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October 27, 2005

Did You Know?

Did you know that addiction to alcohol or drugs is a real disease, a disease recognized by the American Medical Association back in 1962. Do you know what a disease is? It is an ailment, that without treatment is not only chronic, dehabilitating, but also in many cases fatal. The reason I want you to know that alcoholism or drug addiction is a disease is because the people who have this disease are not bad people. And the reason that someone can go to a bar and have one drink and go home, while an alcoholic will stay til he can't stand up - the reason that happens... is because the alcoholic has a gene which the other person does not... it's an extra gene. A gene that makes that alcoholic predisposed from birth to be an addict. He/She got this gene from his/her parents, or her/his parents parents... someone in the past has been either an alcoholic or an addict. Just like you get blue eyes or blond hair, you get this gene that from the day you were born - you could become an addict/alcoholic. So it isn't our fault - we were born this way.

Do you see what I am trying to tell you? We didn't as children when asked what we wanted to be when we grew up... Hey, I want to be an addict, I want to be homeless... I want to sell my body for drugs, I want to go to jail, I want failed marriages, social problems & physical problems, yes... we want to die young of an incurable but treatable disease... And yes... alcoholism, and drug addiction are incurable, but with the proper treatment - just like cancer or diabetes, it can be put into remission... But will it go away... No Never!

I have been using drugs for 10 years... I am 39. I didn't start out like some kids who just wanted to be different... No, I got another disease... that disease is called Trigeminal Neuralgia, and what that is, is... the 5th cranial nerve that leads from my brain to my jaw is damaged... there is no cartilidge over my jaw to stop the painful shocks that happen everyday to everybody... but I get excurciating pain from it... It's not fatal... But It will Never Go Away. Some people can take tegretol to manage the pain, but I took it... and ended up in hospital for 3 weeks, almost dead. I am allergic to it. So this disease Trigeminal Neuralgia is not life-threatening, yes it can and often does get worse with time... but it won't kill you... though some days you may wish it did... The pain is incredible... on a scale of 1-10 it's a 20... it sort of feels like someone put your head in vice, and then pounded the side of jaw & face with hammer repeatedly... Sometimes it lasts 30 minutes, sometimes it lasts 30 days... It was this disease that they don't have any clue as to how you get it... that caused my life to turn around... for the worst.

I couldn't work, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, and still most days I can't function due to the pain... because all I can take is ibuprophen or tylenol and well neither of those work all that well... so most days, since I am in recovery & treatment for my drug addiction - I am unable to take pain meds... and well the surgery costs upwards of 100,000 dollars to have a balloon inserted between the nerve & the bone. It does not cure the disease, but puts it in remission because you have treated the problem... but it sometimes doesn't last your lifetime... and needs to be done again... well I am sorry... I disabled, I get state insurance and they claim that the surgery that I need is ELECTIVE... because I can't die from having this disease.

So 10 yrs ago, I was desperate... I'm still desperate... I was willing to try anything, to do anything to stop the pain... so I tried cocaine, in a powder form - I used as an anesthetic (like the old days)... when they used cocaine instead of novacaine... to numb the area... so I could have a somewhat normal life...

Now I have been against using drugs recreationally my whole life... I figured if I could live life without drugs, then well why couldn't anyone else... but then my life disingrated... the wind hurt my face, I couldn't lay on it, I couldn't touch it... I still can't... but I have learned to live with it...

Anyway, I never wanted to abuse cocaine... I just needed something to reduce the pain... to make me want to live... but apparently because i was born with the gene that causes addiction... once I found the substance that fit my gene... I was doomed. It was only a matter of time, before I found that living without the drug was what made life unbearable.

And the reason it's so hard to stop using... is because the you spent using - used to be spent working, or doing other things... only know for the last 10 yrs - I only did one thing... I used drugs. So now, you take away the drugs... and I have 24 hours in a day to try to figure out how to stay busy. Remember, I can't work. I also have severe arthritis in my hips... So I joined an intensive outpatient therapy group - as the beginning of my treatment of my disease of addiction... I was in remission, have been before... but because I am human - I make mistakes... so I am starting again... and as long as I continue my treatment, even if I fall back, as long as I continue to hope that the future will be with my drug addiction in remission... I am doing the best I can.

So if you are an addict or alcoholic... stop beating yourself up. It's not your fault. Yes, you are the only one who can decide to work towards putting your disease in remission... but having the disease is not your fault.

Now some people think that because we continued to use, even though we knew it caused chaos in our lives... that we just did because we wanted too.. I did alot of the time, when I didn't want it. When I wanted to die, rather then pick up and use, but being an addiction as well as a disease made life seem impossible without the drug. I stopped living just to live... I began to live only to feed my habit. Everything in my world was about the drug. If I wasn't using, I was thinking about it. If I wasn't thinking about, I was dreaming about it. I wasn't dreaming about it, I was trying to figure how I was gonna get this time... it won't take long with a cocaine addiction to become broke. So after we figured out how we were gonna pay for it, then we had to find it... cause well dealers come and go... so now, we found it... but we no car... so we are walking or hitchhiking to get it... we get there finally... hours later... and we pay the man/woman and we get the substance... well if you are like me... powder wasn't good enough in the end... I smoked it... so I couldn't just use it, right there... I had to get it home... walking, hitchhiking, bus... maybe be lucky and get a ride... then we get home and we use... and then we sleep... because eating isn't an option... you will throw up, and you want to kick yourself in the middle night for not saving any - because you wake up in the middle night and your jaw is in excurciating pain... but you didn't save any... because you can't. An addiction is when you can't stop. You can't walk away from it. You can't put it down, you can't save it.

I wish I never was born with that gene... because I believed that I could take anything anyone, or anything dished out to me... I was... I am... a SURVIVOR... and I am in remission from my addiction/my disease. And it's not my fault. And I am not bad person. Am I am worthy of love, acceptance, I am worthy of living a life with my disease in remission one day at a time.

Want to know more?

Visit Life of an Addict!


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