reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their
personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the
unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to
this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by anonymous reader.
work full-time as an investment professional, I am married, a Christian, and
have two young children. I have had several back surgeries and have
struggled with pain for over six years. Many years ago I was prescribed vicodin when I was first injured. It helped some.
When I was
pregnant with my second, the pain came back with a vengeance (this is
after first surgery and one pain-free pregnancy). I was prescribed
Vicodin by my OB near the end of my second pregnancy because the pain was
unbearable and I felt I had no choice but to take it.
Once the baby was born it got
worse and I was prescribed Percoset, four times per day. To be honest,
not only did it help with the pain, but it felt awesome and just made it
easier to deal with life and stress.
The problem was I quickly built up
a tolerance. At the worst point I was taking 5-8 Percoset per day in
addition to 4-6 Norco (like Vicodin, but stronger), and at least 3-5
muscle relaxers. If I didn’t have the pills, I would start going into
I stole drugs from family many times when they had old, forgotten prescriptions.
I had to go to the doctor
each month to get my refills. I would always schedule my appointments about three
weeks apart because she never paid attention to the dates and the pharmacies
will fill it up to ten days early. So I was getting a month worth of
pills every three weeks which allowed me to take more than the number
prescribed per day.
Sometimes I lied to my doctor saying I had lost the pill bottle, or I’d take a
new prescription to a different pharmacy where I’d say I didn’t have insurance
and pay several hundred dollars for more pills. The doctor and pharmacists trusted me because I
look “normal” and came in wearing my suit on the way to work.
This went on for years.
No one knew how serious this
was. It was consuming my thoughts all the time: when could I take my
next pill? Which ones should I take? How many can I get away with
taking? I was deathly afraid of going into withdrawal. The crazy
part that I think about now is that why would I take more than
prescribed, knowing I would run out early and have to steal or get them
somehow!?!? It was not rational, but my body “needed” them so badly that
I just did it anyway.
This went on from 2008-2012. All along I was
totally functioning and trying other solutions to get rid of the pain and stop this cycle. I
went to the Mayo Clinic for another opinion, did massage, acupuncture,
injections at pain clinics, met with surgeons, and pretty much
everything you could think of.
It finally got to a point where I knew I needed help. I
couldn’t come up with any more lies to get more pills. I had no one to
steal them from. I was forgetting things because I was basically “high”
all. the. time.
I think my husband had a little clue, but he knew I was in
pain and like a lot of men, just didn’t want to deal with it. Finally
one night we were out at dinner at our country club and I said, “I need
to talk to you.” I confessed that I needed help, that I was taking around 15-20
pills per day, and I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to ruin
my reputation or career or anything else.
He was devastated and
angry–more at the doctor for prescribing it all to me–and me for not being
stronger or having the will power to stop. I ended up finding a doctor who
prescribed Suboxone. It’s controversial, but people use it to get off
heroin and other drugs. It helps with the withdrawals and craving. You
have to let your body go into full withdrawal and then take it.
about miserable!! I didn’t sleep for 24 hours and was a crazy mess with
chills and fever. I felt horrible. Once I took the Suboxone, the
withdrawals stopped. It was the best thing I ever did and I wish I would
have known about it sooner because it was a “quick fix.” I stopped
taking all pain meds immediately. I stayed on it until I ended up having
a second surgery in 2012. I was back on narcotics for a short period,
but then was okay not taking them.
What I want you to know is that I
don’t think I’m a drug addict, but I know I can’t control myself when it
comes to the meds (so maybe I am). I really struggle with pain,
and then depression because of the pain, and it’s a horrible cycle to be in.
my thirties, active at church, successful career, on other leadership
things, and no one knew (or said anything) about my addiction. It has affected my life in that I am scared that if I had the opportunity to
get pills I would take them in a heartbeat. I don’t want to go down this
road again. I forgot a lot of things over the past four years and it’s sad
because I have young kids and want to remember them growing up!
I look like
a normal stressed out mom. I wish I could talk to friends or family
about it, but I feel like it’s this deep dark secret – and that it makes me weak
and a bad mom. People think I have the perfect life: a great hubby, two
healthy kids, a wonderful career, a beautiful home, nanny, vacations,
country club, all that. I am blessed, but I hold this secret about my
struggle with pain pills.
I am still a work in progress. I still take
muscle relaxers and too many of them. I am working on it. I desperately
want a daughter and would like to adopt internationally. My greatest fear is
that with my medical past it won’t be an option because I’ve screwed it up.
I’ve called a few adoption agencies and they said I need to be done
with the muscle relaxers and anti-depressants and I’m just not there yet.
know this is a nationwide problem and it’s not just the drug addicts
like you see on Intervention. It could be the totally normal looking
mommy next door–like me.