The slippery slope to pain pill addiction

Pain pills are seductive; they feel so good, and because they’re prescribed…you feel justified to use and abuse. In rehab I learned that my story is depressingly common, and millions of people are hooked on a medication that is supposed to ease pain, not cause more.

If you’re an addict, and you’ve never abused pills, then you are certainly in the minority. A drug is a drug is a drug, and legal, clean and relatively cheap doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals can be an easy path to the high we all crave.

I’ve always been mostly a drinker, and through a lot of pain and suffering, plus a lot of help from my sponsor, I eventually got into recovery and had been sober for more than 3 years…until I discovered pain pills. I got injured on the job, and was prescribed tramadol and then later vicodin for the pain in my back. The combination of too much time at home, and legitimate pain pill needs led me quickly back to drug abuse.

I never intended to abuse the medications, and in retrospect, I should have informed my doctor of my history of abuse and asked for less addictive medications, but I didn’t…and for a while I had a whole lot of fun! I started taking only the recommended dosage, and it made me feel better, and it became increasingly easy to justify taking a bit extra and a bit more often, after all, I did have a legitimate need for the pills! That self delusion ended quickly, and after a couple of weeks I knew I was using far more to get high that for symptoms relief, but I just didn’t care…those pills felt too good. I didn’t need to hide my usage either, and family members never knew how much I was using, and never suspected a problem like I had had with drinking.

The problem began with my doctor, and after about 6 months, he became increasingly reluctant to continue prescribing the pills in the quantity I needed. He began prescribing gradually lesser amounts of the pills in an effort to taper down my usage, while what I really needed was ever greater amounts just to feed my increasing physical and psychological dependency. What began as a relatively guilt free, and rationalizable bit of fun, started to feel a whole lot more like a problem when I started to visit doctor after doctor, trying to get more pills; and enduring their sometimes incredulous expressions of disbelief as they prescribed small doses of medications.

I really started to feel like the junky I had become and it wasn’t fun anymore. The pills were never as pleasurable as they were in the beginning, and as my usage continued, my family started to grow increasingly concerned about my odd behaviors, and my seemingly never ending period of recuperation. I hated lying to doctors and knowing they didn’t believe me, and I hated that constant worry and stress about getting my needed supply. I tried to quit on my own, but the withdrawal was too tough, and I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually told my wife, who by this point was getting very concerned and suspicious, and she kicked my but right back into treatment, like I knew she would. Detox was rough, but I made it, and the classes and therapy helped my get my head back on straight. I thought I had beaten my battle with addiction, and had stopped going to meetings as a result, but I now realize that I need to be vigilant for life, or I’ll be back down where I started, an addict again.

The moral of the story is to be very cautious of pain pills, especially if you have any history of addiction. They feel too good, and it’s too easy to rationalize your usage. They take the pain away, but the pain they cause is worse than the initial problem ever was.

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Pain pills are seductive; they feel so good, and because they’re prescribed…you feel justified to use and abuse. In rehab I learned that my story is depressingly common, and millions of people are hooked on a medication that is supposed to ease pain, not cause more.

If you’re an addict, and you’ve never abused pills, then you are certainly in the minority. A drug is a drug is a drug, and legal, clean and relatively cheap doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals can be an easy path to the high we all crave.

I’ve always been mostly a drinker, and through a lot of pain and suffering, plus a lot of help from my sponsor, I eventually got into recovery and had been sober for more than 3 years…until I discovered pain pills. I got injured on the job, and was prescribed tramadol and then later vicodin for the pain in my back. The combination of too much time at home, and legitimate pain pill needs led me quickly back to drug abuse.

I never intended to abuse the medications, and in retrospect, I should have informed my doctor of my history of abuse and asked for less addictive medications, but I didn’t…and for a while I had a whole lot of fun! I started taking only the recommended dosage, and it made me feel better, and it became increasingly easy to justify taking a bit extra and a bit more often, after all, I did have a legitimate need for the pills! That self delusion ended quickly, and after a couple of weeks I knew I was using far more to get high that for symptoms relief, but I just didn’t care…those pills felt too good. I didn’t need to hide my usage either, and family members never knew how much I was using, and never suspected a problem like I had had with drinking.

The problem began with my doctor, and after about 6 months, he became increasingly reluctant to continue prescribing the pills in the quantity I needed. He began prescribing gradually lesser amounts of the pills in an effort to taper down my usage, while what I really needed was ever greater amounts just to feed my increasing physical and psychological dependency. What began as a relatively guilt free, and rationalizable bit of fun, started to feel a whole lot more like a problem when I started to visit doctor after doctor, trying to get more pills; and enduring their sometimes incredulous expressions of disbelief as they prescribed small doses of medications.

I really started to feel like the junky I had become and it wasn’t fun anymore. The pills were never as pleasurable as they were in the beginning, and as my usage continued, my family started to grow increasingly concerned about my odd behaviors, and my seemingly never ending period of recuperation. I hated lying to doctors and knowing they didn’t believe me, and I hated that constant worry and stress about getting my needed supply. I tried to quit on my own, but the withdrawal was too tough, and I just couldn’t do it.

