Conducted by A.E. Cox
Filled Out By: Gothravehikchik
Addiction Type: Pain Medication
Q: So, tell me about this addiction. (What the addiction is, how old you were, why it started, how long it lasted, etc.)
A:I was 19 and addicted to painkillers. I was prescribed fioricet from my doctor for migraines. I would also take vicodin and tylenol w/ codeine. I just now kicked the habit so my addiction lasted 3+ years...And why did I start? I needed to escape. First I would only take it when it was needed, but then I started liking the loopy feeling. Then my b/f and I broke up so I dulled the pain with meds. Life sucked, as some peoples' lives do. I moved on and got a new boyfriend, got pregnant, had an abortion. Needless to say I needed to escape from that pain and guilt, so more pills. However, while I was pregnant, my addition somewhat peaked. I was trying to avoid the abortion by drinking and drugging as much as I could to hopefully miscarry....it didn't work.
Q: When did you first know your addiction was an "addiction"?
A: Let's see...I started lying to my doctor about the pills so she would write me more. I would say I lost the bottle, or my b/f threw them out, etc. Then I started bribing a friend of mine who was also prescribed Fioricet. She was underage so I would buy her booze in exchange for pills. Anyone I knew who had any kind of meds, I would pay. When my boyfriend was hospitalized for a motorcycle accident, he screwed up his knee and was prescribed Vicodin. I'd be in charge of dueling it out to him, and deep down he thought I was taking them for myself. He doesn't like drugs, so he had lots left-over when he recovered. So I bribed him and he gave me the bottle.
Q: Did you feel other people judged you based on this addiction?
A: Of course I felt that others judged me. In my "circle", I was known as the "druggy friend". Everyone has their label, you know? So that was mine.
Q: Did you try to hide the addiction from others? If so, what would you do to try and hide the addiction?
A: I hid my addiction from my parents and close family. My friends knew, of course. They would help me, so to speak. My boyfriend didn't like it, but what was he gonna do?
Q: Did you lose any friends or harm any relationships due to your addiction?
A: I didn't lose any friends over my addiction. My boyfriend, however, suffered from my pill-popping. Drugs make you angry and mean and irritable and i would take everything out on him. I almost lost him a couple times. But I wasn't ready to give up drugs, not even for him.
Q: Did you feel, at any point, you were in control of your addiction and brushed off concerns of friends or family members?
A: I would listen to my concerned friends, just to give them the benefit of the doubt. I was never taking them seriously when they said they were worried. I felt I was in complete and total control: i could quit whenever I wanted, I just didn't want to. (Denial!)
Q: Were there certain "triggers" that made you want to continue your addiction?
A: There are triggers that tempt me every day. I would pop pills for pain, for no reason, for getting angry at some stupid driver on the freeway. If my boyfriend had a bitchy tone of voice over the phone, I'd use. If I felt fat that day or didn't have a clue what I was going to wear to work, I'd use. Triggers are everywhere even now.
Q: When did you decide enough was enough and get help for your addiction?
A: Well, to be honest, my doctor cut me off! She refused to prescribe me anymore meds. That pretty much made me quit. Even though I knew I had a problem, (bribing my poor b/f for his meds) I wasn't ready to quit. I was taking 4-6 pills per day until I ran out. Then came the excuses to get more. I was abusing a "controlled substance" meaning they can only write you a script ONCE every 30 days. Lots of times I would screw myself and take too many and then I'd have dry spells of waiting for the 30 days....
Q: Were there certain steps you took to recovery? Did you go to someone for help?
A: I had been seeing a psychologist for months, and I decided to tell her of my addiction. By that time, I pretty much had everything under control. I didn't go to Narcotics Anonymous. I DID go to one AA meeting with my friend because she believes she's an alcoholic. When you go around the room, you gotta say your name and your problem, and sobriety date. I told them I was an addict and by that time I had been sober for seven weeks.
Q: Did you experience any kind of withdrawal symptoms?
A: Everyday was a withdrawal symptom. I believed I wouldn't be able to function happily and efficiently withouth my pills, so I'd use. If I didn't use, I'd get migraines, (and they were supposed to stop migraines!) stomach cramps, shortness of breath. Sometimes I would get the shakes...but not too often. Mainly just the symptoms I listed above.
Q: What kind of support system did you create for yourself in trying to overcome the addiction?
A: Umm...I don't think I have a support system, exactly. My boyfriend is supportive: then again, he's made it clear that if I start using again, he'll leave me. I don't want that to happen, so I've got a great incentive not to start up again. He's pretty much the only reason. I love the way I feel when I'm on drugs...but life is so much better when I'm not.
Q: What would be your advice to anyone currently experiencing this addiction?
A: I have told people that they can't quit until they're ready. But for some people that time never comes and then it's too late. So before that point comes, I tell people to get help. I give them support, understanding, and tell them that life is better without drugs. Even if things aren't as fun!!!
Q: How do you feel your life has changed since your recovery? What have you learned?
A: I've learned that I have the ability to be a better person without my addiction. I'm not controlled by "when is the next time I can pop some pills?" and "man, i can't use because I already ate.." (pills give you a better effect on an empty stomach I have an easier time going to school. I'm a nicer person. I get PMS pretty badly. If you do too, imagine having horrible PMS EVERY SINGLE DAY. That's what the drugs do to you. Irritability, anger, frustration, depression, low self-worth...these are all side effects. They just don't tell you that on the bottle.