An Unexpected Addiction (or, Why My Dealer Wears A White Coat)

Something rather strange happened to me last week…
With the third back operation that I had in June looking like a huge success and the memory of the chronic and incessant pain I was suffering now just a dusty ghost town in the rear-view mirror of life, it seemed only logical for me to stop taking the pain medication that has regimented and divided my life into six-hourly segments for the past (nearly) five years.

Suddenly and to my horror, I found out that I was a bonafide drug addict.

The withdrawal symptoms I’m feeling have the hallmarks of pretty much all of the effects of stopping long term drug use. Night sweats, nausea and irrational anger. My skin feels too tight for my body and I can honestly hear my eyeballs moving. (It sounds just like a light-saber in my brain which would be terribly cool if it wasn’t so terribly horrible)

So I did a little digging and found out I wasn’t alone. In fact, I wasn’t alone to the tune of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who tried to give up prolonged schedule 5 and 6 medication usage. And, like most of them, I wasn’t properly informed of their addictiveness before-hand and certainly not advised against quitting cold turkey. I didn’t even know they the drugs that I was using qualified the term ‘cold turkey’ because at the time. It never occurred to me to ask questions about what I was pouring down my throat three times a day because I was so desperate for some kind of relief.

But isn’t that true of all drug addictions – prescription or illicit? We’re all just looking for some sort of relief from whatever burden we are finding increasingly difficult to bear. The worst part is that we don’t realise that there is a problem until it’s time to stop taking it. Hell, I didn’t even know that there could be a problem. Trust me, coming to the revelation that you are addicted is a bit of a shock, especially when the drugs you are on are prescribed by a doctor, dispensed by a qualified pharmacist and paid for by medical insurance.

(One does not simply go cold turkey)

(One does not simply go cold turkey)

Just for the record, I’m not against painkillers at all. I do believe that they serve an important part in pain management and, used responsibly and correctly, can enhance your quality of life when you are suffering from chronic pain. What I am against and even angry about is the casual manner in which they are prescribed with seemingly no warnings or concerns about long term usage being raised by anyone.

My advice to you is simple. Ask questions. If your doctor can’t answer, insist that they find out and tell you. It’s important because it’s your body that has to deal with the side effects and no one should feel like I have for the past 10 days. I’m not so sure how much longer these symptoms will last but if there’s one thing that I’m certain of, I will beat this.
Because I am a husband…
Because I am a father…
Because I am not done!

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7 thoughts on “An Unexpected Addiction (or, Why My Dealer Wears A White Coat)

  1. It sucks that nobody told you about what to expect. That just sucks, but on a positive note I am so happy to hear that the surgery was a success. Sending prayers for withdrawals to be over soon so you can function without all the crazy side effects. HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna Miglino says:

    So very proud of you, my friend! This is a hard part of your long battle, but you are so much stronger than any addiction. Family who adores you, and friends who love you dearly will be a great support. Thank you for bravely sharing so others might be informed before becoming trapped.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Margaret says:

        After a shattered knee left me with nerve damage and arthritis, I had improved enough through physical therapy to stop my pain meds…or so I thought. I was far more addicted than I ever believed, to the point where I was prescribed methadone to stop the withdrawal from “cold turkey”. Here I was a successful mother, wife, employee, etc and I was taking a pill that I associated with heroin addicts and degenerates. Gods way of giving me a swift kick in the ass of…you are no better or worse than ANYONE!! It’s been years now, but still not sure how much pain it would take to make me consider taking them again. I thank God every day that I don’t break any bones and need to test that. Positive thoughts to you! Eventually someone will start a support group, much like AA, for those who have a MD as their drug dealer. Much love 💙

        Like

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