Paige Pyskoty crouched in the closet of her drug-dealer-turned-boyfriend’s house, holding her cat as four different law enforcement agencies began breaking down the back gate of the home they shared. Her boyfriend tried getting rid of the tin can, a crude merchandising system he used for his drugs.
“Please, whoever I’m talking to, just make sure that my cat is OK,” Paige prayed. “I don’t care what happens to me, just make sure my cat is OK.”
It wasn’t her rock bottom moment, but it was close. It was the moment Paige would go to jail, seek out a third rehab, and eventually come to terms with her addiction. It was the moment police would also arrest the man she’d been prostituting herself to in exchange for drugs, and it would be when she would be forced to navigate the legal system.
“It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and you would think that would make me stop doing what I was doing, but it didn’t at all,” Paige says.
Church, Drinking, Interventions
Paige grew up in the church but hated going every Sunday. She felt forced, like staying involved wasn’t her idea, and she didn’t fit in with her peers.
When she was 12, her parents stopped making her go, and things quickly went wrong. At her next birthday party, her friends found some alcohol and started drinking.
“We got drunk that night, and that was the start of the snowball effect from there … trying to fit in and wear all these different masks depending on who I was around,” Paige explains.
She uses the term “friends” loosely, especially when she finally found her group, a clique that experimented with drugs and drinking. Paige skipped school, abused pills, and landed in heaps of trouble with her teachers.
Looking back, those years seem a blur to Paige, a probable result of the drug abuse, and she can’t pinpoint many moments she remembers.
“I needed these drugs to be able to go throughout my day,” Paige says.
During her senior year, her parents, teachers and counselors pulled her out of class for an intervention. Paige agreed to attend rehab before returning to high school. As soon as she got back to her old stomping grounds, though, she started drinking and doing drugs again — so much so that her drunken state at prom got her kicked out of school.
Since it happened at the end of the year, the teachers allowed Paige to walk at graduation despite her suspension. She started college but dropped out when her heroin addiction became too strong. So she got a job.
Here’s a life lesson Paige should have learned a long time ago, and it’s just solid advice for anyone: Don’t get involved with people you work with. Especially don’t get involved with people at work if they’re engaged. Paige did that, though, and dove head first into a relationship with her coworker, a man who had recently ended an 11-year relationship and engagement.
“I was searching for something that could make me whole this entire time,” Paige says. “In the beginning, I didn’t realize that.”
In a genius metaphor, Paige compares her need to be whole to one of those old-school, Tupperware toys where you put the yellow shapes into the red and blue ball.
“That’s how I felt when I found heroin,” Paige said. “The star piece that I couldn’t quite fit in there, I had to shove in. So, it didn’t fit completely, but it fit well enough for the time being.”
Although Paige was a full-fledged drug addict, she still had a line she didn’t want to cross. She wouldn’t be the person who injected heroin. She popped pills and drank, but she never wanted to do intravenous drugs.
Until she did.
A bad batch of heroin landed her in the hospital, with the blood pulsating so hard she could see it running through her veins from the outside. Her parents placed her in rehab a second time in the hope she’d clean up and sober up. She did for a while, then she relapsed.
“When I say heroin completely controlled my life, I mean it completely controlled my life,” Paige remembers.
Paige met a drug dealer and began pursuing him romantically. She claims her “sick mindset” was “to make this guy fall in love with me so I don’t have to worry about stealing from anyone.”
She traded sex for drugs and gave him everything as long as he kept her supply up.
A citywide crackdown on drugs meant the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, task force was zeroing in on Paige and her dealer. On a lazy summer morning in 2016, she came downstairs in the house she shared with him to see him looking through a tin can where he stored his stash.
She looked outside and saw the pending raid approaching. Paige slammed and dead-bolted the door, and ran up the stairs to the closet, where she hunkered down with her cat. And she prayed.
In the past, she’d prayed to God, but it was mostly in the throes of withdrawal when Paige would promise to get clean. She’d never follow through, though.
After her arrest, the court charged her as a drug dealer and sentenced her to a short jail term followed by a year-long probation.
“I know, through all these things that have happened so far up to this point, God has always been there,” Paige says. “God has orchestrated that whole thing. It’s just me who continued to run away from it. … I wasn’t broken completely yet.”
For the third time, Paige sought out help at Just Believe, the treatment facility a few towns over.
An Answered Prayer
One night Paige caught a glimpse of herself in a window at the rehab facility. For the first time, she saw what the drugs had done to her body.
“It did not look like I had a soul,” Paige says.
Her eyes looked black and sunken in, and she was malnourished. Her knees hit the tile floor because it “felt like God took a metal baseball bat and just crushed my knees in.”
For the first time, Paige found what she had been looking for. “As soon as my knees hit the ground that night, I touched Heaven.”
It had been eight years since Paige had really seen herself. She didn’t avoid mirrors or anything like that, but she also didn’t realize what she was becoming.
“I fell to my knees, and I put my hands up,” Paige remembers. “I said to God, ‘Please take all of this away. I can’t do it. I can’t do it on my own anymore.’ ”
Standing in front of the window in the treatment facility proved her true rock bottom. It was only up from there.
“That night, I found out that the rock that was at my bottom was God.”
Paige changed overnight. Her renewed strength for staying clean carried her through the rest of her treatment. In the past, she’d thought she hit rock bottom. Over and over, she thought she had experienced the worst life had to offer, only for her to keep on going and find a new level of misery.
Once clean, Paige realized just how many people wanted to see her get well. Her parents began attending church, and at first they hid their problems from their church. But after a few months, they opened up and told their prayer group what they were dealing with.
The prayers immediately started going up.
“It’s so fulfilling to know that thousands of people have prayed for me, that I am an answer to their prayers,” Paige says. “I am walking, living proof.”
Paige was baptized and dedicated her life to her faith and to staying clean.
“A God-sized hole can’t be filled with anything but Him,” Paige says.
It’s been more than two years since Paige last got high. She’s devoted her life to helping other addicts as a behavioral health technician for a treatment facility. She’s finally whole, finally complete, and no longer relies on anything other than God.