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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:28 pm 
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Having been visiting here daily and reading all I can, I thought it was perhaps time that I jumped in. I have been involved with misusing pain medication for nearly 20 years. For the first 10 years, it was something that I would do three or four times a month. I would take a 5 MG oxycodone on a Friday night for the "fun of it" Because my body would then be free of opiates for no less than seven days, I never had a problem with dependence or needing to increase the dose that I took. Things went great for so many years. It unfortunately also had me believing that I had it all under control.

That worked well right up until it didn't work nearly so well anymore. My use gradually moved to twice a week, then three times, then every other day, then once or twice everyday and finally all of the time. By 2003 my body was dependent on it. Still, I successfully hid it all from everyone. I told no one about it and while there had to have been some signs, no one picked up on it including my wife, kids, parents, friends.

That all came crashing to an end about two months ago when I was involved in a car accident. While there were very likely no drugs in my system - that was very likely the reason for my crash - I was in withdrawal, the hospital staff could not figure out why I was so restless and even had to restrain me. Because I had a head injury, I was not able to tell them - not that I would have any way - that I was in withdrawl. Family members then went to my house to get my dog, lock things up, etc. and found the tell-tale signs of my drug abuse. They confronted me in the hospital the next day and the rest, as they say, is history.

I went to a TERRIBLE in-patient detox. I won't even go into all of the things that made it so bad but chief and top on the list was a doctor that was way beyond the burn-out phase. Even the rest of the staff strongly encouraged the patients to write and complain about how he treated us because even they wanted him gone. Even my induction was beyond painful. They left me get into full-blow withdrawal. In fact I was close to 72 hours since my last use and by the time they finally gave me my first dose of Suboxone, I could tell I had peaked and was actually starting to feel a little bit better on my own prior to getting Suboxone for the first time.

So there is the background. Now for the rest of the story and main reason for my post.

I have since found a wonderful doctor for my Suboxone treatment. I am going to an equally good addiction councilor and have started trying out some 12 step meetings. I have not relapsed at all in the seven weeks since starting Suboxone and don't have really any cravings to speak of. Life actually would be greater than great, if it wasn't for everything else. My job has fired me after finding out about my addiction. Never mind I put my heart and sole into being the director of this company for 18 years. Never mind I was given glowing reviews and performance bonuses every year. Never mind that the entire board of directors used to rave about me. I had now become a drug addict and they were not about to have a drug addict working for them, let alone running the place. My two kids have not talked to me since this all happened. Like the people involved with my job, they say that I lied to them, that I deceived everyone, that they don't even know who I am anymore. Again, prior to this, I had a great relationship with both of them. The anger of all of these people is huge. I was not even contacted or called over Thanksgiving. I was part of a volunteer organization (a fire department) and other than one guy, they too have abandoned me. Even the best man at my wedding, and a friend of 20 plus years, has kept his distance.

Thankfully, my parents, sister-in-law and three friends have hung in there with me. If it were not for these few people, I'd really have nothing to try to battle back for. Even my councilor and doc are worried that I'm in a prime spot for relapse. Somehow, I have been able to persist and continue forward. But at times I too think, what the hell is the sense? I lost my job, lost my friends, have my family pissed at me to the point they won't talk to me. All sorts of people are making up their own truth rather than getting the story from me. It seems to be that the majority of them are mostly mad because I fooled them or in their words "lied to them" About the only thing I have not gotten from them, thank God, is criticism about using Suboxone or that just being trading my addiction. Everyone has at least been supportive of that.

Has anyone else ran into this? I thought that when you do the right thing, want to get well, want to stay well, completely immerce yourself in getting better, that is when your family and friends rally around you and stand behind you. I thought it was only when you refused to do those things that the people in your life cut you out. I feel like I am paying way too much for my addiction. In fact, if anyone asked me now, I'd have to tell them to do anything that they can to keep it a secret. Don't even let anyone know of your addiction or you too may lose your job and have your life completely turned upside down. Even some of my supporting friends have commented that I am being treated like a child molester or something. Brett Farve and even Rush Limbaugh come clean about their addiction and are none the worse for it. With me, it's like I have become public enemy #1.

