Skip to main content

It was the same thing every night. Come 11 o' clock, one of the overnight techs would come in the room to bid goodnight to we princes of Washington, we kings of the pacific northwest, before turning off the lights and telling us that we seriously needed to go to sleep and stop acting like jackasses. There was then a customary 5 minute pause before we would hear Max gingerly untuck himself and slink off into the bathroom. After the door had clicked shut, Max would flip on the lights and turn the faucet on full blast for a good 10 minutes or so before returning sheepishly to bed. Once he had gotten settled, one of my roommates or I would ask him how it was and he would mutter expletives at us in return and then we'd all actually go to bed. Since this routine happened on a nightly basis, I always wondered why Max continued to masquerade his “alone time” as legitimate bathroom activity. Just because someone is living for months at a time in the communal environs of a rehab or a halfway house, it doesn't preclude them from needing to tend to their baser urges, especially if the person in question is a 17-year old boy like Max.

Max would have turned 21 this January. I am forced to write “would have” because Max took his life nearly 2 years ago. By that point we had both long left the halfway house where we spent 4 months as roommates. I had gone back to Cincinnati to finish my bachelors at Xavier University while Max went home to Texas to finish high school. The last time I spoke to him on the phone he had gotten into some community college and wanted me to edit one of his papers for Freshman comp. I ended up re-writing practically the entire paper for him as it was a 3 page monument to grammatical ineptitude and after he offered to pay me (I said no, followed by a lovingly delivered racial epithet) we didn't speak again. Some of the other guys from the house who were closer to Max went down to Houston for the funeral told me most of what happened. I was told there was a car, a note and a handgun. I was told that no one saw it coming. I was told he was supposedly clean and sober when he pulled the trigger.

The new formulation of OxyContin with a time-release feature cuts down on Rx abuse, but has led to increased heroin use

Every so often I'm reminded of Max's death, usually when his name and picture pop up while I'm on Facebook. It turns out that Facebook's policy on the deceased is that they won't shut down a person's profile unless a loved one presents them with a birth/death certificate or proof that they represent the person's estate. Their default policy is to “memorialize” the account of the deceased, leaving their profile floating in the internet ether, open to comments for all eternity. It's as if Max has been crystalized in amber, forever preserved as a 19 year old with a future that will be lived without him. Being in recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism in this day and age means an ever-expanding list of these mummified lives. Some will commit suicide like Max. Others—opiate addicts in particular—die from an overdose.

From what little has made it to me through the grapevine, I know that at least two of the young men with whom I had to live with died of heroin overdoses shortly after going through treatment. Both of them died on their first time back out, trying to find that sweet spot in-between what their tolerance used to be and what they thought it might be after a fresh chunk of sobriety. Of the two, the guy I spent the most time with was a potbellied juggalo-in-training named Cody. He came from up near the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota, and had been initiated into the land of misfit addicts after he broke his spine trying to do a flip on his snowmobile. He was given one of those self-controlled morphine drips where the patient can get a fresh injection of opioid goodness every 10 seconds or so to treat his pain as he saw fit. Of course, Cody quickly became wholly dependent on the morphine and the fentanyl patches and the oxy they were giving him. At some point, Cody crossed that invisible line between dependence and addiction and he was off to the races, as the good book says. Inevitably, Cody decided to dabble in heroin either out of curiosity or financial necessity, he discovered just how much better heroin was than the oxycontin he'd been snorting and never looked back.

Had I started down the same path as Cody, I would not be writing this right now. In fact, it's a coin flip as to whether I'd be breathing right now. My anxiety and smorgasbord of mental health issues led me in the direction of Klonopin and Xanax while Cody's back pain took him the way of Percocet and Vicodin. The only time I ever abused opiates was when my live-in girlfriend broke her wrist after she ate pavement on her sparkling new, sea green moped and got a script for some hydrocodone, which I was only able to squeeze a day's worth of fun out of because she flushed the pills almost as soon as she had gotten them. Apparently they had made her nauseous and she wasn't about the leave them lying about for my benefit as I was supposed to be “sober” at the time. Had I been given my own prescription, I have absolutely zero doubt that I would have abused the ever loving hell out of them like I did every other chemical compound I came across that made me feel like I wasn't me for a few hours. God knows I would have switched to heroin if I got too high a tolerance with the synthetics and was presented with the opportunity. Once you're already addicted to opiates, moving to heroin from oxys isn't a lapse in judgement; it's common sense.

