About fifteen years ago I started having back problems. I kept hoping that it would go away but it just kept getting worse. Finally, after suffering sleepless nights and long days I went to the doctor. After trying several different treatments and nothing helping I resigned myself to the fact that prescription pain meds were going to be part of my life forever.
The problem began, as it typically does, when I realized that when I took my meds my brain “shut off”. By that I mean that for the first time in my entire life I knew what it felt like when people said they were “relaxing”.
I spent the next 12 years taking the meds my doctor prescribed and buying more when I ran out. The problem is that the first time that you start taking your meds for any reason other than why they were prescribed you have a problem, you just don’t admit it. I started taking them when I was mad or sad or happy or celebrating. It seemed as if I could no longer do the activities that I once enjoyed without being high.
It also became impossible to work unless I had pills. So, if I didn’t have any I would call in sick to begin the often relentless task of looking for drugs. The inevitable would eventually occur, I’d get fired or I would quit. When I would finally realize that I needed to go back to work for whatever reason, often times after not working for a year or two, I wouldn’t be able to get a job making what I had made before or that there weren’t any places that would hire me in my degree field because of lack of experience. My husband and I started having trouble paying our bills, even though we were both working full-time. It’s hard to pay the house payment and utilities and buy copious amounts of drugs. We eventually lost our house.
Road to Recovery - August 2016
Preventing and Addressing Opioid Misuse and Abuse: Our Nation’s Challenge
Earlier this summer, Overdose Lifeline was invited to participate in the filming of an episode of The Road to Recovery television show from SAMHSA. This show highlights recent trends in prescription opioid misuse and heroin use; opioid use disorders; and emergency department visits, overdose, and treatment episodes related to prescription opioids and heroin.