Chelsey Cain: Getting out of the “dark circles”

Judy Cain, mother of Chelsey Cain, told her side of the story of her daughter’s addiction.

“I’ll correct you after,” Chelsey said, jokingly.

Judy talked about how Chelsey’s struggles started in her teen years and that she felt “entitled.” She had heard “war stories” of her father’s and uncle’s struggles with heroin.

When Chelsey was 24, she was still living at home and Judy said she didn’t realize Chelsey had an addiction.

“I was burying my head in the sand,” Judy said.

People would tell Judy that Chelsey was doing drugs, but she didn’t believe them. She added that Chelsey lived in the basement “like a mole,” and that she would often find spoons with blackened edges and would wonder how that happened.

Chelsey was arrested at 24 for stealing guns to sell for money to buy drugs. Her mother said she believes the fact that she was incarcerated saved her life.

Chelsey told us that she started out with oxycontin and used the drug for 4 to 5 years, solidly. She switched to heroin about 8 months before being arrested.

“When you’re in dark circles, you’ll find people telling you heroin is cheaper and easier to find,” she said.

She said that it doesn’t take long to build up a tolerance to heroin, which turns the cheap habit into an expensive one. Chelsey said that it was better she was arrested because going to a rehab wouldn’t have been enough time for her to stay in recovery.

The judge misread her court order and she was let out early, and started a 4-month program and eventually 12-step meetings.

“If I had one beer, a day or for a couple of months, I would eventually be in Kensington buying heroin,” she said. “To get sober, you have to change the way you go about life. You’re getting high all day and that is all your brain conceptualizes, getting money to get high.”

Now, she said, she has to fill her time up in other ways, like pursuing a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Temple’s law school and running marathons.

“If the people aren’t healthy  around you, you have no one giving you that push,” she said. “People can come to meeting as much as they want, but they have to be doing something positive when they leave.”

About the author

Emily Scott

Emily Scott is a junior journalism major and history minor at Temple University. She works as the Features Editor of The Temple News, editing and covering people, places and things around campus and the city. Contact Emily at tuf39703@temple.edu.

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