Re: What changes did you notice after being sober?
Oh boy, answering this question is right up my alley! Chuckles.
[COLOR="Blue"It's been so long since I've been me, I have to wonder. ][/COLOR]
That sure hit home hard for me. That was my greatest quest in getting off the opiates and benzos. Finding me again. I wasn't sure where the real me had gone, wasn't even sure if I would recognize myself if I ever even found "me" again. Happily, I did reappear. :-)
The withdrawal was one of the hardest things I have ever survived. However, throughout it all, it was also the single greatest time of learning about myself that I have ever experienced. My withdrawal from Oxycodone and then from Xanax was coupled with working with professionals. The most helpful was a licensed clinical social worker. She helped me not only understand why I was abusing the drugs, but also helped me identify the different pieces of me... the good, the bad and the ugly.
As I physically began restoring my body and brain, I worked on my emotional well-being. There was no joy in my life anymore, no light hearted humor, no caring, no ability to participate in life. I was merely existing and even that was going down the tubes pretty quickly. I had fallen into a deep, deep clinical depression and really had to grasp at any gimmer of hope that I would have the capacity to restore my life.
Physically, one of the first things I noticed was yawning. I had so depressed my breathing system that I never even yawned anymore. At first there were just half-yawns ( that was what made me cognizant of not having yawned for years). I also noticed I got back a little rhythm, which I had not felt for so long. Music was starting to have an impact on me once again. I began smiling real smiles; chuckling real chuckles again. Little things like that that cumlatively impact our lives all the time had been missing for so long.
I had also isolated for years. little by little, I began stepping up and participating in life again. Talked to a friend on the phone, went out for a coffee with my husband, began attending family occasions again. Each step was a victory for me. and each step made it easier to take the next one.
A funny thing once I was completely clean and sober-minded, I had no idea what to do with myself. I had spent so long in a constant drug haze that I had truly forgotten what an everyday life should be. How many times I found myself standing stock still wondering what I might do. Stood in the kitchen the first time and realized,"Oh, yeah, I can empty the dishwasher." Then I swept the floor. Slowly, I began to remember automatically about the hosehold chores that should be my responsibility and I had left to my husband for so very long. It was a slow process for sure, but little by little, I regained a sense of daily life again.
As that happened, other things began to fall into place. My realtionship with my husband grew stronger again. I had neglected all relationships for so long and had to rebuild them again. I was relearning how to be an active participant in life again. "Me" was emerging again and it was a wonderfully awesome thing.
There are still some rugged things in my life, but now it is balanced with recognition of the good. Balance. That may be the sum of what occured to me in ditching the pill cycle... I found balance in my life again.
Oh, there is so much more I could write! I will stop, though, and get off my soapbox here. :-) I have joy and happiness again and getting off those drugs was the best thing I have ever done for me.
With hope always
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Re: What changes did you notice after being sober?
Amazing story. So, you didn't tell who the new you is? I'm inspired to her a good story like that. Your family must be so delighted to have you back. What started you on them in the first place, and how long did you take them? I know we shouldn't compare our lives with others but I think so many of us get on them for real pain, that pain causes anxiety and we reach out for a fix, then we end up stuck on the spin cycle. You're blessed that you have such a great support network around you. Welcome back indeed! I so appreciate you sharing all that with me.
I probably never should have used those pills. I had addiction issues in the past, cleared it and a few years later, went to the pills. Jeez, once you walk through that door, you can't forget it's there. But, from what you've written, it seems you know the portal exists, you are gladly not going to walk back through it again. I think that's living sober -seeing the road but not driving down it because you know where it leads.
It's odd how we forget who we are.
For so many years I was a tough chickie, and I still am, but I someone got used to the idea that regular life needed a lift. I recall how much I loved life before, I got the wonder and the awe just from being here. It's been a long time since I felt that way. I have a child with special needs and it has taken so much work, I wound up using addiction as a cruch for it, for the pressure and long hours. I run my own business too. It is very stressful.
For me, the hardest part has been that I don't really know why I'm not healthy, other than the obvious - I take crap all the time, how would I really know what I feel or dont? If I could just solve that riddle, I think 98 percent of my anxiety would be gone. But masking anything makes no sense and causes its own unique problems. How do you really know if you're better if you keep taking things to hide it? You don't. I think I hit that point where this is just so stupid, I can't help but stop. I think with all the medical stuff still up in the air, the benzos might take me some time to get rid of. But, I am trying not to use the Vicodin because I want to listen to my body, to hear what it's saying, narcos are background noise.
