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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:41 am 
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Hi everyone, (Prepare yourself - this is a LONG one - sorry about that.)

I can’t say for sure why I haven’t shared my story yet, but it’s probably due to my shame and embarrassment. I don’t mean about being an addict. I’m talking about what led up to me stopping all the drugs. Let me back up a bit though and give you the short version leading up to that.

I started smoking pot and hashish at about 14 (I’m 44 now). For 10 or 15 years I smoked it off and on, never even bought it. In my 20’s I realized I enjoyed both downers and uppers, as well. Still, mostly it was occasionally or moderately at worst. Then about 10 years ago, my usage jumped dramatically and I was smoking pot daily and increased whatever else I could get my hands on. About 6 years ago it got to where I was smoking pot before going to work in the morning.

Just before that time I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I did ok for the first year or so, and then around 2005 I slowly started abusing the pain meds. This went on while I still worked and right through losing my father in 2006. It got really bad by 2007. I was snorting my Opana (hydro-morphone), taking Percocet, still smoking pot constantly, was on 6 mg of Xanax a day (yup, you read that right) and many other meds (all doctor prescribed, I might add). Hell, I did even take the 2 mg of Xanax three times a day as directed – I took all 6 mg at once-every day. That was just my life. I had close calls, like 3 car accidents that luckily didn’t hurt anyone or land my in jail (although I think I lucked out on that!). I was on a second benzo (Ativan) and a couple different sleeping pills, too. You can imagine how I’d pass out all the bloody time. During the months leading up to December 8, 2008, I knew if I didn’t do something I would die. But I just couldn’t stop.

Here’s the part I hate to say out loud. But here goes:

I ended up in the hospital – let’s be honest, the psych ward, for a week starting Dec 8th. The reason wasn’t an overdose or checking into rehab. I also wasn’t sleeping well (go figure) and took a shit load of Benadryl along with everything else. So for the 5-7 days leading up to the 8th, I slowly lost touch with reality, until on the 8th I suffered a full-blown psychotic break. I lost it; cracked up; had all sorts of hallucinations – visual and auditory. I was literally crazy. Luckily I was too out of it to be terrified until it was all over. So I ended up in this crazy psychiatric ward for 7 days. I say that because they didn’t give me any informed consent on the meds and didn’t even do any formal induction, and they were constantly telling me not to express myself. (But that’s a whole other thread.)

On the plus side, all the doctors there insisted to me that I was not suffering from some psychotic mental illness. They firmly believed that my break with reality was due directly and only to all the drugs. So they waited two days then started me on Suboxone. All my previous meds were discontinued until I saw my normal shrink and we started over. For months after I had nightmares about more psychotic episodes. Luckily though, I’ve had none since.

**Whew, OK, I gotta say, that was really hard to admit, even a year later.

I’m confident the reason I took this path was due to some major traumas in my life. I ended up stuffing my feelings, I just wanted to “feel different”- different in any way whatsoever. It didn’t matter. If I could pop a pill to change my state of mind, it was done without thought and I was comfortable again.

Plus, I seem to be high strung naturally – like it’s my personality. Which I don’t like – it’s very uncomfortable. Upset easily, talking fast, etc. The pot, benzos and opiates really helped with that, because I hated feeling jumpy and “ON” all the time. Personally I believe people abuse drugs for some reason. Most of us get something out of it, in some twisted way.
Bear with me I’m almost finished:

I haven’t read of anyone else on this forum having gone through such an experience, so I was hesitant to be completely open about it. That said, please know that you all have made it exceedingly clear that your support is unconditional and without judgment. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to let this out finally. Your continued support has allowed me to open up and honestly share my story. Talking about it openly in and of itself helps me to heal more than you know.

Before I close, I wanted to ask for some of your thoughts on something:
Even after a year I’m still getting used to my natural personality – the always on overdrive part. I’m still surprised by it and downright uncomfortable with how fast-paced I seem to be. How long after getting such drugs out of one’s system before I’ll really settle into who I am/was again? Does anyone have any thoughts on that or has anyone noticed something similar after getting clean?

Forgive me for the length of my posting – and this really was the short version! ROFLMAO.

Again, thanks and hugs to you all.