I eventually told my wife, who by this point was getting very concerned and suspicious, and she kicked my but right back into treatment, like I knew she would. Detox was rough, but I made it, and the classes and therapy helped my get my head back on straight. I thought I had beaten my battle with addiction, and had stopped going to meetings as a result, but I now realize that I need to be vigilant for life, or I’ll be back down where I started, an addict again.

The moral of the story is to be very cautious of pain pills, especially if you have any history of addiction. They feel too good, and it’s too easy to rationalize your usage. They take the pain away, but the pain they cause is worse than the initial problem ever was.

1 thought on “The slippery slope to pain pill addiction”

  1. I WAS ADDICTED TO PAIN PILLS FOR YEARS AND THEY NEARLY DESTROYED MY FAMILY, MARRIAGE, ETC. I WENT TO JAIL, LOST MY JOB, AND HATED MYSELF! IT’S A BATTLE THAT NEVER ENDS SO IF YOU THINK YOUR’VE GOT IT WHIPPED , BE CAREFUL!!! I BECAME ADDICTED AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT WHERE I WAS GIVEN TONS OF PAIN PILLS OVER A COUPLE OF YEARS. I WAS TAKING HUGE AMMOUNTS AND NEEDING MORE AND MORE. THE DOCTORS CUT ME OFF AND I WAS FORCED TO LOOK IN MY FRIENDS & FAMILIES MEDICINE CABINITS FOR PILLS. BAD IDEA!!!!! IF YOU THINK YOU ARE ADDICTED TO PILLS THEN YOU ARE!! IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM, YOU DO. TAKE THAT BIG STEP AND FACE IT SO YOU CAN BEAT IT!! IF I CAN DO IT ANYONE CAN!
    I JUST HAD 12 TEETH EXTRACTED AND BONE IMPLANTS PLACED LAST FRIDAY. I TOLD THE SURGEON THAT I DID NOT WANT ANYTHING STRONGER THAT MOTRIN 800.
    HECK YEA I HURT BUT NOTHING LIKE I WOULD BE HURTING IF I HAD TAKEN THE VICODEN AND PERCOCET HE WROTE ME. THE SCRIPTS ARE LAYING ON THE KITCHEN TABLE AND I NEED TO THROW THEM AWAY!!! LOOKING AT THEM REMINDS ME HOW LUCKY AND BLESSED I AM NOT TO BE CRAVING ANYMORE! I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT SUBOXONE AND GOD!
    WRITE ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR WANT TO TALK. I JUST QUIT SMOKING MAY 13TH WITH CHANTIX SO I AM FEELING PRETTY PROUD OF MYSELF, BUT GIVING THE ULTIMATE GLORY TO GOD MY FATHER WHO MADE ALL THIS POSSIBLE!
    I AM 45-55, MARRIED WITH 2 DAUGHTERS, A NEW GRANDMOTHER, A COLLEGE GRAD (WITHOUT A JOB DUE TO A FELONY– STEALING MEDS.) I WENT TO SPENCER RECOVERY CENTER IN LAGUNA BEACH, CA 10/3/2001 FOR 90 DAYS WHICH GAVE ME A GOOD START TOWARD RECOVERY. I WORKED THERE FOR 2 YEARS AFTER MY TREATMENT WHICH WAS GREAT!!! AFTER MOVING BACK HOME, I FOUND AN ADDICTION SPECIALIST WHO PUT ME ON SUBOXONE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. I AM VERY BLESSED TO BE HERE, CONSIDERING MY HORRIBLE 5 YEAR ADDICTION OF 40++ VICODEN A DAY.. AND YES, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, MY LIVER IS FINE!
    I DO VOLUNTEER WORK AT A CHURCH 1 DAY A WEEK AND BABYSIT MY GRAND DAUGHTER THE REST OF THE TIME. SHE IS 3 WEEKS OLD AND PURE JOY!!! I WOULD LOVE TO WORK AT ANOTHER REHAB BUT THERE IS NOT ONE ANYWHERE NEAR ME. ;(
    I BELIEVE IN NA AND AA BUT DONT GO TO MEETINGS ANYMORE, EXCEPT THE ONLINE ONES WHICH ARE REALLY GOOD!
    I DONT REFER TO MYSELF AS AN ADDICT ANYMORE BECAUSE I DONT BELIEVE IN GIVING YOURSELF THAT NEGATIVE IDENITY!!!
    THE BEST REHABS I HAVE FOUND ARE THE TEEN CHALLENGE FAITH BASED CENTERS. MY OLDEST DAUGHTER WENT THERE FOR A METH ADDICTION. IF YOU HAVE ANY TYPE OF STRUGGLE THEY CAN AND WILL HELP YOU… BUT YOU HAVE TO WANT IT!!!! THAT’S MY STORY I HOPE IT HELPS SOMEONE. I WILL ANSWER EMAILS BUT BE PATIENT!!!

    IM LEARNING TO FLY!!! BUT I AINT GOT WINGS, COMING DOWN, IS THE HARDEST THING…..HOPE 😉

    Like

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