It was February 2012. And my roommate just evicted me. I had 24 hours to get the fuck out. What was I going to do? There was only one thing. I'd have to beg my sister to let me stay with her. At least until I figured out a more permanent solution. Because I couldn't live with her, in the state I was in, for too long. I could keep up appearances but only for a little while. I mean, she knew what I looked like at my best. And I was anything but that this time around. Like when I first moved to Boca, I stayed with her. But that was when I was functioning. You know —like a functioning addict. It's just now, I was a GOD damn mess. I didn't even recognize myself anymore. I wasn't the happy girl I used to be. I hadn't been in years. My skin, pale. Face, sunken. Eyes, blank. The mere thought of who I had become filled my insides with terror. But no one knew that. I made sure of it. Because whenever I'd get high, which was most of the time, I was on top of the world. I could do anything I wanted. I certainly didn't need anyone either. These drugs became my best friend (my only friend) and my worst enemy. It's confusing, I know. Because if I wasn't fucked up, I couldn't do anything at all. Or, at least that's how it felt. Because once that feeling faded (it always does), I'd feel more alone than ever, which is why I became willing to do just about anything to make sure that didn't happen. And that's how I found myself at rock bottom for the very first time.
Day one. He wanted me to want him. He wanted me to need him. He knew exactly what I wanted and needed a.k.a. a shit ton of pills. So that's exactly what he did. He knew as long as he kept feeding me pills, I'd continue accepting his lies. Except as it turns out, I didn't want to get high anymore. I had too. I didn't want to do those things he made me do but I needed too. And if I was going to do those things I didn't want to do, I needed my pills —and more than a few. So what was it like being barricaded and sexually degraded? Why was I so GOD damn persuaded? Well, here's the rest of rock-bottom number three in hopes, you'll understand why I'm still a little crazy.
I'm sure you know that drive alone can't beat addiction. For a while, I asked myself how do I want to want to stay sober? I knew I needed to but did I want too? Not really. Eventually, though, I did learn to want it bad enough. Looking back, I see it all so clearly —at least today I do. What they say about hindsight really is true. Except, it wasn't always like this. For a while, I let opioids control my entire life. They controlled me until I realized I didn't actually need them. It was a false freedom I mistakenly took for empowerment. I mean, I had this picture in my head of the great things I'd do. So yeah, I had a lot of drive but I had a lot of pressure too. Along the way though, I learned that it all comes down to how badly you want it. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make her drink it. Except, I'm asking you too. I want you to chug. I want you to get more out of life than simply white knuckling you're way to the end. I want you to enjoy this ride we call life —even if drive alone can't beat addiction. So this is where I tell you three ways you can learn to want this thing called recovery bad enough that it'll actually stick.
I had just arrived but if I can be honest, my head was somewhere else. I missed Brad. Day one —time to get "Boca-tized," a catch-phrase my dad invented. He and my sister, Michaela were adamant about me looking the part, now that I was an official resident of South Florida. For some reason, they were always trying to make me into something I wasn't a.k.a. turn me into her. It's like if I wasn't her version of pretty, then I was ugly and a failure. I think they thought if I looked and acted like her, I'd be just as happy as she was. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I remember thinking, why did I assume this would be better than it was? I was a little mad at those two and myself for choosing them over Brad. And so, after a few hours at the salon that my sister made me go too, they said I was ready. Except, I felt anything but that.
We were supposed to wean ourselves off those damn pills. We figured a week in advance was enough time to actually enjoy ourselves down there without being sick. Unfortunately, that never happened. The addict in us kept saying that we'd do it tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll stop —just one more night. Well, tomorrow never came and the night never ended. We were leaving. Uh-oh. How would Becca and I pull off opioid withdrawal in another country, in front of her mother and father (little brother too) who so kindly decided to invite me (and pay for) an all-inclusive family vacation to Aruba? I don't know. The truth is, we wouldn't pull anything off at all. Here's what went down.
