I am very aware of myself; for the most part. Like I’ve said in the past, I’ve gotten to a point where I know who I am, I know what I want, and I know what I have to do to get there. But it doesn’t seem to excuse the fact that I still have moments when I lose sight of all that I’ve accomplished. I lose sight of myself as a person, I lose sight of my confidence that got me this far. Although it’s only momentarily it can be shattering and controlling. Something kind of takes over you and you lose your sense of reason, you begin to second guess yourself within the fear of losing it all. This is a feeling that doesn’t fit into any category. This is a feeling that lingers. It will morph into different things. It will ebb and flow, rise and fall like tides. It will evaporate with the sun, then fall back down as rain. Sometimes its easy to forget and very hard to remember.
I can keep saying “I am who I am because of my past, and I like who I am” but saying it is one thing, believing it is another. That being said, I do believe it and I do believe in myself. Sometimes you just hope people will bare with you, help you, and try to understand you but it doesn’t work that way. It’s easy to handle someone at their best but much harder at their worst.
I’m not embarrassed to say that I might need methadone. Staying at a 10mg dose was helping with pain and the psychological part of my addiction. Right now I feel weak, and I’m holding off hoping it will pass. Doesn’t seem like I am mentally strong enough like I thought I was, not only that but now the pain from my accident is back and I was given the option to go back on Dilaudid the very medication that put me in this position. I was shocked that my doctor even gave me that option; truly shocked. It’s a vicious cycle and nothing but a money pit for the doctor. How does a doctor run a pain clinic and methadone clinic in the same building? A smart doctor. He knows that all his patients will stick with him the whole way through; either because they aren’t ready to let go or they don’t have any other option. It makes me sick to be honest.
Once again I feel defeated, I feel scared. I’m afraid I am going to lose the battle again. I am beginning to think going back on the methadone is the safe and right thing to do. I would much rather be on a low daily dose of methadone than go back to using. Its like my mind has been programmed to think of nothing but opiates, it reminds me that I am still a junkie whether I want to be or not. Being clean for however long has not taught me self control, it merely institutionalizes self deprivation. Going back on methadone doesn’t change who I have become and what I have learned. Going back on methadone could potentially save me from years of depression and self loathing, isolation and misery. I just don’t want to tread the same path I have for the last 11 years. I’m trying to open doors not close them. I don’t know if the people surrounding will support my decision but I hope that they will try to understand my situation and not look at me as a failure.
Clearly I have a lot of work to do, being on methadone blindsides me from realizing that just because my receptors are being blocked and it doesn’t mean they will stay blocked once I’m off the methadone. The cravings will come back with a vengeance and the old addict mentality will linger and play games with your mind. It will test you, it will tease you and it will eat at your brain every day and every night. These cravings always pass, and sometimes it’s difficult to remind myself that they do in fact pass. With time they are getting stronger and lasting longer, and in that mental state I can’t say I fully trust myself. Sometimes its trial and error, I don’t want to relapse so maybe this is for the best. I tried, it’s been almost 4 weeks now and it’s becoming unbearable. I don’t want it to affect my job, or my relationships; I have come too far to fall back.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that what I was doing wasn’t working. It registered in my mind long before I actually did anything about it. Knowing wasn’t enough to take any sort of action; the addiction was too strong. I figured I had managed to hide everything for so long that I could do it forever. The justification was not logical. I’m pretty sure the people surrounding me must have picked up on something, anything, long sleeves in the summer, bathroom breaks every half hour, not feeling well every two weeks like clock work, lost of interest in everything. There had to be some indications. Every two weeks I would fill my prescription and every two weeks I would tell myself this is it, I’m not filling it again, I’m going to go back on the Methadone, I’m going to get clean and no one will have to know that I fucked up again. I was confident in myself, I truly believed every word I told myself, and I truly believed I had control. Hindsight is 20/20, that’s what they say right? Well I’m not so sure; I was able to convince myself in the matter of seconds knowing full well I had no control. It’s not like this was my first experience with addiction, but it was my tenth year.
