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Dealing with the pain and loss of dignity associated with addiction

I hope that I don't offend anyone with this posting.  That isn't my intention.  I just feel that this story is worth sharing.  And, I do also have a question that directly relates to addiction.  

I myself am not an addict.  I lurk and read your posts; it helps me to understand.  I feel that I know you.

For several years, I was in a relationship with a gentleman who became addicted to opiates (oxy). He didn't have pain but was just abusing drugs.  We were very much in love and at one time engaged to be married.  He was a successful professional and to outsiders appeared to have the perfect life.  But inside, he was always struggling.  He fought the addiction.  He went through treatment several times and tried attending both AA and NA.  Eventually I had to end our relationship because I could no longer deal with the "craziness"... but I never stopped loving him.  He took a leave of absence from work and spent last summer on a big bender (we worked together).  That ended with getting arrested at a drug house and sent to treatment.  After that he came back to work.  He was clean from drugs (I think) but heavily abusing alcohol.  His work suffered A LOT.  He bleached his hair and let his physical appearance go.  He got several DUIs.  

On March 3, he didn't show up for work.  His manager and another co-worker went to his house to check on him and found him in his bed.  He'd shot himself in the head.  I went to the hospital and sat with him until he died later that day.  

This disease kills.  Now those left behind suffer.  Please don't allow it to take more lives.  -J
51 Responses
Avatar universal
Thank you for your compasionate response.  I can honestly say that I don't blame myself for what happened.  All I ever did was love him.  I know other's who judged and said or did things that they now regret and can never take back.  I've been attending 12-step programs for myself for a few years now and learned that I could love him and still hate the drugs.  There were times when he said terribly unkind things and tried to blame me and others for his pain, but I know that was the addiction talking.

It scares me that I see the same behaviours in the posts of some of the "regulars" here.  I feel that a part of this disease is the tendency to blame others for your feelings rather than taking responsibilty for your own happiness.  I know that the addict I loved often allowed things that I considered inconsequencial (even the rather offensive things that I've seen posted here) to affect him in a SEVERE way.  It just isn't worth it... life is short enough as-is.  Why waste any of the precious time obsessing over something someone else says, does, or feels that you have no control over.  Why not slow down and see the beauty in the world around us?  Just appreciate the little things.  Life hurts a lot less when you let go of the pain.  I often watched him self-medicate to try to escape reality.  

Oh well...  I'll get off my soapbox now.  I wish you all the best.
Avatar universal
I hope I'm doing the right thing in sharing a few beliefs that I have.  I've had them throughout my entire life...and I pray that I don't offend anyone...but, after reading Zoe1's message, I feel compelled to write it down...hoping to share some GOOD and POSSITIVE aspects of being an addict (hard to believe there actually are any, right?).  I consider myself to be an 'Old Soul'.  I haven't been around that long, but have lead many lifetimes in this one already.  The belief I have is what I call..."The Toolbelt Of Life".

We are all born with a 'Toolbelt'.  It is empty, except for a couple of 'tools' that God gives us a birth...crying to let our parents know when we're unhappy and smiling to let our parents know when we're happy.  Besides that, there's not much in there.

As we go through life, we have the OPPORTUNITY to pick up 'tools' along the way and place them in our 'toolbelt'.  Good times bring the easy tools and we willingly and happily grab up those tools and proudly put them in our toolbelt.  We pull them out when we want to share an uplifting story or event that happened to us.  As important as those 'tools' are...they are not the most useful when it comes to helping others...and it seems that there are so many people in this world with toolbelts FULL of those types of tools...God Bless Them for such a simple, uncomplicated life.  However, I've found that many of those people have absolutely no compassion or even tolorence for those of us who have chosen (or simply found ourselves on) a different path.

The bad or difficult times in our lives are another story and the 'tools' from these experiences are worth more than all the gold in the world.  However, with that said, it seems that there are a lot of people out there that have gone through wicked-aweful times, yet they don't have these tools in their toolbelts, either. What they went through hurt them so much that when they did come out on the other end of it, they actually resented having had the experience or the pain was just too overwhelming that they couldn't even LOOK at the tool, let alone CLAIM IT and put it in their toolbelt.  Instead, they made the choice to ignore it or simply toss it to the side...feeling ashamed or ignorant for ever getting themselves into the situation in the first place.  BUT ... These are the most useful, powerful and life-changing tools that one can possess!

