Good morning subtrain,
Great post! I too, have wondered the same thing - more often lately - and would like to tell you how I feel about addiction vs. dependency and when I realized I was addicted...
The day I realized I was "dependent," I had ran out of percocet and noticed my pain was unmanageable. I could barely walk, my back was hurting that bad. I made an appt. with my family doctor to discuss how intense the pain was. We talked about dependency and addiction (I brought up both subjects). He asked me a few questions, regarding addiction and I lied through my teeth.
I actually belived my lies. I had manipulated myself to believe I was only dependent. I did not want to be addicted, so I told myself "It's ok, your doctor is prescribing them."
The day I realized I was "addicted," I had ran out of pills that morning, and by 6pm, I had inner-shakes. That's the best way I can describe it. I still remember that feeling. It felt as though my body was shaking on the inside. I was also extremely anxious/nervous. I called my aunt, whom I knew took percocets, told her I ran out and was in alot of pain. I lied. Well, she lives about 45-55 mins. outside of Toronto. I drove to her house to get three percocets!!! Three!!! That's all she had left. I remember my hubby showing some concern that I was driving so far just to get three pills. He asked me "Is everything alright?" I told him "Of course, I'm just in so much pain and cannot wait until tomorrow to get some relief." I lied. On my way there, I was excited at the prospect of getting some pills. Once there, I took two and after about 15 mins., I seemed to calm down considerably. On my way home, I had an epiphany. I realized that I'd driven far out of my way to get my drug of choice. I felt guilt, depression and shame, all at the same time. I realized that I lied about why I was going, to my hubby and to my aunt, and I realized then that I was lying to myself that whole time. On that day, it had been almost a year since I first took a percocet.
In my opinion, when you begin to lie to your doctor, family or friends, that's when you have become addicted. On the other hand, if you have taken your meds for "ANY reason other than pain and/or a doctor's schedule (according to your prescription), you are addicted. I recall alot of posts (especially from Reachout) where the person took their pain meds because they helped mask emotional/mental pain. They still took it according to their doctor's orders, however they were watching the clock and/or taking their pills because they "need" them.
I have learned alot from this post and from my reply. I hope this helps you as well. Thank you for sharing