Julie Hartman works as an administrative assistant, and most importantly, she is a wife and a mother of three kids, ages 10, 7, and 2. However, she could not imagine that she will be the one who will ruin her wonderful life with her husband and children.
It all started when she felt backache while lifting a TV at home and it resulted not being able to sleep well at night, so she decided to see a doctor and when she went through an MRI, mild arthritis was detected. Her doctor prescribed her the painkiller Vicodin and told her to take the medicine only when needed. At first, Mrs. Hartman really needed to take the pill to lessen her back pain, but through regular visits to a chiropractor, her back improved. However, even after a couple of months that her back was back in a good condition, she still continued to take the medicine and Mrs. Hartman said that she loved the confidence and control that the drug made her feel. When she ran out of Vicodin, she just simply went back to the doctor and pretend the pain she feels and would even use her kids as an excuse saying, “I am a mother and I need to be able to function well” just to get a refill.
As Mrs. Hartman’s addiction to the drug developed over the following year, she began doing things that her old self wouldn’t do: going to different doctors and lying to them about her pain just to get added prescriptions, and stealing Vicodin from her friends’ and relatives’ cabinets because she was afraid that she would run out of drugs. For three years, she continuously took the medicine, but couldn’t accept that she was addicted. She kept on telling herself things like “I’m ok and I’m not bad.” Julie Hartman couldn’t believe that her addiction started to take control of her life.
On August 31, 2009, her denial about her addiction unexpectedly came to an end when she walked downstairs on a Monday morning saw her husband together with a counselor who was an expert in addiction intervention, her sisters, and friends from church and her pastor. When the counselor confronted her about her drug use, her husband cried for 15 minutes straight and it was the first time Mrs. Hartman saw her husband cry. Her husband told her that he had caught her lying many times, she had missed so many events of their children, and he no longer trusted her. Her husband even threatened her that he’ll take their kids away if she refused to get help.
But, among all the people in the room that day, she heard a small voice very clearly. While crying, one of her kids said “Please, Mommy, go get help. I don’t care if you miss my first day of middle school. Just go.” From that little voice, Mrs. Hartman realized that she really needed treatment to save her life and her family as well.