Troy H.’s escape from 10 years of opioid abuse - Sovereign Health Group
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Troy H.’s escape from 10 years of opioid abuse


At the age of 17, Troy H. was a technology enthusiast and athlete. At Hopewell High School in Virginia, he enjoyed playing tennis, football and baseball, even joining his classmates to become the state champions in baseball during his junior year. Little did he know that during one random tennis outing, his whole life would change.

The car accident

Troy and some friends had enjoyed a few games of tennis at the school courts until one member of the group got into her car to leave. As a joke, Troy and a number of friends piled on top of her 1997 Nissan Maxima. Some clambered onto the trunk, while Troy and a buddy hopped onto the hood. Unexpectedly, the driver hit the gas and kept going. Most of the kids simply slipped off the car as it started to move, but a tennis court fence blocked Troy’s safe escape. When he tried to slide down the hood and get his feet onto the pavement, he was sucked under the wheels.

The injuries he sustained in what he describes as a “freak accident” included a shattered collarbone, a missing patch of scalp and a five-inch hole in his side. After an emergency airlift to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and several surgeries, Troy was left with a rod in his collarbone and a great deal of pain. Doctors prescribed him 30 milligrams of OxyCodone.

He bounced back from his injuries, even taking the driver of the car to senior prom, and went on to pursue a college education in computer science. All the while, he continued taking the OxyCodone to deal with his lingering pain. After three or four years, his prescription expired, but by this point, he was addicted.

Addiction takes hold of his body and life

Troy turned to getting painkillers off the street. This got him in trouble with the law when police found unprescribed opioid pills on the floor of his car. He even started mixing Xanax with the pain pills. As his addiction worsened, he would occasionally black out and wake up in the hospital, later finding out that he had experienced a seizure as a result of withdrawal. This happened as many as 10 times.

As his life got more and more out of control, Troy made several attempts to kick the addiction. He attended a few church-based outreach programs for troubled young people. The programs did not give enrollees a chance to detox, forcing them to engage in physical activity while still in the grips of withdrawal. For Troy, however, the main failure of these programs was restricting contact with his family. Without being able to talk to his loved ones for a month, or receive visitors for 60 days, he lost his motivation.


Always close with his family, Troy spent his teen years taking yearly trips to Encinitas, California, to visit his aunt. After seeing Troy’s attempts to overcome his addiction, his aunt looked into treatment programs near her and recommended Sovereign Health. Troy flew to California and entered Sovereign’s treatment facility in San Clemente. This proved to be the turning point in his recovery.

NAD detox and treatment at Sovereign Health

At Sovereign, Troy began a regimen of nutritionally assisted detox. The treatment allowed him to pass through the withdrawal phase of chemical dependence without experiencing another seizure. He also attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings to help him make the decision to quit for good.

Troy describes his 30-day stay at Sovereign as being “like a vacation.” He had people looking out for him, but still maintained his freedom. He was able to bring his PlayStation and books to keep himself entertained. If he felt unwell, he could lie down until he felt better. When he wanted to go somewhere, he could ask a house manager to take him. Whether it was a trip to the beach or just going outside to toss a ball around, he could get active when he wanted. Most importantly, he received the support of his family throughout his stay.

After more than 10 years of addiction, Troy is now sober and enjoying his recovery. He attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings at his local church every Monday and Wednesday, where he talks to other addicts in need. He tells them that he knows how it feels to live with chronic pain and crave the relief of opioids.

After 10 years, he never thought he could defeat his addiction, but he did. The most important step is making the decision to change. Once you put it in your head that you want to break the habit, then, with help, it will happen.

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