Real Addict vs. Imaginary Addict?

[Throwback Thursday — Originally published March 2014]

I’ve had several people tell me I’m “not really an addict” in the past few weeks. Some were strangers, others were old friends, a few were barely acquaintances, and one was a very close family member. And their reasoning? Because NA did not work for me; because I don’t work the traditional 12 steps and have pursued my recovery along a different route.

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“Just Stop” Isn’t As Easy, Or Safe, As It Sounds

The Adventures of Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe

Photo Credit: methadoneman.org

[Throwback Thursday — Originally published November 2013]

This post is directed toward every single person who has ever told me to “just stop taking” my medication. Whether you’ve been where I have, have gone through what I am, or have no idea, you have never been me. So please, stop telling me something when you cannot speak for me, feel what I feel, or know what I know.

I am on Suboxone. In short, Suboxone is a medication to help people get off heroin or other opiates. It is a combination of an opiod medication, and another medication that reverses the effects of opiates. So it helps people get, and stay, off drugs. However, many people view it as a drug itself, and that’s where the line begins to fade.

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Tempestuous Living

This is an average day in my life — the life of an addict, a mother, a writer, someone with bipolar and anxiety. It’s boring, and it’s missing pieces, and not every day is the same, but it is what it is.

3:30am I wake up. I need a cigarette. I feel around the bed, Holden’s there. Can’t smoke. I squint to see the boys cuddling and smile to myself. I go back to sleep.

7:30am I wake up. I roll over. I try to go back to sleep but I know it won’t come. I check my phone and my computer and I forget to put my glasses on until the tenth time of wondering why everything’s all fuzzy.

7:35am I need a cigarette. I look around the bed again. Holden’s gone. He must have woken up and gone back to his room at some point in the last four hours. I light up. I take a few drags and hear his door. He’s up. He comes into my room and I beg him to let me finish my cigarette, but he doesn’t. I need to turn on his show. We yell at each other for a few minutes, but I don’t want to wake Jack. I get up.

7:37am I go into the living room and turn on the TV. I go into the kitchen and throw some frozen french toast in the microwave, playing on my phone as I wait for it to be done. I get juice ready. I bring everything into the living room and make sure Holden’s all set up.

7:40am I finish the bit of my cigarette that hasn’t burned away. I check my Reader for attention-grabbing headlines and my favorite bloggers’ names. I scroll through a few posts and save a few more to read later. I light another cigarette. I waste away precious time scrolling through my Reader and playing online games and staring at the computer screen, hoping it will give me something to do. Eminem (formerly known as M&M) messages me a Good Morning and things look up a bit.

8:30am I find Holden’s clothes and get his food ready and put everything in the car and make sure the only thing I have to do is put his clothes on and go. I chase him around the house for what feels like an hour and throw my hands up in defeat at least three times and throw his clothes down on the floor at least four before I nearly chokehold him into his pants and shirt. He’s bawling and I’m screaming and my dad’s giving us googly eyes and Jack’s in the bedroom on the computer or sleeping. I make sure, one last time, that everything is ready.

9:00am We’re already running late and Holden has taken off his pants. We go through the routine mentioned above, again, only with a little more gusto. He doesn’t want to go to school.

9:15am After successfully bribing Holden with treats or technology or toys or friends, I get his pants on, throw him over my shoulder, and put him in the car. He’s fine until I go to close the door when he sticks his little hand out and I catch myself before crushing it. I tell him I’ll get whatever he wants when I get him, but it doesn’t please him. Instead of slamming the door on his hand I slowly place it closed and bump my butt against it to finalize the deal. He screams.

9:30am We get to daycare and Holden walks in just fine but clutches my leg when I go to leave and it turns into a big thing with his teacher having to grab him away from me as I scurry out the door. I am free. I head home, big things are planned for the day.

9:40am I stop at WaWa and get my coffee and breakfast and keep my head down but take in all the people. There are too many of them; they are too close to me. I put my head down further — maybe I will radiate off a forcefield and they will stop getting so damn close. They don’t. I pay and hurry to my car.

9:45am I am home. Sweet, sweet home. I bounce onto the bed and light a cigarette and grab my computer and tell myself I have hours to do my chores so a little writing won’t hurt. That’s my mistake. I thought about the chores. I shouldn’t have thought about them, I should have just done them. They won’t get done for hours. I try to write but nothing comes. I put on a TV show and rock and sway and think maybe just this once some heroin would calm me down. It takes a few hours to get that thought out of my head, to subdue the rocking.

Noon How did it get so late? What have I even done? I look at my computer and seventeen posts are waiting for me to read them and my new post area is blank. What happened? Why am I still rocking? I obviously must get up — something has to be done. I go into the kitchen and then into the living room and back into the kitchen. I think about all that needs to be done and retreat back into my room. Maybe I’ll take a nap. I look over at my meds and decide I need to calm down, maybe I’ll just take my nighttime med now. Maybe. Yeah, right. I do it. There’s no maybe. I tell myself I’ll skip tonight’s dose to make up for it but I know I won’t. I’ll just run out sooner.

2pm I force myself up and about and do whatever chore is on my chore chart for the day. Maybe it’s dishes, or vacuuming, or mopping, or laundry. I half-ass it, but at least it’s done. I get myself a cute owl sticker and place it over today on the calendar. I feel successful. I’ll try to write again.