Where am I going with this?  Well, look at what all of us have gone through.  For some of us it has been hell...for others the hell is upon us at this very moment...and for even others the hell awaits us, nawing at our very core, afraid that the pills will run out, or we'll die before we get ahold of this damn addiction.  BUT ALAS!  This is the only truly POSSITIVE thing that we can take with us from this whole ordeal.  Because of this,  our compassion for others is so strong that we feel completely compelled to reach out to someone else who is going through their own hell and say "I know"..."I've been there"..."It WILL be ok, just trust me and let me help".  OUR TOOLBELTS ARE FULL!

So as to not take up any more space here...I'll just close in saying that...We have SO MANY TOOLS in our toolbelts that can truly help others!  THANK GOD for the wonderful people here and for the way that they have taken this 'tool' borne out of dispair and depression, anxiety and pain, and have chosen to put it in their 'toolbelt' for the good of mankind, rather than hiding their past pain and ignoring the benefits that can be had through them!  

Zoe1, you now have a new 'tool' as well.  You have been through hurt and pain and loss of a loved one.  Be sure to take that tool and place it in your toolbelt.  You will be able to help so many others who are right now walking in the shoes you wore down that perverbial path of loving an addict.

Just the musings of a tormented soul....

Peace and in One service,
Nana

ps.  Hope I didn't offend anyone...it was NOT my intent.
Avatar universal
Yes.. you're absolutely right about the toolbelt.  And about the goodness in the hearts of addicts.  I truly feel blessed and thankful for the years I was able to share with the addict I loved.  He was a wonderful, and extremely caring human being.   As a result of what I've seen and experienced, I am MUCH more spiritual and feel that I can now live a fuller life.  I want to be someone he'd be proud of... something good must come from this.
Avatar universal
You're truly amazing.  I love you.  Thank you for sharing your experience with us...and always...be gentle with yourself.

Nana
Avatar universal
Zoe,
Thank you so much for sharing with us.  It really made me cry.  You are a wonderful and special person and you do have so much to offer.  He was so blessed to have you.
Thank you again and you will be added to my prayer list.
Take care,
Sandy

Nana,
You are also a very special person.   Your post was so uplifting and you are absolutely right.  I would not trade anything for what I have been through, because I would not be the person I am today.  When you go through really bad and dark times and you come out of it,  you can really see how beautiful life can be.  I made up my mind last night to start volunteering and give back what I have been blessed with. I am so glad you got things straighened out with your doctor.  I will be thinking of you.
Take care,
Sandy   Good luck to all of us!
Avatar universal
I am not trying to beat this in the ground but I need some help. I hear that Bup. is addictive, What do you guys think a safe time frame to use to get over the w/d. All docs are differant. I just want to be educated so I don't get my butt in trouble with a new addiction. Has any one used this before? I read the thread before this one but that individual only used it a couple of days and someone suggested longer, If ANYONE has heard of info or used it before PLEASE respond. I used Hydro 20 a day.
Avatar universal
First off, this is my first time posting here.  When I try to start a new thread it says that the site can only have "x" amount of new topics a day because of lack of manpower.  So I apologize for breaking in on this thread...

My question is rather strange.  Regardless of my path here, I'm here.  But the reason for my addiction hasn't been addressed on any thread, so maybe you can give me some insight.  I'm terrified of dreaming.  Not so much bad dreams, just dreams in general.  I found out a long time ago that if I took vicoden, then I didn't dream (or acknowledge the dream.  And typical, the longer I took it, the more I needed.  I'm up to 20 a day, chased with 3-4 Unisom sleeping pills.

I've tried Valium and other benzo's, and I still dream.  Not sure how to break this cycle.  I know I want to quit (who doesn't), but then I DON'T want to quit because the hell of taking medication is not worse than the hell of dreaming.  Yes, I'm working with a doc on the mental aspect (why I'm afraid), and while I hope for long term results, it doesn't help with the short term.  So I keep medicating.

