Addiction surrounds us. Food addiction. Pornography addiction. Substance abuse. Alcoholism. Workaholics. Compulsive hoarders. Sex addiction. Human beings are primed for addiction. And this month, in an effort to take down stigmas, to collect more stories, to help us feel less alone in our addictions, we are thrusting the spotlight squarely upon addiction.
We want your stories - are you an addict? Have you been an addict? Are you the adult child of addicts?
I was surrounded by addiction my entire childhood.
I remember laying in bed, scared, wondering what time my father or one of my brothers were going to knock at my door, so I could let them in.
The minute I opened the door, they'd fall on top of me. I'd have to help them to their bedroom, heat them up some dinner, and spy on them until they were asleep just to make sure they didn't burn the house down with a cigarette, or try to go back out and party more.
I remember begging them not to go back out, I remember telling them I was tired; I had a big test at school the following day, I needed some rest. They never cared. When they finally fell asleep, I'd have to prepare for the next one to come home high or drunk. This went on my until I turned 19. I met my husband, and I decided to move in with him to get away from it.
I felt horrible leaving my mother alone to deal with them, but she still doesn't fully understand what I went through - the way my brothers and father verbally abused me - because she worked all night and slept most of the day. I'm so grateful for my husband for taking me away from that shithole of a home.
Due to my childhood, I promised myself that I'd never so much as touch drugs - addiction is in my genes. I'd drink every other weekend, but never to the point of blacking out. I never felt I needed to drink on a daily basis.
When I was in labor with my first child, he wouldn't drop down the birth canal, so my OB-GYN told me I'd need a C-section. I was scared to death - it was the first surgery I had. Surgery went great, and my beautiful son was born at 9 pounds, 9 ounces.
I didn't know that after surgery, you're given pain medication. Pain medication can become very addicting. I realized after the second day on pain medication, "wow, I feel great! I have energy! This is GREAT!"
I didn't become addicted. When my script ran out, that was it - I didn't ask for a refill or anything. I still didn't know those pills were addictive.
A year later, I had my daughter and another c-section. Most OB-GYN's prefer to deliver pregnancies after a c-section via c-section. I asked for a refill for the pain medication. Twice.
But I was able to stop after those two refills. About a year later, I needed to get a wisdom tooth pulled. Once again, I was prescribed pain medication. After oral surgery, I got addicted and knew I it. I'd take more than one at a time, I would take another before the 4 to 6 hours was up, I'd snort them for a faster - better - high.
This was when I started to plot and plan "pain-related" reasons to see a doctor or dentist. I'm not proud to admit it, but I got four teeth pulled because I wanted pain medication, not because they hurt or were rotten. I sill wonder why my dentist did this with no questions asked.
I wasn't able to buy my drugs from the streets after we moved out of state where I didn't know anyone. I lived in a small town and didn't want to ask the wrong person for pain medication.
When I had no other options, and my doctors started picking up that I had an addiction, I planned my last pregnancy. I stayed clean for the entire nine months, because I knew I'd have pain medication to look forward.
How sick is that, to get pregnant, not because you wanted another baby, but because you needed to get high and that was your last option? I wouldn't trade my daughter for the world, but I'm disgusted with myself for the reasons behind planning her pregnancy. What do I tell her when she gets older - when she starts asking questions? Do I lie? Do I tell the truth?
My addiction became so bad - I began snorting and chewing the pills. I started to call my own prescriptions into the pharmacy. That worked for a while, but when I finally got busted, I denied that I'd been doing that to the police when they met me at the pharmacy.
The last straw was when I finally got a doctor to write a script, he didn't circle the number of refills, so I took that opportunity to circle the number 2 - with a different color pen. That's how far gone I was.
That's when the police came to my home and took me to jail for the first time in my life. My husband had no clue that I had an addiction; he's a functioning alcoholic, always in his own world. Until that day, no one knew about my addiction. I never got so high that I'd nod out, or physically looked high. I did it to be a better Mom; a Mom with more energy. Those were my excuses.
That day, when the police cuffed me and led me away as my children looked on through the window, was the day I realized I couldn't do this to my family any more. What was I THINKING?
I called my husband from jail - I told him I needed help, that I couldn't do this on my own, but I needed to get clean. He got me out on bond, and the next morning I was admitted to a detox program. From the detox program, I went straight to rehab for three weeks. It was tough, I'm not going to lie, but I used that time to focus on myself and myself only. I knew I had to do it for myself, in order to be a better mom, wife, friend, aunt, and so on.
My kids tell me all the time that I'm the best mommy in the world. When I was on drugs, I don't think I ever heard them say that to me. I didn't cherish their hugs and kisses when I was high because I was too busy thinking about my next high.
Being an addict is a stressful life. I think back on all the stress I put myself through, getting crabby, taking it out on my husband and kids. They didn't deserve that. I feel so much better to wake up everyday and plan what we are going to do that day. My kids and family are now in my thoughts; before it was pills and only pills.
Today I'm sober three years. I'm here to tell anyone out there that you can get clean and stay clean. It's not going to be easy, but you can do anything you set your mind to. You may not feel you can be happy without drugs or alcohol - I felt the exact same way. But I'm here today smiling and loving every minute of my life.
If I can do it, so can you: we are all equal.
Thanks, The Band, for allowing me to tell my story. I've been lurking and reading here for a few weeks now; I've wanted to share a few stories, but always chickened out.
When I saw the Spotlight On: Addiction, I knew it was my sign to share. I'm not a good blogger - I don't have my own blog - so please bear with this story.
It may not be the best, but it's mine.11 Comments