Sedated: The Secret That Everyone Knew—

Sedated: The Secret That Everyone Knew—

by Britt Doyle

ISBN: 9780998796307

Publisher Precocity Press

Published in Health, Mind & Body/Addiction & Recovery, Self-Help, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nonfiction

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Book Description

It was early one spring morning that Britt Doyle received the terrible news that his ex-wife Wynne had been found dead in her bed—and worse, his young son had been the one to find her.

Wynne Doyle seemed to have it all—wealth, education, a successful marriage, and a beautiful family. She had the talent and energy to succeed at any project she took on, from serving on a charity board to renovating her San Francisco home. But underneath a façade of confidence and well-being, she was struggling with addiction to prescription opiates and alcohol.

Sample Chapter

Chapter 1: “It Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This”

I Am the Beautiful

—K. Britt Doyle (Little Britt), age nine

I am the beautiful, quiet Mill Valley.

The pale pink house on the ocean shore.

The big golden labradoodle with the mile-long smile.

I am also the white house on Russian Hill with unlimited stairs leading up to the doorway.

The cable cars that roll past, and a view that takes your breath away.

I am two different worlds, connected together by one bridge.

I am keeping my feelings inside until I finally burst.

I am getting through my family problems.

I am the girl who is somehow always caught in the middle.

Just trying to find my way out.

I am trying to get over my past, so I can begin a new future.

I am not just small and weak like you all may think.

I am not just sensitive and girly.

I am more than this.

I am strong and brave.

I am calm and relaxed, and find the best in people.

I am humble and kind.

I show love and care towards my friends and family.

I am a warm summer day.

I am taking thousands of pictures.

I am dancing on rooftops, listening to loud music.

I am the sound of laughter and the feel of excitement.

Above all, I am me.

“Dad? I don’t think we’ll be able to make the Easter party this morning at the club. Mom’s dead.” Harry’s voice was monotone, numb. I could hear Preston in the background, still screaming to the 911 operator on the other end of the phone line that his mother was dead. My daughter Britt had stayed overnight with my wife Truth and me, which meant her brothers—mere teenagers themselves—were having to deal with this on their own. A shot of adrenaline coursed through my body as the weight of what was happening came down like a dark curtain. I ran into the bedroom where Britt was sleeping. I’ll never forget the look on her face as I explained to her that her mother had passed away. She was in total shock. I could hardly believe it myself. But deep down, I had been expecting this day for a long time.

Wynne, the mother of my children, passed away during the night on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the age of fifty-two, after a long battle with alcohol and prescription drugs. She had been a beautiful, vibrant woman when we first met, twenty-two years earlier. We married in 1995, and had three children over the next five years. Wynne continued to dazzle as a marathon runner and world traveler. She was a devoted aunt to her several young nieces who looked up to her because she genuinely cared. But by the time she died, her substance abuse had affected everything—from our marriage and our family to my career.

Postpartum depression followed Britt’s birth—Wynne’s third by cesarean section— in 2000. Wynne’s doctor prescribed medication to ease her pain, and that was the spark that led to what ultimately became a debilitating addiction. By Christmas of that same year, Wynne was already in rehab at her first treatment center. Less than fifteen years later, she would be dead. But in 2000, postpartum depression and drug addiction were not topics either of us talked about. We weren’t alone in this; no one at the time discussed the dangers openly. The Internet was not the information source it is now, so we relied on the various doctors we saw and the medication regimens they ordered. It wasn’t until Andrea Yates drowned her five children in 2001 that the world began to take postpartum depression seriously, and it wasn’t until around that same time that people began to see a rapidly developing crisis stemming from the massive increase in opioid dependence and addiction in our country.

According to the Center for Disease Control, opioid-related deaths have increased by 200 percent since 2000 in the United States. Many of the victims, like Wynne, received their first exposure to opioids in a hospital setting. The National Institute of Health’s Institute on Drug Abuse finds that today more than four out of five young heroin addicts started out using prescription opiates. Wynne drew the line at “street drugs.” She never would have tried heroin because above all else she was a lady. On the other hand, she didn’t have to face that choice, because she found plenty of doctors willing to prescribe the pain relievers she craved. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase “I’m just following the doctor’s orders!”

