Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fool Me Once

Never once did it occur to me that the scariest part about drugs-pharmaceuticals in particular, is how NOT scary they feel. It never occurred to me that there would be NO warning signs--or at least nothing that I would interpret as a warning sign, and it certainly never occurred to me that I should be down right terrified of how right those pills made me feel. We all experience moments in our lives when everything seems to fall into place--when we just know that we're exactly where we're supposed to be, doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing, and life feels 100% the way we believe it's supposed to feel. Those moments are rare, they are often fleeting, but they are undeniably special and very, very exciting.

That's exactly how I felt when opiates hit my bloodstream for the very first time.

I had found my solution. It was like all the pieces had finally come together, like I just knew the way that tiny little pill made me feel--was exactly how I was supposed to be feeling. I justified it so easily too. I mean, some people took anti-depressants, or anti-anxiety medication, some people took mood stabilizers, and took pain killers. I knew that the body could become dependent on all of those medications and I knew that it was necessary to wean the body off when you were ready to stop taking them. It was all very simple. Pain killers relieved me of the suffocating weight I carried in my soul and they gave me the freedom I needed to live my life in a productive way. I was a better mother, a better friend and daughter and partner, I was a better employee and member of my community. I was an all around better version of myself because I was no longer crippled, no longer burdened, by my fears, my emotional pain, or my desperate need for approval from others. That little pill freed me from all of that--instantaneously.

My doctor told me, "You need to be careful with these Raina, they can be addictive." Of course I already knew that, I didn't need to hear it again. I knew they were addictive and I was OK with that. I had already bargained (with myself) that if things seemed to get out of control, or if it started to appear as though the medication was no longer helping me, but hindering me instead, I would wean myself off. Someone had told me once that it takes 3 days to detox opiates from your system, so worst case scenario--if things started to go in a bad direction and I had to stop taking the pills immediately, I would stop and endure being sick for a few days. I figured it would suck, but it's not like I hadn't been sick for 3 days before! I had survived the flu and all sorts of illnesses that lasted WAY longer than that! I knew I could survive 3 short days of feeling shitty, if and/or when it came to that. It was, BY FAR, a nominal price to pay.

Look, it's not like I was doing heroin. I wasn't taking illegal drugs, I was taking something prescribed to me by my doctor. Granted, I wasn't taking them for the reason they were being prescribed, but still....they were coming from my doctor for crying out loud! How bad could they really be?!

It all made so much sense at the time. Everything about the way that I felt, everything about me, was saying "Yes!". My body, my brain, was telling me, under no uncertain terms, "This is exactly how you're supposed to feel. Nothing that feels THIS right, can possibly be THAT bad."

When I finally hit my bottom, I was an IV heroin user and a crack addict. I was dangerously close to losing my children, we were living in our home in the middle of a Vermont winter without heat. I had no friends, no car, no job, no relationship with my family, I couldn't even remember the last time I had felt good. I was ashamed and scared and had been living without hope for so long that I thought about dying far more than I ever considered the possibility that I might live. I had been in and out of rehab more times than I could count and there was NOTHING that I wanted more than to stop the madness that had consumed me. I loathed myself. I felt desperate to care for my children in the way they needed and deserved. I was drowning in fear and pain and I had all but given up on ever finding my way back to the person I had once been. But none of that mattered because no matter what I wanted or how I felt--I couldn't stop using.

I. Couldn't. Stop. Using.

No comments:

Post a Comment