In this Register story, the name of the patient has been changed to protect their identity.
Everyone deserves a fighting chance when it comes to battling addiction.
And those chances come in many forms — rehabilitation, 12-step programs and therapy. But they also come in the form of places like Behavioral Health Group — Berea Treatment Center.
The BHG uses medication-assisted treatment, utilizing medications such as methadone, in combination with counseling services to provide a comprehensive treatment program for those struggling with opioid addiction.
Many people are on the fence about going to places like the BHG because they believe it's swapping out one drug for another but not for Marie, who thinks BHG and its staff has been a blessing.
"This place has given me hope and it's given me life. I can walk with my children and I don't have to ride in a buggy or a wheelchair," she said. "This place is a blessing, people need to know to come here."
Marie worked in the healthcare industry, which meant she knew the dangers of becoming addicted to pain pills like lortabs and percocet. But she found herself on the other side of the battle after having surgery that left her in pain daily.
According to Marie, she began abusing opiates to combat the pain she incurred from the surgery to make herself functionable.
"I never thought I would be addicted, I found myself needing it so I could take care of my children," Marie said. "I just wanted to be with my babies."
Marie spent a year and a half addicted to painkillers before she received a second opinion from a doctor on her surgery-related pain. A family friend recommended that she stop by the BHG to receive help for getting sober.
That was almost eight months ago and she's been clean since. If it wasn't for the BHG, she would still be trying to find a way to fix the pain.
Her advice to others facing addiction is to find themselves at the point that they are ready to change and to take the plunge and talk to the doctor at BHG.
"He's here to help, not judge. There's more than suboxone," Marie said. "There's help and there's kindness here. This is love. You walk in feeling loved. These people are good."
There are many people like Marie who became addicted to opiates through one mean or another. Addiction knows no bounds. It is an equal opportunity destroyer, according to Dr. Stephen Lamb with BHG.
Lamb works at the BHG Berea clinic every two weeks, seeing patients and helping them through their recovery. One thing he and his staff notice with patients is the difference between their first visit and the ones after they've become sober.
Through the course of his career, Lamb has seen addiction take hold of people from all walks of life — preachers, teachers, nurses, fast food workers and others. Their goal is to bring back functionality to their lives so that they can maintain productive lives within their families, jobs and communities.
They do this by working with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that empowers patients to take their lives back, one dose at a time. For Marie, that meant being able to take her dose, which blocked the pain, while it also helped curb the craving of opiates, allowing her to be present and active with her children.
A big issue many patients have to tackle is underlying mental illness. Lamb said that many patients he and the clinic see often suffer from anxiety, depression or other psychiatric issues. Part of their treatment includes working to get them into therapy.
When the physical symptoms of addiction are managed, the patient has a greater opportunity to participate in and benefit from counseling services, according to the BHG website.
Lamb also noted that patients can come back as many times as needed. He mentioned a woman who had already been in the clinic twice before, always managing to find her way back to opiates. But it was that third time she went that that finally did the trick.
Recovery is a battle each day for those who are addicted but clinics like BHG give them a fighting chance at normal life and functionality.
For those who need help or know someone who does, the BHG accepts walk-ins and referrals. They can be reached at 859-756-5006 or more information can be found online at bhgrecovery.com
Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.