Dominick’s Story

Dominick entered this world addicted to Methadone. His parents were both drug users and his mother abused Methadone when he was conceived. Dominick, however, didn’t start Methadone on his own until his 20s. He started smoking pot with friends around 17. He tried cocaine and continued experimenting with other drugs. He liked the way it made him feel. “It allowed me to leave reality. I was always trying to figure out how I could try it (a drug) and not get into trouble,” he said.
Dominick was raised by his grandparents in the suburbs of Chicago. At age 24, his grandmother passed away. The loss was too great and he began experiencing panic attacks which he was able to treat with physician-prescribed Benzodiazepines.
It was after having his wisdom teeth removed, that he started abusing prescription opiates when he was prescribed Vicodin for the pain management. It was the first time he had taken a painkiller. “I had never had it before. It gave me energy and didn’t knock me out. I liked how it made me feel,” he said.
It was this continued “feel good” path that led Dominick to try stronger opiates. Subsequently, his criminal background started. “I started looking for what was even stronger. I was just going up the ladder.”
For the next three years, Dominick manufactured and forged prescriptions. He would use and sell the pills to support his drug habit. In an effort to increase his drug supply, Dominick visited emergency rooms complaining of back pain to score pills. “I spent a lot of time learning prescription lingo and symbols. Eventually, though, I got caught,” he said.
Dominic spent some time in jail and received two years of probation. While Dominick spent time in and out of the court system, his grandfather was diagnosed with late stage cancer. Opting to live his last two months at home, his grandfather’s strong prescriptions and pain killers were at Dominick’s fingertips. “I started abusing Methadone like I abused everything else. I just have that kind of mind,” he said.
It was around this time when Dominick missed a scheduled court date. He was eventually picked up on a warrant and sent to Kane County Jail.
Dominick tried to get clean. He worked through Illinois’ Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) program for seven months and spent 90 days in an inpatient rehab facility before moving to a halfway house and eventually, a 3/4 way house.
Sadly, the pull of addiction overcame Dominick once again.
When he ran out of pills, Dominick went looking for heroin in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. He found what he was looking for within 20 minutes. He began abusing Methadone again.
Dominick’s turning point occurred when he learned that his girlfriend was pregnant with their now three-year-old daughter. Through Suboxone treatment research online, Dominick made the decision to get clean and stay clean. He contacted Brightside and he immediately felt hopeful. “They said I could come in right away. I was getting responses at other places that were more like a two-month waitlist,” he said.
Dominick credits Brightside Clinic with helping him kick his Methadone habit. When he started experiencing withdrawals, Dominick said Brightside was just a phone call away. When the withdrawals became unbearable, he was prescribed Dominic some sedatives to give him some relief. “It was an instant flu. I was crawling out of my skin. I couldn’t keep still. I was just so sick,” he said.
Dominick said that the staff of Brightside has struck with him through his departure from Methadone and he considers staff at Brightside his friends. He has continued treatment with Brightside and has started counseling with Dr. Copeland, Brightside’s Clinical Director. The team is helping Dominick come up with a treatment program to address other health issues, including his panic attacks. “So, it’s not just about taking the medication. There are other areas. It brings a tear to my eye…that place,” Dominick emphasized.
Since his departure from Methadone, Dominic, now 36 years old, is finally using the potential he always knew he had. He has a good job with benefits and has not missed a day of work. He and his girlfriend have their own home and their daughter in in an excellent daycare. “My main goal is taking care of my daughter and making sure she and my girlfriend have what they need. We’re stable. Brightside really changed my life. They gave me that foundation,” he said.