Patient Finds Hope and Inner Strength Through Recovery

For Janet Crafton, everyday joys are still a novelty: videos on makeup trends, classic horror films, visiting the park with her 9-year-old son. For many years, narcotics and the money she needed to buy them dictated everything else. She’s grateful the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center Narcotics Treatment Program helped her get her life back: “I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t learn about this place.”

The program, located at 832 N. Meridian St., provides treatment for clients with opiate dependence, including medication-assisted treatment and individual, group and family counseling.

In Crafton’s case, opiate use started in her teens. She had used marijuana earlier, but her addiction to harder drugs started during the opioid crisis, when her life began to unravel. She and her boyfriend were “pretty much homeless” at one point, says Crafton. “When I was at my worst in my addiction,” she says, “I overdosed, and I was in a coma for four days . . . . ”

When she woke, she learned that Child Protective Services had started an investigation on her and taken away custody of her child.

For ten years, Crafton has attempted to stay clean through medication, outpatient therapies and medical providers, but says before joining the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center Narcotics Treatment Program, she had “no luck, no success at it at all.”

She was skeptical she’d get in when a friend recommended the program and says, “But I called, and two days later I had an appointment.”

That’s when everything started to change for Crafton, who has now been in treatment for two and a half years. “This is the first time . . . that I’ve been successful in my recovery,” she says, “and the longest too.”

The providers at Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center are unlike those she’s encountered before because “they actually want to help you,” she says, “instead of, ‘Here’s your medication and go home . . . . ’”

“I’ve never had help like that before,” Crafton says. She praises the warmth of the staff, adding, “You don’t get treated like just some junkie.”

Crafton appreciates all the methods involved in her treatment, especially individual counseling. “Because it just makes you feel like you are important enough to have that time and somebody to listen . . . . ” she says. Her counselor, Jessey Mason, LCAC, LCSW, the lead licensed clinician in the program, is “very passionate about getting people help and making sure that they’re on the right path for them.”

She values the support of group counseling, especially a group in the program devoted to grief and loss. “When you are going through addiction, you suffer a lot of loss,” Crafton says. “People turn their backs on you, or they don’t want to put up with you anymore.” But, she explains, “having people that are around you that are going through the same things that you’re going through, that makes a big difference.”

She recognizes that her experience in the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center Narcotics Treatment Program isn’t all about struggle. It has also “showed me my power that I have within myself . . . . ” she says. To document her achievements, she asks for updated copies of her clean drug test. “I can go show my mom,” she says.

Since the start of her recovery, Crafton says she has been rebuilding trust with her family and with her son’s dad. She and her boyfriend, once homeless, are thrilled to have their own place. Even more rewarding for Crafton is time with her son, Jordan. She has plans to take him on a downtown tour and sledding in the park. And she, who struggled with her GED while on Oxycontin, is now Jordan’s teacher. She walks him through his online class lessons, marveling that “going from being an addict to homeschooling my child that at one point I lost custody of, getting that back, having my son in my life again, it feels like a 360.”

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