One of my friends who is in recovery from heroin addiction once described the first time he shot up as being like lying in a warm bath while experiencing an hour-long orgasm. Anyone who says they wouldn't want a full body bath orgasm for an hour is full of shit. The reason why everybody and their mother doesn't use heroin is because the rational mind tells us that the intense short term pleasure of an opiate high is not worth the risk of overdose, crippling addiction and death. With that being said, the reason why an estimated 22.5 million Americans a month used some type of illicit drug is because humans aren't always rational creatures. In many ways, drug use is a natural extension of that marshmallow experiment child psychologists do to test the capacity kids have for delayed gratification. For those of you who have never seen it, the idea of the experiment is that an adult places a marshmallow on a table in the room and tells the child that he/she is going to leave the room for a few minutes. While the adult has left the room, the child can do one of two things: a) the kid can go to town on that marshmallow as soon as the adult slams the door and enjoy an instant, fluffy sugar high, or, b) the kid can wait until the adult comes comes back and be given a second marshmallow. The kids who have more self-restraint realize that two marshmallows are clearly better than one and make a conscious decision to put off the enjoyment of eating the one in front of them so they can be rewarded with another one. However, most kids can't be forced to bear the torture of staying in the same room as an unguarded, rogue marshmallow and either scarf it down or try taking tiny bites out of it so that the adult doesn't notice (spoiler: they always notice).

Temptation
Within this little experiment is the core of what addiction is and why it's so hard address. Replace that marshmallow with a pile of valium and switch out that bright-eyed toddler with a run down junky and the song remains the same. An addict knows that if he can just stop using, that everything will be alright. Instead of getting twice as many pills for waiting it out, they'll get their life back. The reward is his sanity, his children, his spouse, his bank account...once he can slog through the waking hellscape that is detox and just get a few weeks under his belt, things won't hurt as much. But, those pills are there—just waiting for him. As his body drains itself of the drugs that have come to sustain him, he starts getting dopesick and those pills begin calling to him, the siren song of a modern day death wish. He knows that as soon as he puts those pills in his mouth the unshakeable and absolute misery he's feeling will go away, if only for a second. It takes every strained fiber of his being to not take another loan out on the agony that eats away at his insides and when he tries to leave the room and get away from the pills he finds that the room has no walls and no doors. There is no leaving. There's just waiting.

If any readers of mine who has never experienced substance abuse issues ever find themselves in an open meeting of a 12-step program like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, you will inevitably hear someone say something to the effect of, “if I ever go back out there, I pray that it kills me quick.” This might strike you as an absurd or even melodramatic thing to say. After all, if you got better once you can always get better again, right? Why would somebody want to die when they could just wait it out and enjoy a sober life later? These are all perfectly valid questions for someone who has never been subject to the rigors of active addiction, but ask them to people in recovery and you'll likely get a different answer because they know that, while sobriety is the only other option besides death, there's no guarantee as to where it will happen and when it will come. If a guy relapses tonight, he could go back out for 24 hours, 24 days or 24 years. He has no idea when it might end and neither do you. If you doubt me, go some AA meetings and start putting money down on who will come back and who won't. I guarantee you'll be bankrupt in a year. It's the waiting that's insufferable. Max ended his wait with a handgun and Cody ended his with a needle, but they both were trying to get away from the shaking, crippling uncertainty of addiction. They couldn't see a white light at the end of the tunnel, so they made their own.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  When I was in high school I did every term paper (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, GAS, wader, oldpotsmuggler, Avila

    on addiction. Don't know why. I was never around any one who was addicted. Never became addicted.

    I still am of the belief the only way out is medically supervised maintenance.

    How do you feel about that?

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 06:50:01 PM PDT

  •  Ok, I managed to read that without sobbing (7+ / 0-)

    Thank goodness for that.
    Blessings to you.

    "This is the best bad idea we have by far..." ~Argo

    by MsGrin on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:09:49 PM PDT

  •  I have chronic pain now. (24+ / 0-)

    Medical screw up, a diagnostic test performed by gits. My leg is always in pain. This will be for however long, maybe just for good.

    I was given two RX's when they were checking me out of the hospital after the surgery in Dec; Oxycontin and Tylenol 3's. ( I was on the self administer morphine IV pump for three days)

    I handed them back to the nurse right away.

    I have seen prescription drug addiction in my family. My granny was a percoset girl. Some other family members used to shop at Granny's pharmacy. LOL.

