WEST DES MOINES - The number of opioid abuse cases is on the rise across the nation, and right here in Iowa.
That number has more than tripled over the past few years and in Polk County alone, more than 3,100 people were admitted for opioid abuse just last year.
"There were times when I've looked at her and I thought that I'd be going to her funeral, versus watching her on the stage, and giving her story," said Melissa Dale, Celebrate Recovery Director.
"I got hooked on pain pills, following a cancer diagnosis, and it escalated rapidly, turned into a heroin addiction," said Jody Mathews.
That addiction nearly ruined Mathews' life.
"It wasn't even a pain control issue," said Mathews. "It was I didn't want to be sick."
Jody's doctor didn't think she'd get hooked on the pain killers, but she did. She lost her family, her job and everything that mattered most to her.
The desire to get those pain relievers led her to wherever she could find it, including days on these roadways of Interstate 80.
"DHS stepped in and I said, I'm sorry but I've been using drugs, and they thought I was using tobacco, because she was young she didn't know," said Mathews.
In and out of 24 different clinics and thousands of dollars later, Jody would relapse time and again, until her final visit. Then, she found her church, that gave her the hope she never could have imagined.
"I got to the point, where I turned it over and I decided enough was enough and I made a commitment to this program, and that's when it all changed," said Mathews.
In an environment, with others who were hurting and needed healing, Jody has now been clean for more than two and a half years. Her life now is vastly different than 10 years ago.
She's now taken a leadership role in Celebrate Recovery and has led music for summer VBS.
"So, it took me years to get to that point, but it doesn't have to be that way," said Mathews.
"It melts my heart and there is nothing better than seeing some lost person come back and turn their life around and involve Jesus Christ in their life," said Dale.
Mathews got clean by going cold turkey on her addiction. She says that's the only way you can beat an addiction like hers. She also credits the church for playing a huge role in her recovery.
The Lutheran Church of Hope hosts Celebrate Recovery every Thursday night. For full details on the program, please click here.
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