Everything came to a halt when my doctor refused to give me a prescription a week early for the 10th time. I was desperate, I was alone, and I was scared. I didn’t or couldn’t wait another 7 days without ending up in the hospital again. So I changed the date on the prescription and got it when I wanted. Well, instant gratification…right? Yeah it worked, but it only lasted me 2 days and then I was right back where I started. I knew I couldn’t keep this up much longer; it was only a matter of time before I ended up in jail or dead. I was going on 10 years strong of addiction with “sober” periods of time at 23 years old. I had seen and experienced things that no one should have to. I had escaped my thoughts, my pain, and my emotions. I had hurt, stole, lied, manipulated, and ruined people’s lives. I can truthfully say I am lucky to be alive while so many others are not. For a long time I resented the fact that my loved ones had left me at 15 years old to figure it out on my own, maybe they were wrong; maybe they were right. It doesn’t matter; I am who I am because of my past. I have hit rock bottom more than once, countless times. Sometimes you can hit the bottom but dig deeper, sometimes there is no bottom. Sometimes you live but never learn. Only you can know for sure who you are and what you want, only you can learn from your mistakes…no one can teach you that.
You could hear the desperation in her voice; she was hurt, scared, and beyond broken. This isn’t the first time she has called you in this state. She tells you this will be the last time, but you know better. This isn’t the first time she has said that. As much as you want to hang up and turn away; you can’t. You love her too much, and you know that you’re helping her kill herself. She has always been a good manipulator, a good talker even before the drugs. You know she will say and do anything she can to get her fix; she will bend and break you time and time again. You try to lie and tell her you can’t help her this time; this time you honestly don’t have the money. Even if that was true you know you will find a way. You simply cannot understand why she does this to you, why she makes you feel like a failure, why she turns everything upside down, why and how she ended up this way. You convince yourself that it’s your fault. You don’t know how to help her, so you give in to her and tell her ‘this is the last time’. You think back to when she was a child and you never thought thing’s would turn out the way they did, you reflect and try to figure out where thing’s went wrong but to no avail.
She tried everything before calling you again, not because she didn’t want to bother you but because she didn’t want to deal with the “nagging”. She knows you better than you know yourself. In this moment of desperation there is no emotion all she can think about is her next fix because she is dope sick. She knows you are in a fragile state thanks to her but the drugs are more important. After she gets the money off of you and gets high she is okay, she is able to function and hold a conversation. There is a moment of comfort between the two of you. She thinks about how much she has fucked up and she doesn’t know how to pick up the pieces. You both are on separate sides of the fence, you can’t understand each other and she is sick of trying to explain it to you. She tells you it is impossible for you to understand what she is going through. You ask her why can’t she just stop. She tells you if she could just stop, she wouldn’t have an addiction.
You go both go to your own corners and shut the door for the night. You worry about her constantly as she just tries to get through the night. She knows she has lost control and doesn’t know how to stop, she knows she needs help before it’s too late. The next morning she asks you to help her, she is shaking with nervousness, and crying with shame, you can see the fear in her eyes and feel the terror in her voice so you take her hand and you say to her ‘we will get through this’.
I got good at playing the victim. I wanted people to feel sorry for me, to pity me. It’s common for addicts to consistently play the victim even in situations that are clearly the opposite. I got so comfortable with the attention it attracted. The sad truth is I started to pity myself. I started to believe that I was the victim. My clouded judgment and insufficient emotions disabled me to realize that I am not the only person on the face of the planet. I wanted to feel justified in complaining endlessly about my unfortunate circumstances while passively registering my dissatisfaction than actively changing my situation. Sound familiar?
Feelings don’t require justification. They are automatic responses to events; good or bad, and people’s feelings cannot be judged as right or wrong. However, actions, unlike feelings, have consequences and must be considered in relation to moral issues and rational issues. Am I making sense?
As someone who played the victim role for many years, I dealt in judgements and “shoulds”. I had a sense of entitlement, I was selfish, and I was child-like. I assumed that the world should be fair. This kind of victim role led to resentment, anger, righteousness, and vengeful feelings. Worse yet, feeling victimized were bottled up inside contributing to feeling helpless and depressed.
I think it’s obvious to say playing the victim does more harm than good for everyone involved. Although this habit has been difficult to break, it is achievable. I think it comes with maturity and understanding. When I started to learn more about emotions and feelings I found learning compassion and empathy were helpful in breaking the victim role.