So again, please give me your thoughts, comments and experiences. Has this happened to you? Have you heard it happen to others? Do I just have to get used to the fact that this is the price I have to pay for becoming a drug addict? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can "reach" these people? Staying clean has been the easy part. If only that would be all I have to do. Having to battle all of the "politics" and misconceptions of this illness is proving to be much harder than staying clean - and I just don't want it to be my undoing.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts about any of this.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:49 pm 
donh - I just finished reading your post. Yes - there are others like you. I am one of them. Your story is different than mine but similar in so many ways. The feelings and experiences you describe are the closest to mine that I have read on the forum thus far. So thank you for posting your story and I'm sorry for what you are going through.
I have posted my story in bits and peices around the forum, but in a nutshell - I was a Registered Nurse for 18 years, worked in the same field of nursing my entire career. I pretty much knew everyone and everyone knew me. I was well respected both professionally and personally. Never had a mark on my record of any kind, gave great patient care to the point that patients would come back and visit years after their experiences at my hospital. Like you - I had done a good job for years and years and my skills and abilities were never called into question even when I was abusing the crap out of narcotics. No one had a clue!
I wasn't in an accident like you were, but I was 'busted' in similar dramatic fashion. Toward the end of my active addiction I had begun to use the heavy duty narcotics from hospital stock. I never withheld meds from patients, I wouldn't do that. But my addiction had led me to ignore my conscience enough to steal drugs from my employer. Of course there are systems in place to monitor such behavior, but I had gotten so sick and the obsession for drugs so strong, that it was a chance I was willing to take. Most of us know how it is.....you're so sick, the disease has taken over your life...things you would never in a million years do in your right mind, you will do to get opiates into your system. It's a devasting disease!
So no one in my life knew until everyone in my life knew. As you can imagine - I was caught and went on to endure the shame and humiliation of word spreading quickly about what I had done. I lost my job and have now surrendered my nursing license voluntarily because the requirements to keep it meant that I could not be on Suboxone.
So yeah, I know how you feel. This happened just over a year ago. My recovery is going well now, but the pain I feel because of the loss of my career and reputation is still very raw. I have lost relationships that I built for nearly 20 years. There have only been a few former coworkers who have been supportive of me - that's it, out of so so many. I feel like everything I did even before I became an addict is worthless, like it didn't count. I have lost all the credibility I worked years to build, even on a personal level with my family and closest friends. It doesn't seem fair at all. And it hurts.
You're right - it seems like when you're doing all the right things in your recovery it should make a difference to these people. And the people who really do love you, I believe, will come around as they see you get some good clean time. As for the others - in my case, I've yet to hear from any of them, probably never will. I just have to work on letting that go. I think we just have to stay on the right path, not relapse no matter how much we hurt, and be very very patient.
You are not alone in what you are feeling. There are some very informed, nonjudgmental people here on the forum. Please keep posting. And keep doing what you're doing. That's all we can do. How I wish we could go back and change things. I don't yet understand why it was necessary for me to lose so much, to hurt so much, to pay such a high price for what I did. The shame I feel alone for what I've done should have been enough suffering. But apparently is wasn't. I just hang on, like you, one day at a time and believe that someday the answers will be revealed, at least to some extent.
Hang in there. It does get just a little better every day.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:39 am 
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I know this is an old post, donh, but since you went researching me I decided to do a little researching of you. I'm curious as to how things are going now, have you resolved any of the "pariah" issue you were experiencing? I'm grateful I haven't experienced much of that, it sounds very perplexing and painful. The only two things that occur to me in response are, is it possible maybe you were doing some things during your addiction that you weren't totally aware of that was turning these people off, but that they didn't really have a cause to blame it for? But when your addiction came out, they could now identify what was going on? The other thing is more positive. And you've probably already figured it out by now, but you gained your position and friendships and associations through your own skill and abilities. Even though some people maybe be uneducated and prejudice regarding addiction, you still have all that skill and abilities. You stay clean and you'll get all that back and more. Thanks for sharing this story with us.


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