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So I made it...

amediocrity

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
Messages
43
Some of you lovely folks might have seen a series of posts I made throughout the course of the last year. So you might be familiar with my story.

For those of you who aren't, here it is...

In early 2015, I was sent to A&E with a severe migraine which left me unable to see in both eyes (unusual as usually it's just the one) and crying out in agony. After hours of waiting, and being seen by three different doctors, a nurse came to tell me they had booked me in for a brain scan. She then pressed two large white tablets into my palm and told me they would stop the pain. I asked what they were, and she told me Co-Codamol.

Well let me tell you, after eleven hours of waiting around, resisting the urge not to bash my head into the wall due to the crippling pain, I was less than impressed. All that waiting just to be prescribed something I could have simply been prescribed by my GP on the spot? (I had originally gone to my GP, and she thought the symptoms were so severe she transferred me to A&E).

I'd never taken Co-Codamol before. I was familiar with its name, but not with its chemistry or its side effects. It just seemed to be a glorified version of paracetamol. But I took the pills, even though the worst of the pain had subsided.

It took another hour to get my release forms, so more waiting. Within half an hour, I suddenly felt very, very happy. The TV show in the waiting room looked more colourful somehow. The hard, plastic chair I was slouched on now embraced me like a warm hug. I was exhausted, but the good kind, the kind you feel when you can barely keep your eyes open when you're wrapped up in bed, comfy and full and eager to dream but you want to enjoy that feeling a moment longer.

I said out loud to my partner and my friend sitting next to me, 'I feel really happy.'

Call me stupid, but I didn't twig it had anything to do with the 2x30/500 Co-Codamol I had just injested. I'd smoked cannabis and drunk more than my fair share of alcohol, and hell, I did a couple of lines of ketamine back in college once, but I was almost completely naive to opiates. I was having my first real opiate high.

The nurse gave me a couple of boxes of the Co-Codamol to take home with me. She told me to take two whenever I felt a migraine coming on.

So the next day, when my vision was a little blurry, I popped a couple of the pills. Half an hour later, right on cue, I felt that warm, happy embrace. I thought to myself, 'maybe it has something to do with these pills?'

I continued taking the Co-Codamol every day (two at bedtime, usually) because by day three I had finally realised that yes, it was obviously the pills that were making me so gloriously happy.

My evenings turned from ordinary to extraordinary. Watching TV with my girlfriend was AMAZING. I would get so excited and invested in the plot, in ways I never had before. I was also super chatty and affectionate. I would constantly be pausing the programme just to tell my girlfriend some dumb thought I had, and then I would go into snuggle mode, which is DEFINITELY not like me. My cold British reserve had melted. This was the new, improved me. Super me.

I began ordering repeats from my GP. At first they gave me the same stuff I had in A&E, but then I got another migraine a few months on, so they decided to put me on codeine phosphate. In its pure form, I found the drug to kick in faster and give a better high.

Of course, by this point I was having to take more and more of the stuff to feel its effects. By the time I realised I had a problem, I was taking around 10x30mg codeine a day. Because I was going through my scripts so quickly, I resorted to buying it in the form of Nurofen Plus and Codeine Linctus over the counter.

So I realised I was probably a bit addicted, and told my GP. Unfortunately for me, it was the worst thing I could have done in a way. He looked at me as if I had personally let him down somehow. He told me he wouldn't prescribe me anymore codeine, scrawled a number for the drugs counselling team on a piece of paper and basically told me 'you're on your own'.

I was so humiliated. I expected a taper plan. Naive of me, I know, but I also read here on Bluelight that some GPs will go ahead with the tapering method.

I tried to go cold turkey. I fessed up to my girlfriend, and I went through a horrible three days of cold turkey in total. Problem was, on the very first day of CT, I had already researched and found Kratom. I told my girlfriend, 'this is the miracle cure, I'll try this!' and she seemed ok with it.

On day three of CT, the Kratom arrived. I took my first dose alone, in the bathroom (I don't know why but I felt it was something I had to keep intimate somehow?) Within twenty minutes I felt this wonderful intoxicating feeling of happiness. Not the same happiness I got from codeine - better, somehow. Downstairs my girlfriend and housemate were drinking beer, so I decided to join them. I noticed instantly that the effects of the Kratom were heightened by the beer. Within forty five minutes I had gone from a sneezing, sweating, anxious mess, to full blown social butterfly.

