What I want you to know: I'm a normal mom struggling with an addiction to pain pills

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by anonymous reader.
that's what she said new



What I want you to know is that I have been addicted to narcotic pain medication for over four years.

I work full-time as an investment professional, I am married, a Christian, and have two young children. I have had several back surgeries and have struggled with pain for over six years. Many years ago I was prescribed vicodin when I was first injured. It helped some.

When I was pregnant with my second, the pain came back with a vengeance (this is after first surgery and one pain-free pregnancy). I was prescribed Vicodin by my OB near the end of my second pregnancy because the pain was unbearable and I felt I had no choice but to take it.

Once the baby was born it got worse and I was prescribed Percoset, four times per day. To be honest, not only did it help with the pain, but it felt awesome and just made it easier to deal with life and stress.
 
The problem was I quickly built up a tolerance. At the worst point I was taking 5-8 Percoset per day in addition to 4-6 Norco (like Vicodin, but stronger), and at least 3-5 muscle relaxers. If I didn't have the pills, I would start going into withdrawal.

I stole drugs from family many times when they had old, forgotten prescriptions.

I had to go to the doctor each month to get my refills. I would always schedule my appointments about three weeks apart because she never paid attention to the dates and the pharmacies will fill it up to ten days early. So I was getting a month worth of pills every three weeks which allowed me to take more than the number prescribed per day.

Sometimes I lied to my doctor saying I had lost the pill bottle, or I'd take a new prescription to a different pharmacy where I'd say I didn't have insurance and pay several hundred dollars for more pills. The doctor and pharmacists trusted me because I look "normal" and came in wearing my suit on the way to work.
 
This went on for years.

No one knew how serious this was. It was consuming my thoughts all the time: when could I take my next pill? Which ones should I take? How many can I get away with taking? I was deathly afraid of going into withdrawal. The crazy part that I think about now is that why would I take more than prescribed, knowing I would run out early and have to steal or get them somehow!?!? It was not rational, but my body "needed" them so badly that I just did it anyway.

This went on from 2008-2012. All along I was totally functioning and trying other solutions to get rid of the pain and stop this cycle. I went to the Mayo Clinic for another opinion, did massage, acupuncture, injections at pain clinics, met with surgeons, and pretty much everything you could think of.

It finally got to a point where I knew I needed help. I couldn't come up with any more lies to get more pills. I had no one to steal them from. I was forgetting things because I was basically "high" all. the. time.

I think my husband had a little clue, but he knew I was in pain and like a lot of men, just didn't want to deal with it. Finally one night we were out at dinner at our country club and I said, "I need to talk to you." I confessed that I needed help, that I was taking around 15-20 pills per day, and I  just didn't know what to do. I didn't want to ruin my reputation or career or anything else.

He was devastated and angry--more at the doctor for prescribing it all to me--and me for not being stronger or having the will power to stop. I ended up finding a doctor who prescribed Suboxone. It's controversial, but people use it to get off heroin and other drugs. It helps with the withdrawals and craving. You have to let your body go into full withdrawal and then take it.

Talk about miserable!! I didn't sleep for 24 hours and was a crazy mess with chills and fever. I felt horrible. Once I took the Suboxone, the withdrawals stopped. It was the best thing I ever did and I wish I would have known about it sooner because it was a "quick fix."  I stopped taking all pain meds immediately. I stayed on it until I ended up having a second surgery in 2012. I was back on narcotics for a short period, but then was okay not taking them.

What I want you to know is that I don't think I'm a drug addict, but I know I can't control myself when it comes to the meds (so maybe I am). I really struggle with pain, and then depression because of the pain, and it's a horrible cycle to be in.

I'm in my thirties, active at church, successful career, on other leadership things, and no one knew (or said anything) about my addiction. It has affected my life in that I am scared that if I had the opportunity to get pills I would take them in a heartbeat. I don't want to go down this road again. I forgot a lot of things over the past four years and it's sad because I have young kids and want to remember them growing up!

I look like a normal stressed out mom. I wish I could talk to friends or family about it, but I feel like it's this deep dark secret - and that it makes me weak and a bad mom. People think I have the perfect life: a great hubby, two healthy kids, a wonderful career, a beautiful home, nanny, vacations, country club, all that. I am blessed, but I hold this secret about my struggle with pain pills.

I am still a work in progress. I still take muscle relaxers and too many of them. I am working on it. I desperately want a daughter and would like to adopt internationally. My greatest fear is that with my medical past it won't be an option because I've screwed it up. I've called a few adoption agencies and they said I need to be done with the muscle relaxers and anti-depressants and I'm just not there yet.

I know this is a nationwide problem and it's not just the drug addicts like you see on Intervention. It could be the totally normal looking mommy next door--like me. 



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