This was a post I wrote for http://www.caffeinatedchronicles.com and I feel it should be published again.
There is this commercial that comes on. It talks about how they have this great rehabilitation program and all the ways they will “help” you. They state they will help you lead an addiction free life. It closes with that he knows because he was an addict once and now he is not.
I will openly state that I have never been addicted to any drug or alcohol. However that is more because I am scared crapless of becoming addicted to those things and more.
Both my parents were recovering alcoholics. My Dad was always very clear. I am an alcoholic but I am sober now. He never once said he was cured. I grew up being told I am predisposed to addictions to drug and alcohol. It was drilled in our head over and over. I remember talking with my Dad at one point asking him what addiction is like. Why can’t he have just one beer at night? He said, ” It’s like you realize that what you are doing makes you happy and you are not as stressed and just feel good . The next time you feel down or stressed or whatever you turn to beer because it worked so well last time. Then you start chasing that feeling. That I really like how I feel feeling! That I am so happy when I do this feeling. Then you are not only chasing the feeling but also wanting to STAY in that feeling. That the danger is not in actually doing the addiction its in chasing the addiction. Then you are not happy unless you are “in that feeling.”
Dealing with chronic pain I refused any kind of narcotic for a long time stating that I am predisposed and lets not tempt anything here. It wasn’t until my shoulder was so stiff I could hardly move it and most of my body was super sensitive to the touch. I scheduled an appointment to see the rhuematologist right away. I had already “caved” in my opinion by getting a muscle relaxer from my primary doctor. When I explained why I did not want a pain killer, he said….addiction is scary and you are right to be worried but the very fact that you ARE worried tells me you will be fine. I stayed on prescription pain killers for four years. Guess what….after two years I didn’t think they were working well enough. I did massive research on Fibromyalgia and prednisone. I took it in to my primary. We started a really low dose of prednisone daily. It not only would help with the pain but would help reduce some of the arthritis pain and also probably do wonders for my asthma.
It came time that I stopped working..rather abruptly and lost health insurance. I had to go off all my medications because the health department would not prescribe most of them. No one wanted to help me detox off these medications. I knew I couldn’t just go off them. I was no longer considered a patient at my primary and Rheumatologist office.. I have a great Cardiologist who said ” Absolutely you can not go off cold turkey. I will write one prescription for each of your meds…Dose yourself down and let me know if you have ANY problems or you begin to have symptoms again with your heart.
I was scared crapless to go off those meds. How could I possibly function without them? How can I do this? How do I safely come off these medications.
I had help from a friend who had come off similar medications. We got through it but I don’t remember most of those first three weeks. I was on autopilot.
Looking back I know I was walking a slippery slope. There is a difference between dependent and addicted and not many people realize it. It is extremely difficult to walk.
It is over a year later after this had happened and I was doing much better. I was managing my illnesses and on probably only half the medications I had been on.
That same friend that helped me detox off my medications needed help. She felt herself falling back into alcoholism. She was scared. She had support. She had my support. Her road back to being sober has not been easy. There was even a time I had to pour wine out so that she had nothing more to drink. To actually physically restrain her from buying another bottle of wine. I love her. I hate the addiction. I hate the underlying reasons for the addiction. I hate watching her struggle, knowing she has to do the work.
I worked in misdemeanor probation for four years. I saw addiction and recovery every day. I saw these people come in at some of the worst times of their lives and leave a completely different person. I saw many people fall back into addiction. Addiction so bad that they showed up at probation at nine am drunk. Not just a little drunk…..a lot drunk… like .56 drunk. What was even scarrier still is they often claimed to have stopped drinking last night. There have been people who I thought had this. They were doing so good. Then a positive test or a new arrest and I realized how fragile that balance was. I saw people who said they were perfectly fine but could not walk a straight line or hold a pen and write their name. People who even topped drug court for the most things tested positive for or the highest levels for. How they walked into the building is beyond me. It was all incredibly sad.
Its a monster that just won’t go away. That you have to fight back on a daily basis. Sometimes an hourly basis. It is that bad guardian angel sitting on your shoulder that drowns out the good angel. That is constantly begging you to just do it. Just one more time won’t hurt.
It took my mom telling my dad not to come back until he was clean and sober. By this time I was still very young.. Under a year old. I wouldn’t go to him if he had been drinking. The babysitter wouldn’t release me if that was the case. She always knew. It took him three days. My friend who is still struggling is struggling against the addiction so she can have her family, Her son and her husband.
Addiction does not just go away after treatment. Its always there. He would have been better of stating I am a recovering addict or I have been in recovery for so many years. However that doesn’t have much appeal and probably wouldn’t bring new clients.