The plan had been to take the Kratom for a week just to ease withdrawals. So, naturally, I took more and more and continued to do so when the week was up. My girlfriend, meanwhile, thought I had quit everything.

So that was my home life. But at work, I was getting quite seriously bullied. I felt so miserable there, I would come home crying most evenings. So one day, I thought to myself, 'why not bring drink into the mix here, where I most need it?' I had been taking the Kratom every couple of hours from morning to night anyway, but until that point had kept the drinking to the evenings at home. So one lunchtime I walked to the nearest supermarket and bought a small bottle of vodka. I poured a quarter of it into my bottle of Coca Cola, mixed it, and drank it down. For a few months, my lunchtime drinking seemed to make work that bit more bearable. As time went on though, I found I was starting to buy the alcohol on my way home from work, so I could pre mix it with my Coca Cola/Orange juice/lemonade in the mornings before I left for the bus. This led to me starting to drink earlier and earlier in the day. Towards the end, I was sometimes drinking an hour after I had woken up, before I had even left for work.

So I now had two problems: the Kratom and the booze. I knew the booze was a problem because what healthy person would drink vodka in the mornings? I knew Kratom was a problem because if I missed a dose I would get intense withdrawal symptoms very quickly. Feeling scared and alone, I finally told my girlfriend about the kratom. I decided I could stop the drinking alone, but I couldn't hide the WDs from Kratom without raising suspicion. So, after breaking down in tears and confessing, I went CT from the kratom.

Let me tell you, Kratom WD is NO JOKE. I was anxious, shivery, sweaty, achey, had restless legs, felt nauseous, had insomnia and was crying non stop and having panic attacks. I now had a drug counsellor, but I was too ill to go see him. Sweet irony.

After about a week, the WDs eased off a lot. I went back to work. My strength started to come back. Things were slowly improving. But then a month on, I was walking down the street and I passed a chemist. To this day, I still don't know the real reason, (it wasn't like I hadn't passed that chemist before since getting clean and sober) but I went in and bought a 32 pack of nurofen plus. 'It'll be different this time,' I told myself. 'This is just a one off, a treat for getting clean,' I told myself.

I swallowed 10 pills (technically an overdose as it's 12.8 mg codeine and 200 mg ibuprofen, but I knew from experience that the instructions were for pansies, that it would take a lot more than that to kill myself). The buzz wasn't great, but it was something. I didn't even feel guilty. That night I slept better than I had in weeks.

So what happened next? You guessed it. Hello codeine, my old friend!

For four months we were a team. We were killing those bullies at work! We were connecting more with our girlfriend! We were going to more social events! But in the last month of our spree, I had started to get crippling pain in my stomach. I was passing blood in my stools. I was drinking so much Gaviscon I burped spearmint for days.

I asked myself why I was still taking the codeine. I wasn't getting high, only depressed, anxious and guilty, and worse still, my body was suffering too.

So I returned to Bluelight. I cried out for help. I was scared to tell my girlfriend, I was scared to tell my friends or family. I went to my GP and he told me with the amount of nurofen plus I was taking a day (32+) I could have an internal bleed, or worse, kidney damage. I begged for a taper. He wouldn't give it. Eventually, with the support and encouragement from the amazing Bluelight community, I found the courage to tell my brother all. He then told my mum, who then told my girlfriend (both checked this was ok with me first). I was in no state to deal with anything at that point. I felt utterly broken.

Mum came over and went with me for my blood tests. We both sat and cried in front of the GP (this time a more sympathetic one) and decided we would have to go down the cold turkey route. Mum took me home to detox. It was hell. In some ways, not as intense as the Kratom WDs, but it lasted much, much longer. It took me about two weeks to feel any significant improvement. But my mood was low. Lower than it had ever been. My girlfriend was hurt because of all the lies, and I felt so guilty it physically hurt. I wanted to make it all better, but I was having terrible outbursts of anger and inside I was mourning. I missed my drug of choice. I had, in some ways, lost a friend. But at the same time, I was angry with it too, for tearing apart my relationship with my girlfriend.

It was she who told me I should join NA. I was skeptical. It sounded like some sort of cult. But she gave me the courage to go to my first meeting. She sat in with me and held my hand. And for the first time ever, I realised that a group of strangers, who on the outside seemed to have nothing in common with me, were telling my story. They were telling it over and over and over again. I can't describe how powerful that felt. The emotional release was unreal. I didn't have to explain anything to these people - they just got it. I suppose it was like a face to face version of Bluelight.