I’m writing this book not to expose or hurt anyone mentioned, but to tell a story of what can happen when addiction rips through a family. Perhaps these words can shed some light on the human side of addiction and help other families who are facing these same struggles. I don’t blame Wynne, because addiction is a disease, not a choice. The story is immensely tragic, and touches so many lives. My family learned far more about the effects of addiction on individuals and their families than anyone would ever want to know. I’m incredibly angry at a medical and psychological community that with all of the technological tools it has at its disposal, still allows this epidemic to exist, and in some cases seemingly drives it. Societal norms that encourage silence have also contributed to and in many cases accelerated the problem.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t discuss your wife’s account due to HIPAA regulations,” said the pharmacist at Walgreens during one of many visits I made in 2005.

“I know that,” I replied. “I’m not looking to discuss anything. I’m here to tell you something. You need to know that you’re not the only one prescribing drugs to her. She’s getting the same medication from several different doctors and none of you are communicating with one another! Please stop filling the prescriptions!”

I made calls to the doctors each time I found a new prescription bottle somewhere in the house.

“I don’t want to see your name on another pill bottle in my house…EVER!” I screamed into the phone to one particular doctor who seemed to refill bottles almost weekly from what I found.

“Are you threatening me?” he stuttered.

“You bet I am! If I find another bottle with your name on it, I swear I’ll come down to your office with a baseball bat.” I was shaking.

I became manic about trying to find pills and bottles of alcohol hidden around the house before Wynne could consume them. I couldn’t keep up. They were hidden in her shoes, between the mattresses, in the pockets of the coats hanging in her closet—even inside the container of rice in the pantry. My desperate need to find and dispose of any substance she could abuse was completely taking over my life. By 2005, she had already been in the emergency room several times for overdosing. After spending a night or two in the hospital, she’d attend a treatment program at an addiction facility. But she didn’t receive the tools and help she needed and sooner or later she relapsed. It was the same pattern every time. She was angry, and so was I. This wasn’t supposed to be the way we were going to live our lives. This wasn’t the way we were going to raise our kids.

“We are not going to be a statistic!” I would remind Wynne on various occasions. “We will beat this.”

But in the end, she could not free herself from the treacherous grip of addiction. I think the shame, embarrassment, humiliation, and guilt she felt must have been overwhelming to face, which made her even angrier with me and the situation in which we found ourselves.

The funeral was painful on so many levels. Most obvious was the realization on the part of everyone present of the void she left in her children’s lives. They had lost their mother. Britt, the youngest of our three teenagers, read a weighty poem with her brothers standing at her side.


Excerpted from "Sedated: The Secret That Everyone Knew—" by Britt Doyle. Copyright © 2017 by Britt Doyle. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Britt Doyle

Britt Doyle

Britt Doyle is a thirty-year veteran of the Capital Markets, having started his career as an institutional fixed income salesman for Security Pacific Asian Bank in Singapore directly out of college. After receiving an MBA in the late 1980s, he moved to the private client side of the business, working for various large investment banks, including Kidder Peabody, Merrill Lynch, and UBS. Most of his career, however, was spent as a member of Citigroup’s elite Family Office division, where he developed the knowledge and skillset necessary to work with ultra-wealthy families on a variety of relevant topics. At Witt Global Partners, Britt’s responsibilities will include sourcing and vetting alternative asset funds, and direct capital raises within the Family Office and Independent Wealth Advisor channel. Britt graduated with a BA in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and received an MBA from the University of Southern California, where he served as a founding member of the Student Investment Fund. Britt is an avid tennis player and former children’s kenpo karate instructor. He is an Ambassador for Shatterproof, a national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and also serves on the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Advisory Board to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. He lives with his wife and four children in Marin, California.

View full Profile of Britt Doyle

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