How Did My Back Pain Become An Opiate Addiction?
Olivia Pennelle of Liv's Recovery Kitchen discusses the perils of pharmaceutical medicines after developing an opiate addiction as a result of back pain. When I was in the throes of functional alcoholism—despite the fact that I don't believe there is such a thing, because that's an oxymoron!—
Physically, I was in a lot of pain. I had awful skin disorders that had regular trips to the ER, acute asthma that need drugs, and I twisted my back muscles into frequent and agonizing spasms due to my extra 150 pounds. I had no idea that injuring my back would hasten my descent to rock bottom and reveal a full-fledged addiction.I was in utter denial at that point in my addiction.
I just assumed I was depressed and had lost interest in life as a result. All I wanted to do was drink myself to death. I would have happily leapt in and drowned myself if the bottle of wine had fit. But I was so engulfed in my addiction that I didn't understand how horrible things had gotten. Friends and family's warnings and concerns seemed to go unheeded. I was completely deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly deafen.
So when my back hurt, I went to the doctor on autopilot and got a tablet or a fast cure to help me handle it. I didn't want to get to the base of the problem because I didn't want to take care of myself. The doctor informed me that I had torn the muscles in my back and was experiencing spasms as a result of my weight. The doctor prescribed co-codamol (acetaminophen and codeine) in a larger dose than what was available over the counter to help with the pain. I didn't hesitate to go to the drugstore after receiving the prescription.
I found myself with a large bottle of medications and an unquenchable yearning to get away from myself.
There was no way that was going to work out. I had no qualms about taking them. And it was as if I had rediscovered booze; I felt a rush throughout my body, a warm fuzzy feeling, and the environment took on a rose-tinted light. Life seemed to become less of a problem, and my presence in it faded into insignificance—exactly as I desired. I drifted away in a foggy mist of drugs.
Those emotions triggered an all-too-familiar unquenchable desire for more.
So I took a few more. I disobeyed the prohibition on drinking. I was taking the tablets all day before I realized it. I was back at the doctor's office soon after, demanding more. I'd supplement those medicines with over-the-counter alternatives.
I'll never forget a friend visiting my flat and opening the top drawer of my chest of drawers, which appeared to be a pharmacy. His jaw fell, and he gazed at me with eyes that appeared to finally cut through the denial I'd been living in.
But that wasn't enough to get people's attention. While it was sufficient to open my eyes, the unpleasant feelings it evoked just fueled my urge to flee. That's exactly what I did. For at least another couple of years, at the very least.
I started taking those pills with my first (of many) glasses of wine during that time.
The problem was that I'd frequently forget to take them and consume far more than the recommended dosage. That wasn't the worst of it; when I wasn't at work, I was completely cut off from the outside world. And I was eager to get there. I'd basically dash home from work in order to get the tablets and wine into my system as quickly as possible. I couldn't stand being sober, let alone without any form of anaesthetic. Reality was like an electric current running through my skin; it was excruciating.
I'm thankful for the medications in some ways since they hastened my descent to rock bottom.
I performed more insane things, had more serious consequences, and became physically ill to the point that I had to stop. Fortunately, that voyage did not lead to the use of illegal opioids on the street. I'm one of the fortunate ones. My journey brought me to a point of no return, but I was granted the grace to recover. And I'm glad I did. My current lifestyle is a far cry from pill popping and booze guzzling.