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  • Writer's pictureVickie Turley

You Are Not Alone!

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us from God the father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 2 John 1:3

I've had the hardest time with this story. I've prayed and prayed about it. I've argued with God about it. I've talked to my counselor about it. But it has to be told; I pray you stick with me to the end because you are not alone!


As you know, I had chronic pancreatitis for almost 20 years. I won't go into everything now, but in 2014, during one of my many hospitalizations, I met with a surgeon specialist and was told I was a candidate for a major, fairly new surgery. This surgery was a total pancreatectomy with islet cell transplant. We discussed all the pros and cons and my final question was - have we exhausted all other avenues of treatment? The answer was no. So I made the choice to hold off on surgery for 5 more years, wanting to exhaust every single option available.


During those last 5 years, things got really bad for me. The pain and nausea were unbearable many days. I was no longer able to eat so I was hooked up to a portable IV getting TPN (liquid nutrition) daily. It became a huge cycle of being in bed or in the hospital every day. I spiraled down into a deep depression. I've battled depression for many years but nothing like this. As the darkness got worse, the lies of Satan got louder - and I listened. I began cutting my family and friends out of my life. I had an excuse of being in bed so it was easy not to see anyone, but I then quit answering the phone when they called or texted. I isolated myself in my home, in my bed. I had no desire to talk to my husband when he came home from work. And I took more and more pain medication. At 55 years of age, I became addicted to a controlled substance.


How can a 55-year old child of God become addicted to pain medication? It happened slowly - I had been on pain medicines for most of the 20 years of pancreatitis. But as the pain got worse and worse, I had to have stronger medicine to even begin to dull the pain. My brain and my body were rewired and they would say to me, "Vickie, you have to have this to function." And since the prescribed amounts weren't working any longer, I began taking the meds earlier than what I should - which then led to taking two pills at a time instead of one. And that led to addiction!


There's a fascinating study by the National Institute of Drug Addiction from 2020 that tells us that nearly one million people aged 65 and older live with a substance use disorder. ONE MILLION! It goes on to say:

The U.S. population of adults 55 and older increased by about 6% between 2013-2015, yet the proportion of people in that age group seeking treatment for opioid use disorder increased nearly 54%. The proportion of older adults using heroin—an illicit opioid—more than doubled between 2013-2015, in part because some people misusing prescription opioids switch to this cheaper drug (https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-older-adults-drugfacts)

Many factors play a part in this epidemic, including the way their body metabolizes the drug and how the brain becomes more sensitive to drugs as we get older. I won't go into any additional details here but check it out if you are interested!


As I began depending more and more on drugs, Satan became my constant companion. Don't get me wrong - I still prayed and I begged God to relieve me from this life. But here's the key - I didn't listen to anything God was saying. My brain and mind were so fogged, so dark, that I couldn't (or wouldn't) hear Him. But I sure listened to Satan. He began telling me what a waste I was, how I couldn't even function, how I wouldn't engage with family any longer, how I was taking up space in this world. I got to a point where I wondered, "Why am I being left on this Earth? Everyone would be better off if I were dead." Even though I thought I was alone - I wasn't! My companion of choice was the devil and his deceit! They complimented the darkness, the pain, the disgust I felt with myself.


My catalyst for climbing out of that dark hole came when my husband of 25 years came home one night and announced he was leaving me unless I got off the pain medication. I will leave this long story for another post, but suffice it to say that woke me up. I began a process of weaning off the medication, I decided to have the surgery that would hopefully change things, and I decided to start searching for God again. And here's the funny thing - He was right there - and had been all along. But I had to choose Him! He told me He loved me, He told me He shared my pain, and that, together, we could beat this addiction. And I did!



God, in His Grace and Mercy, gave me Peace!


I had the surgery in 2019 and the next morning, when the anesthesia wore off enough for me to be cognizant, I realized I was without pain! God, in His Grace and Mercy, gave me Peace. I try to live every single day now to the fullest. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot - there are still trials and hurts and issues and messy stuff! But I do what I can to focus on God. When I feel the devil creeping back into my thoughts, I surround myself with uplifting friends who can pull me back. I surround myself with loved ones who want the best for me and love me unconditionally. I stay in the bible and study all I can. And I remember how it was for me - the darkness, the fog, the hole I dug. Because with remembering comes the realization that I was not alone, and neither are you. We must make a choice of who and what we want to believe in. We must take action to not let Satan's lies become bigger than God's promises. He will give you peace!


You Are Not Alone!


Today, I don't know what your struggles may be. It may not be drugs, but maybe you too are struggling with an addiction of another type. I can tell you that there is hope, there is grace and mercy, and there is peace. Don't allow yourself to become addicted to Satan's lies. God is waiting for you to take that step toward Him. I praise Him for His goodness, I praise Him for His love, I praise Him for His Grace and Mercy!

I am not alone!
2 of my many grandchildren

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