Seeking hope after addiction: How drug addicts found their way to recovery
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Deaths from drug overdoses continue to rise in South Carolina year after year, according to the Charleston Center, a rehab facility for those dealing with substance abuse; at the Light the Way for Hope event held in Mount Pleasant, 330 of those lives were honored.
Members of the community gathered Wednesday at the Waterfront Park to honor those who lost their lives to overdoses in the Charleston area.
Stephen Cosic of Hampton, South Carolina says when he was 20 years old he shattered his calcaneus, the large bone forming the heel of the foot. He says doctors prescribed him oxycodone. After taking higher doses year after year, he says the doses were not strong enough.
“I switched to heroin and then when I was, I’d say 27–28,” Cosic said. “That’s when the heroine turned into fentanyl and that’s when things got really bad.”
Cosic says his doctor cut him off in 2020, he was thrown out of his house and one thing happened after another. He says he hit a wall.
“If I couldn’t survive under my parent’s roof with a car, almost $10,000 a month, how am I going to do it on the street with no car and $1,200 a month?” Cosic said. “So, that’s when I knew I needed help.”
Similar to Cosic, Amanda Mast says she was a drug addict for about eight years.
“It started with a C-section and it just kind of lead on,” Mast said. “Some in-laws, you know, found a benefit to control me and my husband with the drugs and so, it took off pretty quick.”
Mast says three months into her recovery, her husband died of an overdose. Cosic says he went to rehab four separate times before fully getting sober. Both Cosic and Mast work in recovery now helping people just like how they once were to get sober.
“You see people learn to actually, you know, actually like them, love themselves again,” Cosic said. “Which I thought wasn’t possible. You know, you can see people, you can just see it clicking.”
Mast says she wants people to know they can get help.
“It’s so important to me to change people’s perspectives,” Mast said. “If I just change one person’s perspective, my addiction, my suffering is not in vain. And my late husband, my children’s father, their suffering and his suffering in death even, is not in vain.”
Both Cosic and Mast say getting help is important no matter how long or how many relapses it takes.
“Things get better,” Cosic said. “They really do.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, both Charleston Center and WakeUp Carolina offer help. Charleston Center has a 24-hour helpline.
That number is 843-722-0100. You can reach WakeUp Carolina at 843-972-8154.
International Overdose Awareness Day is held on Aug. 31.
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