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    Old 09-13-2008, 10:58 AM   #1
    holly74
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    Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    I am new here, but have visited several times in hope of gaining a little strength.

    I overcame a cocaine addiction about 10 years ago in college. That was the last and most extreme of countless addictions since the time I was about 13. I don't drink, I didn't use drugs for years, I was feeling very in control. About four years ago, I was prescribed Vicodin for a recurrent pilonidal cyst. I needed surgery, but wanted to wait until after my wedding. It's now been four long years and I know I am an addict.

    I can go for stretches without anything, but I always manage to find a way to have it (or some other prescription pain medication) back in my life. What's crazy to me is that it's so easy to not drink or do other drugs because I can't stand the feeling of being out of control anymore. AND YET I have absolutely no control over myself when it comes to this.

    About three years ago, I started having headaches. The second neurologist categorized them as "atypical cluster headaches", which I feel like means, "I don't know". I have probably tried 25-30 different medications, some with moderate success, but eventually everything stops working. I've been to two neurologists, an allergist, two GPs, and a chiropractor. What is so frustrating is that I get really vigilant and swear off pain meds for weeks or months, but I always manage to get back to where I am today - dependent. I am not (and never have been) a binge user. I guess I sort of treat them like antibiotics - take as directed until the bottle is empty.

    I hate this. I feel so ashamed. I hate feeling like something is controlling my life. We had a little boy about a year ago and I keep thinking about how fiercely protective I am of him, about how 99% of my life is spent being a good example to him. (Although at times, this addiction feels like it defines me 100%.) I am disgusted with myself that I can't let this go. I read posts here about people in the grips of such knee-buckling dependency and I am so moved and inspired by their ability to overcome and move toward recovery. I feel embarrassed that I take so little and still manage to fall over and over and over again.

    I have been honest with my husband about my problem. I am trying to get two clean days under my belt before he goes back to work on Monday (I am staying at home with my son until he goes to pre-school in a couple years). I am excited and scared and nervous and ecstatic and sad ... and a million other emotions. My last pill was at about 8 o'clock last night. I know that I'm the only one who can make this happen, but if it were that easy, just not taking that pill (or whatever), most of us wouldn't be here. I am so afraid I'll get weak here in a few hours, when my head starts pounding and I feel like being sick. I NEED to do this. The God's honest truth is that I don't WANT to do it all the time. I don't want to be in pain. But I know that I don't have any control and that the only way to regain that is to be done.

    I'm brand new here, and I know there are rules, so I'm not sure what you're allowed to say or not say. My husband used to ... smoke, let's say, from time to time. (He makes video games for a living, so I think they sort of go hand-in-hand. Ha!) I was so vehement that that couldn't be in his life anymore once our son was born. I feel so much self-awareness about my ridiculously addiction-prone personality. (And the dominant side of my family is all the same way, in one way or another. Eating [disguised as "gourmet"], drinking [passed off as an appreciation for wine or expensive tequilas], etc. But everyone is so successful and has never managed to let anything interfere with their lives to the extent that they had to admit they are all addicts. Every. Last. One of them.) How can I be so firm about my husband's habits and be such a hypocrite about my own? It's wrong of me.

    Ugh. I realize this is probably way too long, and in a way, I don't even know that it matters if anyone reads it. I feel better having "purged", if you will. I needed some accountability, even if it's just out there in cyberspace. I needed to share the burden a little bit.

    So thank you.

    Holly (5 hours into her first clean day)

     
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    Old 09-13-2008, 12:43 PM   #2
    loopman
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Hey Holly,

    First of all, you have done so many things great. You have been up front with your husband and you have the right state of mind. I have been hanging around here for awhile now. You will witness several different approaches. My advice is to analize and PRAY about the different approaches and decide what's best for you. I dont' think you are as out of control as you think you are. Some of the solutions that you read now, were looked down upon, when I found the board. I won't bore you now with my issues, let's just get you through the next few days. You have a good plan, stay strong.

    Take Care,
    Mike

     
    Old 09-13-2008, 01:34 PM   #3
    holly74
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much! I realized about five minutes after I posted that it DID matter to me whether or not anyone read it (or replied). I know that I need support and I appreciate knowing that someone's out there, paying attention.

    Thank you, again!

    Holly (now 7 1/2 hours in...)

