It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, and you have my apologies. As you know life can get busy and harried at the best of times.
*Great News* My friend is doing very well in his fight with his addiction to painkillers. He’s on a methadone program now and the doctor is helping him to overcome his addiction.
I’ll admit, I was worried for a bit about my friend. As with most addicts he had a hard time at first and relapsed a couple of times, but I’m happy to say we got him through the rough times and he’s settled into a regular routine now.
I will keep you posted on his progress.
This year 2010 will mark 8yrs I have been totally clean from my addictions. This is going to be a milestone yr for me and it’s going to be a very busy year.
I can’t help,but think back to 8 yrs ago and how my addictions had taken complete control of my life. I lived every minute of everyday for my addictions. You will understand exactly what I’m telling you, if you’ve experienced any kind of addiction.
I often wonder to myself,how I let that happen to me. But the bottom line is I made the choice to use drugs to escape the circumstances of my life at the time. I didn’t realize my decision to use drugs would eventually ruin my life and take me too the lowest point in my life.
My addiction took me to the brink,and I contemplated suicide on a few occasions. I remember standing on a bridge in the dead of winter and it was freezing cold and I stood on this bridge and thought about my life.
I looked down and I could see below me that the ice wasn’t frozen over and you could see current moving. I thought to myself that no one would miss me and if I jumped in they wouldn’t find me because the current would take me down the river somewhere and my body wouldn’t be found till the spring thaw,if ever.
That was as close as I would get to committing suicide, and I almost let my addictions control me to the point where I wanted to commit this most selfish act of taking my own life. As I stood there on the bridge,I thought about my life as a child and the physical and verbal abuse I grew up with until I was a teenager and could actually defend myself.
But more importantly, I reflected on how the abuse affected my life both as a child and as a young adult. I thought I had overcome the affects of the abuse, and I had achieved my goals career wise and I was married to the love of my life and we had three beautiful children.
I was a good husband and father for 18yrs, and never once abused my wife or children. But there was always this lingering feeling that I was going to fail as human being, and husband and father.Underneath deep in my soul I had this hate for my father because of the abuse, and could never understand why he abused us, and being abandoned by our mother at such a young age affected my life tremendously.
I realize today, that the lingering affects of child abuse and abandonment ultimately led to the failure of my marriage, and the loss of my children. This devastated me beyond belief, I cried for days continuously, it was like my family had died, and I was grieving for them.
This led to my addiction to painkillers and cocaine to escape the realities of my life at the time.I know today, that if I would have gotten help to deal with affects of child abuse and abandonment, I would still be married to the love of my life, and we would be enjoying our life with our children.
Forward to 2010, 10 yrs after my marriage fell apart. I’m celebrating 8 yrs drug free, and I have a wonderful loving relationship with my children, and my ex-wife. I’ve had a full-time job for 5 yrs, and I’m taking courses to become a drug addiction counselor, and I have my own place and most important life is great.
As I have said before, and still believe drug addiction is a choice. But, what’s more important is understanding the underlying reasons as to why we make that choice to use drugs. Once you understand why, then you can get the counseling to overcome the affects of whatever led you to use drugs or alcohol.
Society is quick to judge drug addicts or the homeless without really understanding fully the circumstances surrounding these individuals lives’.
In order to help those addicted to drugs and alcohol we have to be non-judgmental and show compassion and love in understanding these individuals needs based on their social,economic, and ethnic background and this needs to be done with-out discrimination. Because drug addiction or alcoholism don’t discriminate or chose who becomes addicted.
Well that my post for today,you can overcome your addictions and make the choice not to use drugs or alcohol and have a wonderful life.
I did it, by believing myself and you can too, because I believe in you and I will support you, love you and we’ll win this fight together you and I.
Forever Your Friend
As you know; I’ve been helping a friend with his addiction to Oxycontin. Well this is an update about my Friends progress to date.
In the last post I told how he is on a methadone program and that his doctor wouldn’t give a script for Oxycontin. Well just when everything was going great. The unexpected or was it unexpected I should have seen it coming, but it too late now and my friends addiction has spiraled downward.
