Everyone's Story warmly welcomes Celeste Vaughan. When I first came across Celeste's personal story and triumph, and how she gave the credit all to God's glory, I had to ask her to be my guest. And, here she is. I hope that her story moves you as it has me, lifting you in spirit and heart. Celeste shares her story, answers a few questions, and now awaits to hear from you.
An Unexpected Friend
by Celeste Vaughan
Addiction is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Nine years ago, when addiction unleashed The Beast in my brain, I’d never have uttered those words.
When this Southern-Baptist-sheltered-only-child-goody-two-shoes girl grew into a successful pharmacist, wife, and mom of three, life was perfect.
Until it wasn't.
The words, “Celeste, are you okay?” became my last memory. I'm told that I fell, wiping out the "P" through the "T" sections of the pharmacy shelves, leaving me with a badly broken nose, a broken tailbone, and quite a few bruises.
I’d had a grand mal seizure.
After a confusing ambulance ride and visit to the E.R., the hospital released me with a prescription for Keppra to prevent seizures, Lortab for pain, and a referral to a surgeon for my broken nose.
During the two months following, Lortab became my “friend.” The soreness slowly dissipated from my muscles, and the bruises on my body faded away. The bruises on my soul, however, were growing.
Once my nasal nightmare ended, I stopped taking the Lortab. Within a day, I started throwing up constantly. My body ached and I couldn’t remove the ice pick that was apparently lodged in my head. “Stomach flu?” I thought, "Well, I have this Lortab. I'll just take it for the aching while I'm getting over this." Within an hour I stopped throwing up. My heart fell to my stomach when I realized narcotic addiction had unleashed The Beast within, constantly wanting to be fed. My "friend" had now become my enemy and the key to my normal.
The Beast that morphed from my brain was relentless. It ravaged my body with constant nausea, migraine headaches, insomnia, and The Great Depression.
For the fourteen years I’d worked as a pharmacist, I dispensed medications for pain, sleep, depression, and anxiety every day, and could never understand the desperation people felt for these drugs. I now found myself in their shoes.
It took seven years, nineteen seizures, three head gashes, one split top lip, two slipped discs, a twice broken tailbone, a twice broken nose, one broken eye socket, constant headaches, insomnia, and The Great Depression for me to get it.
God was working on my soul.
I’m pretty hardheaded, but after seizure nineteen, something clicked. I stopped praying for healing. I stopped praying for the rapture. I started praying for God to show me his purpose for my life.
Seven weeks later, on Saturday, September 25, 2010, I woke up happy, excited, and energetic for the first time in seven years.
God had given me a miracle.
My need for any pill vanished right along with my seizures. Unbeknownst to anyone, I weaned off my seizure mediation. By January 1, 2011, freedom was my new best friend.
Modern medicine could have healed my body, but only God could heal my soul. Addiction was hell; but without it, I’d never have experienced the slaying of The Beast by my Savior. I can now say, “Addiction saved my life.”
Questions for Celeste:
Your story, despite a grueling illness, is nothing short of miraculous. Have you had to deal with naysayers?
Unfortunately, there are always people that want to see you fall. It's mostly those who are not believers and don't believe a miracle from God is possible. Last year we had a carbon monoxide alarm go off in our house and ended up with a fire truck and ambulance in our driveway. Neighbors flocked over, assuming I'd had another seizure. Most were obviously relieved, but there were some that seemed to want to have the satisfaction of saying, "I told you so." People also always ask me how I know it was a miracle. Waking up that Saturday morning feeling the energy and joy I hadn't experienced in seven years was miracle enough for me. And it stuck. My children and my husband are probably better qualified to answer that question since they actually enjoyed living with me again! Lastly, I'm pretty much a sap. I cry if something is sad, happy, sensitive...whatever, and can't get a word out without getting choked up. But since God intervened in my life on that Saturday in September, I've told this story time and time again without shedding a tear. That, in itself, is a miracle!
Any tips on how family and friends can offer help during a crisis such as yours?
That's probably one of the most frustrating questions to answer, because every addict is different. For me, support was what I needed the most. Addiction is not something I chose. I was not seeking a "high." I was trapped in it before I knew it. That being said, it did change who I was, and my family and friends could clearly see that I wasn't myself, but they could not understand. In my opinion, family and friends who have not been through addiction can offer little help other than support, and try to get the addict to seek help. Get them in contact with someone who has been there and has overcome, so they can see that it's possible to beat addiction.
With your returned health, do you want to try anything new that you hadn't dared to do previously?
My number one priority is to be the mom and wife that I couldn't be during the seven years I was sick. My youngest daughter was born shortly before that first seizure, so she only knew me as sick and depressed. I am doing everything I can to create memories for them that don't relate to my illness. However, I don't ever want them to forget the miracle God gave me and the transformation they saw because their faith skyrocketed. As far as me personally, I've been running for almost 2 years now—something I'd never before done. Also, after not wanting to leave my house for seven years, in two weeks I'm going on a trip out of the country for the first time in my life. I'm headed to Prague, Switzerland, and Germany with a friend to see a mutual friend who is a missionary in Prague. The freedom of not being tied to pills or the fear or having a seizure is amazing.
Celeste Vaughan shares her path to addiction recovery on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)
Celeste Vaughan: Can addiction recovery be a miracle? (Tweet This)
Celeste Vaughan: “…only God could heal my soul.” (Tweet This)
Celest Vaughn graduated from the USC College of Pharmacy and settled comfortably into her life as a pharmacist, wife, and mom of three children. After 14 years working as a pharmacist, she found herself on the other side of the counter and suffered for 7 years with seizures, depression, and prescriptions drug addiction. On September 25, 2010 God intervened in her life and changed her forever. He has now called her into a ministry of writing and speaking using her story to reach others for Christ by sharing Heavenly prescriptions written by the one physician who can truly save your life.
You can find Celeste on: