When I realized I was Addicted to Prescription Painkillers

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By Steven M.

My name is Steven, for 13 years I abused prescription painkillers, and I recently started my path into sobriety. I was not one of those pill junkies that lived on the streets — or from couch to couch — and would steal to afford my habit; on the contrary, I had a telesales job and made a very good living. The job kept me in enough money to afford the pills, and the pills got me through the workday, transforming me into — what I thought was — a sales machine. The truth of that is, I was naturally a sales machine, the pills were actually hampering me from becoming better at my job.

I think that the first time I really notice how bad the painkiller use had gotten, was during a trip to New Jersey to see family during Christmas. I brought a prescription bottle of pills on the pain with me, to make sure I had enough to get through the flight, and another two bottles in the belly of the plane, in my suitcase — I thought. No my luggage was not in the plane, in-fact it was on its way to Vienna, Austria due to a mix-up. I did not know any of this, and ended up chewing up the pills on the airplane like they were candy, leaving only two left in the bottle when we landed.

The withdrawals came immediately upon hearing that my baggage had been lost, and that I was without any pills to get me through the rest of the trip. My mind recoiled in horror as I began to sweat and worry. This extra anxiety only made the withdrawals worse, and within 24 hours the withdrawals were almost unbearable. I was now in a house filled with family — who had no idea I even used drugs — and was going through withdrawals of a long-addicted drug addict. There was no hiding it, so I confessed to my family, and then begged them to find me Vicodin, or anything in the medicine cabinets. They didn’t give me pills, but instead got in-touch with an addiction specialist and got to planning on how to get me into rehab.

After detox, I was placed into intensive outpatient treatment to continue to learn how to keep away from the pills and hold a sober life, when I returned back to the West Coast, my job, and my life. I still go to prescription drug counseling twice per week, and am constantly working on becoming a better person, but the entire process started with a lost bag, family that cared for me, and an intensive outpatient treatment plan that was able to treat me during my Christmas visit to the East Coast.

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