One thing you need to understand about addicts is that when it comes to crunch time, they are very focused on and know how to get the drugs they for that next fix.
The sad truth is addicts will do almost anything to get that next fix, and I could share some my personal stories, but I won’t today, because this about my friends chase for that next fix.
My Friend found himself down and out last week, he didn’t have the money to buy oxy’s anymore, and the methadone wasn’t cutting it. So in desperation he went to his doctor and after about an hour of spilling his guts and tears etc.
His doctor gave him a script for oxy’s 80 mg twice a day, and on top of that his methadone treatment was being increased to 60 mg.
What happens next shows you how this demon flows through your veins and takes over your soul. My friend in true addict form thinks he hit the jackpot now, and has been abusing his script, and now is buying oxy’s again after only having this script for less than week.
I know he’s using 4-5 times a day just at work, and after work it’s probably more frequent. I know this from my own experience using dilaudid and cocaine. So I figure he’s snorting 9 to 10 80 mg oxy’s a day.
I know it’s just a matter of time now before he hits bottom, and he’s going to hit it hard. The sad thing part is he realizes he has a problem and needs help. But in his addicted mind he thinks he’s doing everything he needs to and it’s going to be fine.
But, the sad truth is that’s the demon speaking, and not him. My friend is on the edge, and his addiction is either going to give him that final push over the edge, where he’s going to hit bottom.
I don’t know what his bottom is going to be like, nobody does because it’s different for every addict. It could mean he finall ygets the help he needs and starts the recovery process.
Or, it could be that he looses everything,including his life. I don’t know how this tragic story is going to end.
But, I do know I’m not giving up on him, and I have some resources I’m going to use to see if I can get my friend into a Rehabilitation Program before he hits bottom.
If this means discussing with his family about doing an intervention, then that’s what will have to be done with the co-operation of the drug addiction detox center and drug rehabilitation center I’m associated with and graduated from almost 8 yrs ago.
At this point, I think this is our only option. If I can say one thing from my own experience, and from my friends is never under estimate the power of addiction. Because I can tell you from my own expereince this demon will consume your soul, and if you let it you’ll never get it back.
Well it’s time to call in troops, thanks for listening today.
If you have a friend, or family member that is addicted, please reach out and get help for yourself and them, the resources are there right in your own community.
Don’t let this demon take another life.
I know it’s been a while since I posted last.There is a good reason,and I’m sure you will understand.
As you know I have been counseling my friend,and things were going well.I convinced him to go to his doctor,and his doctor put him on a methadone program,which started two weeks ago.
The problem is the doctor knows,you can’t just quit taking oxy’s or any other painkillers.You have to been weened off them gradually even when your in a methadone program. Well my friends doctor refused to give him a prescription for oxy’s and then ween him off them.
I understand his doctors decision,and I question it at the same time. There are alternative drugs that can be prescribed to help with the withdrawal and anxiety symptoms that you suffer when getting off painkillers etc.
My friends dilemma is he can’t get a prescription. Which means he’s still in the chase everyday buying these drugs off the street,and going to the methadone clinic everyday also.
I’m not an expert on drug addiction and I don’t want anyone to believe I am. What I know about drug addiction I have learned from my own experience as a drug addict.
This is where it gets really interesting,and what I have observed over the last few weeks hasn’t changed my perspective about drug addiction being a choice and not a disease.
I have been really fighting the idea that drug addiction is a disease,and after observing my friends addictive behavioral patterns over the last few weeks.
I have come to a conclusion,that drug addiction is a disease. However; with that said upon my further observation and analysis I come to realize drug addiction is a disease by choice.
I came to this conclusion by observing my friends actions at work,and by paying attention to what he said to me in our conversations about drug addiction.
In our conversations,there was a complete absence of any rational thought pattern,when it came to his addiction or the consequences of his addiction.
