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Routine Trip to Dentist Leads to 15-Year Addiction

“I thought oh, this is the answer. This makes me happy. I can be happy 24/7. It never has to shut off. I’m a better mother. I’m a better wife. I’m a better friend, because I’m joyful,” Jeanne Carreker says of the time she began taking painkillers.

When Jeanne was a young mother of two, she struggled with the daily grind of being a stay-at-home mom and began to slip into depression. She thought she found the answer to her problem when she was prescribed pain medication after she had dental work. “You once again enjoy routine life. If you’re high you enjoy doing the dishes,” she says.  
    
When the prescription ran out, Jeanne found it difficult to function and sought out ways to get more: “I would go to the doctor and fake symptoms that needed to be treated. I would meet people and buy pills from them.”

Jeanne’s husband became concerned about her ever-growing dependency, and convinced her to seek help at a methadone clinic, which treats addiction with a synthetic narcotic similar to morphine. “Honestly I just wanted to be high, and I pretended to get help, and methadone took me to a much larger scale of addiction,” she says. “I really, I did not know that I was trading something so small for something so large.”

Jeanne was instantly hooked, but there was another unintended consequence of her methadone use. “After a couple of years, my husband began using also,” she says. “I believe it was to cope with the lifestyle that I had created for us.”

Over the next several years, their drug use escalated, and they lost custody of their two young daughters. “Your children are wondering, you know, why does my mother do this? Does she love me?’ And, of course you just get high again and you block it out,” Jeanne says.    

Jeanne and her husband began dealing drugs to support their habit and were eventually arrested. Jeanne had been raised in the church, but alone in her jail cell, she questioned whether anything she had been taught was real. “It started me down a path of, ‘God is not real. He can’t be real. He’s mythical. And it also relieved me of consequences.”

Once released from jail, they continued selling drugs and began to make their own meth. When their home was raided in 2010, Jeanne was charged with possession, but her husband was charged with manufacturing. He faced life in prison without parole. “When I got out of jail and he was headed to prison and I knew that I would not see him, I would not spend the rest of my life with him anyway, that is when I hit my bottom,” Jeanne says. “I would do anything to escape the reality that he would be serving time for not only crimes we both committed, but something that I basically pulled him into anyway.”

Jeanne cut off contact with her husband and did whatever it took to get her next fix. “I never not accepted his calls. And of course the reason I did not accept his calls is because the things that I was doing to obtain drugs so that I could stay high and he knew this.”
 
Jeanne’s husband finally got her on the phone and begged her to enter the Lovelady center, a faith-based rehab facility in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I came in not believing that anything would work. I came in okay with the fact that I was going to die an addict,” she says. “That there was no joy beyond substances. There was no joy beyond something I could manufacture for myself.”

But over time the message began to sink in. “Something started to penetrate. You know, what if He is real? What if there is a Creator?’ What if all this crap that you’ve been thinking for many years is wrong?”

Then one night at the center, after fifteen years of addiction, Jeanne cried out to God. “I just –I said ‘Lord, I know that you created me for a purpose. I know that you want me to do something. Help me. I don’t want to be this way anymore. I want to be saved. I want to live for you, and the joy that came to me--I can’t describe. There is no drug that matches it.”

Jeanne surrendered her life to Christ. Her husband, still in prison, had also become a Christian, and the founder of the Lovelady center intervened on his behalf. “Our founder, Miss Brenda, spoke with the authorities and asked them if they would please drop the manufacturing charge against him, and release him into her custody and see what she could do with us together as a couple, to help us,” Jeanne says.

The charge was dropped, and together Jeanne and her husband received counseling and prayer and freedom from their addictions. They reconciled with their daughters and became a family again. Today Jeanne is a director at the Lovelady Center and shares the true source of her joy with others just like her.

“The needs that He has met in my life that no drug could meet or do for me, are worthiness, acceptance, love--true love—and purpose, Jeanne says. “I believe that to know why you were born--because we all are born for a reason--and to know what that reason is, results in unexplainable joy in just your everyday life,” Jeanne says. “I believe that part of my purpose is to tell other people,

Hey, look what He’s done in my life.’ If He does it in one, He will do it in another life.”

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