I feel like I'm in a Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

What is it about Vicoden specifically that keeps you from dreaming/ acknowledging dreams, but still feeling rested?

Avatar universal
Your story was so real to me. I have been where he was, believe me. I had the tools to die also and almost chose that way but I stopped because some of us have the ability to stop and change the direction we travel. Everyone should know that you can change this thing we suffer from. Addiction isnt a death sentence unless you let it happen. Zoe1, I hope you know that all of us arent 'just' using, My using is because of my Chronic Pain comdition but yes I am an addict. I could just be a loser and die in a dope house like he did bascially and it is a scareyass thing to think about but thank you for posting and sharing this with us, maybe someone will see this and rethink their own lives, thank God I did 8 months ago because I would have joined him. Great story!
                   Bmac
Avatar universal
I'm glad that you were able to change the direction of your life for the better.  I would never take it upon myself to judge you or anyone else for what they put into their own body.  For whatever reason.  I'm just one little person who struggles to get myself up in the morning and live my own life.  

It is terribly difficult to watch someone who can't do that self-destruct.  I prefer not to think of my former fiance as a "loser".... rather, I see him as a very ill person.  He just couldn't find a way out.  

BUT, I think it is important to clarify what I think of as his "illness".  He often said things like "you would never leave me if I had cancer -- why leave me if I use?".  I don't see choosing to abuse drugs in the same way as I see cancer.  Rather, I see it as an illness similar to a compulsion to run a car into a tree.  The 1st time he did it, I pulled him out and nursed him to health (risking my own safety).. I did the same the 2nd time but with reservations... the 3rd time, I left him to pull himself out (I didn't want to be burned again)... finally, he continued to run into the tree and was unable to pull himself out.  

In open NA meetings that I attended (yes, even non-addicts are welcomed in the *open* meetings here -- I truly love some of those guys), I often heard that you either quit abusing drugs or you end up in jail, institution, or dead.  Its scary but true.

The same goes for everyone.. either we take responsibility for our own actions or we don't.  Either we live life to the fullest or we don't.  Either we allow others to pull us down, or we don't.  Its simple concept -- but harder to really live.
Avatar universal
WOW! this is one heavy forum today! I guess I will share as well, that is how we learn about eachother right? I use to be suicidal as well. Actually, 4 yrs ago, I tried to kill myself! This was the time I was on herion, methadone,pot, alcohol, just everything! I tried and tried to stop but couldn't. I pulled over on the side of the road (I can't believe I'm sharing this) anyway I figured my family would be better off because yes, they would be sad for a while, but they would get over it and It would be less painful in the long run because they wouldn't have to worry anymore! I figured I ought to pray before I kill myself just in case right? So I said "God please just take me, put me out of my misery! Please hurry and end my suffering!" He did. Just not the way I thought. I got arrested after putting way too many drugs into my system. My being arrested saved my life and was the best thing that ever happened to me. I decided to surrender my will to God because I gave up! I couldn't do it!I got to know my Lord,to whome I owed my life. I got off everything! I got to see so many miracles in my life if was exciting and almost scarry in a good way! I knew he was there! Is there! I got my family back, a great career, schooling, my health, and most of all my self! He showed me I'm not a piece of garbage that should be thrown into the garbage! I am a proud strengthened christian and proof that Jesus is a savior!

