Parker Jarmon’s drug use started early. He was only 13 years old when he first started smoking marijuana. Before he smoked, he was a loner—a lost soul. But marijuana changed all that. He finally fit in.
In tenth grade, Parker got an Adderall prescription, but after a year on that drug, he craved something more. He quickly moved on to abusing Xanax and opiates, getting them from friends and other people he knew.
Eventually, he graduated high school and moved to Corpus Christi. He stayed there for a semester of school before moving back to Austin, but as soon as he got away from his parents, things got out of control. He started using heroin—a lifestyle that continued for a full six years.
Trapped in a Downward Spiral
“I remember the first time I did heroin,” Parker says, thinking back to his first experience. “I felt like a God. Nothing could mess with me, I couldn’t do anything wrong and everything was how it was supposed to be.”
Though the power of this euphoric feeling was strong, the reality of a life in drug addiction soon set in. Every single day was a hectic race for Parker. He had a job but was also selling drugs on the side to make ends meet. He had to come up with several hundred dollars each day just to keep his habit going. It was rough, but nothing really mattered to him. As long as he got high, everything felt fine. Although, it really wasn’t fine at all.
Parker didn’t have a place to call home, but he was never really homeless. “I always found a place to stay,” he says. “I would use people but make myself useful to them to make it seem like I wasn’t using them.”
The six-years of heroin abuse raced on and Parker found himself trapped in a downward spiral of addiction and misery. Heroin was life. And there was nothing that could stop him from chasing it.
The first time Parker’s family caught him with heroin was on Thanksgiving. “It was quite an ordeal,” he says. “But I still wasn’t ready to get help.” He went to drug rehab anyway just to please them. “I thought it would get them off my back so I could get back to getting high again,” he says.
While Parker was in rehab, his girlfriend passed away from a drug overdose. Even that didn’t stop him. The only way he knew how to cope and face life was to get high. He went to rehab a few more times to please his parents, family members, and friends, but it wasn’t real for him. Finally, while enrolled in rehab at The Last Resort, he spent some time truly experiencing the joy that accompanied sobriety and he realized how much more he enjoyed life when he was sober.
“Even when I was getting high, all I could think about was how much better life was when I was sober,” he says. “I actually got to laugh. That’s one of my favorite things to do!”
Parker had finally had his first taste of sobriety, but he couldn’t come to terms with the continuous effort it took to maintain it. He quickly relapsed again, and things escalated very quickly. He fell back into that spiral of addiction, and this time, he fell even deeper.
Parker was worse off than he was before he first went to treatment, but fortunately, a friend of his, an employee of Nova Recovery Center, reached out and got him to enroll in detox and a 90-day rehab program. He finished his treatment at Nova but relapsed again because he wasn’t actively doing anything to stay sober.
The Sweet Taste of Sobriety
Through all of this, the sweet taste of sobriety lingered, and he found himself wanting the freedom he had found in a life without drugs. “I kept missing [that feeling] more and more, even while I was getting high,” he says. “It just felt so good being sober.”
After his final relapse, Parker didn’t have anywhere to stay—not even a couch to sleep on. He kept calling people to find a place to crash, but no one wanted anything to do with him. Finally, he called his cousin, who had always been willing to help him in the past. “He wouldn’t let me stay at his house because his roommates weren’t okay with it, but he offered to sleep outside with me,” Parker says. “This overwhelming presence of love made me want to go back to treatment.”
On October 5, 2015, Parker returned to rehab at Nova. He clearly remembers that day because his mom drove him there. They were in the car together when he realized he still had some heroin left. There was no way he was throwing it away and he wanted to use it before he went to rehab. He asked his mom to pull the car over so he could use it, but she refused. In desperation, he used it right there in front of her in the car.
“I love my mom more than anyone else in the world,” he says. “I didn’t realize how much it bothered me that I did that until I was sober and clear-minded. I just kind of broke down and couldn’t believe I did that in front of someone I love so much.”
Parker spent another 30 days in drug rehab at Nova Recovery Center, completed the Nova Family Program, and then continued his addiction treatment with one month of sober living at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes before moving into another sober home. He’s been sober ever since and is currently working at Recovery Unplugged, walking closely with other clients through the challenges and obstacles of sober life.
“[If I hadn’t gotten help,] I don’t think I’d be alive right now. But if I was, I would be miserable. Even if you don’t think treatment will work, give it your all and try it out because you have nothing to lose. The worst thing that could happen is that you get sober,” he says with a laugh.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the staff at Nova Recovery Center is here to help. Please call today to speak to a member of our admissions team.