A Marriage Devastated by Prescription Drug Addiction

Michelle Wilson - 700 Club Producer

CBN.com - It began when Sean injured his back and was prescribed pain medication. Soon, he was taking 19 pills a day and his marriage to Jessica was eroding.

Sean: “It seems that the more pain medicine I took for it, the worse the pain actually got.”

Sean Hughes’ pain started when he injured his back riding a jet ski on his honeymoon. A doctor prescribed Percocet. After the honeymoon, Sean was still in pain and another doctor wrote a second prescription for pain medicine.

Sean: “There’s actually a part in your brain that tells your body you ‘need’ this substance.  And if you don’t give it to it, that part of your brain will cause your body to rebel against you.”

After taking that many pills, Sean started having anxiety attacks.

Sean) “It’s very normal to have anxiety attacks when you’re a pain patient because you begin to live in fear that you’re going to always suffer this pain.”  

Instead of weaning Sean off of the medicines, doctors added Xanax, a drug more addictive than the pain meds he was taking. The drugs began to affect Sean’s performance at work.

Sean: “I would be so medicated that I would turn around to write on the board and start to actually go to sleep and just stand there. It was obvious something was wrong.”
But Sean was hooked and for months, he made almost nightly trips to a hospital emergency room where he demanded more drugs.

Jessica: “I remember specifically being in the emergency room with him and begging him not to take anything else, saying, ‘You’ve had enough of your own medicine. You’ll go home and you’ll go right to sleep. Please believe me, you don’t need to take anything else.’ And he was very angry.”

Sean: “It became a battle between her and I, her trying to tell me and tell my doctors and tell the nurses, tell everyone that I should not take these medicines, and me literally being scared to death that someone might listen to her and take them away from me.”

Sean ended up in the hospital’s psyche ward five times.

Sean: “Every single time I went into a mental hospital I was diagnosed with more illnesses and eventually the list went on, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder. And they would add meds until they got me up to 19 different medications that I was taking every single day.”

Sean began to look at death as a welcome option from the torment that his life had become.

Sean: “So in my mind, I had two options:  continue living a life where I am totally humiliated every day, or go to heaven. So I would beg God on a daily basis to take me off of this planet.”

Sean finally agreed to enter an outpatient detox program and to go to counseling with his wife. But after a financial crisis where they lost their home and car, Sean went back to the emergency room to get more pain meds. Jessica was at the breaking point.

Jessica: “I got in the closet with a pillow and I just cried, cried, and cried and cried. ‘Lord,’ you know, ‘please let him see this.  Let him see what is happening in our lives right now, God, please.’”

Friends and family members urged Jessica to divorce Sean.

Jessica: “I stayed with him because God told me to. But as soon as I was threatened physically, God told me to leave and not divorce, but God made it clear to me that I needed to go and seek safety. I just felt like God gave me a glimpse that if I just hung in there and I just prayed fervently that God was going to deliver him.”

In May 2002, Sean was dying from the interaction of all the drugs in his system. He went into a six-hour-long seizure at the hospital that temporarily blinded him.

Sean: “I had the feeling of, ‘I am dying and I am going to hell, and it is too late. There is nothing that can be done about it now.’” 

Doctors called Jessica to the hospital, convinced that Sean was dying.
Jessica: “He’s screaming and he’s seizing and it was pretty traumatic just to see what was happening to him.

It just looked like a person completely battling demons that had been hanging over him for quite a while, and all we could do was just stand by and pray for him and just pray for healing.”

Sean made it through the night. He began to talk to God about his life.

Sean: “I finally made my peace with God and I admitted to God, “None of this is Your fault.  I’ve been blaming You. I’ve been saying, ‘How could you allow this to happen to me?’ but the truth is You warned me. There were points where I knew this is getting out of control.  And instead of trusting You, I entrusted my life to the doctors and I entrusted my life to the pills and I destroyed my life and it’s all my fault, none of it is Your fault and I’m so sorry.’”

Sean finally surrendered his addiction and his life to the Lord.

Sean: “The transformation that God made in my life, starting that day, now it was nowhere complete that day, but starting that day, over the next several years, eventually it became very obvious to me that a miracle happened that day called ‘the new birth.’ And by God’s grace He opened my eyes and brought me to true repentance and caused me to become born again the day after I almost died.”

Sean has been drug free for five years. Today, he and wife Jessica have two children and are working in full time ministry. Their marriage is completely restored!

Sean: “Beyond the many miracles that He did, setting me free from drugs, healing my marriage, giving me a ministry, giving me children, it’s the reality of eternity being placed at the forefront of my mind that I would look at as the greatest blessing.”

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