This dis­ease is not a choice; it is a daily strug­gle

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By ANNE WHYMAN as told to Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple

My name is Anne Whyman, and I am an ad­dict. I am also one hell of a fighter, war­rior, sur­vivor and liv­ing proof that there is hope af­ter heroin.

Some of you might re­mem­ber me from March 2013 when my house got raided by the Drug En­force­ment Agency and Eas­ton Po­lice Depart­ment for a metham­phetamine lab.

For most, that alone would be enough to “wake up,” but it wasn’t for me. It was only the awak­ing of the sleep­ing mon­ster within. Al­though I thought I had hit rock bot­tom, I wasn’t even close. My life spi­raled into pure chaos.

I had never been in trou­ble with the law. I had earned a de­gree in crim­i­nal jus­tice and was an amaz­ing mother to my three gor­geous chil­dren. Yet there I sat in jail all be­cause of my dis­ease.

I have met many in­cred­i­ble women dur­ing my nu­mer­ous in­car­cer­a­tions. Many do not be­long there, but I also met a few I shouldn’t have, and af­ter my re­lease, I was in­tro­duced to the devil.

Heroin is like a chunk of ice that moved over my heart and froze any feel­ings I had left. At the time, it seemed like the per­fect es­cape from my prob­lems, but over four months, what seemed to be my new best friend be­came my own liv­ing hell.

The pain from detox­ing off opi­ates can be ex­cru­ci­at­ing, and I couldn’t take any more pain, so I broke down and turned to the only peo­ple I knew would help, my par­ents.

I ended up get­ting a bed at the Whit­sitt Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter, detoxed and 21 days later walked out a new woman. I stayed clean from heroin, and three months later, I was pulled over for an ex­pired tag, which led to my car be­ing searched. What was be­lieved to be a small rock of heroin was found on the floor un­der my seat.

I was ar­rested, and af­ter post­ing bail, my worst fear came true. The Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity-Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE) de­tained me, and I faced de­por­ta­tion back to Eng­land. I sat for six months in fed­eral cus­tody, spend­ing many hours read­ing and learn­ing in the im­mi­gra­tion law li­brary. I won my case, and the judge granted me can­cel­la­tion of re­moval.

It was a huge wakeup call, and I thought it was the hard­est thing I would ever face.

But I was wrong. I thought I had won my bat­tle with ad­dic­tion, but in Fe­bru­ary 2016, just shy of one year clean, I re­lapsed and was again charged with pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance.

In June 2016, I was ad­mit­ted into the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shock Trauma’s in­ten­sive care unit and was told that had I not gone in, I would have died within a day. I spent a month fight­ing for my life, en­dured mul­ti­ple surg­eries, and I fi­nally had to face my feel­ings and cope with the guilt from my path of de­struc­tion.

I hurt so many peo­ple who love and care about me. Even af­ter that, with all the phys­i­cal and emo­tional pain, it still wasn’t enough of a les­son for me. I re­lapsed again, and af­ter liv­ing on the streets of Bal­ti­more, run­ning from the po­lice with war­rants and slowly killing my­self, I was saved by my lov­ing hus­band, and I will for­ever be grate­ful.

There are many peo­ple who have helped me on my path to re­cov­ery, and for them I am so grate­ful. Eastern Shore Psy­cho­log­i­cal Ser­vices is an amaz­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I truly be­lieve they saved me from slip­ping back into the grip of heroin.

I am also be­yond blessed to have two amaz­ing par­ents who have sup­ported me when most would have turned their backs. Thank you to my mom, Gil­lian Whyman, for your un­con­di­tional love and for tak­ing such good care of my son; thank you to my dad, Christo­pher Whyman. Thank you to Tide­wa­ter Ro­tary Club for help­ing raise aware­ness about ad­dic­tion by sup­port­ing Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple.

It is so im­por­tant for peo­ple to un­der­stand that this dis­ease is not a choice; it is a daily strug­gle. I didn’t think there was any hope for me, but to all those who are still sick and suf­fer­ing — if you want so­bri­ety, you can achieve it. All you need is the faith the size of a mus­tard seed.

I thank God every day for giv­ing me a sec­ond chance at life. Be­cause of my ad­dic­tion to heroin, I was de­tained for a sec­ond time by ICE and de­ported back to Lon­don. It is a huge price to pay for a dis­ease, but I truly be­lieve ev­ery­thing hap­pens for a rea­son. To­day, I am proud to say I am nine months clean, and it feels in­cred­i­ble.

If you have a per­sonal story and are will­ing to share (anony­mously is fine) please email tal­bot goe­spur­ple@gmail.com. To find out more about Tal­bot Goes Pur­ple, go on­line to www.tal­bot­goe­spur­ple.org.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ANNE WHYMAN

A re­cent photo of Anne Whyman, who is in re­cov­ery from heroin ad­dic­tion.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF ANNE WHYMAN

Anne Whyman in the in­ten­sive care unit at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shock Trauma Cen­ter in Bal­ti­more.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.