Quitting Cold Turkey

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Continuing our courageous conversation on opioid abuse: A unique story about overcoming the pull of drugs.

Fighting addiction is no easy task, but there are some who manage to do it on their own.

Our Melanie Chapman spoke with a man who says he had to hit rock bottom before he made the decision to pull himself out of his situation.

Quade Washington says he’s been sober for nearly four years and today he feels like a new man.

But his path to get here was not easy – he fought addiction for six years and he fell deeper and deeper into the darkness.

Washington said, “It started after I got out of high school. I was hanging out with friends and mostly our thing was drinking and I had another friend that kept offering me pain pills, offering and offering. God, sobriety became the most boring thing in the world.”

Washington said his entire state of mind completely changed.  

For him, there was no fun anymore without drugs or alcohol. He’d do anything to feed his addiction.

Washington said, “It didn’t matter what I had to go through to get my next fix or whatever I was going to do. Whether it was pills or meth whatever it was, I just got to be in that frame of mind.”

The drug of choice for Washington he acknowledges was pretty much anything. Mostly norcos, hydrocordone, zanex or percasets. He and his friends needed and wanted that constant high.

Washington recalls when he hit rock bottom, “I got into an altercation with my parents. I was withdrawing off very high amounts of methadone, which is for heroin addicts, and I was drinking. I was told in a letter that I had drank 17 beers in under an hours time. I ended up getting into a fist fight with both of my parents.”

His parents at the time were in their late 60’s.

Washington said, “I don’t remember the part with my mom, but I remember the part with my father, I remember shoving him into a hallway and he had fallen down and when he hit the tile floor, the sound, it almost made me throw up immediately. I heard something break and something heavy broke. He had just gotten out of having the ball on his hip replaced. And so I found out through letters that I’d actually pushed that new ball thorough the back of my father’s hip and shattered it.”

Police were called and he spent 17-months in the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland. Washington felt like he was the victim, he had a black eye and bruises all over the face he says. He thought he had been beaten up. It took him about a week behind bars to clear his mind and realize what had happened -he beat his head against the wall and attacked his parents.”

Washington said, “I built a foundation of just pure hatred of drugs and what we had allowed ourselves to become on drugs. And just from there you know I knew that I could never turn back and go into something like that because look what I had done. I had taken the people who loved me the most, the people who raised me, the people who put me together and I had physically abused them.”

Washington believes his time behind bars was a blessing. It opened his eyes. He was separated from a baby boy whom he loves dearly and decided not to go back to that dark, cruel and dangerous place. 

Washington said, “It was depressing. I was angry at myself, and I just don’t think there is anything that will ever welcome that part of my life back. It was a simple decision and it came down to one choice making my choices in a selfish way or making my choices in a selfless way. That’s what separates us addicts from normal people.”

Today Washington holds down a good job. He has a positive support group around him and stays away from enablers.  

He’s engaged and expecting a baby girl. He found a second chance to be a good role model and father. It took time to find a better future, but he says it can be done.

Washington said, “If you want to get sober bad enough and get your life on track you will just make that decision and you will grab it and you will run with it.”

Washington believes if he didn’t get his life on track he likely would not be alive today – happy and smiling.

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