Gresha Eberly of Lake Odessa was addicted to opioids for 10 years. Today, she will be five years clean in October and talks to MSU medical students about her experience.
"It makes you selfish, it makes you not care about anybody, it makes you steal, it makes you lie," she told FOX 17. "I've hurt so many people through my addiction."
Opioid addiction was declared a public health emergency in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Every day, more than 115 in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.
Eberly was addicted to opioids for 10 years.
"It just closes you to everything, to the whole world around you, and there's hurt in there too," Eberly said. "Kind of like, your heart hurts for what you're doing. You know what you're doing, but you can't do anything about it."
Lost to a dark world, Eberly didn't know where to turn when she became pregnant in 2012. She eventually found help from a Spectrum Health maternal fetal medicine specialist. Eberly was later referred to an addiction specialist who helped her get through the pregnancy.
"Something just clicked in my head," she said when asked how she beat opioids. "I said, 'I can't be doing this, I can't show this to my kids anymore. I have to set a better example.'"
"One day I just dropped on my knees and prayed to God, like crying and praying he would help me."
It still takes work, and it isn't always easy, but Eberly is now focused on rebuilding her relationships and sharing her story with anyone who will listen.
She sits on the Ionia Community Health Advisory Board and speaks to MSU med students about the warning signs of addiction.
"The way I describe it to people is when you get past that first month or second month, you're looking at this whole new world that addiction closed off for so long. It`s an amazing feeling, it really is, to know that I don`t have to be bound by the chains anymore."
If you or someone you know needs help you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.