I Am A Drug Addict

Let’s face it: I am a drug addict.  Every night, I take five kinds of drugs to put me to sleep and to keep me from having manic attacks the next day.  In the morning I take another pile of drugs in order to make it through the day without dying of suicide or the high blood pressure that results from rage or from the pure insanity that results from hormonal imbalances.

I crave these drugs, like any addict does.  I crave my night-time meds because, well, they put me to sleep, blotto, giving me respite from the continuous crashing pain.  And the daytime drugs: I take them to keep the ogre of depression away, and to deal with my “co-morbid conditions”: arthritis, high blood pressure, menopause, low Vitamin D, low Folic Acid.

I fear what would happen to me if I did not have these drugs.  This leads me to hoard stashes of the “important” ones: the ones that would certainly result in seizures if I didn’t take them: Lamectil, lorazepam, clonazepam, maybe Lithium.  And the others…Oh, the others could “merely” result in mood changes that could put me into the suicidal ultradian cycling that has wreaked such havoc in my life before.

Yes, I crave these drugs.  Especially at night, when I look forward to the forced oblivion of quasi-sleep the drugs provide.  And in the morning, even though I need twelve hours of sleep to sleep off the night drugs, I sometimes forget to take my morning drugs.  After a day or two, though, I start getting withdrawal symptoms: a kind of hollow feeling, a feeling of unreality, and of course depression, that mostly clears when I take my doses.

Freud craved cocaine.  I do too.  I’m told that an addict never really gets over the craving: you just learn to deal with it.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with this pile of drugs I’m addicted to now.  Each one has its role and responsibility for keeping some symptom in check.  Oh, if I could just have a continuous IV drip of cocaine, or even an unending pile of coca leaves and lime, how happy my brain would be, eh?

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43 Comments

  1. i get what you are meaning here, but i remind myself an addict does not actually require their drugs of choice. they do not serve a purpose other than getting a high, and they cannot function in society either high or clean. whereas those of us with actual medical conditions (both physical and mental) actually need the drugs we take to reduce and control symptoms so that we can function. it is easy to feel chained to ones medications. but we often forget that we would not consider someone taking meds for diabetes as an addict, because they *need* those meds, just like we need ours to stay healthy and functional.

    Reply
    • I have seen cases of where people who need certain drugs (ie: pain meds) do become addicted. Prescription drug addiction is huge these days and many of the users have been prescribed them for legitimate use. Some psychiatric meds, like benzodiazepines, cause people to develop a tolerance which has them increasing their dose and causing the body to become dependent. Many sleeping pills are also addictive. I think this is also when it’s important to talk about physical and psychology addiction/dependency.

      Reply
      • P.I.M., You’ve hit upon some of what concerns me. I do need these meds in order to function, but I hate the control they have over ME. I know what it’s like to try to function without them=HELL. I cannot even go into the long list of things (jobs, husbands, children, pets, home, etc. etc. etc.) that I have lost when trying to live med-free, even with therapy! Landing in the hospital got me back on meds, and I now hoard them in case of war (I live in a country where war is pretty much endemic and you have to be prepared), because I CERTAINLY don’t want to deal with a war unmedicated!

        Reply
        • Yes, I can understand the control part that you’re talking about. I remember thinking and feeling the same when I was on medication. Could some relief come from framing it differently in your mind? Removing the word control and replacing it with positive and healthy words?

          Reply
    • Kat, you are so rational and so right. Thank you.

      Reply
  2. My sister-in-law was foolish enough once to click her tong and shake her head at my nightly need of zolpidem. I rounded on her. I already need a handful of drugs every day for the rest of my life. What’s the difference if one drug that helps me stay out of cycling happens to be a sleeping pill?

    We are all addicted to our meds in one way or another. What kind of life, if any, would we have without the blotto sleep or the gentle zombie-like trance our morning meds provide?

    Reply
    • No kind of life that we would want to live, my dear. Thank you for your support! I have this wonderful (yeah, right) talent for finding something to feel guilty about in anything and everything, so I really appreciate my friends being the voice of reason when I fall off the balance beam. Take care, dear.

      Reply
  3. I’ve never done recreational drugs (even though my son keeps bugging me that I should smoke pot to deal with my chronic pain) but I – too, am an addict. When i forget to renew my prescription, which happens more often that I’d like to admit, I feel the full force of withdrawal. Not fun.

    I need those drugs. Can’t deal with the pain, the depression, the reactive hypoglycemia, etc. There’s no way around it.

    I sometimes resent the fact that I have to take pills every single day of my life till the day I die. But what are you going to do… keep on living, right?

    Reply
    • Yeah, it really sucks. (Parenthetically, I tried some honest-to-goodness medical marijuana a few months ago and it really took away my arthritis pain, which normally follows me around like a ghost and causes me to lumber around like Frankenstein.) I actually am so paranoid of running out of my drugs that, as I think I might have said like 10,000 times because I obsess about it, I stockpile them like a nuclear arsenal. I mean it. I am so dependent on these drugs that I have a morbid fear of running out of them. Oh well…everybody’s got their own sh*t, right?