     
    Old 09-14-2008, 05:25 PM   #4
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Holly, Just checking in to see how your doing. I think your honesty has been amazing and to me that's a big step. I have been addicted to lorcet over 10yrs now and it started because of back pain and then surgery. I know how you feel about the shame, I am also a mother and grandmother and wife, I have not told my husband because of my shame and disgust for myself. My family know I take pain meds but has no idea how many and how often. I have been pill free for 8 days now I think, I am trying not to count and it has been hard. I have went ct many times when I ran out before but this time I'm doing it because I want this badly and I want to live, and be free of pills being the master of everyday of my life. You are doing great I think, and you have inspired me because of your honesty and I think you baby boy is a lucky little boy to have you for a mother. May God bless and I'm praying for you and family. LOL, Fiesty

     
    Old 09-15-2008, 09:21 AM   #5
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Hi Holly

    Of course it matters if someone reads and responds to your post! It matters because we need to know others share our issues and we certainly need to know that there is a way out. For me, this board not only validated that I had a major issue, but it also validated that I had worth, that I was worth having a better life back.

    Holly, I used pain meds for 11-12 years. All of them. As my tolerance grew, so did the strength and frequency of my use. However, what also grew was my tolerance in my thinking about my use. I stopped thinking of any other ways to help my pain. Why resort to heat, ice, rest and such when it is so convenient to just take a pill? Why bother worrying about the abuse I was putting my body through when it was so easy to mask the pain and continue life as I wanted?

    The years went by and I grew more and more fatigued from the pills. I was exhausted physically and mentally... I was using them to push my body to continue what I wanted to do... work. In return, I gave up my social life, I gave up my family never being able to be there for them anymore. An finally I gave up period and had a complete breakdown mentally, physically and emotionally. My thinking began to change... a lot.... at that point. I had given up all the most important things in my life and was left with struggling through work 8 hours a day and then getting in bed for the rest of the day to try and recover enough to struggle again the next day. The pills had long stopped being effective for pain and only served to help me spiral down into total depresssion.

    The day after my complete breakdown, my hubby took me to my family doctor when I sobbed out my story. He listened and right then and there we beagn a plan for me to taper off the opiates and Xanax. It was the beginning of the restoration of my life. It took me a year to come completely off the meds. It was a really hard road at times, but it was the right one for me. I had to retire from work, but I see now that that was a good thing. I had time to think... oh, boy, did I have time to think. And as my mind and body began to repair and restore, my thinking began major renovations concerning ther use of meds. I could live without them, I could live better without them. I found new ways to deal with pain. I no longer see pills as the first defense against pain, not even aspirin.

    As the thinking changed, my life grew fuller and happier again. I was interacting again with family and friends. I was participating in life again and no longer a zombie slave to meds. I can not work anymore, but I have adjusted to that. Less money is of no importance when balanced against the one shot I have at living happily.

    It is all so possible, Holly. You have started your own process of restoration. Your thinking is nagging you enough to realize that there is an issue in you that is affecting your entire being. Good for you! The next step is to let the momentum take hold and start seraching out real, live help. A doctor, a support group with real people to walk along side you. It does take a village to help us and there is absolutely no shame in this. The only shame is if we refuse to take the help from others who care about us.

    Go for it, Holly. Be happy again. Love yourself the way your family loves you.

    With all hope
    reach

     
    Old 09-15-2008, 09:59 AM   #6
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Thank you so much, Fiesty. I have read many of your posts in the past and they've been very helpful and inspiring to me, as well.

    I ended up taking one pill yesterday and half a pill today. As I'm sure you know, the energy and better attitude they give me mess with my head. It's so hard to feel sick and mean when it comes to dealing with my family. I finally folded yesterday when it was time to go to the park. Today we were taking our boy to the zoo for the first time in his little life and I felt AWFUL. I totally know these are the same old excuses I always come up with, but half a pill is a heck of a lot better than I've been doing.

    Tomorrow is another day, so I'll go at it with renewed spirit (as I've done way too many times). I should have stayed on the boards longer and continued to write every time I felt weak. I know it would have helped me.

    To be honest, I wish more than ANYTHING that we lived near family. If I could hand my little guy off to my parents for the weekend, claiming the flu or something, I would have no excuse and such a great opportunity to get past that first hump. In the past, I've always been fine after the first 48-72 hours. That's all I need. But there's no sense in talking about things that aren't going to happen. I have to find the strength in me to get past this.

