Health

‘I Had to Hit Rock Bottom’ to Get Well

Husband and wife saved from years of addiction when a bystander captured their humiliation

“We were at the point where life really didn’t matter anymore,” Ronald Hiers told WREG, the CBS affiliate in Memphis, Tennessee, about himself and his wife, Carla. “I found myself unable to put the heroin down.”

And when the couple overdosed and their humiliation was recorded for all to see — they finally got scared straight.

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At a bus stop in Memphis in October, a young man driving by noticed the couple passed out in the most awkward way. He stopped, took a video, and posted it live on Facebook. It didn’t take long for the video to go viral.

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Ronald Hiers overdosed on heroin at a Memphis bus stop in early October. This image is from a video posted of his incident on Facebook.

While the couple could have stayed quiet and continued on with their decades-long struggle with addiction, potentially sinking even further into chaos, Hiers and his wife, Carla, are instead now thanking the young man. They are both in rehab and feeling that they have some support for the first time in a long time.

Hiers at one point saw himself on the news — when the video was replayed. “It was me. I had to hit rock bottom, and for me … it really shocked me to my core,” he said.

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“The people out there thinking that it’s all fun and games — that’s a false illusion. Smoke and mirrors. It’s devastation. It’s pain. It’s anguish,” said Hiers.

But after 24 years as an addict, he’s finally gotten clean. It’s now been two months.

Hiers told WREG he’s not upset with the man who recorded the incident. He just hopes there’s more understanding for those caught up in addiction. “I am a human being and so is my wife, so maybe he’ll see this and maybe pray about it,” said Hiers.

Hiers’ wife was arrested for an outstanding warrant after paramedics revived her. She’s in rehab in Massachusetts.

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“[The video] was a wake-up call,” she said in a statement. “Since the video surfaced, I’ve learned that I can trust people — something I never did before. I feel I can make my own decisions, and I’m learning how to stay ‘present’ in today — right now. I never thought anyone cared, and now I know there are people I can trust. To the viewers watching, it’s never too late to reach out for help. I don’t feel hopeless, worthless, and useless anymore. I’m 60 years old, and I’ve been an opiate addict for 40 years. If there is hope for me, there is hope for everybody.”

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