Takes My Pain Away

5 08 2010

Anyone can say they’re above this all.
It takes my pain away.
~ Jimmy Eat World

Back in June, I wrote about my struggle with addiction and the path I took, and I left you hanging. I’m sorry for that. The final chapters in the cycle are the most difficult to write. I started writing it many times, but it never came out right. If you’re just joining us and need to do a little catching up, I suggest reading these posts in order:

Don’t Like The Drugs

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Broken Promises

Cure for Pain

When last I wrote, “I was a recreational drug user and I didn’t even realize it. It’s not like I was having a lot of fun.”

That went on for a while. I got pregnant and  actually had a live baby (I never used anything but necessary meds during my pregnancy, FYI). That beautiful, awesome miracle child completely messed up my back. He’s almost five years old now and my SI joint still won’t stay where it’s supposed to be. Babies are kind of jerks like that.

Anyway, I had a lot of back pain. My family doctor prescribed Percocet. I used it judiciously, because I never knew if or when my supply would dry out. Don’t assume that means I used it precisely as directed. As previously stated, narcotics no longer assuaged my physical pain–they simply made me care less.

I popped out another kid. I now had two miracle boys to adore! (Sometime I’ll share birth stories so you can understand just how blessed I am to have them. I’m sure you’re practically peeing yourself in anticipation!)

Life was good, but I was miserable. I’ve been depressed for years, but I think at that point I was hit by a terrible combination of major depression, postpartum depression, and PTSD. I felt like I was just going through the motions, but I couldn’t talk to anybody about it, because how ungrateful would that be? I pray and pray for children, but when I have them I complain about how sad I am? I don’t think so.

One day at work I noticed a basket of expired drugs that were waiting to be shipped off to wherever drugs go to die. The basket was loaded with bottles of lorazepam (generic Ativan).

You see where this is going, right? I mean, it’s not really stealing if the drugs were just going to be thrown out. After a few days of ogling, I became the ashamed owner of a 500-count bottle of lorazepam. I’d pop a few if my day was going poorly or if I just felt like floating for a while.

I developed a case of shingles. Best part of the article I linked: “Shingles is most common in people over the age of 50.” Have I mentioned I have the health issues of an 80-year-old woman? Laugh it up, jerks. You’re next.

Shingles hurt. Like, really hurt. The doctor prescribed lidocaine patches to numb the rash, but guess what? I was allergic to the adhesive in the patches. You know, the patches I placed on my very painful rash. Gah. I went back to the doctor, thinking I would be able to at least score a prescription for Lortab.

He wrote me a prescription for 45 MS Contin tablets.

If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, I’ll tell you this much: MS Contin is a time-released morphine tablet. The usual dosage is one tablet every 12 hours. I took two or three of the tablets for legitimate shingles-related pain.

One day I had a brilliant (to me) idea: If I crushed the pill, I could get all that morphine at once. I chewed up a tablet and it definitely didn’t suck. But oral absorption isn’t as good as other methods, so I ventured into the realms of insufflation. I like the word insufflation–it sounds much nicer than “I snorted my morphine tablets.”

Right now some of you are thinking, “But pills taste gross! How could you stand to chew them, much less snort them?” Easy answer: I learned to love the taste because it was accompanied by happy, floaty feelings.

It became my escape from reality. I restricted my use to times when Car was home or the boys were with someone else, because obviously only bad people use drugs when they’re alone with their kids. I usually only snorted one tablet, but if I still felt something after one, I’d occasionally add a second tablet. Still not working? Hey, add in a handful of lorazepam and watch the world disappear!

I’m sure my recounting of this is completely muddled. Please know I’m telling this the best I can since narcotics and benzodiazepines tend to blur the edges of reality.

It wasn’t enough. I still felt things, and feelings hurt, which was bad and wrong and exactly what I did not want.

I hit my all-time low. I don’t want to tell you what that was, but I think it’s an important part of my story.

I knew there was a way to achieve better absorption. Snorting was great, but injecting had to be better. I researched, read everything I could about how to prep my pills for injection. I gathered all the necessary supplies, and one day, while my boys sat watching TV, I locked myself in the bathroom with a spoon, a syringe, and a lighter.

To this day, I am overwhelmingly grateful for two things:

  1. My boys realized I was gone and started crying.
  2. I was too impatient to figure out how to make it work by myself right that minute. After all, I was hurting and the crying from the other room was just making it worse and I needed a fix right that second.

I licked the spoon clean and attended to my boys.

There are a few things I want to point out about this part of my story:

  • I attended church throughout most of my drug use. When I started snorting morphine, I was teaching the 14-17 year-old girls.
  • I held down a stable job.
  • I did not doctor-shop. I didn’t need to. I didn’t even have overt drug-seeking behaviors. I knew that I had to make my pills last, because if I ran out, I might not be able to get any more.
  • The people around me made excuses for me. A few of them knew exactly what was going on, others had an inkling, and many had no clue.
  • At this point I admitted to myself I was a recreational drug user, but could not admit I was an addict.

