LIMA — Many nights for Kylie Craft, 20, of Lima, can go like this.
Going to bed is an anxious time. She checks under her pillow for the needle full of heroin she used to have ready to go for when she awoke. It is no longer there. Often, the night may be sleepless.
The drug used to set off chemical receptors in her brain that would give her increased feelings of pleasure. Dependent on that feeling, going without it sometimes will drive her to depression. Sometimes she may feel the need to shower after sweating from the withdrawal. Her body aches, and sometimes abdominal pain or nausea will set in.
Craft experienced many nights like this after finally making a life decision to battle her heroin addiction. Still, she knows things could be much worse. She knows she could be in a position where she didn’t have the support structure around her to get her over her addiction of heroin. Still, it is an everyday battle.
“It is a hard battle,” Craft said. “Sometimes you wake up and you just want to use. It isn’t day by day. It is second by second.”
Craft began smoking cigarettes and marijuana by age 9. At age 13, her then-boyfriend introduced her to Percocet and Xanax. It was just months later that her grandmother died, and she was looking for more of a pick-me-up. Bath salts and crack cocaine became the aid to get her through the day. Then, at age 14, someone said “just try this” and introduced her to heroin.
“I instantly fell in love with it,” Craft said.
Now looking for a way to support their habit, Craft and her boyfriend found any way possible. They stole from friends, parents, grandparents. Craft said she stole bank cards to purchase items to barter. Finally, she was caught stealing from Kohl’s. It was that day that started her on the hard road to recovery.
Craft is now involved Allen County Drug Court and on a treatment program with Coleman Professional Services. She said detoxing from her addiction is tough both mentally and physically. Craft said as part of her recovery, she takes Celexa for depression, Trazodone to help her sleep as well as medication to lower her blood pressure. She also regularly receives a Vivitrol injection, which is used to prevent relapse in people who became dependent on opioid medicine and then stopped using it. It can help keep you from feeling a “need” to use the opioid.
“You feel like something is missing,” Craft said. “Sometimes you just wake up and you want to use. You used it to numb the physical pain and the emotional pain. It was your only way out.”
Craft does not or never did receive methadone, a drug commonly used in heroin addiction treatment. Her “cold turkey” approach has led to a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of cold sweats.
“You take a lot of showers,” Craft said.
Craft realizes she has more support that afforded to some people in her position. Her family and friends have been behind her. Even many of her “user” friends know of her recovery and have refused to give her a fix. She is now engaged and has landed employment. Her employers know of her battle and have been supportive. However, mostly, she thinks of her 6-year-old sister, who is only a few years away from when she herself began her road to addiction.
“I think I will always be an addict,” Craft said. “It is kind of hard because it is all you have known. When you see some of the old crowd, it makes you want to use. You just think of the cost. All the pain I have caused people, they still love me but sometimes it is hard to forget. I feel like I will always have that user name and there will be some people that don’t believe in me. Still, I think I have to sometimes give myself a little credit, I am going to beat this. I am beating this.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter @LanceMihm.