This is where the disease aspect of his addiction comes into play, my friends tolerance level was so high his addiction had reached the point, where it had total control of his mind physiologically and his body physically causing him to lose total control of his life,and the capacity to make any type of rational decisions.
By observing my friends pattern of drug use during working hours,and how it has affected his work,and his own inability to accept how his drug addiction is affecting every aspect of life,has helped me to understand and gain a better perspective about drug addiction.
During the last few weeks of interaction with my friend I come to the conclusion through his admissions to me.That he made the choice to use drugs,and accept the consequences that come with that decision knowing that ultimately it’s his choice to stop using also.
I know the debate will go on forever,but I’m convinced more than ever that drug addiction is not a disease,but a choice you make to use drugs.
Drug Addiction is a disease by choice,and when you choose to stop using drugs,the disease is gone. Now this where it gets more interesting,because common belief systems have drug addicts believing that once your an addict,you will always be an addict and relapse is the shadow that follows you everyday.
Well you know what I say to that Bullshit. If I tell you that you are stupid everyday,sooner or later your going to believe it.
Am I not right? however simple that statement is,the subconscious mind works in funny ways and if we as society don’t change our beleifs when it come to addictions of any kind and realize that addiction is a choice the epidemic will continue and if you choose to change your behavioral patterns that you can overcome your addictions and lead a productive life.
I’m living proof.I choose to use drugs,and lived the consequences for it,and I also made the choice to stop using drugs, and today I’m not a drug addict.
Notice; I said I’m not a drug addict instead of recovering drug addict with shadow of relapse following me. I chose a belief system that is positive and reinforces who I am today,and where I want to be in the future.
I have been clean for over 7 yrs now, and I made a decision 7 yrs ago, that when I reached my seventh year,I would pursue a career as a drug addiction counselor and that’s exactly what I’m doing in my 51st yr and my goal is to be certified by my 55 Th birthday.
In the end,life is a choice,and I choose to live it. So can you,make that choice today,stop using I know you can do it,and you know you can do it,just believe.
Thanks for listening to day, I appreciate you
Today I want to share a comment from a former drug addict (Chaz)
I really enjoyed reading this comment and chaz’s perspective on whether drug addiction is a disease or a choice.
As we all know drug addiction has always been around. However;with that said drug addiction has evolved over the last twenty yrs to the point where it has reached what I would call a critical stage,where treatment is lagging behind and drug addiction is winning and taking it’s toll on our society as a whole.
That is why I think the whole treatment process needs to be re-evaluated and drug addiction should be treated as a choice instead of a disease.
Statistics don’t lie and when current treatment programs have a 1 to 3 % success rate. That tells me that drug addiction and treatment of addiction needs to evolve with a new era of thinking to keep up with the rate at which addiction is growing and then maybe one day addictions will be eradicated.
Yo Brian…. very well thought out.
Our stories have much overlap.
I too am not clear on the classifications of disease or decision.
Here is what I have come to recognize in my own experience:
1. If I treat my addiction “AS IF IT WERE” a disease, I stay clean and sober. Now this does not make it a disease, it just behaves like one in terms of how I remedy it. A fine distinction but a distinction none the less.
2. I am certain beyond the shadow of any doubt that I and many others are entirely pre-disposed to becoming addicts and alcoholics. We are just waiting (unknowingly) for that “perfect storm” of events in our lives to come together at the right moment and the switch gets flipped and we are in active addiction.
For me it was the agonizing pain of a divorce and betrayal plus the availablity of alcohol plus the freedom to drink while living a productive/prosperous life plus the arrogance built up over years of some things working out plus the propensity to over-think and create a living hell of anxiety in my own head. Plus probably others.
Like you, I was a social drinker who rarely drank to excess until my 30’s…. then went into full-blown alcoholism which led to drug addiction. All by age 38.
Remove any one of these factors and I do not know if I would have gone to all-out addiction level drug use.
3. I know many occasional dope smokers, booze drinkers, and coke snorters who simply shut it off after a few. I can’t do that. So am I wired differently…. alas… the disease concept?