You know what I wonder? I wonder if those benzos zap your body's natural ability to handle stress, thus creating a greater and greater need for them. I started taking them because I couldn't sleep (a friend gave them to me - yeah thanks), then I wound up getting a perscription during some of my medical tests two years ago beccause I had full-on panic attacks, one in an MRI machine (God that was embarassing as hell too. I had no idea I was afraid of the tube). But, seems that my body can no longer function under normal load without going on overload? Is that something that long-term benzo use does to a person? Does it reduce our body's own ability to handle everyday stress. You know I had a panic attack on the freeway the other day. That is just not me at all.
I have never retreated from life but lately, I've been going that way. I'm burned out on all pills and smoking and waking up like crap each day, of wondering why I'm not well, imagining the worst, taking pills to blot it out and keep charging ahead.
For me, I think I need to dump those Vicodins, like I said, and figure out what is wrong with me medically. Then, once we know, hopefullly it's nothing major and I can work myself off the benzos.
I want to get to the place where you are, where we all should be - in reality.
Re: What changes did you notice after being sober?
"What started you on them in the first place, and how long did you take them? I know we shouldn't compare our lives with others but I think so many of us get on them for real pain, that pain causes anxiety and we reach out for a fix, then we end up stuck on the spin cycle."
I had a sweet, soft life until I was 46 years old. All of a sudden, all this rosiness hit the fan and my life was quickly turned upside down with a lot of cancers and deaths in my family in a short period of time. In September, we found my husband's Dad dead at his home. We were sad certainly, but it was not totally unexpected. Two days after we buried him, my Mom was diagnosed with breat cancer. The next week, my Pop was diagnosed with lung cancer. Unbelieveably, the next week my uncle was diagnosed, also with lunf cancer. I was primary caretaker for all of them. I was working full time, had just begun college for the first time( a lifelong dream), and had a husband and three children to care for. My life was a whirlwind of taking everyone to chemo treatments and radiation treatments. There was no time to even think and I was exhausted all the time. I dropped out of school first. Within a month, I had to take a leave of absence from work. By November, I was taling care of my parents and uncle nearly full time. Pop's cancer spread to the brain; he had brain surgery and was left paralyzed on one side. I ran from nursing home to hospitals and to houses to pay bills and check on things. In february, Pop died; two hours later my uncle died. between the two funerals, I had to take my mom for chemo treatment.
Life calmed down somewhat after that. My mom was still in treatment, but I was able to go back to work and still take care of her. Thank you, God, for a husband who held our own family unit together. Mom's treatment ended in June and I tried to regain a sense of normality, having the summer off from work before returning to work in September.
Went back to work and fell in a hallway. A lucky fall in some ways, I guess. Got checked by a doctor because I thought I had sprained something in my thigh. No sprain... cancer. A rare sarcoma. I had to be treated away from home in Boston. My life was reeling again. 6 months in Boston with multiple surgeries and radiation. This is when the painkillers began. I had only a 5% chance of making it. After 6 months, I returned home for 4 months of really rugged chemo and then a lot of therapy to learn to walk again. The radiation had killed my one remaining ovary and I went into overnight menopause. It was all just a nightmare. I did make an attempt to return to work after a year, but clinical depression set in horribly and I became pretty non-functioning. I did pull through, but lived in pain constantly. I took more and more pills to try and control pain and make it through the workday. when I got home, I took even more pills and went to bed until the next morning. This is where the abuse started... I was taking the pills not only for physiacal pain, but for emotional as well. I had shoved so much grief and hurt down deep because there had been no time to deal with it. I never mourned my Pop's death, my uncle's death, my Mom's suffering, my own suffering and loss. I had a heart attack and brushed it all off like a joke. I just couldn't deal with anything anymore. it took ten years of this until the huge crash came. I went into such a deep clinical depression... not only from life's events, but also because of such high use of opiods and benzos.. that I reached the point where I understood why people in depression end up in suicide. I did not make any attempts because somehow there came a clearness in my head that made me realize I was headed in that direction next.
My husband pretty much carried me into my long time family doctor and it was on that day that I finally felt a huge weight lifted from me. We devised a tapering plan together to get off all the drugs and I began work with a licensed clinical social worker. She helped me to mourn to grieve, to face all the things I had shoved so deep inside. My healing began from the inside out. It has been over four years now that I am a restored and complete woman again. I am thankful, I am humbled, I am grateful for all the support I had to get here.
Wow... you probably got a LOT more than you bargained for with your question, huh? Chuckles. As I started typing this saga, I felt like I really wanted to relay the message that sometimes we go through some pretty tormenting circumstances and that it comes pretty easily, and sneakily, upon us to find an escape in drug haze. That escape will eventually fail us, but there is a way out. It takes work and a will to live and to live abundantly. Whatever we may try to run away from through drugs will still haunt us until we confront our fears and learn to cope in healthier ways with the results of them.
Mamasnug, I wrote this to respind to you especially. However, if anyone who has the patience to wade through all this is wondering if they can find a restored life also, the answer is a resounding YES!