It has been almost ten years since that fateful day when I first tasted poison. I still find it hard to believe. When I drive past old memories, just staring into the past, or when I am laying down to sleep, I often find myself drifting back to the beginning again, and then to those last few moments of my pre-drugs existence, when I was still just an innocent girl.
Think about trying to find a secret vision; you’ve been running on hope, disregarding reality; feelings you don’t understand consuming your mind. You have been searching for something you’re not quite sure exists, but then, out of no where; you find it. It becomes your everything, it comforts you. For what it’s worth, I know now that what I was aimlessly searching for does not have a fix. That is something I have to find within myself. I was young, and I was naïve. I thought the world would wait for me to catch up, for me to figure out what I wanted. I managed to block out all the negative emotions I was feeling not realizing you can’t effectively block negative emotions without blocking the positive ones too. I was a robot; emotionless is a drama fueled environment.
“Ok. So what was it? Why did you hate being sober? Your childhood was good; you were never abused…maybe emotionally and mentally, but only a little. You had everything you wanted; you never went without. So please tell me, tell me what went wrong?”
I was looking for reasons, or excuses as to why I was the way I was. I wanted to believe there was a significant reason I fell off course. I wanted to blame something or someone for my actions. Even now that I am sober, I still look back trying to find something to hold on to, something that pushed me over the edge. But I was just a child when I started using; it is hard to trace those steps. The more I think about it, the more I try to make sense of the past, the more I realize that it’s me; it has always been me. I am the reason. I hated who I was, and I hated how I felt. Even if my parents said I love you or hugged me more, it wouldn’t have changed how I felt inside, even if there was no emotional abuse. It wouldn’t have taken away the anxiety, the depression, the depersonalization and derealization. It would not have mattered. I didn’t know how to control those feelings and emotions; I didn’t know how to make it stop. When I figured out drugs took all of it away, I felt comforted. I found a way to turn off my mind; I found a way not to care. There is generation after generation of addiction and mental health issues within my family. Whether or not that has impacted me; who knows? The point is I am the only one to blame. I have stopped trying to unlock memories, I have stopped trying to make sense of the past because I don’t think I will ever understand why things were the way they were. I am lucky to still have both of my parents in my life, I am lucky to have a great relationship with them. We are putting the puzzle back together a day at a time. It isn’t always easy, but we have been through hell and back and we’re still together. That has to count for something.
They started out as babysitters, and we built an amazing friendship. They eventually became my godparents. For a long time we didn’t understand why my godmother was so paranoid, she would tell me to watch out, not to answer the phone, to hide knives all over the house, and not to listen to my parents. She told me my parents didn’t care about me and they were planning on giving me away. Being a child; perception was reality. My father struggled with alcoholism and would have violent outbursts, I would react and start to cry, terrified that it was my fault and they were finally going to get rid of me. My dad used it against me when I would misbehave, he would threaten to put me up for adoption.
I caught my godmother yelling at thin air, screaming and crying to leave her alone. I was terrified. I told my godfather and he sat me down to tell me she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. As a child I had no idea what that meant.
It was like good cops, bad cops. My parents couldn’t afford to get me anything and everything I wanted and I didn’t understand why. But my godparents could. They took me on vacations and they did things for me my parents couldn’t. From my perspective as a child I just thought it was because my parents didn’t care about me. I know it was never my godparent’s intention to confuse me. They loved me the only way they knew how.
I knew I had to see them as soon as possible because my time was running out; I needed drugs, and I needed them now. They didn’t see through my bullshit, they thought I was the angel they knew as a child, the girl who played sports on the weekends and liked to draw at night. They never doubted my lies, they trusted me and they only wanted what was best for me. I called them that day like I promised. I know they counted on me to brighten their day; they were never able to have kids of their own so I was all they had. I loved them, I still love them, and they are a part of me. They watched over me from the time I was 6 months. They were always there for me, especially when my parents were not. They needed me more than I needed them and I knew it. The addict in me used that to my advantage. After I left their place I went straight to my dealer to pick up, and I drove home and went to bed.
That was the last time I saw them, it has been 3 years and I don’t know where they are. I selfishly cut them out of my life. I tell myself it was for them; to protect them. But I am lying. I did it for me, like everything else. I did it so I wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt and shame; I did it so I could pretend I wasn’t that person. I think about them every single day. I miss them so much and I want to apologize. Their number is no longer in service, I have tried emailing them and I haven’t heard back yet. If I ever get the opportunity to have them in my life again, I will do my best to make them know how important they are.
