Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet, only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.
On the day after Christmas of 2007, I got out of bed after a night of no sleep and looked in the mirror briefly. I had to turn away from the person I saw looking back at me. She bore no resemblance to the intelligent, caring, loving somewhat shy, fun-loving, full of plans and dreams woman that I recall.
The creature looking at me this morning was afraid, ashamed, embarrassed, frightened, sick, pitiful and at the end of her rope. The time had come for these two creatures to face off and for one to emerge the victor while the other be allowed to pass quietly from existence.
Dishonesty can rob a person of any dignity they had and eliminate
any respect from others. I had spent the last decade living under a cloud of suspicion, although most pretended they trusted me implicitly, I could see how they would lock a bedroom door or move their purse when I came in the door.
They would excuse themselves as soon as we arrived, I am sure they put their cash and prescriptions out of sight if not under the lock and key. You see, I am an addict. I fell in love with narcotic pain medications.
They took hold of me and ruled my every waking minute, my every breath and every thought of every day. They held me hostage in a prison created of fear. The bars and doors were securely locked with the promise of misery that would await me if I ventured out of their reach for more than six to eight hours.
My punishment would begin with anxiety that built upon itself, progress to crying, inability to breathe accompained by diarrhea, runny nose, nausea, bouncing legs and insomia. The fevered pitch would be reached twenty-fours hours after my last dose. It is then I would begin writing suicide notes and contemplating how I would kill myself and where, so my little girls wouldn't have to find their mommy dead.
Are you shocked yet? I am, even as I write this. I am shocked and saddened to my very core. You see, I allowed a medication to take over my brain and it took over my entire life, giving me absolutely no choices, at least it had me convinced there was no way out.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." The teacher did appear via a new treatment made available using a new medication, called Suboxone. I was totally ready to give it a try. I took my last dose of Oxycontin and arrived the following morning, February 15, 2008 to begin treatment.
I did learn I had a disease, thus addiction is not a "too much, too often, withdrawal" disease; it's an "I can't stop using without help
disease." In other words, one cannot diagnose addiction by looking at the amount and frequency of drug use, or whether tolerance or withdrawal has occurred. Professional assessment of the individual by qualified diagnosticians is necessary for accurate diagnosis.
"Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiologic disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors...It is characterized by behavior that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving."
They continued to share with me that current science shows that many long-term opiate addicts experience permanent changes in their brain chemistry as a result of abusing these drugs, or even had deficient endorphin production from an early age which may have contributed to their drug use in the first place.
The new medication I would be taking daily, along with one-to-one counseling, would stabilize my brain chemistry, enabling me to feel normal and to focus on other things, therefore, eventually returning me to a normal life. The new program has unlocked the prison which housed me for such a long time, and it has released me to enjoy life and love again.
What about you? Are you ready to give it a try?
Dayna Black March 2008
Editor: Deborah Shrira Date: September 2008