I haven’t had alcohol in 1 year 3 months and 10 days. I haven’t smoke weed in over 6 months. After surgery, I didn’t want to take the Vicodin my surgeon prescribed, but I had no choice. I decided that it doesn’t count as substance use because it’s for a legitimate medical reason. It’s still not ideal, considering my addiction issues in the past. At 15, I started drinking and smoking weed a lot. Before 15 it was sporadic use, but at that age I developed a dependency on substances to get me through emotional pain.
A lot of addicts are trauma survivors, in fact I bet the majority are. I felt depressed and scared my whole life; I don’t even blame myself for trying to escape the pain. When someone grows up with caretakers who abuse and neglect them, it causes deep wounds that seem to radiate pain through out every aspect of life. It hurts to think of all the children growing up like this. You somehow survive, and you keep going, but you know that there is a hole in your heart- you feel broken, like dark clouds follow you. You try so hard, you try to heal, sometimes you find distractions or you simply deny how hurt you really are. But deep down, you know. You lose hope that you will ever feel “normal” or healthy. You give up inside. You feel hopeless, like you have nothing to lose. It gets so bad that you welcome anything that numbs the pain even for a little while. I know this is the story of many addicts. Once the addiction takes hold of their brain, they lose the ability to make healthy decisions for themselves. Sometimes they end up sick and dying alone; it’s almost like they are reenacting that early trauma of being alone and hurting.
I look back at some of the crazy decisions I’ve made in my life to chase a high, and I’m surprised I didn’t end up on the streets too. I’ve gone into crack houses alone, met with dealers who I barely knew, and found myself in some dangerous areas just to find drugs. I’ve witnessed drive by shootings and overdoses. The worst was the guy foaming at the mouth. I’ve seen people in drug houses living in squalor, floors covered in trash, roaches, and everything caked in dirt. I was shocked at how people chose to live; back then I didn’t realize how ill they were. They were consumed by their addiction. I don’t know what saved me, because I would try anything once. I just vowed to never shoot up. I loved Vicodin and Percs, molly, shrooms, acid, DXM, coke, ketamine, drank, and smoked weed. I enjoyed mixing substances. Tripping and smoking weed was my favourite. Pills and drinking were another fave. I was young and had no fear, plus I had a death wish anyway. I don’t know why I didn’t cross the line to heroin, I just didn’t. I’ve seen so many people die from it. I knew that heroin was a death sentence. Once when I was 19, I kicked a kid out of my car because he had heroin. I was giving him a ride, but I decided I had zero tolerance for that shit. I figured if I was going to take my life, it would be quick. I didn’t want the drawn out suffering that heroin caused. I had suffered enough.
Now when I take Vicodin, or when they give me Fentanyl in the hospital, I think of all those I’ve cared about who lost their lives to opiates. It’s painful. It makes me never want to use these drugs, even when it’s medically necessary. I hate them. I hate what they do to people. I also hate the warm rush and feeling of well being that they give you. It’s a lie. It’s not real. I guess that’s why I’m writing this. I’m writing it to remind myself that even though it took away my pain and stress for a few hours, it’s fake. The stress and pain is still there. Drugs don’t really take away the pain, they just cover it up. It comes back, and if you take too many or take them for too long, you get sick coming off them. And the emotional pain will always come back. The temporary relief isn’t worth it.
I’m exhausted taking care of myself and my kid on crutches, trying to clean and do laundry, cook, pick up after a four year old, and basically try to survive without exercise which is the best antidepressant ever. I’m in pain with few coping skills, so the warm rush of Vicodin felt good for a minute. I’m writing this to remind myself that a part actually stole Vicodin once when our prescriptions ran out. He couldn’t bare the thought of being without it. This shit is evil. I’ll take the numbing of pain and even sadness for now, but I’ll be glad when this bottle is empty. I’ll face the frustration of not being able to run for weeks. I’ll adapt my exercises for my ankle pain. I’ll get through. I don’t need an escape, even though it feels like relief when it hits. I’m stronger now, and I’ll be in less pain eventually. Today my kid gave me a healing potion she made for me. It was so cute, she mixed rose petals and water and put it in a glass jar. That’s the kind of stuff I live for, literally. I live for her, and I fight for her. I want her to have what I didn’t. I’m proud of myself. I know she’d be proud of me too.