Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My life as an opiate addict

Yes, I said it. I'm an opiate addict. Just how did I get to this place in my life? I grew up in a good family. There was physical abuse from a step father, but he didn't last that long. I have a mom that to this day is wonderful to me, she's a guide, a mentor, and a friend. I have siblings that are close with me, I am in a wonderful relationship. Just what in my life would cause me to want to go down the long, dark, and ultimately deadly road of opiate addiction?
The truth is, I don't want that, and never did. Let's get this out there early on. I have never put a needle in my arm and used heroin or anyother opiate illegally. For some reason or another, through many injuries, some of them pretty damned serious, my body has become addicted to opiates. Without them in my system, I am in more agony than a non-addicted person could possibly imagine. The physical consequences to my injuries has left me in alot of pain, and without some sort of chemical interruption in the pain cycle, the pain in my back, my knees, and my hips would be so great that I would be incapable of living life.
For 20 years now, I have been off and on with opiates. It started out with a pretty bad backache. The doctor perscribed vicodin for it. Over the years, with injuries, trips to the ER, surgeries, and pretty scattered medical care, I have graduated to Methadone. Talk about a scary thing let me tell ya. At the height of my addiction, I was taking Methadone, Delaudid, and large amounts of muscle relaxers. I am now down to just the methadone, and down to 5mgs every 8 hours like clockwork.
What happens if I take my meds late? What if that clock I was just writing about is off? What happens to me then? Well, if I am late for my methadone by even a half hour, I am doubled over in agony, vomiting, crying, with full body convulsions that I can't stop. This will last until I get some Methadone in my system, then within 45 minutes, I start to come out of it. I have had withdrawl symptoms that were so bad and painful that I sincerely wished at that time that I were dead. I have a hard time keeping food down now, so getting enough calories to fuel all of this is becoming quite an issue. I feel sometimes as if my body is so tired, so exhausted from this fight, that it is in danger of failing altogether.
The longest I have gone in the past couple of months without opiates in my system has been 2 days. I was so tired of all of it that I got it in my head that I was just going to quit them. How bad can it be right? A 5 mg tab of Methadone is about the size of a chewable aspirin. How can a little tiny pill like that be so tough to get off of, right? Wrong folks. By the time Amber found me a doctor that would actually help me, I was in danger of being hospitalized. I was soaking through shirts within minutes, you could wring my clothes out. My body was locked into a permanent spasm, I could not even get my arms to relax enough to be able to grasp onto a water bottle. And my blood sugar had become dangerously low at that point because I could not keep food in my stomach.
Through all of this, I have tried for days unsuccessfully to get into a detox clinic, where I could have medical supervision while I get through this. Needless to say, every door slammed right in my face, which I find reall odd, considering that was what they are supposed to do, and yet everyday, assuming I could get them on the phone to talk to me, I was told to call back the next day.
Prior to the Methadone, when I would go through a period of opiate use due to the pain issues, I would have some minor withdrawl symptoms, then I was fine. With the Methadone, I am simply in hell. It is by far the worst I have ever had it.
Our society has become so enamored of drugs that things like this is ok with people. It certainly is not ok with me. The one and only drug that I have used with success in all areas, from the ability to keep the pain at bay, to being able to function, to being able to eat food, to being able to be awake, that has not treated me in such a rough fashion has been the medical use of cannabis. Yet according to the government, cannabis has no medical value whatsoever. And yet, cannabis keeps the pain at bay for me, lifts my mood because the chronic pain makes me rather depressed at times, allows me to have a life with my family and loved ones, has been the medicine that works for me, gives me the ability to function in society,rather than being a drain on it. And yet the Federal goverment, specifically the DEA and the ONDCP have said that by using cannabis I am a criminal subject to imprisonment, and the stigma of being a drug abuser. But they have no problem whatsoever with seeing me stupified and non functional on high doses of very powerful opiates.
Tonight, Amber and Lici came home and immediately had to drop everything and help me. I had spent the entire day in severe withdrawl. Even with taking the meds on time, I could not stop spasming, convulsing, crying, and I had soaked completely through the clothes I had worn all day. Amber literally had to put a cannbis pipe to my lips and light it for me to get things to settle down. The doctors gave me a massive cocktail of drugs to assist with the withdrawl, but they also have pretty sever side effects that make it very hard to justify taking most of them. The Cannabis is doing for me what it takes 8 other medications to do for me, with not one single side effect the other drugs give me. The only thing it does to me that I'm slightly ashamed of is that it really gives me the munchies. But seeing as my preferred munchies are chopped raw veggies, fruit and light proteins, I guess I can live with that.

What's in my future? I haven't got a clue. But today I stuck with my recovery plan, giving me a chance at tomorrow. At least, with the help of Amber and Lici, I have a hope for tomorrow.
I am unsure as to how long I will be able to stay in recovery this time around, but that's not what matters to me. Just having the Hope that there is going to come a day that opiates are no longer ruling my life, that I am free of my chains.
Yes I'm an addict, but do I not deserve the very same freedoms and liberties that other people enjoy? My life is precious to me, even as sick as I am. It is also precious to my loved ones, they don't want to see me dead or locked up in prison.
I have been spending alot of time since the surgery researching the real story of our completely and totally failed "War on Drugs". The human rights abuses perpetrated by law enforcement and government are staggering. So many dead, so many families broken up, so many people incarcerated, so many victims, so much money spent on all of this, when it could instead be used to help people like me, who are wanting to beng recovering from my addiction, get into a rehabilitation center. That is an entirely different topic though, and one I will most certainly be sharing my views on as well.
The medical community, Big pharma, Big insurance, and Big brother may have helped to create an addict, but this addict is reclaiming his liberty, and hopes that the rest of this world will wake up one day and demand an end to the tyranny and abuses perpetrated on the sick and dying.

Choose Liberty in all aspects of your life, for once you choose to give up those liberties, even just one, the road to oppression is a short one indeed.

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