Recovering heroin addict shares his story
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVC) - Aaron Smith began struggling with addiction at 17 years old, after a doctor removed his wisdom teeth and handed him a prescription.
"Once I got pain pills I knew, like drinking and everything went out the window. I found what I liked," Smith said.
He says that feeling eventually led him to heroin -- a cheaper, better high, or so he thought.
"The feeling -- like once you do a shot -- is the best feeling in the world. There is no comparison. Nothing can hurt you," he said.
His tolerance grew, and so did his habit. Soon it began costing him nearly $400 a day.
"It's hard for family members, because I've had people tell me all my life, 'You have to get help. You have to get help.' I know for me, I wasn't going to do it until I was ready," Smith said.
After racking up several felony charges, Smith says six years ago that time finally came for him.
"Just going to jail over and over, you just get tired of it," he said. "I just got sick and tired of the life."
Smith moved away from his hometown in Memphis, and came to treatment in Chattanooga. However, like many recovering addicts, Smith recently relapsed.
"It's hard to get out of that cycle once you get into it," he said.
Now, fighting to break his habit again, Smith has been clean for nearly three months with the help and support of other people living sober.
"That helps a lot. I actually live in a sober living home," he said. It's just five guys that are sober, going to meetings. The support helps a lot."
Smith is back at work, employed by the same company he was before he relapsed. He says it's because his boss decided to give him a second chance.
We have a new section of our website for those looking for help with heroin addiction. Go to the "News" tab and click "Hooked on Heroin."
NewsChannel 9 will also stream a live Town Hall debate on the heroin epidemic on Wednesday.
Our sister station WJLA in Washington, D.C. will be hosting that event. We will be streaming the debate beginning at 7 p.m.
If you would like to join the conversation, you can share your opinions and ideas on social media using the hashtag "Your Voice Your Future."