A 26-year-old man from Idaho says he’s grateful that he was arrested in January, explaining that it forced him to turn his life around.
Logan Celner, who lives in Bonneville County, said he first came across painkillers when he had his wisdom teeth removed at the age of 14. He noticed that the medication helped in suppressing his anxiety and was drawn to use the medication in excess.
“At some point in high school, they became available to me through friends of mine,” he told In The Know. “I ended up taking them for a little while during school and that was during my senior year.”
Celner said, for four months, he would take the pills daily until he finally ran out. Upon experiencing withdrawals, he did some research and came upon the over-the-counter, anti-diarrhea drug Loperamide. According to ScienceDaily, the drug has “increasingly been abused by people attempting to self-treat their opioid addiction, with sometime fatal results.” In Celner’s case, he was taking Loperamide twice a day.
“I was anxious, like I ended up stealing it because I didn’t have any money to buy it,” Celner recalled. “There was just a lot of like feeling sh*tty because the high really wasn’t helping out anymore.”
Though the 26-year-old said he was aware that he needed to quit, he was more concerned about the effect any further withdrawal would have on his health.
“I did not remember what it felt like to not be on anything at all,” he said. “I just didn’t remember feeling what normal felt anymore, I guess, and so I was just super, super worried about not getting the escape I guess I needed — a worst off feeling like the withdrawals wouldn’t end.”
Celner continued to steal the drug from a grocery store in Ammon until he was caught earlier this year. Up until that point, his family and small group of friends were unaware of his drug use.
“I was very reclusive and kept to myself,” he said. “People definitely noticed that, but in terms of doing what I was doing, nobody really had a clue.”
The 26-year-old said he purposely kept his addiction a secret because of concerns over how he would be perceived and to avoid discussing his anxiety. After being caught by the store owner and taken to the store’s backroom for questioning by the police, however, Celner confessed to stealing and opened up about his years of drug use.
“I basically told them everything I had been doing ’cause I knew that I needed to get help but I just did not have the courage to tell anybody,” he said. “At that point, everybody knew, but I got a lot of support that I never would have imagined getting. That was pretty amazing.”
On July 20, a district judge placed Celner on four years of felony probation after he pleaded guilty to burglary. Though Celner had also been given the option to spend two weeks in jail with a withheld judgment in his case, he said he opted for probation because he believed it would hold him accountable. As part of his probation, he is expected to maintain a job, receive counseling, perform community service and go to school.
“I wanted to use it as a way to discipline myself but also as a motivator,” he said. “I just felt a little more comfortable in terms of having that incentive to stay sober being in probation rather than just two weeks in jail.”
That same month, Celner, who identifies as a recovering drug addict, shared his journey on Facebook, explaining why his arrest was a turning point for him.
“I thought I wouldn’t ever be able to get out of the addiction I put myself in, but I was given the blessing of being caught, it forced me to help myself and have the opportunity pay penance for my choices as I didn’t have the courage to do it myself,” he wrote as part of a lengthy post. “Now I know it’s possible to become sober, and feel the ball and chain the addiction [sic] be lifted from me and feeling control over my life again and having the drive and motivation to do better, be better.”
In the months since his arrest, Celner told In The Know that being sober has, in many ways, given him new life. Though quarantine has proven to be particularly trying for many who have experienced addiction to drugs and alcohol, Celner said he’s been fortunate to work at a time when many are struggling to hold onto their jobs. That, along with the support he has received from friends and family alike, has kept him determined to stay sober.
“I can think more clearly,” he said. “It’s a lot easier, like I had a hard time remembering words I was looking for in conversations. So just being able to have my mental capacity whereas it definitely was not there before and I can recognize that has been awesome. It just feels good to be able to think more clearly.”
If you’re interested in stories like this, consider reading about this man who shared photos of his incredible transformation.
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