So how did I realize I had a problem? Why did I seek help? For answers to those questions, you’ll just have to come back. I know. It’s mean, but I’m tired and it’s late. I can’t even promise to post the answers tomorrow night since I’m going to the Rush concert (squeeee!) but I’ll write it as soon as I can.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of this. You guys are the best minions ever.

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16 responses

7 08 2010
chels

I’ll keep it simple… I’M SOOOOOOOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU! 🙂

5 08 2010
cinderski

I’ve been reading your blog for a while, Jenny, but replies have always made me nervous.
Anyway, this time I *needed* to respond.

You write beautifully. And that was a hard tale to tell I’m sure, let alone tell well.

As someone who is still on the up from several years of on/off major depression, I really do get what you mean by that sense of “anything-to-not-feel-so-dead/crap/sad/empty.” Numb’s somehow ok though, and for a while, I did other Very Stupid Things for the same reason.

I admire your strength immensely. In keeping going, in conquering an addiction, in showing the world a brave face, in posting about this. I am a one-minion-cheer-squad right now!

(And on a different note – I had shingles at age 5. Yes, 5. Feel less granny now? Seriously though, shingles SUCK.)

Warm thoughts,

L
x

5 08 2010
Jenny

Jenny,
I am trying to think back to when you were a kid… Everything seemed so “perfect” from my perspective. Goes to show you – you never can tell what it going on inside someone’s private world.
Thank goodness you weren’t entirely taken over by the addiction. I am SURE your were being watched over and even though not having ever experienced it would have been better all around, you can at least share and relate to those who are going through it now but aren’t as brave as you to conquer it!
Personally, I think you should forget the advertising on your blog and go straight to a publisher. You are a fantastic writer and if you wrote a book it would sell for sure! Especially in Utah! I think your story is one that not only needs to be told, but might help many more people than your blogger audience!
Hang in there.

5 08 2010
Stefani

Wow! I really look forward to reading your blog every day. What an amazing yet terrifying story! I work with rehab patients, and its amazing to hear their stories as well, but you have a way of telling your story that makes me think, oh that could be me. .. you are incredible!

5 08 2010
Janice

This was SO incredibly honest Jenny. I felt my mouth hanging open a few times. Not because I was judging you but because I think we hear the word “addict” so many times and with that word we associate someone who isn’t functioning in this world. We don’t picture you. We don’t picture a church-going woman with two kids and a husband. We don’t picture someone who is holding down a job. Thank you for sharing something that is so hard to share. I love you Jenny…you are awesome.

5 08 2010
Kristina P.

Wow, Jenny, I don’t know what to say. I think that God was watching over you that day, when you were planning on injecting. I don’t think most of the kids I work with realize how serious prescription drug use can be. Oxy is basically legalized heroin. And prescription drug OD is the leading cause of drug related deaths in Utah.

The scary thing is, ANYONE can become a prescription drug addict, because it starts out for legitimate uses. My dad did.

Thanks, my friend.

5 08 2010
Amber

I am a horrid minion and even worse friend. I’ve fallen off the face of the blogosphere earth lately.

I find your stories and your writing style fabulous. I’m glad to be hearing this story knowing that you’ve ‘made it to the other side’ so to speak. 🙂

5 08 2010
Christine

It must be painful and healing to share. I love you and don’t htink anythign less of you HUGS

5 08 2010
Sam Jo

I am so glad I saw your tweet and read all your posts. I am nervous to find out what happens next!

5 08 2010
Erin

That was also supposed to say have fun at the concert!

5 08 2010
Erin

You are doing an awesome job sharing your story. I’m trying to wait patiently for the rest! 😉

5 08 2010
Laney

Thank you for sharing this. I love that you are real and are willing to share it with the world.

5 08 2010
Sue

Keep the words coming. I am becoming very educated with new words, words that word press will argue with you about, words that have never entered my vocabulary, and reading the necessary words that I hope are helping you to heal. I can only offer that I am so deeply sorry to hear of all your pain. I never would have guessed and never would have wished that for you. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

5 08 2010
Sharyn

Wow, what an intense post! You are so brave for sharing and I am so grateful and honored. Thank you!

5 08 2010
ashlee

Thank you for sharing. I just caught up with all the posts. The one about your daughter was so sad and tender. I’m sitting here bawling for you. I hope sharing your story helps not only you but so many others who struggle in silence. While I don’t have the same difficulties you have had I too have my own. We all do. While I think it’s perfectly okay to not share stuff like this on own blog I appreciate when people do. Thanks for letting us all in. It’s captivating. While reading this I just want to sit at your feet and hear the whole story! I’m looking forward to the rest.

5 08 2010
Abigail @ Skywaitress

I don’t know what to say except thank you for sharing your story. It’s very moving.

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