Now, I'm not plugging NA, or saying it's the only way to stay clean. I'm only a month and a half into sobriety, and I've had meetings that left me feeling utterly euphoric (yes, seriously!) to fed up and wondering if they actually work.

What I do know is that the most important thing we need when getting and staying clean is connection. We need to surround ourselves with people who have the same hopes, goals, and dreams of recovery. We need to surround ourselves with people who have been there, done that, and survived. You can find them in NA meetings. You can find them here, on Bluelight. No matter where you find them, it is imperative that you do.

For the first time ever I can finally admit to myself and others that I am an addict. No matter how much time passes, I will always be an addict. But that doesn't scare me anymore. I don't feel so alone these days. And if I slip up? I hope I can tell the truth to those I love, which by the way is a much larger circle of people now I'm in recovery. I hope I can say to myself 'square one isn't square one if you're naming your demon'.

My name is Beth, and I am an addict. I'm no longer afraid of what I have been, what I am, or what I will be.

I'm just taking it one day at a time.
 
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Jabberwocky

Frumious Bandersnatch
Joined
Nov 3, 1999
Messages
84,600
Location
Looking-Glass Land
Thank you for your contribution Beth :) Keep up the good work!

Outside meetings, what kind of support have you found for yourself? Have you begun to rediscover any healthy habits you were engaged in prior to your problematic pattern of substance use, or new ones you have just begun to cultivate?

What do you find most helpful about NA? What do you find less than helpful or challenging about your experience with the twelve step community?
 

amediocrity

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
Messages
43
Thanks toothpastedog 😊 Since getting clean and going to the NA meetings I have explored a lot of things I wouldn't have dreamed of doing before. As you meet so many different kinds of people in meetings, you find your world is made that little bit wider. For example, on New Years Day I went to the house of a lady I met through meetings to do some Buddhist chanting. Me being quite a self conscious, anxious person, I find it quite hard to throw myself into new situations. But I did it, and it was a very powerful experience. I don't believe I would have done this without the strong support from the people at NA.
At the moment I know I am not my healthiest. In some ways I'm just relieved to have stopped injuring my body with the booze and pills, but I am starting to realise that now is my chance to look after my body. I am planning on getting more excersise and eating better. I went for a run a few weeks back and felt amazing, so I know it works for the mindset too.
As for the fellowship, I'm still very new to it all, and still getting used to the language they use. I am starting to make progress on understanding that there is a higher power though. I'm not particularly religious, so God wasn't going to cut it for me. During my WDs I would listen to Dolly Parton's Here You Come Again on repeat. The lyrics are a perfect description of how it feels to relapse, to give into addiction over and over. I found it so cathartic that Dolly Parton herself has become my Higher Power! She gets me through when everything gets a bit much.
All in all, my life is better than I was before and during the drug abuse. More than anything it is about the power of community I think. I've found a new perspective on life, and also learnt that it's ok to feel sad sometimes, and to enjoy happiness when it comes but to know when to let it go for a while.
 

amediocrity

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
Messages
43
Thank you Sixxam, I'm glad you found it encouraging! I want to give back to this community as it gave so much to me when I was as low as I could get
 

starting_over

Bluelighter
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
375
Location
bacon & maple syrup
Hey I remember your old thread! It's awesome to see that you're doing better!

Also have you figured out what triggers your migraines?
 
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amediocrity

Greenlighter
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
Messages
43
Hey starting over, I remember you! Thank you, it feels really good to be on the other side of it now! Although it's still a lot of hard work, it's more sustainable than my habit ever was. I still don't know what triggers my migraines, other than perhaps stiffness in my neck and stress. I try and stay as calm as possible and keep my neck relaxed. Somehow I've gone through wd migraine free. I think it would have pushed me to relapse if I'd had one on top of all my other symptoms, so I'm really thankful I didn't!
 

starting_over

Bluelighter
Joined
May 7, 2016
Messages
375
Location
bacon & maple syrup
I got diagnosed with migraines and the ophthalmologist said to take daily vitamin d3, vitamin b2 / riboflavin, coenzyme q10, magnesium

I wasn't even able to walk outside in the sunshine for weeks without a hat and sunglasses until I started taking these. I'm better now but have to avoid excessive screen time. I also have ongoing neck (and back) issues...
 
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