Police officer and person recovering from opiate addiction.
Many would assume those two titles couldn’t describe the same person, but they do.
Addiction touches all lives, regardless of career, race, economic status, age or religion.
Steve Rilling worked as a police officer for 19 years, spending 10 years in the narcotics division. Working in the narcotics division was both high risk and extremely high stress, involving undercover drug buys, engaging with informants and conducting raids on residences.
A car accident that occurred during pursuit of a suspect left Steve in a great deal of pain and in need of surgery. After the surgery, he was prescribed narcotics to help him deal with the pain.
Like many individuals who end up addicted, Steve didn’t fully realize the power of prescription opiates. In his career, he dealt with addiction first hand and had heard countless stories about the bondage of addiction.
Soon he found himself walking down that same path.
Steve first realized he had become addicted to his pain medication when he felt sick after trying to stop. It didn’t take long for him to realize that continuing the medication would keep him from experiencing withdrawal, so that’s exactly what he did.
His habit grew, and he hid it from his friends, coworkers and family members.
Attending Drug Rehab
After three years of secretive use, Steve finally realized he had a problem that he wasn’t going to be able to beat on his own. He went to work and admitted his drug use. The department sent him to detox for five days and during his stay, Steve was advised by the detox staff to keep his career a secret, so he lied, telling everyone he was an electrician. After five days, he was sent home with zero recovery tools. Steve had nothing more than his willpower to get by.
Steve returned to work a month later and his supervisor placed him right back in the narcotics division, which he admits he was genuinely surprised about.
For two years, he remained clean, but without a proper foundation or any type of recovery tools Steve crumbled under the stress of his life. His job became increasingly demanding, and as the head of his division, Steve held all the pressure to meet drug seizure quotas. His marriage was also unraveling during this two year period, and he relapsed.
He obtained opioids on the street and then graduated to using heroin. A friend recognized that he was struggling again and convinced him to get help.
This time would be different.
No Longer Anonymous About His Opiate Addiction
Steve went to detox for a second time. After being released, he found a good therapist who diagnosed him with PTSD from the many tragic and stressful things he has witnessed during his career.
While it’s only been a short time since Steve’s second attempt at recovery, he has made an important decision. Steve is no longer anonymous. He isn’t lying about who he is or the hell he has been through with opiate addiction. It is his hope that by sharing his story, he will encourage and help others.
There is true freedom in uncovering the dark places in your life. It allows you to receive hope while you are also being a hope to others.
If you or someone you love struggles with drug or opiate addiction and you want help, please don’t hesitate to call Gracious Care Recovery Solutions at