03/13/2014 11:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Former Nurse And Mother Of Two Describes How Heroin Addiction Nearly Cost Her Everything (VIDEO)

Tammy was a mother of two, married to a police officer and working as a nurse at a world class hospital. Her life seemed about as apple pie American as they come, but with the stress of work and motherhood, she began popping prescription painkillers. What seemed like a harmless fix quickly spiraled out of control -- and within a few short years, Tammy went from a mom and nurse to a heroin addict shooting up in the bathroom of her neighborhood grocery store.

Now clean for two years, Tammy shared her story on "Oprah Prime." She explains that her addiction began with Vicodin, which she was prescribed after the birth of her son. She says she began to rely on the drug to relieve her stress, and eventually started stealing prescriptions from her patients.

It wasn't long before Tammy lost her job, and with prescription pills no longer readily available to her, she turned to heroin. "I did it every day," she says in the above video. "It became a job -- a full-time job. Getting up, figuring out how I'm going to get money for that day to do what I wanted to do, which was get high from heroin."

Tammy says she would do anything to get the money to pay for heroin, even stealing hubcaps off cars to make a few bucks.

Her husband filed for divorce, and Tammy lost custody of her two children. Her sister, Kayci, was forced to testify. She told the court Tammy was an unfit mother and a danger to her children. "I knew that I would do whatever it would take to protect those kids," Kayci says. "And sitting on that stand, I never thought that I would be protecting them from their mother. It was horrible."

Rather than being a wake up call, Tammy says losing her children became an excuse to use more. "It absolutely caused me to spiral further down because my kids were not allowed to be around me," she says. "And in some ways it gave me -- I gave myself permission as a result to go ahead and keep using. I justified anything and everything."

Learn more about Tammy's story and drug addiction on Oprah.com and watch "Oprah Prime" on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

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