cognitive based,” Jacob said. “Find something that works for you and work it.”

Jacob still attends meetings when he needs to, and he’s looking to his future in a way he didn’t think possible just two years ago.

“I was 23 years old. I was to the point where I thought I had missed the boat, like it was too late for me to ever get back to having a normal life,” Jacob remembers. “There probably wasn’t no logic in thinking that way, but you don’t think logically when you’re in active addiction.”

Jacob got a job, moved into his own apartment, then moved in with his girlfriend, Rose, and her son. This relationship is incomparable to his entanglements while on heroin. He and Rose share interests and goals, not drug use. Jacob is working the night shift at a local McDonalds, with which he is grateful to be able to pay bills, but he hopes for a better job, vacation time, better vehicles for him and Rose. These goals may seem small, but they are big for Jacob.

“It’s crazy even for me to think that it could happen within the next couple years,” he said. “That is a possibility, where two years ago, it wasn’t even in the realm of possibility to have any of that or any of even what I have now.”

Recovery will never be finished for Jacob. It’s ongoing, and he is mindful of new triggers that develop in his life so he can work through them. He’s just grateful to be where he is.

“I’m not sure exactly how it is being real addicted to other drugs, but for me my choice was heroin,” Jacob explained. “I fell in love with it the first time I tried it. To this day and probably to the day I die I will always love heroin, but there’s other things that I love more.”