4. I obviously made a ton of choices to get to addiction level using and out of control…. so that kinda works against the disease theory.
5. I make a ton of choices to stay clean and sober. If it were a disease…. would choices have lead me to recovery?
Bottom line is that I can’t see the line clearly. I also am cautious to label addiction a disease for fear of using the “disease concept” as an excuse.
So I am divided. yet I think I have found the balance between definitions that works for me.
I want to share a story about a friend of mine. I’ll share a little history with you first about myself and this friend so you understand this story.
I met this young guy 4 yrs ago,when I started my new job in a metal fab shop. I worked in the finishing department and he was a welder and we had to work together as I finish all the welded products before they are inspected and shipped.
I worked closely with this young guy who is 28 and married with two children and we became close and he talked to me about everything,but mainly his love of fishing. It was into my 3rd yr working with him that I noticed a change in his attitude and behavior at work.
His absenteeism increased substantially and he was late everyday for work and coming back from lunch and he was also making excuses to leave work early. I also noticed the quality of workmanship had dropped considerably over the last month or so.
He was showing all the signs associated with drug addiction and was in the chase for his drugs of choice,which I found out later was pain killers.
I was very concerned about my friend and when he returned to work the following day, he was warned that if he missed anymore time he would be terminated immediately. I had to talk to him and find a way to get him to open up to me.
That afternoon I found the chance to talk to him when I had get him to do some rework on something he had welded earlier. So when I went over to his welding booth I talked to him about the rework and I could see he was troubled so I ask him how he was doing,and he surprisingly he opened up to me and told his story on how he tried pain killers to just get high with his friends on occasion,and next thing he knew he was addicted and chasing it everyday, buying any painkillers he could get off the street etc.
I ask him to go for a coffee after work so we could talk. We went and got a coffee and went for a drive. I told my friend about my addiction and how long I had been clean at the time. He was totally blown away and relieved that he had someone he could talk to and help him with his addiction.
My friend was in a bad situation because of his addiction financially and his family didn’t have clue about his addiction,and he didn’t know what to do. The good thing was that he realized he was addicted to these drugs and admitted it.
That was a start in the right direction, and my friend decided to quit his drug habit and I continued to talk to him and help over the next yr and he remained clean and got his life back on track again.
That’s the good news.
Now the bad news,I was transferred to the night shift and only got to see my friend for a few minutes during shift changes, and when I called him at home he never answered his phone.
My friend relapsed back into his addiction after being clean for 16 month’s and a Little over a month ago I was put back on days and I knew immediately by my friends behavior that he was using again. So I waited patiently until he came to me on his own and told me that he was using again.
That is exactly what my friend did this week, and he felt so bad about it not telling sooner or calling me for help.He was ashamed and couldn’t look at me, and I put my hand on his shoulder and told him I knew where he was coming from and understood exactly what he was going through,because I’ve been there where he was at that very moment when I hit bottom 7 yrs ago.
My friend was hitting bottom now and needed help, so I ask him if he had a plan of action. He told me his wife knew now and his family also knew and they were supporting him.
He also told me he had a doctors appointment to discuss his options for treatment. I advised him to ask his doctor about the different options for treatment and I also gave him my number and told him I would be there for him anytime he needs a friend to talk too.
My friend is now enrolled in a methadone program through his family doctor and is also seeking counseling for himself and his family. We talk everyday and I always make sure I tell him how proud of him I am and I will continue to support him as long as it takes to get him over this hurdle in the addiction cycle.
My friend and I had an interesting conversation this morning,he came over to me and thanked me for supporting him and told me what was going on with the treatment program etc and that he feels so much better now that it’s all out in the open and he can deal with it.
My friend told me about his wife being angry and his family also, about all the lies and deceit and I told him that this is a normal reaction and that he has to take responsibility for it and make amends overtime and earn there trust back again.
