Updated: Jun 28
For me it started June 18th, 2007. After hours of surgery to repair my femoral artery after being shot by a sniper in Iraq, I spent the next three months hooked up to a morphine drip. For the next three months I had an endless supply of morphine. When I was discharged from the hospital I was prescribed multiple prescriptions to deal with the pain. Soon I was assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit where I met other veterans healing from combat injuries. We were all in the same boat: Injured, away from home, and want to feel as numb as possible to escape reality for just a couple of hours.
The term "battle buddy" took on a different meaning for me then. We were all buddies sharing our prescriptions with each other while we wallowed in self-pity. One Friday night I went out with one of my best friends for a night on the town. At the end of the night, he fell face first off the curb badly injuring his face. He was so full of oxycontin and vodka he didn't even realize that he had broken his nose. That was Friday night...Sunday morning he was dead. The Warrior Transition Unit flew me to Omaha for his funeral. His mother looked me right in the eye and said, "you were the last one with my son, tell me what happened to him". The pain in her eye and the crackle in her voice are forever burned into my memory. It was at that moment I quit abusing opioids.
I’ve never shared this part of my recovery story, however with the opioid crisis we are facing in America I want to help save lives. Veterans are at more risk than ever to die from an accidental overdose. I recently worked with Mary Loftus from Emory to share my story. Hopefully it will inspire that veteran to put down the pills or give that battle buddy the courage to speak with their battle who abuses prescriptions. I thank you all for your time and please do not be afraid to send me a message to find out more. Let’s save lives :)