     Not my thing. Toughing it out for 3 months now. Heat pads, ice packs, rest. Whine. Rinse, repeat.

    I saw a Dr a couple weeks ago about the pain and he auto assumed I was wanting better drugs.

    Nope. Tell me what I can do to manage without the drugs better. I need to get back to work.
    I shared the fact that I had been just taking tylenol. That's it.

    And so it goes.

    If I had started on those meds they handed me, I dunno. I would probably still need them, and more because one builds up a tolerance to them I have read.

    They give those drugs out for very real things, but they seem to forget mostly that for some people it just causes another problem.

    The diarist is a truly fortunate guy to kick that stuff.  Lots of hard work went into that too.

    "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

    by pale cold on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:30:57 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, I have a bathroom medicine cabinet full (8+ / 0-)

      of well-meaning, easily prescribed drugs that I filled out of habit, but mostly have never touched.  Some are many years old.  The sink cabinet is also holding a number of different bags and bottles.

      Everything was a "just in case", but after all this time I've just been living with the life-changing pain and related strength issues, with lots of self-help techniques picked up from past discussions with doctors, physical therapists, online comments, etc.

      My Dad is in AA and his parents should have been.  I'm hoping to avoid that path and find my own way.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:38:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Genetically wired.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Denver11, Oh Mary Oh, wader

        It's a very real fear. My family and their addictions.....
        Mum was 15 years sober when she passed.

        "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

        by pale cold on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 09:58:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I never bother filling the prescriptions. (7+ / 0-)

        I have found that for me, if I just ate the pain, didn't try to numb it, eventually it became my "normal" state of being, it wasn't "pain" anymore so much as it was just part of my life.

        Sort of like epilepsy, or getting up early for work (I'm NOT a "morning" person)...

        Not pleasant by any means, but just part of life, something I have to deal with whether I want to, or not, and it just is what it is.

        Drugs have always scared the hell out of me no matter what, but pills especially frightened me. Knew too many of my friend's Mothers that relied on "Mommy's little helpers" growing up, I guess...

        I just finished a round of chemo, and I didn't so much as take an asprin the entire time. I once went in to get 5 lymph glands removed from my neck. After they cut me open there was a lot more involved than they were expecting, long story short; ended up with well over 1000 stitches in my face, head, neck, and shoulder, and they had to cut my ear off, and reattach it.  

        Didn't fill any of the pain prescriptions prescribed then, either.

        I can't figure out if it is because I was born with a freakishly high tolerance for pain, developed a high pain tolerance over the years due to my refusal to touch so much as a Motrin, or it is that I am just THAT afraid of becoming an addict.

        I guess I just never thought myself that special... Like people that do drugs can become addicts. I never felt I was that one in who knows how many that wouldn't become an addict. I always just assumed if I did drugs of any sort, I'd be an addict, and therefor avoided them like the plague.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 10:09:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Acupuncture. Make yourself get out and be social. (0+ / 0-)

      Good friends are better than any drug.

      •  I understand you mean well? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, viral

        But getting out is part of the problem with mobility issues.

        And needles? HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

        I have to go thru hell every week to get an INR test.  It's a phobia with panic attacks.

        "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

        by pale cold on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 09:57:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The needles used by acupuncturists are so (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          qofdisks

          thin, you don't feel them going in. Besides, they know which nerves they are aiming for and they're not in the skin. If you don't look, you won't know when they've gone in.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 05:33:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have mobility issues and am in constant pain. (0+ / 0-)

          I force myself to get dressed and out of the house.  i don't make it sometimes.  
          Acupuncture can hurt...in the wallet.  It runs 40 to 60 bucks a treatment.
          There are other forms of body work and you can even learn to work on yourself.  Acupuncture sounds like it wold be most effective with your acute injury.
          You are looking a long life ahead with many aches and pains you best learn how to cope.

          •  ??? (0+ / 0-)

            Ok. I totally give up.

            You have no idea what my acute injury is, its a massive friggin DVT. Caused by the people at the hospital crushing the veins next to the femoral artery which they fucked up too. :) They had to open me up to repair their screw up.  

            I have PTSD and am triggered by medical procedures, the worst being needles of any kind.  I get into panic mode which could trigger another heart attack.
            I am not yet 50.

            I cannot do stairs, and have just started driving recently.'

            You are not a DR on the internet. OK?