      Reply
      • yeah, we all do. Ultimately, you have to do what works for you. And if stashing medication helps you, then just keep on doing it.

        I don’t understand how can you do it, though. Are all those drugs not restricted where you live? I couldn’t’ do it here because they keep track of them.

        Reply
  4. I get my meds through a mail-order pharmacy, and they give you three months at a time. Then they will refill the whole shebang after two months, so you have a month overlap. If you just do one month at a time, you can refill it after three weeks. This is for non-scheduled or Schedule 4 (benzos) only. Schedule 3 and 2 drugs can only be filled I think two or three days early. This is in the States. Things in Israel, where I am also a citizen, work about the same way. And then there are my trips back and forth….and since I am a dual citizen, I can get my Rx’s filled in both places. Almost all of my drugs are non-scheduled, except for my Lorazepam and clonazepam, which are Schedule 4. Where do you live?

    Reply
  5. Im in the same boat. If I don’t take Flexeril and Clonazapam at night, I don’t sleep at all. I was at work until 430 am and decided not to take them; after all I was exhausted right? HAHA, no sleep. I hate being dependent on something. But if I don’t sleep well, mania slips through the door, so it is essential.

    Reply
    • Oh boy, nothing like a swing shift to pop you into mania. Is there any way you can avoid that? Long ago and far away, when I was the director of a pediatric ED, I used to go to work at 9 pm, work the ED and supervise all of the pediatric house staff (including NICU, PICU, NB nursery, and L&D) till 7 am morning report. Then from 9 to noon I handled “risk management” = complaints. Then I went home “to sleep.” HA! Then back to work. I did this three days a week (so I could split the week with my ex taking care of our son) for two years. So then four days a week I had a “normal” schedule….Then I got into a row with the boss man, lost my job. “I quit-you’re fired” type of thing. I think even a non-bipolar person would lose their marbles doing that sort of idiocy.

      Reply
      • That is nuts. No one could do that for long with a little kid and not be a basket case!
        I used to do rotating shifts at the Hospital of the University of Penn in my young days. Work days then either evening or nights. I started doing some pretty wild and illegial things in order to sleep. I left there after getting married, and I have done call ever since for my dialysis unit. We used to do 4 days in a row. Four bloody days of work then on call all night. I don’t do much anymore, but it seems that when I am on call, its a doozy. Im getting too old for this sh…

        Reply
        • That sort of “stable schedule punctuated by call” f*cks with your system like mad. Can’t you get a (wordfinding difficulty) out of it because of your illness?

          Reply
          • I have never allowed my medical problems to interfere with my passion for caring for kids on dialysis. It is my lifelong mission. That being said, at some point it will get too hard. This is a tough young person job, full of heartache, yet with enough joy to allow grief to settle gently in my heart.

            Reply
  6. How long have you been off cocaine? I have good news for you. I’m almost positive you’ll eventually get over the craving. Do you go the NA? [narcotics anonymous]. I go to AA sometimes [I’m 33 continuous years sober – no alcohol whatsoever] and was given a reprieve from the obsession by an act of God when I was 6 years sober. Now 6 years sounds like a very long time, but it’s not really. Many people who never get sober have never been willing to go through the hardest [or sneakiest] cravings. Now I’m totally free!! You can be too – if you just stick in there through the thick and the thin of it. And don’t be fooled by thoughts that say… “You’ve been off the stuff for a while now, you can handle it.” That’s also the obsession talking. That’s the ‘cunning’ part of the obsession. It’s what I call ‘the back-door assault’. If a front-door assault doesn’t work [ie: “I gotta have it!!!”] , the obsession will try to get you to cave, by assaulting you via the back-door. Don’t be fooled. This is also the obsession talking.
    love to you dear,
    robin
    ps – I also have bipolar to deal with myself – on top of being alcoholic.

    Reply
    • Hi Robin–I’ve been clean for 22 years. I’ve just accepted the fact that like Freud, I discovered that coke is the ultimate antidepressant for me, but the price is too high. I’m not bothered by cravings, but I do get kind of wistful when I think about it, like other people who have bad side effects to a “legal” medicine that works wonders for their depression, but they’re allergic to it! My “allergy” to cocaine is that it makes me behave in heinous ways that I never want to do again. I just accept that, and it doesn’t bother me. But like I said above, if someone walked in my door and cut me a line, I’d have a real hard time saying no. But when it comes down to it, I’d probably kick their butt right back out that door and be mad at them for tempting me like that! I’ve been to a few meetings and don’t find them helpful at all. I do better just thinking about how much better life is now, and I almost never have cravings unless I’m writing about it, and they’re never strong enough to really bother me. Thanks so much for your concern!

