As part of KOLR10’s special series focusing on heroin addiction in the Ozarks, we are bringing you the stories of people who are struggling, have overcome addiction, work with those in the battle, and families impacted by this tragedy. 

Former addict and current certified substance abuse counselor Willie Carter shares his story with us – of overcoming addiction and helping others do the same.

“You lose control. There is no control.. it controls you you don’t control it.
I became addicted to heroin when I was 17 years old.. it’s primary it’s chronic once you have it you will always have it.

When you first start using it, most people it makes ’em sick.  You throw up,  but once you’re past that it’s a euphoric feeling people want over and over again.
No ifs ands and buts about it, I went to bed and I knew in the morning I would be up and know if I didnt have drugs myself to sell, I would be out hunting”

It’s a horrible thing, withdrawing from opiates, cold turkey.  Aches and pains, sleeplessness, one of the most miserable feelings a human being can have in its body.

The only time I had the opportunity to be clean is when I got arrested and locked up.  After my last time, my fifth incarceration in Missouri, I had enough and I decided to try something different.  

I had what they call a spiritual awakening. My clean day is Nov 20, 1993, so 23 years in November.
I’m blessed to be able to help other people. I never dreamt I would be clean and live a life like I am today”.