            "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

            by pale cold on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:56:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  DVT.... (0+ / 0-)

              So did they prescribe lovenox injections for the DVT?
              I can't imagine the trauma that may have caused you.
              Were they doing an blood gas when they did this?

              Sorry to hear about your medical issues.  Our family offers our prayers.

              Where is Anarchy, when you need it?

              by Boberto on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 06:37:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Watch out for Tylenol. Take too mucn of that, (6+ / 0-)

      and you could kill your liver.  All by itself.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 12:23:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you tried acupuncture? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      Sometimes nerves have to be tricked. We think pain is a signal of a problem. Sometimes it's not; sometimes it's just nerves on edge and miscommunicating.

      Haven't tried acupuncture myself, but it helped my mother.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 05:28:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could respond to this diary with personal (10+ / 0-)

    anecdotes, but, despite the generally anonymous nature of DK, one never knows what stories can be linked to oneself.  That, along with the physical and psychological aspects of chemical dependency, is why it is so hard to break the cycle.

    -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

    Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

    by 84thProblem on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:32:19 PM PDT

  •  Powerful Post (15+ / 0-)

    We have just taken in our granddaughter who has been very troubled (suicide attempt, run away from home, etc).

    She has stolen pain medication, and is trying other drugs with her 'friends'.  This is my greatest nightmare.  

    I may print out your diary and show it to her.   She does not seem to realize the impact of the choices she is making.  This may help.

    Thanks for posting.

    •  Listen carefully: don't show her the diary; (13+ / 0-)

      get her help.  I've been down this road with a child and, while they clearly don't seem to realize the impact of their choices, telling or showing them the stories of other lives coming a cropper by drugs doesn't connect or really matter.  'Stealing pain medication' can be the tip of a really nasty iceberg and you really need to do whatever necessary to get your granddaughter away from this path...

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

      by Jack K on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:21:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greengemini, Avila, Oh Mary Oh

        getting her into counseling.   And she is with us because we can provide 24x7 adult supervision.  

        Also, all medication is now locked up (as well as anything that can be taken and turned into cash).  It is a sad way for us to live, but we are doing what we can to minimize her risks.

        Thanks for the feedback.  I was torn between this story helping or harming.

        •  Counseling won't be enough (5+ / 0-)

          If she's stealing from you, she's already far enough gone that the iceberg our friend referred to is much bigger than you think. If she's under 18, you can place her into rehab right now on your own.  If she's over 18, she has to agree to go. Choose somewhere far away where it will be difficult for her to run. Take this from a parent who knows, because I'm going through it right now.

          •  She's 15 (5+ / 0-)

            We are torn on the rehab, as she has tested negative on the 2 drug tests she has taken.  Both were random/not expected by her.  And they were about 2.5 weeks apart.

            This all came to light because someone called the school and said she was selling the pain medication.  She said she took it herself (but the drug tests indicate otherwise).  I know she has tried mushrooms (and they don't show up on the drug tests).

            My husband has told her he is going to more random drug tests.  Hopefully that will scare her into staying away from drugs.

            She is struggling with having to move in with us - her mom sent her to us when she ran away from home.  I am not sure how much of this behavior is trying to fit in at school, trying to get back at us for not letting her do anything she wants, etc. vs. she actually has a drug problem.

            Will take your advice to heart.  Thanks for caring enough to respond.

  •  Nice! The Other Half Is The Sneering Pride (5+ / 0-)

    ...and arrogance that usually comes with addiction.

    I had a former roommate fatally OD on booze and pills.  He used to stay up all night drinking beer and arguing with people on-line and...oh shit....oh shit!

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 07:52:23 PM PDT

  •  Do We Know (11+ / 0-)

    why some people become addicts to these things and some discontinue pain killers as soon as possible?

    Every time my doctor puts me on the stupid things I find them intolerable.  Nausea, unfocussed thoughts, slow reactions, and all the other things simply drive me nuts.  I can't wait for the pain to go away so I can get off the stuff--with the consequence that I tend to suffer more pain than others because I won't take them if I can possibly tolerate it.

    Yet strangely, I picked up a smoking habit like a baby to mother's milk.  I finally broke that and I'm currently necking myself off nicotine exposure.  So far so good, but I won't say it was anything approaching easy...

    (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:03:21 PM PDT

    •  There's A Lot Of Complicated Genetics (7+ / 0-)

      ....and it'll be another 20 years before it's sorted out.

