This is the sixth article in a series examining the opioid crisis in Fayette County.
Fayette County resident Jacob Wilson, 25, has never been someone who likes to ask for help. After nine years of abusing heroin, however, he knew he needed to change his life.
He said he realized “all the people I’ve hurt that care about me. I was also living on the streets and that’s no life for a person. I’ve also lost a lot of friends through drug use.” In addition, after being revived from overdoses by Narcan four times, he “knew if I didn’t do something I was going to die.” So, Wilson reached out to an aunt who took him to the hospital and, from there, he went to treatment at the Floyd Simantel Clinic in Chillicothe.
Wilson completed a 90-day drug and alcohol treatment program and is now enrolled in the clinic’s mental health program. Once he completes this program he plans to continue his treatment at Oaks Recovery in South Carolina. The cost of this treatment will be covered by a scholarship he received at the CommUNITY event on Aug. 27 in Fayette County. During this event, about 25o people came together at the Bible Baptist Temple to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and to share stories of hope and recovery. After the event, five individuals were awarded treatment scholarships worth a combined value of over $100,000.
Wilson said his use of heroin began when he was 16-years-old when a friend’s cousin gave him the drug.
“I tried it and of course I loved it,” he said. Soon, he found that he needed the drug every day. “When I was younger I wanted to experiment but I didn’t think it would escalate like it did. I mean, I’m sure no one thinks that,” he said.
Over the years, Wilson said he has had some periods of sobriety, but during these times the thought of returning to drug use as soon as he could was always in the back of his mind. Now, he said, he is committed to long-term, lifelong sobriety. He said he feels “amazing, honestly, I’ve never felt better.” He said, during recovery, it’s important to “keep finding more sober support.”
Wilson said he has found “a whole new support system. I’ve gotten involved with church, I’ve gone through the 12 steps.” He also said, “Cody [Bowen] and Resurrection Recovery helped me. They had a big part in it. I’m a lot happier now. I’m talking to my family again. I’ve got people who truly care about me now. I’ve never felt better.”
Wilson’s time at the clinic was briefly interrupted when Ross County law enforcement took him from the clinic to the Fayette County Jail. He was then indicted on criminal charges from his past. He was scheduled to appear in court on Monday and he said he faces potential prison time.
Wilson spent only a few hours in the jail before being bonded out. He then immediately returned to the clinic.
“It was a shame that it happened and they came and got me out of treatment,” he said, but “it didn’t affect my motivation, my dedication to it, it was just like a slight hiccup.”
Wilson hopes to have his court case resolved before going to South Carolina to complete his treatment.
His message for others who are struggling with addiction is, “You’re not in this alone.” He also stressed that “recovery is a lifelong process, really, it’s not going to happen overnight” and “you need to put in as much time and dedication as you possibly can to rebuild your life.” He added that it’s important to ask for help, even though, “I know asking for help may be the most difficult thing for a person to do.”
Personally, he said, “I like to do things on my own but I knew this was a thing I couldn’t do on my own.”
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2