4pm I’m squirming around in bed and wishing heroin wasn’t so damn addictive. I’m paralyzed from moving but I can’t stop. I’m not even making sense to myself. I start talking to people online and I get awfully nervous for no apparent reason and it takes so much out of me I have to take a break. I rock and I sway.

5pm It’s time to get Holden from school. I force myself up and out and through town to get him. When I arrive, he doesn’t want to leave. I let him play for a few more minutes, obviously overstaying my welcome because his teachers just want to leave. I drag him out the door after they’ve bribed him with a balloon. We make our way home.

5:30 I keep myself busy doing I-don’t-know-what. Holden and I fight about something, Jack and I fight about more. I can’t sit down or I’ll rock.

7:00pm I get food and drink and DVD in hand and get my son all set up for bed and listen to his demands and run around doing everything he asks and change him and put his blanket on him and tell him I love him and Goodnight.

7:20pm I try to get to bed but Jack has to fix it because it’s messed up again and then he needs something and our space is so small I can’t get around him and I finally do and I light a cigarette and down my meds. I try to watch TV and I rock. And I stand on my head and I rock. And I watch some TV and I play a computer game and I rock.

8:25pm I sit at my computer. My legs are crossed. I uncross them. I stare at the screen. I re-cross them. I click on a post saved from this morning and I try to read and I skim and I make myself go back over the skimmed parts and I try really hard to devour every word. Eventually I give up and scroll to the bottom and click like. I open a new post and force myself to read every. single. word. and it still doesn’t sink in so I comment on the one paragraph that took. And I feel horrible because this has nothing to do with the writers’ abilities and everything to do with my fucking brain and its rebellion. I repeat the process of skimming posts and reading posts and crossing my legs and uncrossing my legs and chainsmoking.

8:32pm Sometimes I try to write. Like now, right now I’m writing and it feels good and everything is okay for a minute, but usually I get something like this:

My brain isn’t working and it’s driving me fucking mad.

My son’s hair looks cute.

BFEKuhdsfuihesnuigkbsjifnd

I just want to feel the keyboard under my fingers so it seems like I’m doing something remarkable.

On good nights, I will continue to write and write and everything will remain wonderful and I’ll go to bed around 10:30pm. On bad nights, I’ll give up and watch TV until I pass out around 9:00pm.

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I want to thank walkingcontradiction for this idea, and actually giving me inspiration to write something for once.

*  *  *  *  *

What about you? What’s a day in your life?

I Want to Feel Better

There are two common questions I’m asked; two common answers I’ve spoken more times than I can count.

Why did you start using?

Because it was fun.

Why did you keep using?

Because I wanted to feel better.

Even if I didn’t feel bad, I wanted to feel better. Always bigger, always better, always more.

So when I was with Luke the other day and he asked, “Why do you keep doubling up on your meds?” I wasn’t the least bit surprised when “Because I want to feel better” came out.

That’s what everyone wants, isn’t it? To feel better. To feel good, all the time.

It’s no wonder an addict’s mind can’t differentiate the regular bad days from the end of the world.

And that’s my problem. My addict takes over when I don’t feel 100% and I just want to feel better.

I don’t know how to feel normal anymore. If I have a runny nose, I should take more Suboxone. If I have a headache, I should take more Abilify. If I’m anxious and cranky, I should take more Celexa. If I yawn I take more Suboxone. Everything that isn’t absolutely perfect is obviously a sign of withdrawal and I need more medication.

That’s how my mind works.

I honestly don’t remember why I started using in the first place. I remember the first time I smoked weed. My friends did it and it looked fun so I tried it. The first time I did coke it looked fun. The first time I did heroin I had already done nearly every other drug so why the hell not? I don’t remember trying to self-medicate or having any underlying problems that drove me to the bittersweet arms of narcotics. I was simply surrounded by them and they seemed fun.

When I think about it, I’m sure there was some sort of underlying issue that drove me to want to feel better, but at the time I didn’t realize I felt bad. I just wanted to have fun.

Now that’s over. Now whenever I have a craving or double up on my dose it’s not just because I want to have fun — it’s because something isn’t right. After being a heroin addict for so long, my body has gotten itself used to self-medicating every single time something feels off. I can’t handle not feeling perfect anymore. Even though I’ve been sober for years, it all comes back to me when I don’t feel well. Obviously the solution is to take something (or more of something).

This is the problem I have with my medications. They’re not working the way I’d like, so I take more. I know I shouldn’t take more. I know it’s dumb to take more and I know I’ll run out sooner and actually withdraw and everything will suck and it’s the worst possible idea I’ve had in a long time.

I just can’t stop myself from aching to feel better.

Why Nonsense & Shenanigans?

There is a lot of blogging advice out there. Comment, like, post so often, don’t use foul language, do use foul language, don’t alienate your followers, don’t use certain post openings, have a niche.

Have a niche. Huh. For those who don’t know what a niche is, it’s kind of like your forte. If you don’t know what either mean, you should probably open a dictionary, but since I’m kind I’ll explain it.

Your blog’s niche is something specific you write about. Your focus.

niche blogging

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