In that moment I was never sorry. I didn’t give a fuck about you. My priorities; what I wanted, was so much more than you. It was never about you. Don’t you see? You could have given me the world, you could have given me your blood, and it wouldn’t have mattered. There was a force within me that you couldn’t bend, break, or steal. Not even I had control over it. Powerless is what we were, that was the one and only thing we had in common; feeling powerless, feeling defeated, feeling as if the world owed us something. We resented each other for the same reasons in different situations; we lived in different worlds with the same worries and fears. Imagine that; a sense of common ground in unfamiliar territory. I couldn’t begin to understand you and what you were going through, and you couldn’t begin to understand me and what I was going through. We were too consumed within our minds to realize the depth of our similarities; emotionally blind to say the least; fragile. Trying to explain, trying to understand was delusional at the time. It was beyond us. Compromising was a word that offered us no explanation. You kept asking who I was and what was I thinking. I kept thinking how could you do this to me and since when did you even care. Sometimes emotions don’t have filters. We wanted the same things all along but we didn’t even know it.
Things are better now but I am not 13 years old anymore. It has been 10 years and it is not easy to make up for lost time but we are trying. We are making an effort everyday and that has to count for something. We are learning about each other, forgiving each other, and making amends. At the end of the day, we want what is best; not only for ourselves but for each other.
My dealer, my ‘friend’, my friend with benefits, the guy who I used, the guy who used me; he got arrested. I wasn’t in any immediate panic as I had just bought a bottle of fifty 80mg Oxys. I knew I had time. But nothing lasts forever. It was December 29th 2010 and I was running low, it had been about a month since the arrest. I figured this was my time to quit, I could get clean. I started researching methadone clinics close by. I found a government methadone clinic that wasn’t too far and I decided to take a drive and get it sorted out. When I arrived I felt like all eyes were on me, everyone in that plaza, in that parking lot knew who I was and what I was doing. They looked down at me, like I was an animal. I didn’t deserve respect because I was a low life. As I entered the glass door I noticed the place was empty for the exception of a few nurses and receptionists. Immediately I wanted to run but before I could I was approached by a kind nurse asking if I needed help. Of course I needed help! The withdrawals were coming with a vengeance and they could see it. I filled out a stack of paperwork and had to have a medical evaluation. I thought great! I will walk out of here with a prescription that could potentially save my life, I thought I would have a good new year, and I would be fine to go out for my brother’s birthday. Everything was falling into place and I had a sense of relief. After a 45 minute medical evaluation I was told to go have a seat in the waiting room. Eventually I was called up to the reception desk which was behind a glass window; like a prison. I was told they would put me on a waiting list and I would be called when they had the space for me. I turned white, I started to cry, I was embarrassed, and I was scared. A waiting list, I asked how long? They told me that they didn’t know, it could be a month, a year.
I walked out of that office shaking, crying, cold, hot, and empty. I felt defeated. If they couldn’t help me, who could? I could barely help myself. My options were slim, I desperately called every dealer I knew, I asked anyone and everyone; frantically. I didn’t want my parents to find out that I was using again. I knew the withdrawals were going to be bad. I had used every single day all day for almost 9 months; I hadn’t gone an hour without. Now I had nothing.
I was sitting at the dinner table on January 2nd 2011; it was my brother’s birthday. My parents asked me if I was feeling okay. I said I thought I was getting the flu. Within an hour my face was turning grey, my arm was turning blue and I couldn’t breathe properly. It was time, I had to tell them. We left for the hospital; my heart had stopped pumping blood to the rest of my body. I felt nothing but guilt and shame, it was my brother’s birthday and I had managed to ruin it. I took everything from him, everything was always about me, and my parents were always focused on me. He already resented me enough, and I couldn’t apologize. I had managed to ruin everything, again and it wouldn’t be the last time.
A vicious cycle; I couldn’t get methadone, I was on a waiting list. So what was I supposed to do? I had to get drugs. Luckily after a while I found a private clinic which happens to be my family doctor who runs an addiction clinic. I was lucky, others aren’t.