I do not know how to start this journal entry…my mind has been racing for a few weeks now. I have been preoccupied, stressed out over assignments for school, stressed out over meeting the goal I have set for finishing this math course in one semester. I had some trouble at work with someone who drove my afternoon route and used my bus. I feel stressed about fitting in appointments with school and work. There is not enough time in the days lately. I feel bad about myself at home for not being able to cook dinner every night, not able to keep up with laundry, etc. My pain level has been really high for weeks now and it makes everything in my life so much harder.
Oxycodone is calling me badly the past few weeks. I should probably just be honest here and instead of saying Oxycodone I should say heroin because that is what it is. It is still hard sometimes to admit I am a recovering heroin addict. It is hard because when you hear or say heroin addict you automatically begin to envision some “junkie” with needle marks everywhere living on the streets. In truth that stereotype fits the minority of heroin addicts these days thanks to prescription opiates given by doctors and abused by patients. I am guilty, when I hear or say heroin addict, of picturing someone else other than myself. I have to force myself to accept the truth about my addiction and who I am.
And….I am a recovering heroin addict….
Of all the things in my life I never imagined… this tops them all.
It makes me a little sad on the inside and a little ashamed I have to own this part of my life. I want to get high so bad right now. I will not break but I have to say it out loud sometimes so that it is real and not hidden. It can’t be a secret anymore…though I wish it could be most of the time. I do not want people to judge me. I do not want people to view me the way I view heroin addicts. I do not want them to view me the way I know they would….a dirty person on a street ally trading their bodies for a fix or a homeless person so sick from withdrawals they’ll beg, borrow or steal to stop the pain. Yeah I do not want people to view me in that way and if everyone knew what I was….they would. I never used the needle to take heroin so for a long time I could deny I was a heroin addict because of the view I held about what a heroin addict was. It is the same view you probably have yourself. You know as you read the two words “heroin addict” you are picturing something out of Basketball Diaries, or imagining Nikki Sixx from a memory he shared from his book. Well that is not an accurate depiction of a heroin addict, especially today. The heroin addict of today can be your soccer mom neighbor, your middle school kid who is on honor roll, it can be your classmate in college sitting next to you appearing to be all together, and it can be your grandparent recovering from a hip surgery. None of which will have track marks, none of which use the needle to get high on heroin. All of those examples can, of course, be popping prescription opiates in double doses, or however many it takes to get real high for them, they could be snorting crushed up opiates, and they could be smoking crushed opiates. They could be doing these things and no one will be the wiser. They could be doing these things not knowing themselves what is in store for them when they run out.
When my dad died in 1996 my world spun out of control very quickly. I went from smoking pot and popping soma to get high once in a while to moving on up to smoking opium. I didn’t know exactly what opium was at the time except that it made me feel real good.
I was 18, my dad, who was my world, was now dead, my mom was still a crazy schizophrenic, my family (brothers, cousins) was falling apart, and I got so fucked up with it all. I will remember my first high on opium for the rest of my life. It was the best God damned high I had ever had. I was hooked immediately. It was warm, numbing, relaxing, and a calm to any storm that was around. I had no idea that opium came from a plant that heroin also came from at that time. Would I have run to that if I had known that back then? I can’t say for sure…it might have caused me to pause certainly…but losing my dad and everything else going on during that time of my life…looking back…I have to say I probably would have done it anyway thinking I would have been the invincible one who wouldn’t end up with a drug problem…I was running from so many things back then in any way I could just so I did not have to deal with it, or feel the hurt from it. I smoked it for almost two years. When the opportunity came up for me to get out and get clean I took it. I left my hometown completely.
I did the whole clean up cold turkey. I used vodka to help alleviate some of the withdrawals but it was the worst fucking pain, feeling, sickness I have ever faced. The agony of getting clean lasted for months. There were times I thought for sure I would die on the toilet…or die hunched over the tub. Eventually the withdrawals subsided but I was left with a permanent problem of depression and a constant yearning for opium. I know if I had not left my hometown I would not have gotten clean…I know if I had not gotten out I would have ended up with the needle eventually.
So I move on with my life in a new place. I get my shit together or so I thought…out of nowhere I begin to get sick, and have terrible leg pain…and one day I wake up and I can no longer walk…of course as you all know this was the tumor…it leads me on the road to back surgery ….which in return leads me to the road of oxycodone…which in returns leads me to fall off the wagon in the worst way…easily, in secret, and appears under control…until it isn’t and fuck it is too late….
So there I was…popping pills like candy…crushing a few here and there to snort them…all in the privacy of my bathroom…kids playing…hubby working…I was feeling good…house was clean…laundry got done…cooked amazing meals the entire household bragged about…planted flowers…created a beautiful perennial garden…and then one day my father n law was visiting…I had snorted oxycodone and Vicodin…it made me so high that I blacked out in my kitchen…my father n law heard me fall to the floor passed out and he was in our basement…next thing I remember he is helping me into my bed. I slept all day that day…and when I woke up I knew I was in a place so dark that I would have to fight like hell to get out of or it would be over for me very soon. I reminded myself how I felt when my dad died and what it would do to my kids.
I was so afraid of going through withdrawals like I had before. I was terrified of the sickness, the pain, the emotional roller coaster…I wasn’t looking forward to that ride again ever but I knew I had to do it or I would die. I chose to live…I chose to live for my kids.
I did it and I did it cold turkey for a few weeks and after a few weeks I knew I needed help or I would end right back where I started. I spoke with a doctor I was seeing at the time. I explained to him I was abusing the pills and I needed help to come off of them slowly but I didn’t want something to replace them as just another addiction. I then told the doctor office to mark my chart that oxycodone can pose an abuse problem with me, not to prescribe them unless there is dire need of them, which basically means only if I have cancer or something so severe like that.
I have been clean a long time…and it scares me that even after all these years I still want that high. There are times I want to get high so bad that I will have episodes of diarrhea. It is like my brain is telling my body it needs it, it remembers it, and I am going to force your body to force you to break down and take it. This is what makes recovery so hard…it is a lifelong battle I realize now. This will never go away for me and I need to recognize it and not forget it.
I do not really have anyone I can talk to about this…I mean I could talk to my best friend but it isn’t a light subject and I still feel a little ashamed of it…I think my husband is ashamed of it…he doesn’t like me talking about it, he doesn’t think I should tell people I have an addiction problem…I don’t either but I also know in order to stay clean I have to own it…it can’t be a secret…it becomes a secret again then that will lead to relapse….
So I am telling the world right now that I want to get high so God damned bad right now on opiates that it makes my shoulders tense up…my stomach churn…and my mind races with thoughts of that warm cozy feeling, that numb relaxing calm that I could have again in just a moment….I can’t stop thinking about it…but I WILL NOT BREAK…no I will not break…I am on a mission!!