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 haven’t written in a while. I wanted to get through the majority of the methadone withdrawal first. As much as I want to say it’s over… It’s not. The first 4-5 days weren’t so bad but then all of a sudden full blown withdrawal with that eerie feeling of doom. I was so confident going into this, I really thought I was mentally strong enough when it came to cravings but I’m going to be honest, the cravings are driving me mental. Its been almost 2 weeks now and the only thing I’m battling is insomnia and myself. At this point I’m just keeping myself busy and surrounding myself with the right people; doesn’t make it easy, but at least I know the will power is there if need be. All those thoughts and memories never crossed my mind this past year, but that’s what methadone does. It blocks those receptors, those thoughts that attack your brain until you feed it what it wants. I know I’m more than capable of staying clean but I also know how powerful addiction is and it’s not going to be easy, which is okay. The methadone will always be there if I get to a point where I no longer trust myself. This will be my fourth attempt staying clean after methadone, I know I’m in a different place now, I know who I am, and I know what I want. I don’t want to be tied down to any substance, I don’t want to depend on anything or anyone, I’ve done enough of that over the years and I want to be done with it.
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.
I decided to postpone my methadone dose today. I figured I would go to work and test myself a little bit knowing I would have no choice but to wait till the evening. I wanted to see how long I could go before feeling like I couldn’t take it anymore. I was fine for most of the day, besides severe anxiety/ panic and those terrible yawns that make it hard to breathe; I was okay. Although after taking my dose, I felt sick to my stomach and threw up. Whether or not there is any methadone left in me; I don’t know. I will have to wait and find out. I lowered my dose down 5mg yesterday, so maybe I didn’t pick the best day to “test” myself.
I know sometimes relapsing is just a part of addiction. Habits are generally hard to break, whatever they might be. I think instead of looking at a relapse as a defeat, maybe it’s beneficial to look at it as a chance to learn, an opportunity. I don’t think it’s worth thinking that anything less than perfect is a total failure. It just leads you to think that you don’t have the willpower. Life is full of ups and downs, good days and bad; sometimes urges and temptations can come out of no where, without any warning. Small problems that may seem insignificant at the time can slowly build and eventually or suddenly push you over the edge. For a lot of addicts it’s not always how that day might be going, but maybe it’s a matter of hours, minutes, or seconds. Everyone is different and therefore everyone will have different ways of dealing with their circumstances. For me; having realistic goals helps me, thing’s I had forgotten about while being wrapped up in addiction. I am mending broken relationships with friends and family, enjoying simple thing’s I had lost. I haven’t relapsed this time, I don’t plan on it, and I don’t think anyone does. But you never know what tomorrow has in store.
I figure the real celebration isn’t always the day you quit, or even the 5, 10, or 20 year anniversary. It’s every day, every hour, every second you are sober. And every day you get back on track after a relapse.
Either way, I know I am strong enough both mentally and physically. I know I can handle the withdrawals. It’s what comes once the withdrawals have ended; it’s how you handle situations without that last crutch. Am I ready for that? Yes. I am not about to start second guessing myself now.
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’.
Within the next couple weeks I will be coming off methadone; again. To say I am terrified is an understatement. I have a million different things running through my mind, and failure is one of them. Obviously I don’t want to fail; I know addiction and I know that sometimes willpower isn’t enough. I have to continue to remind myself that I am in a different place than I was. I know who I am, and I know what I want.
As I am getting closer to the final dose, I am mentally and emotionally preparing. I know that in that moment I am going to feel helpless, weak, insecure, and scared. I know that it is going to take everything out of me physically and mentally. I know that I am going to want to give up and give in but I know that giving up isn’t an option. I can only go up from there; I can’t feel any worse than I have in the past. I have done it before and although it is torture, it is achievable.
I still think back to the first time I had ever experienced a high, and although it was almost 11 years ago I remember everything about that night. I remember deciding that I never wanted to face reality again; reality was way too real for me. I was young and naïve, but I knew enough to know that I didn’t like how I felt and I didn’t like who I was. My past has given me the strength to do this, my past has made me who I am, and for the first time in my life I can say I like who I am.
Physical, emotional, and mental anguish you are preparing to make your escape. You say it’s going to be the last time because it has finally taken everything from you. It’s left you empty, cold, careless, selfish, incapable, and scared. You know your time is running out, and your options are minimizing by the second, if you don’t stop now there is only one outcome; death. So you pause, you think to yourself, is it worth it? I’ve now lost almost everything, but I still have hope. But will hope be enough to get you through the night? You just did your last shot of dope so you’re nice and comfortable in that warm blanket of that blissful high you long for. At this moment, you are positive, you are ready, you are strong, and you tell yourself it won’t be that hard. You make your final decision and go home…
A lengthy, intrusive reminder of why I am where I am and why I want to stay where I am; I forgot to the go to the pharmacy to take my Methadone dose a couple days ago. It hit me and it hit me hard. I had a sudden rush of physical and mental pain. It brought back memories of hospital visits and mental and physical anguish. I immediately felt vulnerable; I wanted to escape my reality. I battled myself in so many ways, counting the seconds until 9am when I could go to the pharmacy and feel better. I knew I had less than 24 hours but I still couldn’t help thinking that using would be a quick fix. The anxiety and panic was almost unbearable. The restless leg syndrome, the yawning, the aching all over my body; it was tough but not something I haven’t dealt with before. I have spent countless hours with withdrawals.
Regardless of what was running through my mind as I lay in bed sleepless, tossing and turning with restless legs. I didn’t give in to the temptations. I just laid there impatiently waiting and although it was a long, long night it reminded me of what I don’t miss.
I am aware that Methadone is another crutch, another thing I have to come off of. But for right now it is something I need in more ways than one. Maybe it is a crutch, maybe I am afraid of leaving it all behind; it doesn’t matter. What matters is I am putting my life back together. I am able to hold a job, I can maintain healthy relationships, and I am giving myself responsibilities and holding them. I am holding myself accountable, and most of all I am learning and trying which has to count for something.
“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.