By: Olivia Endicott-Moore
I celebrated 7 years clean on August 11th, 2018.
There are quite a few important dates I hold near and dear to my heart – my first date with my husband, our wedding date, the birthdays of my daughters, when I made a decision for Jesus, when I was baptized and then when I got clean from my addiction to prescription drugs. I mark them on the calendar, I celebrate them in different ways and all of these are critically important to my journey so far – but being clean holds a little more weight.
Being clean means I get to continue to celebrate my wedding anniversary with my husband every year. Being clean means I get to buy birthday presents for my daughters. Being clean means I get to be a youth pastor and tell others about Jesus. Nothing would be possible in my life without that date of getting clean.
My addiction to prescription drugs started when I was 15 and living with a chronic pain condition. Doctors didn’t know what to do so I was prescribed a terrifying mix of painkillers, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety medication with no supervision and unlimited refills. I became hooked. As my body became more and more immune to the drugs, I had to take more and more pills to get the high I had become accustomed to. It led me to my life falling into shambles, weeks in a rehabilitation facility and fighting for my life in a hospital after an overdose.
Now, side note – I am not against the use of prescriptions to help with chemical imbalances, a disease or physical and emotional needs. But, I was incredibly weak, immature and not in an emotional place to be taking all these medications without supervision and support. There’s a big difference in taking a medication everyday and dealing with an addiction to prescription drugs. I had slipped into the darkness of the latter.
Different people use different drugs for different reasons – but mine was for an escape. I had dealt with depression and anxiety my whole entire life and I liked that for a couple hours with a high I wouldn’t have to feel that anymore. I liked that I wouldn’t have to feel the pain that my body was constantly in from my disease. But, it soon started to effect my mood, my personality and turned me into someone that God didn’t create me to be.
My marriage was effected by the choices I was making while high. I was constantly hanging out with friends but wasn’t really myself. I finally wasn’t able to keep a job anymore. I wasn’t able to volunteer for what I was passionate about. Then, physically it started tearing a part my insides – I would have seizures, night terrors and hallucinations that I couldn’t control. It only made my anxiety and depression worse, leading to two attempted overdoses.
If you’re struggling or know someone struggling with an addiction to drugs, it’s not just another vice. It’s never just another high, it’s never just another way to pass time and it’s never just something fun to do on a Friday night. It will over time do exactly what it did to me to you. It’s stealing your heart, your soul and who God created and designed YOU to be.
It only takes one time to change you.
Drugs will never fulfill you and they will never complete you.
If you’re using just for fun, it will eventually turn into a darkness that overcomes you.
The enemy loves to take advantage of those moments when you think you’re not at risk.
If you’re using for an escape, there is none through drugs – just a brick wall you will come crashing into.
If you’re reading this, searching for hope for a friend or family member – don’t give up on them. There is always hope. They need you now more than ever even when it’s hard to love them.
There’s hope on the other side.
Here’s how to break free from the chains of addiction – surrender. Every single day. I laid in a hospital bed in rehab screaming at the top of my lungs at God that I was done trying to live my life by myself and that I needed Him to guide me. That I surrendered every detail over to Him and that I was not capable of doing this by myself. GAME CHANGER.
Surrender is an everyday choice though. When my feet hit the floor every morning, I whisper – “I surrender” to God. Recovery is not a quick fix for an addiction. I for the rest of my life will be a recovering drug addict fighting for my life. That’s why surrender is so important.
I am now clean. I should be dead.
After rehab and getting clean I sought out a support system through local recovery groups, a church that embraced me and luckily for me, a family and friend network that encouraged me. Not everyone is as lucky to have all of that – but there is always, always, always hope.
Drug use is scary. It is dark. It is serious. You are not alone. Don’t give up.
Olivia Endicott-Moore has been serving in youth ministry since she was 15 years old. Through ministry, she realized her love for working with teams, her talent for planning events and her deep passion for serving students and church leaders. For years, Olivia applied her administrative gifts in the fast-paced fashion industry then left to help lead the student ministry at one of the largest churches in the nation and eventually had the privilege of serving as a Middle School Pastor for two years in Lakeland, FL. Eventually, she felt led to make her passion for student ministry a full-time vocation, founding Bolts & Feathers. She works with church teams and ministry partners across the country to build innovative and creative student ministry events founded in the gospel. She works alongside ministry teams from start to finish–from creative brainstorming, to social media promotion, to working the actual event. She is passionate about empowering leaders to provide a fun environment…but above all an environment that points students to lasting truth! Olivia travels across the country to work with ministry teams from her home-base in Colorado, where she lives with her husband Jason and her daughters. She spends her free time drinking lots of Starbucks and thrift shopping.