    I'm just like you in that the biggest thing is hating that something controls me. It's absurd. I remember right after I had my baby, my doctor prescribed me some kind of diet pills. I dropped the prescription off at one location, just on hold, and then called and asked if I could pick it up at a store closer to my house. They wouldn't let me, I guess because it's a controlled substance. I remember being kind of blown away by it, and I thought, "Why would anyone care about diet pills? Who would abuse these?" I mean, I seriously couldn't grasp the concept. It took me about two minutes to think, "Normal people don't treat pain killers the way that I do. How can I look at any other drug differently?" What is wrong with me that I don't have any control over a bottle of MEDICINE??? It just seems ridiculous!

    I have quit so many things in my life (I mean that in the good way!), so I know I can do this. I just need to be ready. I know if I can get through one day, I can get through a week, and then a month.

    It's now Monday, as I didn't finish this last night. Another chance to do the right thing.

    HUGE congratulations to you on doing so well! You're an inspiration!

    Holly

     
    Old 09-15-2008, 04:51 PM   #7
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by holly74 View Post


    I'm just like you in that the biggest thing is hating that something controls me. It's absurd. I remember right after I had my baby, my doctor prescribed me some kind of diet pills. I dropped the prescription off at one location, just on hold, and then called and asked if I could pick it up at a store closer to my house. They wouldn't let me, I guess because it's a controlled substance. I remember being kind of blown away by it, and I thought, "Why would anyone care about diet pills? Who would abuse these?" I mean, I seriously couldn't grasp the concept. It took me about two minutes to think, "Normal people don't treat pain killers the way that I do. How can I look at any other drug differently?" What is wrong with me that I don't have any control over a bottle of MEDICINE??? It just seems ridiculous!


    Holly
    Holly:
    In my life it has never once occurred to me to "use" drugs. I have never even been drunk. Honest. But my life, sometimes it feels like my complete existence, is controlled by a cupcake. My brain is wired for food, to use food for release. I have no idea why. But I read here because sometimes I see bits of wisdom and insight that help me in my battle. This was one of them. I find myself cheering for the folks, hoping they win. Because while they may not understand my battle as being addition, if they (in this case YOU) win, maybe I can win too.

    Hang in there Holly. Keep writing and letting us know how you are doing. Being controlled by anything is no way to live. An old fat lady in Ohio is cheering for you.

    Do good.

     
    Old 09-22-2008, 08:02 PM   #8
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    Crap. I wrote a long reply to reach several days ago and it's a no-show. Hmm.

    A brief recap of that, then: I am right there with you on not turning to medicines. Isn't that ridiculous? I am a massage therapist, I'm pretty "granola", as they say. If I get a stomach ache, I put some peppermint extract in my water. You get what I'm saying. I think in a lot of ways that came from my not wanting to cede control to anything anymore. AND YET ... I am still fighting with these damn pills.

    I know a huge part of it is a legitimate struggle to control this pain. I know, in my heart of hearts, that that's not a cop out. I had nearly two years of taking Topamax that were relatively headache-free. I chose to stop taking it when we decided to have a baby. When I was able to start again (after nearly a year of being absolutely brought to my knees from pain, month after month), it didn't work. It was devastating. So began the search for something new. I've used beta-blockers, allergy medicines, oxygen tanks, massage, bags of ice on my head, a new mattress, limitless migraine medications ... the list goes on and on. I feel like I have three avenues left right now. I got approval from my insurance to see a pain management doctor and my first appointment is tomorrow at 2. I feel a little bit silly going in for headaches, but only I know the truth about this struggle with pain over the past four years, and it never hurts to try. I read an article about pain management having many avenues for treating migraines (hopefully clusters, in my case) aside from traditional medicines. So here's hoping. I can't remember the last time in my life I had my eyes checked. I've always had better than 20/20 vision, so I'm doubting it's that, but an eye exam's free, so why not? And lastly, I could see a dentist who specializes in TMJD. I have a loud, popping jaw, but it's always been there, not just the past four years. Who knows, though, right?

    The good news is that I could have refilled my prescription today and I chose not to. I took one pill today (two halves, actually) and have one half left for tomorrow. I don't feel nervous. I feel hopeful that I'm going to find something that works for me, something that isn't a narcotic. I feel clearer, and not just in a "not-in-a-drugged-haze" kind of way. It seems obvious to me what needs to happen, and the only person who can make that happen is me. One foot in front of the other and just keep plugging along.