      Seriously, it's like some people like cilantro, and then there is also an inherited distaste for it in some people.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:09:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is weird, isn't it. (5+ / 0-)

      Same here.

      I just spent four weeks on percocet/vicodin/norco (in succession, not at the same time) and frankly don't miss any of them.

      I usually have a ton left of this stuff, if not the whole prescription, because I hate being groggy all day, but this time I was in some real pain, unbearable can't catch my breath shouting out loud kind of pain (post surgery).

      I too tend to put up with more pain in general rather than take pain meds.  

      But this time I had to take them, and basically every 6 hours round the clock, but as soon as the pain became bearable I stopped and moved on to OTC ibuprophen as needed.

      There's still some of the hard stuff in the bottle.  Meh, don't need them.

      It's a mystery.

      }}shrug{{

      Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

      by delphine on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:26:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Me too. (4+ / 0-)

      Never could stand pain medication or any kind of sleep aid, not much of a drinker, but had a nicotine addiction for most of my life.  One month tobacco free now but using nicotine replacement so it's only the smoking habit I've quit so far.

    •  Yeah, we're all different. (3+ / 0-)

      I've had no problem with substance addiction. Prescription painkillers give me some side effects but I've taken them when I needed, but no addiction. I was also on Adderall for a few years, but got sick of it after a while and went off all my meds (which was not helpful). I do have problems with food and computer use though.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 10:35:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Best theory I heard on addiction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lonely Liberal in PA, bsmechanic

      The best theory I have heard on the causes of addiction is not a biologic or genetic explanation but  psycho-dynamic one.

      This theory says that addiction (be it opiates, meth, cocaine, booze, food, shopping, relationships, work, or a variety of other activities to which people get addicted) arises due to being abandoned in childhood.  It works like this: Let say a parent is an alcoholic drinker.  The parents spends a good deal of time involved with drinking, and tends to avoid family obligations.  The kids in the family essentially grow up without that parent - they suffer abandonment at the hands of the alcoholic parent.  The growing child must find a way to cope with the feelings of being abandoned.  As the child grows, they might find that alcohol or dope or food or somesuch provides a needed relief from those feelings of being abandoned.  The seeds for a new addiction have been sown, and if watered by repeated use of the substance or activity, grows into the large weed of addiction and dependency.

      This theory provides a good explanation of why addictions seem to run in families - at this time, a better explanation than can be had from available genetic findings.  It is not a perfect theory, but seems to explain much of the behaviors of addicts.

      This theory does not explain why some people get addicted to booze, and others opiates or meth or relationships.  Which substance or activity one gets addicted to might be more a matter of what things one gets exposed to, or what activity provides the necessary distraction from the pain of childhood abandonment.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 07:24:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have been clean and sober 14 years. (14+ / 0-)

    Yes, that's giving up my anonymity, and I will gladly do so, if I think there is a chance to help someone.

    The AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) 12-step programs saved my life. Substance abuse almost killed me. I am grateful to the program, my Higher Power (whom I choose to call God) and to the many who loved me, until I could love myself. There is help. No one has to live another day suffering from the disease of addiction. Miracles happen - I feel like I am one. I never thought I could stop using for one day, much less 14 years. Today I will not use. I'll worry about tomorrow -- tomorrow.

    http://www.aa.org/...

    Join the worldwide movement, 'Unite Against Rape' to support all survivors and victims of sexual abuse; and bring more awareness to the problems of our rape culture. (www.facebook/UniteWomen)

    by Leslie Salzillo on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:29:17 PM PDT

  •  A psychiatrist I worked with in corrections once (6+ / 0-)

    commented that opiates appeal most to those who are both  in pain (psychic, emotional or physical) and have little access to spontaneous joy in life. In his opinion, that was a toxic formula for heroin addiction--hence, his explanation for how many heroin addicts had narcissistic parents.

    I don't know.  

    Thankfully, I am allergic to opiates, and recreational drugs were a take it or leave it deal.  Alcohol, however, kicked my ass when I started using in my forties, until I got into recovery in my 5th decade on the planet.

    •  the marshmallow experiment makes me sad for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      viral, Oh Mary Oh

      the kids who are so deprived in their early years that grabbing the one on the table makes complete sense if you have no real reason to believe the adult is actually coming back with another...I know several young adults who are trying to find their way out of that and into trusting that fate doesn't hate them and good things do happen.
          I had a good solid upbringing and have a natural feeling that G-d seems to smile on me, but yet I would still have trouble with waiting to trade the prize on the table for what's behind door number two.

