As of Wednesday, June 27th I have been sober from prescription medications for three years.
You see, for most of my life I have abused prescription medications. My addiction began in childhood when my mother gave me and my two brothers doses of her stash of pain pills to keep us quiet. She did that because we were kids, and she didn’t like children. She admitted this much later in her life. She used both prescription medications and alcohol, often together, until at the age of 72 and living in a body ruined by abuse, she died by suicide taking an painkiller overdose.
Please Listen to What I Have to Say!
Let me be abundantly clear from the start of this article, if you are taking any medication in any way other than the way it says on the bottle, you are in grave danger.
Unless you are terminally ill, taking any medication, be it aspirin or Vicodin, it is NEVER okay to take even one more pill than is prescribed.
I know, I know, you will be rationalizing to yourself that you would never become addicted like me. You are cautious and only take one or two more than what the bottle says. After all, you are in pain and the doctor gave them to you, so how can they be even half as dangerous as anyone says?
Here is a fundamental truth about any prescription medication. It is sold in pharmacy’s behind the counter and distributed in brown bottles with warning labels on them for a good reason.
THEY ARE DANGEROUS!
Don’t be fooled, if you take more than are prescribed, YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER!
If I haven’t already shut you down, and I hope like hell you can still hear me, consider how what can seem a harmless bottle of medication given to you by your surgeon can become your worst nightmare.
You see most addicts aren’t like me, they aren’t born with pills in their mouths. They have surgery, such as a dental extraction or are diagnosed with arthritis but can’t take the usual medications for it. They receive a prescription for a medication and take it home hoping it helps. They take one tablet and their brain is pleasantly surprised. The medication creates a sense of euphoria and a feeling that “everything is going to be okay.”
Short-term, there is nothing wrong with this and many people, after a few days, place them in the back of the cabinet in the bathroom and walk away. But for all too many Americans, our brains begin to crave the euphoria and our minds want to feel the “everything is going to be okay” sensation again, so we get the bottle out and pop a pill. Soon our brains begins to require more and more medication to gain the same “everything is going to be okay” effect and we think, “well if one is good, two must be better.”
Thus, begins the slide down the slippery slope into addiction.
Even those who have put the pills away may find themselves facing a psychological trauma, such as the death of a spouse, and think how the pills in the bathroom cabinet that made them feel good. So, even those who think they are strong and can take or leave them continue to be in danger of the trap.
Addiction isn’t somebody else’s problem. It isn’t the problem of our next-door neighbors, rogue politicians or foreign drug cartels. Addiction to prescription medication is a homegrown tragedy that is killing thousands each year.
Think your family is immune? Think again. People who died from prescription medication abuse used to be people in my age range, between 45-70. Now this range includes people from all ages. Prescription medications ruin the lives of doctors, lawyers, nurses, and ordinary folk like you and me. They can kill old, rich, smart and stupid, death by the abuse of these drugs knows no demographic boundaries. It kills old and young alike from young children who accidentally take them or as in my case are fed them by their parents to lonely elderly men and women.
Because of how I have treated my body by abusing prescription medications, it is in horrendous shape. My body has taken almost fifty-eight years of abuse, but it has finally begun to shut down. I have suffered a stroke when I was forty-nine and now I can feel it dying. Even though I have been sober for three years, I don’t expect to live to be seventy, or maybe even sixty-five because of the damage permanent damage that I have done.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
If you have prescription medications in your home, and you find you rare taking them other than prescribed, are get rid of them. Take them to your doctor, local hospital or to the police department so they can be disposed of safely.
DO NOT FLUSH THEM!
Doing so endangers everyone by putting potentially harmful chemicals into our drinking water.
Don’t hesitate, do it now!
Parents, if you have any unused medication in your medicine cabinet get rid of them. Your kid’s lives are at stake. Many people with kids don’t realize that those drugs you have forgotten about are now a dangerous curiosity piece for their children that can lead to tragedy.
Talk to your family, friends and neighbors. Don’t let the elephant in the room destroy more lives because you could be next.
Addiction to prescription medications, while its root cause is in the pharmaceutical companies and their evil need for profit, it must be stopped by us, the everyday people of the United States.
We must all stop being careless and face our problems head-on instead of trying to hide from them. We must all take a good hard look at ourselves in the mirror and after close examination, begin to love ourselves. Yes, that is as hard as it sounds, but oh the power we gain when we overpower our self-hatred and love the wonderful and unique people that we are.
Taking a drug may feel like “everything is going to be okay” for a few hours, but when our brain experiences soberness again the problems we hid from are still there, and are often worse.
By looking hard at ourselves in the mirror and learning to accept who we are, faults and all, is the only way to learn to overcome the adversities. That is something a pill can never, ever do.
What saved me from certain disaster was when I woke up on the dementia wing of our local hospital after abusing the medications I had been given to help me with my physical and emotional problems. The drugs I took were not just pain medication, they were also psychotropic medications given to me to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Let me repeat and make myself perfectly clear,
ANY MEDICATION WHEN NOT USED AS PRESCRIBED ONLY ARE DANGEROUS!
I woke up on that wing and realized I wanted to live and not lose out on life. My mother and many thousands of others did not wake up. They became statistics in one of the greatest tragedies of our age.
Please, don’t become a statistic, embrace your life and live it to the fullest no matter what hand you have been dealt. These are not just hollow words, they have power.
I am a very unwell person in body and spirit. I have lived a life full of emotional turmoil and pain. Some days I want to quit. That is the honest truth. I just want to find some pain medications on the black market, pay whatever price I must, and take them all, ending all my struggles forever.
But how will killing myself help? What does it solve? Nothing.
So, I write blog posts desperately trying to get people to hear me shouting from the silence of my bedroom in the back of our low-income housing apartment.
Yes, I live in poverty. Yes, my life is in shambles. And yes, my body is failing.
But by god I’m not a slave to pills anymore.
I’m free of the need to steal or lie to get them, and I’m free of their influence over my finances and my brain.
I’m a winner! Plain and simple. I’m a victor and nothing can ever take that from me.
I have outlived my abusers, and now I have overcome a national tragedy.
Be a victor not a victim.
Below is a partial list of drugs that are abused in the United States. Don’t allow your addiction to fool you by telling you that because your drug of choice is not listed you are okay. That’s a lie.
Medications used to treat pain: Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Hydromorphone, Meperidine, Methadone, Percocet and Oxycontin
Central nervous system (CNS) depressants to combat Anxiety: Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium (Diazapam) and Ambien.
Stimulants to treat ADHD: Adderall, Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, and Ritalin.
Stimulants often used to lose weight: Dexedrine, Dextrostat, ProCentra), Lisdexamfetamine, Concerta, Daytrana, and Methylin.
Barbiturates: Amobarbital (Amytal), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Phenobarbital (Luminal), and Secobarbital (Seconal).
Medications to Treat Insomnia: Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta.
“Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to make us or break us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.” – Author Unknown