I was more stuck than ever but I couldn't let anyone else know how bad off I really was. So I'd put on a mask and pretend I was enjoying the bed I made. Except, I wasn't happy, sane or functional. I was addicted, defensive, and in full savage mode. Things were different. No matter how bad it got in college, I always had Brad. We kept each other in check, but this time, I was all alone, with no one to look out for me but me. And you definitely didn't want this junkie on your side. I mean, I was the girl who robbed you and helped you look for it. I was the girl who used to have it all together. Except now, I had nothing but pill residue everywhere. So how did I afford to keep everything up? Three words: pawn shop madness.
It was the summer of 2010. I was supposed to take a few classes over break but when my financial aid was denied, it initiated a chain of events that forever changed my life. Before I knew it, I was addicted. I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into before it was too late. I was sick if I didn't have them, yet, I didn’t understand what I was doing —that's the problem with painkillers. Sometimes you don't realize how bad it really is until you run out of pills.
I was a hostess at The Office, an $18 gourmet burger joint on Atlantic Ave. in Del Ray Beach, Florida. Not only was the meat fresh in the kitchen, I was fresh meat myself, straight out of rehab, even though I really wanted to get high. I was living in a halfway house that happened to be next door to a dealer. “You good girl?” (referring to drugs). The pills I craved. I didn’t know how much longer I could say no because inside, I said yes, every time. From desperation and manipulation to hopelessness and loneliness, things got worse before they got better. But eventually, they did. They always do. This is what you need to know when relapse mode goes too far.
College graduation is upon me along with my sensible attempts to get the good girl back. Except this chick was severely addicted to opioids. I was literally doing about 31 pills a day. But I thought if I could simply leave, then I could get better. I was living my life through the saying, out of sight, out of mind. So I pack my bags, give my apartment key back to my landlord, and try to start over, again. Destination —sunny Florida. Things started off great but I was about to learn; wherever you go, there you are. And eventually, I find myself addicted all over again. So I'll ask you one more time, who's ready to battle for some sanity? I hope you say yes.
In my last blog post, I discussed how I’m trying to swim through life with multiple mental illnesses but I can’t even float. It feels like I’m sinking with nothing to stop me but me. And so, I pretend everything is okay. And if you're like me, you want to feel normal but maybe you just don't know how. Well, here are three mental health treatment options that can bring you back to the person you were always meant to be.
I never thought this would be me. I never pictured a Jewish American Princess selling pills to support her addiction. But there I was. My once innocent fun becomes too fast, too furious for me to even realize what was happening. Parties and frat boys turn into painkillers and larceny. I was simply trying to feel good. But before I knew what these pills could do, I was already addicted. I recall one night in particular. I remember getting robbed at gunpoint with my drug dealing ex-boyfriend and junkie best friend. We were sitting in my apartment minding our own damn business. But that didn’t matter. Nothing did. And so, we sat in on this lonely summer night —with a knife under the pillow and our stash in the wall.
Just about everyone gets hurt from time to time. When you cut your finger or pull a muscle, pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Once the injury heals, you stop hurting. Sounds simple enough, right? Yes. Except chronic pain is different. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible trauma, chronic pain persists —for months or even longer. If you have chronic pain and depression, well —that burden may grow even heavier. The good news is, these disorders are not inseparable. Here's what you need to know.
Truth, most Americans these days are either trying to get pills, helping someone else get them, in recovery from using too many or worse, dead from overdosing. Don't you think it's about time for a different approach? Why are some doctors so quick to write a refill for oxy while others are too afraid to even take their prescription pad out? Well today, I have some good news. With the rise of opioid-related deaths, new regulations finally say that opiate medication should only be looked at as a last resort when treating non-cancer chronic pain —a loss for “Big Pharma” but a win for pain patients everywhere. Here's what you need to know.
I think I stayed on painkillers for as long as I did because I was afraid of experiencing withdrawal. I think that's why most people stay stuck. Detoxing off opioids was in fact, the hardest thing I ever had to do (and the greatest). I remember counting my stash the night before just to make sure I had enough to not get sick the next day. It really is a vicious cycle. You know you shouldn't but how can you not? So whether you're a loved one of an addict, currently addicted, or in recovery, these seven therapeutic remedies can connect the dots so that you can battle opioid withdrawal and actually win.