I told my friend that everyday he stays clean from his addiction will make that next day easier, if he stays in the program and continues his counseling and keeps a positive frame of mind etc,and I also told there are going to be bad days and that he has to learn to get through them in a positive manner by getting the support he needs and talking to someone to get the positive reinforcement he needs to move forward each day.
I then ask my friend a question, and he looked at me wide eyed and was amazed and said you really do understand what I’ve been through and where I’m at today.
The question I ask my friend.
(My Friend Aren’t You Glad The Chase Is Over)
My friend just looked at me wide eyed,and said yes I’m glad I’m not chasing the drugs every waking moment and living on the edge trying to figure where the money is going to come from to get that next fix or who I’m going too lie to get it etc.
I’m so happy my friend has ended his chase for that drug of choice, and I will continue to support him in the long term.
I’m not a trained counselor and I’m not trying to be one,what I’m doing is being a friend that understands what drug addiction does to you and where it takes you.
Are you in the chase of your addiction, the chase can end, it’s your choice,just know you have a friend here that will support you and help you.
My ultimate goal is to go to McMaster University and get my certification as a drug addiction counselor.However,that is not financially feasible at this time,but over the next five yrs my dream will come true.
Thanks friends for listening today and I sincerely hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoy sharing it with you.
Please remember that I do care and that I’m a friend with a soft shoulder to lean on.
Your Friend Always
P.S I will keep you updated on my friends progress.
My next post will be about the (CHASE) of addiction.
Drug addiction or any addiction, that alters human behavioral patterns or cognitive skills can be very complex depending on the addicts mental state at the time of assessment. There are so many variables to take into consideration when it comes to assessing anyone with an addiction.
- Mental State ( Mental Illness)
- Medical Condition
- Drug dependency level
- High tolerance level
- Social Background (Abandonment,Physical Abuse,Sexual Abuse,Alcoholism,Drug Addiction)
These are just some of the variables you have to look and to understand the underlying reason why addiction occurs in anyone person or persons. Drug addiction does not discriminate and as an addict or not, you clearly understand what I’m talking about.
My Question to you: Should drug addiction or alcoholism still be considered a disease.
Lets look at drug addiction for what it really is, please follow me on this.
Drug addiction is the choice and consequence , I chose when I decided to use drugs 9 yrs ago.
However,with that said I did not choose to become addicted,when I first started using, and this is where it gets interesting.
Anyone who uses drugs will become addicted sooner or later both mentally and physically and that is a fact. But there are (children/young adults) who are more susceptible to addiction depending on there social background and upbringing, especially if drugs or alcohol are abused by their parents.
Ok, lets get back on track here,sorry I get very passionate when comes to discussing drug addiction.
Drug addiction,disease or choice.
Diseases affect the mind mentally and body physically,we know that and it’s not by choice in most cases.
Drug addiction alters the mind and affects cognitive behavioral skills and affects the body physically.
Interesting ,but the difference is drug addiction is a choice,and disease is not.
However,what’s most important is understanding how cognitive behavioral skills are affected in drug addicts depending on what stage of addiction their in, and this can be assessed according to their dependency/tolerance levels to the chosen drug of choice.
EXAMPLE: When you first start using drugs your tolerance to that drug is low and your dependency on that drug is low and it has little affect on your cognitive skills to carry on your daily duties normally.
But as you progress into using drugs your tolerance levels rise and you become more dependent on the drugs and this changes your cognitive behavioral skills.
As your tolerance to the drugs rises you reach a different stages in your addiction and become highly dependent on these drugs,and this alters your cognitive behavioral skills to the point where it affects your personality and the choices you make on a daily basis and you start neglecting your job,family and other aspects of your life.
You are now in what in what I call the chase and your cognitive behavioral skills are mainly focused on getting that next fix and depending on what stage of addiction your in,you will do most anything to get that next fix.
I know, because I’ve been there in chase for that next fix, going from emergency room to emergency room and doctor to doctor to get prescriptions. I know people who have broken limbs and gone to the emergency room to get pain killers,and people who have committed crimes to get their drugs.