I don't always do everything right! I still get my self into stupied situations like taking these tramadol foolishly when I knew I should have put them down (and I could have)! But he is still here for me. I am glad I have my faith to comfort me because I today am afraid to kill myself because of it. I'm not quite ready to meet him yet!   KimH
Avatar universal
I am so proud of you and with as much faith as you have you will make it through those awful little white "demons". Keep posting!  Thank you for sharing!
Take care,
Sandy
Avatar universal
Hi everyone. Haven't posted for a while, but, I will tell a story that even I should have thought about before starting taking perscription narcotics for pain relief at age 40.  When my best friend who was 30, we were the same age and went to H.S. together, was missing for a week, they found her by the river in her car, she had put a gun in her mouth and killed herself.  A few years later I visited the state we were from and where she had still lived until her death.  I went to see her mom.  My friend, worked for a while in a emergency room in the small town.  She was divorced from her first husband and had 3 little girls by him  She married an intern at the hospital.  He go her addicted to drugs.  Left her.  She went back home to her mom, couldn't get off the drugs, left a suicide note and took her own life. Although I hadn't seen her for a few years, I just didn't get it.  I never knew her to even drink.  So I should have been smart, since my pain I have had since age 23, but, man when they gave me vicoden and the pain went away and I had more confidence and energy, I started using more and more.  But, I have never done any illegally.  I get my meds from my doc, but, I am ready to going back to being me  I go through withdrawal every month as I run out a week early, and I know that wll kill me eventually.  Plus, no matter what or who I am, I want to really be me again.  I may have to take anxiety meds off and on, because I think that is one of my major problems.  But, boy, they are addictive too.  I can't stop all right now, because of my job and preparing for a big summer, so as soon as summer is over, no more painkillers, or maybe 10 a month for severe, severe pain. I am going todo this.  For me!!!  And for all those who love me.  I have heard so may horror stories lately , that life without painkillers has to be better.  I will deal with my pain some other way,more exercise or whatever it takes.  I will pray for you,me and everyone who wants a better life off drugs, legal or not legal.  An addict is an addict.  I love you all
Sugarbeens
Avatar universal
Anyone in this forum believe in karma?What you do comes back to you kind of thing?When you're on the pills and you reduce your standard of living, spend all your money on pills, lose your job and all that you can expect bad karma for making bad decisions. When you try to quit the pills and get your life together when does the bad karma go and the good karma come. Sorry,just feeling a little sorry for myself. Im having a bit of bad luck but Im trying so hard to do everything right.Had to get it off my chest. Thanks for letting me babble,Doner
Avatar universal
Doner, That is what I love about this site! It's ok to be discouraged, because when you are, someone else will encourage you and when someone else is discouraged, maybe you will be able to encourage them and pull them through! Everyone has good and bad days, so when we share, that may be the encouragement you need to hear and vise versa! I am PUMPED I can tell you that! I have no idea why, well I normaly should be feeling WD's and moping right now but I just never wanted anything more in my life right now than to be clean! I know I'm gonna do this! I gotta do this NOW! YESTURDAY! I have been prayin and it must be workin cause can you believe, the last 2 days I have taken 2 less than I needed to in my taper! I don't even care, bring on the pain, I'll take more to get this done faster! I have NEVER wanted anything more than to be done with this so I can get on to encouraging others to do this to! Who wants to beat this thing? Who wants to join me? We gotta be tough and take some pain but we can do it! Sandee, I couldn't do this without my faith and I am praying for us all! KimH

By the way, I got laid off today! But I got an interview tomorrow and another on tuesday! Not gonna bring me down!
Avatar universal
Happy to hear you are so determined because thats what it takes to beat this thing.I too want to taper doses faster than I should just so I can be done with it. Good luck and thanks for reminding me Im not the only one with problems.Yours,Doner
Avatar universal
Kim- You have a GREAT outlook and attitude when it comes to "Life".......... I'm glad you posted what you did-- You probably helped more people than you realize.

Some of you "Old-timers" may get a kick out of this article I stumbled upon tonight:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=638&ncid=762&e=1&u=/nm/20030618/en_nm/people_hunter_dc
Avatar universal
Glad to see you back and posting again!I was wondering where you went to!?!I wish you all the luck in the world you can do it girl!!!Love to ya..Jerri
Avatar universal
Wow, a thread that hasn't reached the maximum comments allowed, so I shall post a miniature post (yeah, right). ;)

I'm taking bup, and really decreasing my dosages drastically.  I honestly want to be off of ALL of this **** as soon as possible.  I had the most horrific stomach flu last Sunday (started at 7:00 a.m.) and is still somewhat there, although I don't know whether it's from the withdrawals or the remnants of the flu.  I've been really, really nauseous and have been trying to keep an open mind.  I'm running this mantra through my head over and over and over...."I'm not in this for short term gratification that will lead to long term consequences, I'm in this for the long haul that will eventually lead me out of the open door on the other side of a life filled with joy, as I once experienced it."  So I'm going to stifle the short term pleasure (it really doesn't seem so pleasurable after taking the Norco's for 2 years now - I've become a recluse, a hermit, a redundancy (ha) and a withdrawn angry person - this is NOT me.  I need to realize this, and I won't unless I'm off of this ****.  I've said this TIME and again, but I have to to do this NOW, because the longer I wait, the longer and harder it's going to be to come off of these pills.  The only reason I'm writing this is because I was once a lurker (and still am) and I know that others out there are and need to know that people here do care about you A LOT and understand what you're going through.