  •  Hm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego
    Anyone who says they wouldn't want a full body bath orgasm for an hour is full of shit.
    Speak for yourself, man.  That's really not my idea of fun.  

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 08:48:16 PM PDT

  •  When I went to A.A. meetings (8+ / 0-)

    I heard this plenty of times, more than I care to remember:

    “if I ever go back out there, I pray that it kills me quick.”
    You know what? As an ex-problem drinker, who at the age of 20 "passed" the 20-question John Hopkins test that helps the user determine whether they are "alcoholic," I am glad that this alleged disease didn't "kill me quick," after I attended my last meeting over five years ago, and started drinking again.

    In the five years since, I used methods other than the 12 steps, available through groups like SMART Recovery and HAMS. Using these methods helped me to quit drinking for good, almost two years ago, after having pissed away twenty years of my life between hard daily drinking, and wasting time at meetings, believing that if I did so much as fuck up and take one drink, it was all "jails, institutions, and death."

    Your diary, like many other internet posts that discuss addiction, present the 12-step model as the default, or worse, the only way that someone who describes themselves as an "addict" can take care of their problem. That may be your truth, and that of others who have found themselves able to stay away from a chemical, one day at a time, for the rest of their lives.

    My truth is that the things I heard over having attended 5,000 or so 12 step meetings in my life only served to feed my destructive drinking. My going back to A.A. after every binge was indeed "doing the same thing, while expecting different results."

    There is no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such a thing as too many dumb questions that arise from not having listened to the answer of the first question.

    by bsmechanic on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 09:19:44 PM PDT

    •  I'm sorry if that was the message you got... (4+ / 0-)

      ...I in no way meant to imply that 12-step models were the default or only way to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

      I think that SMART Recovery is a wonderful program (I'm not familiar with HAMS) and I'm very happy that it worked for you in ways that 12-step programs did not.

      I am a whole-hearted supporter of medication assisted treatment through the use of methadone maintenance, suboxone or naltrexone.

      It is also crucial that abstinence only models be used on a person-by-person basis and the harm reduction models that meant the individual with a substance use disorder where they are and on their terms.

      Anything that can get a person sober or drinking/using in a way that isn't harmful to themselves or others is a blessing that should be encouraged.

      •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

        You reply to my comment by saying that abstinence-only models.... like the 12 steps... should be handled on a person-by-person basis:

        It is also crucial that abstinence only models be used on a person-by-person basis and the harm reduction models that meant the individual with a substance use disorder where they are and on their terms.
        Yet you write this, in your diary:
        because they know that, while sobriety is the only other option besides death, there's no guarantee as to where it will happen and when it will come.
        ... while failing to mention any of these other approaches that you tell me are "crucial" in battling substance abuse.

        My reading comprehension is fine, and your writing to me "I'm sorry if that is the message you got" sounds disingenuous.

        There is no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such a thing as too many dumb questions that arise from not having listened to the answer of the first question.

        by bsmechanic on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 07:45:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sobriety and Abstinence are not the same thing, (0+ / 0-)

          ...I firmly believe that anyone who who is on methadone maintenance or suboxone or naltrexone is living a sober life, just as someone with chronic pain is sober if they are able to use Rx opiates as prescribed by their doctor and in a way that enables them to live their lives to the best of their ability.

          I don't mean to be disingenuous or to be some kind of elitist sobriety prick. My diary is my story and my story is that I got sober using a 12-step model, along with cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling. If I were doing an objective overview of treatment modalities, then I would have mentioned all of those other treatment options.

    •  My Deceased Roommate Had A Pile Of 30 Day Chips (0+ / 0-)

      What else is there to say about that?

      People's psychology and chemistry vary far more than the founders of AA realized.  Many drunks were merely self medicating.  Todays drunks have more options for feeling better but have too many opportunities to drink into addiction to other drugs.

      Speaking of individual variation, I knew a mean drunk who would have an alcoholic blackout after three drinks, and things would get ugly quick.  

