I don’t really know how to begin or where, so I’ll just start with my second pregnancy at 23 when I first started my addiction with narcotic pain medication. I had dabbled in most drugs, as many of us do in our younger years. But I started having back problems towards the end and after my pregnancy. At first it was 7.5 Vicodin four times a day. That didn’t last long, as I was increasing my dosage after about a month and doubling the dose, then triple and so on.
I was a “functioning addict.” I worked, had two children, was married and maintained all the duty and responsibility that comes with those roles. For years it was what I considered controlled using. I had the wrong friends in my life and of course everyone in my family could see it but I couldn’t.
When I got pregnant with my daughter, my back was increasingly worse. I was prescribed and was talking 10 mg Hydrocodone, then Oxycodone up to four times a day as needed. After she was born, an MRI was done and three herniated discs, arthritis, degenerative disc disease and sciatica were just a few of the issues they diagnosed.
I was referred to a pain clinic and this is where my story will accelerate to my demise fairly quickly. I was given OxyContin 80 mg two times daily, then 30 mg Roxicodone for breakthrough pain up to 6 times a day, as well as tramadol 100 mg up to four times daily. For my extreme anxiety and sleep issues I was on 4-6 mg of Xanax daily, on top of these I was given Soma, Neurontin & Lyrica. I literally came home from the pharmacy with a medium sized brown paper bag I had that many prescriptions.
I was advised and supposed to be taking 33 pills per day. I was doubling eventually many times over that dose. To summarize as best I can: I should be dead at least five times now. This next phase went by pretty quickly due to the deadly amounts of medication I was engulfing daily. I was given the chance to detox and do a 28 day program and still snuck medications in and managed to overdose INSIDE the rehab.
I’ve passed out in my car in the drive way (it was a manual transmission). I woke my family up at 4am with the sound of a roaring engine because I had my foot on the gas, with the pedal floored while I was knocked out! I experienced severe psychosis– hearing and talking to people that were not there, and suffered a pretty severe grand moll seizure due to Xanax overdose and being awake for days. My dad had to give me CPR until the paramedics arrived. I woke up in the ICU and checked myself out because they wouldn’t give me my pill bottles. They were administering them, but I needed 20 times the amount they were giving me at the time.
I experienced bad men and worse situations, and fought for my life trying to get away. I was drugged and there are still things unclear to this day. I was admitted for my last hospital visit because they were testing my gallbladder and thought I might need surgery. The IV drip of pain medicine in combination with all of my own medicinees caused me to hallucinate in the hospital. I thought there was a bomb, tore my IV out, and ran straight into a metal door splitting my head open and requiring five stitches.
Overall my life was just INSANITY. There are too many stories. In the end, I was going through a hard time with my husband and legal trouble poked its ugly head in to my life, as it tends to do when you are an addict. I became the local pharmacist and I was lucky to not get distributing charges, but still in and out of jail a few times only for a night or 2 until I was finally sentenced 1 year or early release to a treatment program.
That is when my life changed. I had never been away from my children for more than a few nights. My baby girl wasn’t even two years old and I left her with her dad and two brothers. I missed her second birthday because I was in jail, my oldest sons 14th birthday, Halloween, my birthday and anniversary, Mother’s Day & Thanksgiving. In jail. My heart broke by leaving my babies…even though I had mentally left them a long time ago. Leaving them during jail time was the most incredible pain I had ever felt and it was constant for 6 months, every minute.
With good time and classes taken in jail I was about 24 days away from being done with probation, not required to do treatment– DONE. But I knew I would die this time if I didn’t change. I didn’t understand how I was still living. So I asked to go to a residential treatment program and was lucky enough to take my daughter with me. The rest is history. Four months inpatient and three outpatient and continuous aftercare and contact with the social workers and therapists that helped save my life.
I will have four years of sobriety on June 13th, 2014. I take non-narcotic anti-inflammatory medication for my back issues and pain, and no longer take benzodiazepine medications for anxiety. I am graduating in the fall with my associate’s degree in social work, and then I will be attending a one year program to become a substance abuse counselor while I continue my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
I have rebuilt the broken relationships with my children and husband and we are closer than ever! I should be DEAD. Period. I lost one of my closest friends, a sister to me and our children sisters as well, to heroin just this past January. There have been too many deaths over the years. It is a constant fight but the reward is overwhelmingly worth it!
Here comes the cliche line: “If I can do it ANYONE can. It’s completely true. YOU have to be the one to choose LIFE. No one can force a change that is not truly wanted. But recovery is so possible, so beautiful and amazing and such a gift that there really aren’t proper words within any language to tell others the blessing and freedom that comes when you take your power back. It is so worth it, and so POSSIBLE!! I never would have imagined my life as it is now. We are all addicts TOGETHER and RECOVERY is achievable and obtainable if you let yourself receive the help you need to do it.
I didn’t EVER ask or take help from anyone my entire life. When I was able to let myself acknowledge my need and admit my helplessness, my life was saved. Love yourself enough to LIVE.