It was 11-years ago. After nearly a decade of battling a medically induced prescription drug addiction, I checked myself into rehab.
While I should have checked myself in a year earlier when I failed to wake up one morning and nearly died from an overdose, this day was the day.
I wish I could say it was my desire to get better that drove me to make the decision to quit, but that wouldn’t be the truth. It would be, however, my desire to get better that caused me to do the work and get my life back.
The truth was that I was getting the same prescription from two doctors, and I was confronted and cut-off.
The panic, the fear, the dread. It all set in at one moment. What I knew was this: Without that medication, I couldn’t function.
When my prescriptions would run out, I’d slowly melt into the corner of a room, reduced to barely a human being.
Cold sweats, nausea, non-stop shaking, complete hopelessness, extreme fatigue, inability to process any information, regardless of how mundane. This lasted until the next refill. It was a vicious cycle.
Most people were clueless about my situation. I was running a huge business and raising 3 kids. I functioned at a high level, made a great income, and for the most part was a good person with a strong moral compass in spite of my addiction.
The medication, however, had stripped my ability to “feel” anything much outside of anger, frustration, impatience, and ‘distaste’ for most daily events.
I remember saying to someone once that I didn’t want to go to sleep that night because I would have to wake up the next morning and repeat the same day, over and over.
I realize now that I was burying the pain of a bad marriage, and truly of a business that I didn’t want to own and in multiple roles that I didn’t want to be in.
I was a child of addiction, a wife of addiction, and became a person who suffered from addiction.
Going through the learning process in recovery, I began to heal. I learned coping skills, and how to either accept life as it was or change it. In most cases, I chose to change it.
I had to leave people, places, and things that took me to the darkest corners of my soul. I recognized the triggers and learned how to avoid them.
The day was today, 11-years ago. And I’ve never gone back.
I tell this story every year because someone out there is battling addiction.
While I’m not the one to pull you up and change your life, or give you some great piece of advice, or help you save the addict in your family, I am the one to say, there’s something better if you choose it.
An addict can only choose to get better for themselves. They won’t do it for you, or for her, or for him, or for them.
They must have the desire to improve their own life.
On the other side, life is sweeter, food tastes better, I laugh harder. I have hope, am inspired, and appreciate the small things. I’m filled with gratitude, feel love and joy, and the anger is gone.
No matter how grim it can feel at times, there’s an amazing life to be had, when you choose it.