The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

April 7, 2014

At 21, recovering heroin addict starts over

(Continued)

He returned to marijuana and cocaine, then moved on to heroin. Within six months, Lewis was mainlining.

Lewis never thought of quitting until last May when a childhood pal called, frantically seeking help. He and a girlfriend had taken heroin with a woman who'd overdosed and died. Lewis urged him to call the cops. Afterward, he says, his mind raced with thoughts of the death — and the prospect his friend could face criminal charges.

After a few days, he decided to get clean.

Lewis completed rehab and started taking methadone. But after six months, he says, he realized he'd replaced one addiction with another, so he entered a detox program. He has been sober since Oct. 12.

Lewis attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings and group therapy and has begun speaking to church and school groups about his heroin use.

His mother, Karen, who attends Nar-Anon family group meetings, is proud of her son's progress but says the past few years have been an ordeal.

"I really hate to admit it, but there's been a time or two when I thought ... it would be better for all of us if he could be put out of his misery," she says. "I'm not proud of it, but I try to explain to him that until you're on the receiving end, you don't know how I feel."

She worries that sounds too harsh but says she knows parents of other addicts have similar thoughts. She remains devoted to her son. "I will be there for him as long as I can," she says tearfully. "Cody's finally ... coming back to the person that he used to be."

Lewis says he now knows there are many good things he can do in life. But he still thinks of heroin.

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