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Lincoln mother shares her story of recovering from addiction, surviving opioid overdose

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In 2015, Taisa Brugeman was addicted to meth, actively using. Then one night, the high didn’t feel right.

“I remember going to sleep,” Brugeman said. “I wasn’t able to lift my arms, or speak or ask for help, it was like I was paralyzed. I could only hear, I heard everything.”

Brugeman doesn’t know how she got to the Bryan West Emergency Room but when she got there she was told she was overdosing and opioids were found in her system.

“I was in complete shock and fear,” she said.

Her story, not unlike what law enforcement, EMT’s and emergency room staff are seeing in the Lincoln community right now. In the last month or so more than 50 people have overdosed and at least six people have died. Many of these overdoses, caused by cocaine laced with fentanyl, a strong opioid.

Brugeman survived two overdoses total before getting clean.

“I’m really grateful,” Brugeman said. “There are times I look back at what happened to me and my lifestyle then and wonder how I made it out alive. There were plenty of situations where I should have been dead.”

Now, she’s helping others in the community overcome their addictions, working as a peer support specialist at CenterPointe.

“I go home and it’s just rewarding,” she said. “Stressful but rewarding.”

She said hearing the recent news of record-breaking overdoses makes her mad.

“Our community can do better,” Brugeman said.

Brugeman said back when she was using, she thought she could trust her friends and her dealer. But especially now, drugs cannot be trusted.

“It’s really scary,” she said.

Brugeman hasn’t used drugs in five years. She has custody of her children back. She hopes her story of survival will encourage others to seek recovery.

“If I can do it, anyone can do it,” Brugeman said. “There’s a life worth living beyond substances and using drugs. It’s not worth your life.”

She said what made the biggest difference in her recovery was support from her family.

“The best thing my family ever did for me was tell me they loved me and supported me,” she said.

If you have a loved one fighting addiction, she encourages you to do the same. If you’re seeking help and don’t have outside resources to rely on, she and her coworkers are available to help at CenterPointe. You can call the CenterPointe crisis line at 402.475.6695.

“There are resources out there,” Brugeman said. “Get out while you can. It is literally killing people.”

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