Thursday, February 17, 2011


I think I mentioned that the my regular doc prescribed me some decent pain pills and referred me back to Stanford with some very real hopes of a definitive diagnosis, beyond the ones I already have, of course. So, for the last month or so I've been taking fairly high doses of narcotics, and yesterday I started getting panicked about addiction.

I've taken pain meds in the past and never had an issue, but what I'm taking now is higher dosages, and more frequent. Of course, my pain levels are significantly higher these days, as well...but that doesn't mean it's not a concern of mine, the possibility of narcotic abuse.

I spent some time on the phone today with my therapist, my doctor and a good deal of time on some internet forums I frequent for sufferers of chronic illness. My concern is becoming addicted...having an addiction, which of course, at this point I technically have. I have a physiological dependence on the narcotics at the moment. That became very clear to me today when I woke up in a pretty nasty state of withdrawal, because since I was panicking yesterday about addiction, I didn't take my pain meds. Which was a mistake. A big one.

I'm trying to readjust my thinking that being dependent on the narcotics right now is okay, that, yes my I have a physical addiction to them that would make it hard to stop cold turkey, but the same can be said of my antidepressants or mood stabilizers and I don't view that as a bad thing. In fact, the withdrawal from antidepressants is nearly as awful from narcotics. The difference, of course, is that you never hear about someone robbing banks or turning tricks to finance their antidepressant habit.

It's ironic, because I've labeled drug seeking in the past. I always laugh at that because there was a time when I did drugs...a very short time, long ago...but I did drugs. And my go to drug wasn't something that made me tired or loopy like narcotics was speed, aka meth. I loved speed. I loved the rush, the energy, the clarity...I loved everything about speed...until I didn't. Until one weekend when I pushed it too far and realized that there was an ugly side, and it would be easy as fuck to end up an addict, and that wouldn't be fun. That was the weekend that I could easily see myself becoming someone I just couldn't bear to inflict upon the people I love. So, I quit...just like that, no rehab, no detox...I just stopped. I did it again one other time after the midget was born, while she was at her dad's, and thought...yeah I don't really miss this...well, the kitchen got really, really clean and I kinda miss that, but coming down was hell, and a damn good reminder that I wasn't 19 anymore.

Even when I did drugs, even when I was younger and actually thought an evening of getting drunk was worth the hangover, it was always in the back of my mind that my DNA was heavily loaded towards addiction. Both bioparents are addicts, now recovered addicts, but addicts nonetheless...and they came by their tendency toward addiction honestly, via their shared Irish heritage. So, I was never an every day drinker or druggie. I was too scared. And once the midget came along...I won't say I never touched anything again, but it's been seven or eight years since I ingested an illegal substance and over four years since I drank enough to be drunk.

So, yeah. I love the pain meds. I love that it gives me some relief from the constant, unbearable pain. But, what I would love even more is a pain relief treatment that didn't mean a chemical dependence. I don't want to trade one set of problems for another. And there's a second side to having access to these pain meds that isn't very fun. When people know you have narcotics, they want them...not necessarily because they're in pain, but because they want to get high, so you constantly get people "jokingly" asking you for drugs...and I have a hard time telling anyone no, but I do it, and they still bug me. It's frustrating in the extreme. I get the drugs I get because I am in legitimate pain. And, yeah, I think this country's drug laws are stupid and that if people want to do drugs, the government doesn't really have the right to tell them no, but I get these drugs because I need them, and if I run out early, I don't get more, and being without pain meds when you need them is hell. So, giving them to someone who doesn't need them would be just plain stupid on my part...

And while I am prone to stupidity, I'm really trying to limit my stupidity to things that will eventually be amusing anecdotes...and sitting on the couch, crying in pain because I gave my drugs away...well...that just doesn't sound like it'll ever be that funny...


Archaeogoddess said...

Next time someone asks for your drugs, punch 'em inna face and say "there, now you can go to the ER and ask for them like I used to do. YOU'RE WELCOME!"

As long as you have a disease that causes you pain, you are going to be dependent on the drugs. That's just a given, even if it's a rather disheartening one. If you are miraculously healed one day and continue to hit people in the face while screaming "my drugs, MY DRUGS!" then we'll do an intervention. Otherwise, I'm fairly confident that when it comes to this particular "addiction" you aren't going to be selling the Midget (or your cats or dogs or rats) on Ebay for another pill, nor will you be taking your pills so that you can zone out in the bedroom and ignore your child. Instead you'll be taking them so that you can interact with your child and be able to function at a high enough level to feed and care for everyone (and everything) that you are responsible for.

And that's a big difference. You are in control, not the drugs.

So I'm not going to be staging an intervention for you any time soon. Although if you keep not taking your pills because you are worried about addiction, I may contact the Midget about how to sneak drugs into your food.

LouAnn said...

I don't think anyone could have said it better than the Archaeogoddess has done. And she is probably the one person you will listen to - so, don't worry about addiction, sweetie - take them so that you can continue to do what you do very well - being a mom and a very special person.