I had a true moment of clarity this weekend while I was so sick I couldn't keep anything down.  Since I'm on benzo's, this didn't work out so well so I had some strange goings-on and I KNEW deep down that (and I read this here just recently!) karma, or whatever you want to call it will follow you.  Every time I get a script, I get a big dose of bad karma.  Every time I do the right thing, I get rewarded by seeing my family happy and I see that my world shifts into a better place - things start looking up.  I feel like I'm constantly living with a dark cloud over my head when I take those pills, when I don't, I can see that silver lining (so much for the short post - I don't do those, though).  Yeppers, I've said that I've had enough of this **** way too many times to count (I've been on this forum for a year so this song with my tiny violin has been played too many times), but I know that I can't keep on doing this to myself ANYMORE.  I was thinking the other day (because of my clearer head) about the time my Mom took me to a wonderful little cafe when we lived in NC - it was all cherry wood inside and made THE BEST hamburgers and milkshakes.  I was only 10, but I remember it well.  I had lots of good childhood memories, but I just had such a joy inside of me - that pureness of heart that only comes from an un-altered state, and of course being a kid - but I did get those joys without these pills, and all too soon you forget what life's about when you take them.  I'm looking forward to reading a book, traveling, putting that money away for my kids that I formerly spent for drugs.  I know there's a long road ahead, but I'm taking it day by day, hour by hour if I have to.  I have no choice at this point.  I've already cut my benzo dosage in more than half, and am on a small amount of bup.  I'm not going through this again.  I just wanted to thank ALL of you guys (you know who you are - there are so many that I've talked with who are incredibly special people) who have been so instrumental in helping me.  It's not an overnight occurrance that you can combat, it may sometimes take YEARS (2 years in my case - this is TAKING those pills, not coming off of them), but this volleyball game is ending NOW.  I know my posts lately have been so self-involved, and I apologize for that, I just don't know quite what to say to others when I'm going through what I've been through these last 2 weeks.  

