Nevada Addicted: Opioid recovery is a life-long process

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Opioid addiction is affecting the Silver State. Hear one inspiring story about the road to recovery. (KSNV)

As Cynthia Jorgensen looked at a photo she painted during her time in rehab, she says it represents, "joy, happiness, and freedom."

Those are three concepts that are renewed in her life, since becoming clean a year and a half ago.

In the 1990's, a bad accident changed her life. A doctor prescribed her pain pills, and soon afterwards, she was addicted.

“I think I got 4 Percoset a day, and then the Oxycontin," Jorgensen said. “I was basically, in bed all day. Probably the tipping point was I was starting to miss family things.”

After talks with her family, she eventually checked in to rehab in 2017.

"Compared to my life before, I have a brand-new life. My sister-in-law calls me Cindy 2.0," she said. "Getting off of the pain pills, I'm a new person."

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Cindy 2.0 has to take life day by day. Addiction is a beast that can come and and try and claw at a person's commitment. She says she'll have to work on living in recovery for the rest of her life.

“It’s hard work being in recovery," she said. “But, it’s good work.”

Over at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, Director of Clinical Services Pamela Rinato echoed that point.

"It's a lifelong journey, it's not simple," she said. “Recovery is not something you do alone. You need a team, and the team has to consist of a sponsor, 12-step support, maybe a psychiatrist, a therapist – it’s really a team effort.”

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While recovering addicts live in recovery, while they may be sober, some may have to live with irreparable internal damage from drug abuse.

“I had a client who was a long-term heroin user and he has a very weak heart," Rinato said. "They cannot do surgery. So, that is a long-lasting effect.”

However, finding sobriety can only make a person's quality of life better, she says.

“Yeah there are long-lasting effects for some people, but the other things get healthy," Rinato said. “The longer you have under your belt so to speak in recovery, the stronger you are. You can feel happiness, there’s pleasure, you’re functioning, you’re living.”

Since she quit the pain pills, Jorgensen says she experiences less pain.

“My pain is better. My migraines are better. My back pain is a lot better," she said. “I want people to know there is hope, and you don’t need to be on those pain pills.”

Jorgensen has had surgical procedures since rehab, and says she takes pride in the fact that she got through the pain using Tylenol instead of Opioid pain pills.

“Keep working your recovery, because you don’t want to go back to that life. I sure don’t," she said.