    It is BEYOND inspiring for me to read the stories of people here who have come out on the other side and have themselves and their families back. Even though, as I mentioned, I am not a binge user, I know that the fact that this weighs on me means that it affects my family. The headaches alone have taken a toll on my marriage. I have never been "sick" before this and I'm positive that it's changed my personality. I just want to be able to manage the headaches and be free of pills. Period. I already have everything else I could want.

    I am going to find a meeting of some sort. Either that or I'm going to go back to church (and maybe find a meeting there). Because I have fought various addictions for more than half my life now, I know that even if I kick this there will always be a little sleeping demon inside of me, waiting for the next to-good-to-be-true thing to come along.

    I keep having these epiphanies lately, too. I remember when I stopped using cocaine and decided not to use anything else. Initially, it was hard to come to grips with the fact that it was fun. You want to sort of flog yourself, and concentrate on how "wrong" it is. But the truth of the matter is that, at the time, it's great. Hell, I was in college. It was FANTASTIC. And then it occurred to me that none of it was real. It was ALL synthetic. All of it! And it's the same now. That euphoric feeling, the energy, all of it - it's not even me! It's a cheap replacement for true joy, for REAL feelings (even the bad ones - maybe, most importantly, the bad ones). I know that I want to live an authentic life. I know that I do, in so many ways. I need to stop hiding from pain, be it physical or emotional, and be a true participant in my world. I need to get rid of this last shame. I can say, with sincerity, that I would trade hundreds of bottles of pills for the day I spent with my husband and little boy yesterday. It was so much FUN. I miss feeling good when I wake up in the morning, I miss the gym, I can't imagine what else I'm capable of when my mind isn't going through its constant obsessive cycle about how many pills I have left, etc. I CAN'T IMAGINE!

    So I struggled through my pregnancy without my medication (and even before that time, trying to conceive) because I knew it would harm my baby (the Topamax, that is). I gutted. It. Out. Why should now be any different? I can do this, for him, for me, for my husband, for our FAMILY. It is so close, I can taste it. It doesn't feel like a hardship right now, it feels like an opportunity. An opportunity to regain control over my life.

    I've read so many posts here. I feel like I know little snippets about so many anonymous people. Perhaps my favorite thing to read, from Jerry, I believe, is "Another Dopeless Hope Addict". I've never had any interaction with Jerry, nor with most people here, but he makes me want to be able to describe myself that way. I ache for it. It is so beautiful and sincere and pure. And succinct (as I am clearly not!). So thank you, Jerry, whoever and wherever you are. I don't know you, but I'm proud of you. Your journey, like so many others here, is truly a light for those of us who are still struggling.

    Alright, I swear I'm nearly done. To sweet Resolution09 - THANK YOU. You have no idea how much your response meant to me. We can both do this, both conquer our own demons and have our control back. Just one step, then another, then another. As I said before, I have seen EVERY manifestation of addiction in my family, food being way up there. I struggle with that very issue with my father right now. In a year's time, he spent six months in Iraq (as a civilian), lost our family home in Hurricane Ivan, and then lost his father. While he's always been a big guy, I've watched him literally eat his feelings for the past three years or so. It kills me. He is MY IDOL. He is THE BEST MAN. It's bringing tears to my eyes as I write this, because I have to fight back thoughts about him not being a part of his grandson's life due to his health. Ugh - the point is that I truly know where you're coming from. Food is perhaps even harder, even more slippery, than drugs because it's everywhere. It's part of your life, day-in and day-out. I know, though, even from the short correspondence you sent me, that there's someone who feels about you the way I feel about my dad. Someone worries about you and wants, more than anything, to have you around for as long as humanly-possible. WE CAN DO THIS.

    Good lord, this was quite a dissertation. Sorry. Again, though, it feels good to lay it all out. *sigh*

    Holly

     
    Old 09-22-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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    Re: Just looking to say it "out loud"...

    First of all Holly Kudos to you for being able to do what so many others either cannot do or don't want to do which is kick a cocaine habit I know that was hard for you to do but also you have admitted that you have a problem and that is the first step you are alot STRONGER than you think because you're a great mom congrats on your new baby be strong addiction is a one day at a time thing.You have to praise yourself one day and one step at a time be blessed.Amari
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