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 10:07:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  some steps (12+ / 0-)

    i do NA.  17 yrs clean.  12 steps worked for me.  if the god thingy is bothersome go get Mel Ash's "Zen and Recovery" - mostly it is the process of attaining a new way of thinking/acting. Not easy when , like me. you have many decades of doing it My Way.
    Had to get removed from  my comfort zone- meetings gave me the courage to think i might could do this.  Also the experience of others who had /were doing this clean&sober trip.
    Lots of Big happened since.  
    Cannot believe i was once who i was.
    Nowadays:
    Building my  own 30' catamaran.   Living solar powered. [and the house is paid off!!!!!] Finished writing the Novel.  Helping others along this Way.
    Still hit meetings.  
    Peace out.

    •  i still hit meetings too (4+ / 0-)

      11 years clean. nice to meet you macknacat! hollywood Ca area fellowship

      liberal pragmatist. artist. obama supporter.

      by hardart on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 09:37:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  howdy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hardart

        nice to meet ya as well hardart... i'm in the wilds of colorado. not nearly enough meetings here - meth and booze are cutting a wide and lethal swath thru this rural landscape.   Some brutal angst or maybe the decision that using represents a rational response to the irrational consumption that drives the beast.  I dunno.  But i have an NA meet a week to hold onto and brothers n sisters to hold my hand ..."this too will pass"..."used to be a hopeless dope fiend - now I'm a dopeless hope fiend" : all that trite BS that ONLY saved my life.

  •  I quit coffee Tuesday. I was supposed to quit (4+ / 0-)

    tomorrow.  The rational is that since it is Easter and all I got was shitty church coffee today, I figure that I want my last cup at home with really great fresh grind and real cream.  So, I will quit Tuesday with a bottle of Tylenol in hand.
    Ask me.  Why do I drink coffee?

    For the pleasure.  For the pleasure.

  •  i am a member (9+ / 0-)

    of hollywood area narcotics anonymous. i just celebrated 11 years clean. my boyfriend/partner of 10 years has never seen me loaded. he wouldnt recognize me as a using addict. i am that different of a person. it is hard to explain to people that have not suffered from this that if i pick up the first drug or drink i dont now where i will end up or when i will stop. it is a torturous existence.. a living hell but not living.. it is like being a zombie chasing the drug. "the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more"... i have found that the 12 step program works for me. and for those that are suffering from addiction and alcoholism..please know that there is hope and that we can and do recover... though as this diary points out, this is a deadly disease. thanks for the diary.

    liberal pragmatist. artist. obama supporter.

    by hardart on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 09:36:22 PM PDT

  •  Daughter addict in rehab right now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, annominous, Dark UltraValia

    It's her third facility in three months. This diary leaves me with very little hope, and my despair was already pretty deep.  I'm glad to hear from the few who have survived and gone on to live good lives. I feel like I'll always be living life waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to my oldest.

    •  A using addict can not only destroy their own life (5+ / 0-)

      They can also greatly harm those around them, especially those who believe they can save the addict/alcoholic. I have learned I cannot control anyone, even with all the wonderful tools I've picked up during these years of recovery (one day at a time).  I have some loved ones in active addiction, and have had to set boundaries and sometimes physically as well as emotionally distance myself from them, with love.

      For me, I had to  want to be clean and sober, more than I  wanted to use. No one could tell me or convince when that time was. I had to hit my own bottom which is different for each. The pain finally outweighed any benefits I got from getting high, (which greatly reduced over the years)

      There are also 12 step groups to help with living with an active addict, since in cases where they are our children, we can not so easily distance ourselves. Alanon and Coda (co-dependents anonymous) are two. Trying to save others can make us just as sick.

      I'm not saying 12-step programs are the end all, nor do they work for everyone. They worked for me, and I've watched  lives transform. it's a beautiful thing to see, as well as experience. And meetings are free. You can find them most  any time, and most anywhere in the world.

      Join the worldwide movement, 'Unite Against Rape' to support all survivors and victims of sexual abuse; and bring more awareness to the problems of our rape culture. (www.facebook/UniteWomen)

      by Leslie Salzillo on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 11:55:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Oh Mary Oh, Dark UltraValia

    Powerful, brave writing. Sincerest sympathies on the loss of your friends. Thank you.