I remember the last time I used,it was 4 am in the morning, and I was sitting in my girlfriends living room alone shooting up dilaudid and I was at the lowest point in my life. I had hit bottom and hit it hard, I lost my job and had no money and had pawned everything for drugs.
But the worst of it was I hadn’t seen my own children in 2 yrs because of my addiction. This coming from a guy who was a great father and husband for 18yrs, who drank on occasion,but never did drugs. Then one day my life changed and my wife left me after 18 yrs and I was totally devastated as I never expected it or seen it coming.
In the end I chose to use drugs to hide the pain and run from my problems,and the consequences of that decision to use drugs was becoming addicted to these drugs.
So in closing my answer to the question of whether drug addiction is a disease or not. I honestly believe that the disease aspect has some merit depending on the variables involved of each case of addiction that is assessed properly.
But,ultimately when it’s all said and done I made the conscious decision to use drugs,and the consequences of that decision was my addiction to those drugs, and the consequences of this addiction caused me to loose control of my life to the point where my cognitive behavioral skills were non-existent except to get the drugs needed to feed my dependence on these drugs.
Using drugs is a choice,drug addiction is not,it’s a consequence of the choice you made to use drugs,and depending on your circumstance it could be considered a disease.
But, ultimately it’s a choice, I made the right choice and you can too.
Always your friend
Read the title again,and think about it for a few minutes.
Ok,know that you thought about it,I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the title and about recovering from drug addiction.
As you know there are programs such as A.A and N.A that use the 12 step program to help you understand and overcome your alcohol or drug addiction.
I believe in both programs and the use of the 12 step program.
However,with that said there are flaws in these programs and I want share how I used the 12 step program with success by changing some of the fundamental beliefs incorporated in the program to suite my own beliefs.
I do believe there is a higher power and we can gain strength from this higher power.But it’s up to you as an individual what that higher power is and means to you.
A.A and N.A and many other programs out there have this common belief system, that once a drug addict or alcoholic always a drug addict or alcoholic.
This is where I have a problem with these programs. Understand one thing here before I continue, I made the (choice) to (use drugs) as a way to run away from my problems and the consequences of that decision were, that I became addicted to these drugs and lost control of my life etc.
I then also made the choice to stop using drugs and got help to overcome my addictions.
I believe in positive reinforcement, when it comes to recovery,and going to these meetings and standing up and saying I’m a drug addict or alcoholic is not positive reinforcement at all. I understand there is a purpose to this and that is to help new members admit their dependency on drugs or alcohol.
9 yrs ago I made the choice to use drugs,I became addicted and therefore became a drug addict. Then in 2002 I admitted to myself and others that I was addicted to drugs and needed help.
I went to detox and then to rehab and now I have been clean from using drugs for 7 yrs and today I,m a normal functioning middle age man with a full-time job who supports himself.
I’m not a drug addict or a recovering drug addict today,that is all behind me now. I have made the choice to live my life with out drugs,and that’s why I started this blog to help you understand there life after drugs and it’s a wonderful life.
I used the 12 step program to overcome my addictions,but I used positive reinforcement in place of the negative. I believed in myself and my higher power to give me strength,and everyday I said to myself I’m not a drug addict anymore and I will overcome my addiction to drugs and lead a normal productive life.
You know if you tell a person their worthless and stupid everyday; sooner, than later their going to start believing it.
So bottom line believe in yourself,and replace the negatives in your life and the program your in and replace it with positive reinforcement everyday.
Like me, you made the choice to use drugs and now you have made the choice to stop using drugs.
Now you are on the road to a beautiful life without drugs, and you are not a drug addict or a recovering drug addict.
You are A NORMAL FUNCTIONING HUMAN BEING who has made the choice to live.
We all make mistakes in this journey we call life,and sometime it’s because of the choices we make, that we live the consequences of choices.
I believe in you and know you will make the right choice,the choice that will change your life forever.
I sincerely hope I can help you to overcome and understand that addiction can be a thing of past, it’s a matter of choice and the choice is yours.
Sincerely Brian (jagz51)