      Reply
  7. I very much like your post. Not that i like what you are going through, but i like how you put it into words so that the rest of the world can get somewhat of an understanding. I am a psychology student working on my bachelors. I would one day love the opportunity to work with people like you. I can also relate to you in some stretch of the imagination. I am legally blind, while that by no means compares to a mental disorder that you have, i do have a basic understanding of experiencing something that you feel has control over your life. For a long time i felt like my disability had control over me, that i was limited to all of the things that society said i could and could not do. Like you feel dependent on your medications. For me what took away the feeling of being controlled, was to take control. Like your taking your medications there are certain things in life that i have to go about in a different way. For instance i can not walk in to a restaurant and read the menu posted up behind the person at the register, i have to pray to god that when i tell them that i cant see that they wont make me feel stupid by yelling at me, cause a scene in the middle of the establishment or that they will be kind and help me cope. So i accepted the things that i can not change, like the way i go about things and decided that i was going to do something amazing with my life. I was going to pour myself into school, my marriage and work to be amazing. After hearing, reading and watching all of the limitations that people put on me, i just wanted to show the world that i would overcome what ever was put in my way.

    I hope this helps in some sort of way
    Abigail

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Abigail. You really have helped me. You see, one of my huge fears in life is blindness. I was in fact close to legally blind, but was able to have corrective surgery and now I just have to wear glasses–amazing! But there’s one thing that I’m terrified of in the blindness category, and that is food. I had a really tough time eating food that I couldn’t see, and now that I can see what I’m eating, the prospect of not being able to see it is terrifying. How do you deal with that? Is it an issue for you at all? And why would people in a restaurant yell at you, when you tell them you’re blind and can’t see the menu??? That just seems so ignorant. It IS ignorant. I’m so glad that you’re pouring your energy into the productive parts of your life. I try to do that too, although I can’t work and because of my illness, I don’t have relationships. But I have other things that I do that give me great satisfaction, like writing, and training dogs, and enjoying my own service dog. Take good care and be well!

      Reply
      • You would be amazed with some of the crazy stuff i have to put up with. People yell because thats what you do with deaf people and all of us educated people know that blindness and loss of hearing are totally the same JK. I have had people grab me by the arm and start dragging me around a room because i told them that i had a vision problem. The list of crazy shit can go on for days. The man point is i discovered that i was going to get these reactions no matter how independent i looked or seemed, because people are ignorant and they dont care. Which in turn made me extremely independent. I am so independent that now most people cant even tell that i have a disability. I have partial sight in my left eye and no sight in my right eye it is fake. I got the fake eye to look normal because the one i was born with was too small, and i go out of my way to do stuff as normal as possible. In small ways it effects me every day and in others i forget i cant see. If that makes any sense. Its all abut how you look at it, because at the end of the day you have to look yourself in the mirror and be happy with what is looking back at you. The best way to be happy is to close doors in your life that need closing, open new ones and make the most of what Got has given you.

        Stay strong and when things get bad take a deep breathe and remember that it could always be worse.

        Abigail

        Reply
        • You’re amazing. What a wise woman! Thank you for coming into my life with a breath of fresh air!

          Reply
          • Lol thank you for your sweet words. I am most certainly not amazing, but i am really glad that i could help. And if you ever need anyone to talk to please dont be shy i would love to listen.

            Reply
        • Close the doors that need closing. I love how you put that. I’m am so glad to come her today. Thanks laura for posting. If we all came from from n exploding star is pain, love, friendship, and communication elements from the same star within us all. I learned a lot just from your interactions, this is beautiful.

          Reply
          • Thanks, Phoenix (I don’t know your name). I have really learned a lot from this wonderful discussion too. That’s when things really get happening, when we share our experiences and learn from each other.

            Reply
            • My name is Jay. I love your post. Dealing with Bipolar and Manic Depressive co morbidity, I gain so much insight from your postings. This interaction was so insightful

              Reply
      • It is terribly insensitive to yell…

        Reply
    • This is a beautiful response…even though it was meant for Laura I felt so much heart in this post. Your are a special gem Abigail.

      Reply
      • Abigail is really special. I feel privileged that she commented here, and you too!

        Reply
      • Thank you very much. The old saying is when life gives you lemons you make lemon aid.

        Reply
        • Thank you so much, i am your new fan. I wish I was strong enough to mentally change my perspective, but my problem is mental. I feel sorry for you because your so strong, but I am sorry you had to experience situations involving ignorant people.

          Reply
          • Well honestly another saying is ignorance is bliss. So when i meet an ignorant person i laugh at them and ask them if their life is blissful. I am so glad i went through these things it made me a great college student, a good wife and hopefully one day a great psychologist. And thank you for your kind words. I am going to start another blog soon about my experiences in the world being blind/visually impaired.

            Reply
  8. I feel the emotion here. It is so hard. I have ADHD ADHD bipolar witch makes life impossible.

    Reply

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