My mom has also just been diagnosed with possible colon cancer after having a stroke, which my Mom-in-Law just passed from last year about this time (colon cancer), so it's been really rough, although I know some of you are going through very hard times yourselves as well.  But there are so many positives when you feel like you're giving yourself and your family the best 'YOU' you can give them - can't change the current path, only can change how you react to it.  That's my goal now.  Take care, all. (my apologies for taking up too much bandwidth)
Avatar universal
Kia ora, I just found this forum tonight. I'm on about day three of w/d and feeling damned low and alone in the world.I'm addicted to Morphine, Heroin and Methadone. My problem is that i am a secretive addict, so the only people who know i am using are my drug buddies.  I have a new partner of about 6 weeks.I injected in front of him on our first date because i thought it was better to be straight up and then he could leave then and there if he wanted. I must say he wasn't very comfortable with it, but for some reason he stuck around! He has no idea that i'm in w/d because he thought that i had cleaned up . i did, for about ten days, then stupidly turned back and went in for more.  He has no understanding of opiate addiction, thinking that when i cleaned up about 5 weeks ago, that i was cured or something. He didn't even acknowledge the hugeness of this for me. (I managed to clean up for about 6 weeks last year, but then as soon as i had just one taste, it was all back on.) So anyway, as is expected,all the emotional stuff i had been supressing for the last ten years began to rear it's ugly head again once i was clean. I couldn't deal with it alone and so one night after ringing up Drug and alcohol counsellors begging for help,("sorry we might be able to see you next week. We'll give you a call") i decided just to get wasted instead of face my emotions.Since then,i have been using nearly everyday. I hate that i am not being honest with my man, but he said in the beginning that he wasn't going to stick around if i was using. Originally he was a great reason for me to give it all up, but it wasn't as easy as that.( if only!) My last boyfriend left me and stated that my 'insincere and half hearted voicing of wanting to give up' was painful to watch. that made me feel like a right idiot. I don't want to lose another partner due to my addiction, but i am coming to realise that i can't do this on my own, I need fellow addicts to talk to. My privacy about being an addict, " a dirty junkie" is a big deal to me. NZ is a small place and i have a career to protect, so i am glad i found you guys. NA is not an option for me. Neither is residential treatment, slthough i sometimes wish i could go there. I'm really struggling here.  i live in shame and fear of being found out. Sometimes i envy my other friends who can outwardly admit " I'm a jumkie!" Cos they are then able to access more support than i can. I suffer in silence and feel like one big fraud most of the time because of it. I also am quite a spiritual person, and am having this problem with karma too. I have it in my head that if i use then nothing will go right, and if i don't use, then it will all get better. One of the resons i relapsed last year is that life just DIDN'T get better by not using. In fact. it was harder. Obviously this way of thinking isn't right is it! oh well, that's all i have to say.
Avatar universal
Just don't talk to me when I have PMS! LOL KimH
Avatar universal
just like when we plant somthing it takes a season to grow.
a season is 3 months.
so when we say we reap what we sow, we have to be realistic
about how long it takes for things to come to frutation.
as addicts we are addicted to instant gratification.
we want thing s to happen yestersday.
things take time , patients is a virture.
patients is faith.
recaprocity -we reap what we sow is a principle,
if you plant corn you get corn, if you plant goodness you get goodness.
this topic started about derpression, something we all have
experence with, we learn not to pay to much attention to our feelings, because as addicts they always in the end tell us to kill our selves.
when we put down the drugs it takes months before we get past
depression, in the 1st few weeks it can be severe.
things like l-tyrosine help a lot, along with 5htp.
and some of us need meds like prosac or paxil.

as we stay clean things do get better, we just have to
folllow those who have gone before us and let them be our example.

peace!!!!!hippy
Avatar universal
Maybe if you are struggling with your addiction now would be the time to take it slow with a relationship.  You should be really selfish right now and not be concerned about what others think.  If you are serious about wanting to quit then do what it is going to take.  Honesty is always the best policy and and deserve someone who accepts you for who you are.  If you lie and cover up then it is you that loses in the end.  Six weeks is not a long time and I really think that taking it slow and more importantly taking care of yourself and being honest is most important.  Do not sell yourself short, and sell yourself out.  Goodluck!  Pammy
Avatar universal
Hello!Most of you probally don't remember me but I've posted a few times.This time is different.Ok,I have been addicted to oxy's for 2 years now and I've tried desperatly to get off but never had much success.About 3 weeks ago I started getting the strangest feeling,like something was about to change.So me and my husband went to see an addictionologist and told him everything.He gave us clonidine and phenobarbital.I was like comatose that day, after I took this,I have a 5 year old to take care of so needless to say I could'nt cont' this.So back on pills I went (200-250mgs.aday)Then june 13 my world fell apart.My mother found out EVERYTHING!(I'M ONLY 22)She came over to my house took my daughter and refused to give her back untill I could pass a drug test.I was screwed!!So,I decided it was time to quit so I bought 3 and a half methadone wafers and took 1 every 24 hrs and I had no wd's and now it's been 5 days clean from everything but I feel so down.I don't know how to act.I feel like I'm learning to live all over agian.How do I get through this?I feel like I don't have anything to look forward to.I'm bored.Any advice or just someone to talk to would be great.My email address is ***@**** so long-Tobie
Avatar universal
My advice although I am still on meds hang on it gets better.  Find some outpatient group for support, and maybe see a doc about a depression med.  Also Make yourself exercise and do stuff.  You are in the time when the depression is bad and you starting to think why did I get clean so that I can be depressed all of the time? In no time you will be better but really it takes as long as it takes.  Sounds like your mother in a harsh way really showed you how much she loves and cares about you and your family by giving out some tough love.  I bet it was a hard thing for her to do but she did it because she loves you.  Best of luck to you and I hope it all comes out ok.  I think if you stay the course it will!  Peace Pammy
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