  •  addiction is a HUGE national (int'l) problem (5+ / 0-)

    with few solutions.  in our local paper a mom of a 20yr old heroin addict is pressing charges since he stole/pawned her furnace.  

    we need more options.

    i am going to look up the 2 mentions above, new to me: HAMS and smart recovery.  the real question is how to identify and address causes and treatments individually -   the components of emotional, physical and mental are complex and confusing. and of course, to have access to those options.  

    sometimes I spend more time reading the comments than the diaries. no offense to diarists: thanks for the launch pad.

    by dunnjen on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:03:27 AM PDT

  •  Very Moving Diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, Oh Mary Oh, aravir, davespicer

    Addiction is a horrible disease.  I got clean and sober at age 52 after many years of drinking and occasional drug use (oxycontin, pot, even crack at the end).  I remember ingesting a bag of powder someone gave me, having no idea what it was, the proper quantity, whether to snort it or eat it, and thinking "well if this is too much I hope it kills me quickly".  Celebrated 7 years sobriety in December, at 59, I feel happier than I ever have.  My path was AA, I should be dead now, but instead I am finally living my life and giving back.  I can never thank AA enough.  It's a miracle that I am alive, and more remarkably - happy and productive.

    For anyone who is struggling, please give AA or NA a chance.  You can't do this alone.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -- Susan B. Anthony

    by bluestatesam on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 04:34:28 AM PDT

  •  I'm trying to help friends deal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Dark UltraValia

    with their son who has been in rehab for 6 months for heroin. I know something about addiction & can steer them toward the help that is available for them but I don't feel very hopeful for him. I don't know why I don't feel very positive - maybe it's his age or the knowledge that it takes some pretty deep looking at yourself to overcome, and that it's not just about the physical. I keep hearing how smart he is - but heroin doesn't really care. Best I can do is smile and be encouraging and arm them with the education they need to continue supporting his recovery.
    Great diary.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 05:04:04 AM PDT

  •  Lots of folks I know were lost in the last year (4+ / 0-)

    Some of them I knew well, some of them I didn't.  Some were dear friends.  I live near a halfway house, and go to AA meetings there sometimes.  It is nice to be able to be a resource for people so new to being clean and sober.  But three or four have died in the last several months.  Quick.  One slip, and done in hours or days.

    Another friend I met over 20 years ago.  Bob was married and had two beautiful children.  He was an amazing sculptor, loved by many.  But he could never take that final step over the threshold, and finally, the last time, it caught up with him.  Melissa made a real effort, getting time, doing work.  But every slip, for her, was life threatening.  The last one killed her after a couple of weeks.  Jim was the dad of one of my friends in recovery.  He dabbled in recovery, mostly out of love and respect for his daughter, but never really committed.  His last run took him out for good.  Norman was a colorful character on South Street in Philadelphia.  He was the epitome of a happy drunk, homeless but surviving.  Once, right after getting out of jail a couple of years ago, he thought about quitting for a couple of days.  It didn't take.  He's gone now.

    I remember Bob and Melissa and Jim and Norman.  And Jeff and Katie and Jo and Stormin' Norman...the list, after 25 years, seems endless.  But I remember them all, and honor them by continuing to put out my hand, to try to lift up those who wanted to be lifted up.  Sometimes it seems hopeless, and grief overwhelms me.  But then I remember that everyone who was there for me, at the very beginning, is still clean and sober, and still has a date of sobriety earlier than mine.  And I thank the angels who are now supporting all those of us left here, and move on.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 07:00:51 AM PDT

  •  I'm one of those people that medications don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lonely Liberal in PA

    really work.

    I've never noticed a difference whether I take pain medications or not. The pain feels just the same, but with the meds I feel all the side-effects along with the pain. So I just don't bother with the meds. Luckily, I have a high tolerance for pain.

    Treatment meds don't do what they are supposed to do when administered to me, either. Not even alcohol affects me like normal people. I wonder if there are many people like me?

    Hopefully ...... soon, Mom. My political compass: - 8.38,-6.97

    by pucklady on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 08:13:41 AM PDT

    •  Some, certainly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pucklady

      The best I can hope for is that I'll be put to sleep so the pain doesn't bother me and I get free recovery time without suffering discomfort.

      I never really noticed that it reduced the pain much.  OTC painkillers like Ibuprofin tend to do just as good a job there.

      Whatever they give for kidney stones, however, should be put in the water.  The pain stopped almost instantly, but I had no grogginess or side effects.  Apparently it stops or slows the muscular spasms or some such.

      (-6.38, -7.03) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:31:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is There A DK Group For Recovery? AA? Al-Anon? (0+ / 0-)

    I have a feeling that a lot of people are leaving empty chairs at Al-Anon because they are online playing the victim, acting self righteous, and generally behaving the way people behave when they have been skipping meetings.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 01, 2013 at 09:58:59 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site