Melissa AKA Hatmaker

Forgive any typos or misspellings I missed.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:59 am 
Thank you for sharing your story. I understand how hard it is to do that. Although my story is quite different in terms of what I now refer to as my "crash and burn", we are similar in that we are humiliated or shamed by what happened. And that makes it hard to talk about. I have found respite here on the forum. No one (so far) has made me feel unwelcome or ashamed of what I did in active addiction and that's made it easier to talk about. I still struggle pretty much every day with the guilt and the shame for what I did though. It's very hard for me to forgive myself. I feel like although I felt very much controlled by my addiction, I still made the choices along the way and therefore am ultimately responsible for what I did. And that's hard to get over. I will say this - I have paid for my actions bigtime. I've talked before about all that, so I'll stop.
Hatmaker - with your particular situation, try not to feel ashamed. It sounds like you got the help you needed and you're doing so much better. Thank God you had some doctors involved who were able to see that your problems were drug-related and not something purely psychiatric. You're being treated and you're stable and you've gotten off the drugs. That is awesome.
As far as getting comfortable in your own skin. I do feel for you there. I wonder if people who began abusing drugs or alcohol in their teens or early twenties really ever had a chance to "know" themselves. Maybe that makes it more difficult when you do get clean and sober because you've got to get to know yourself without the substances.
For me, I never abused drugs or alcohol until I was over 40 and my opiate abuse went on 'only' for 3-4 years with the last year or so of it being far worse than the previous. So I feel like I knew myself pretty well before all this happened. I don't know if that makes one bit of difference, but it makes some sense to me. Now, 'knowing' ourselves and learning to 'like' ourselves may be two totally different things!! Perhaps that is what needs much more work!
I've rambled long enough. Really, thank you for your post. I hurt for how you... for how it feels to feel ashamed, embarrassed, somehow 'less than' or weak or whatever. It does hurt, and no matter how many times others tell you that you shouldn't be ashamed, no matter how much progress you feel like you're making....it's still there whispering in your ear sometimes. I think all we can do is just keep moving through it and somehow integrate it into who we are and learn to accept it.
Read BigRed's quotes at the end of all his posts. I read the Rebecca Beard quote every single day. I find it helps.
So glad you all are here!


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 Post subject: Many thanks, setmefree
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:21 pm 
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Setmefree,

First thanks for the reply. It's almost embarrassing (but not really) to admit I got a bit choked up reading your words. That simply means you touched on some real emotions which I've been avoiding.

Your ability to be so supportive and open is so generous of you. I can't truly move forward in my recovery and healing if I don't fully acknowledge and accept my actions and feelings, and you also helped with that.

Lastly, you were able to put difficult feelings of shame into words when I was unable to do so. Everything you said made a whole hell of a lot of sense and I'm grateful for your openness and honestly. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself to support me. OK, OK, enough mushy talk already! LOL.

I'm glad I finally opened up to all of you. I stayed at arm's length for way too long!

Melissa

You all are so great!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:12 pm 
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Great to finally get a chance to hear your story hatmaker :) I've always enjoyed reading your posts and I actually felt like I took something away afterwords. You've been with us for some time now and I have no doubt your contributions have helped many others besides me. I just wanted to say that I've always been very, very highstrung. Both sides of my family have a history of OCD along with other forms of mental illness. I know it sounds really cliche but I thought opiates were the one thing that helped my depression and extreme social anxiety. I could even muster up the courage sometimes to ask a girl to go on a date with me. It was obviously hard to accept that opiates were eventually only adding to my problems and after getting clean (both on and off of Suboxone) my social anxiety seemed to get alot worse. I spent months isolating I even got nervous having a conversation with family members! I always thought everyone was judging me. SSRIs have helped a fair amount but they took a month or two before I noticed any changes. It seems like your doing the right thing in seeing a Psych/therapist. If your still having problems after being sober for awhile it's likely that they won't just dissapear one day. Anywho gotta bring in groceries, I'm being yelled at. Thanks again for your story :)

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"If you're going through hell, ....keep going!"
-Winston Churchill


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:22 pm 
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I'm convinced one of the reasons I continued using drugs was to calm and slow me down. Both of my sisters are high-strung - annoyingly so. So I know first-hand how uncomfortable I'm apt to make someone. I just NEVER shut up! And for me it's damn uncomfortable.

Like setmefree said, those of us who started early never even had a chance to get to know ourselves. That most definitely includes me.

But I had a couple of medication changes last week (my medical history is complex), and my doc is hoping I'll stop bouncing off the walls at least a little bit.

Thanks again,

Melissa


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