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
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:
- My boys realized I was gone and started crying.
- 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.