In 2007, with a 10 month old baby, I was caught forging prescriptions and sent to rehab for 3 months. I vowed to change my life completely and I did. I had always been creative but now art and creativity took a front seat. I basically changed addictions. From something negative and destructive to something positive and hopeful. This collage is about being heard.
When you recover from addiction, you say goodbye to your substance or behavior. For alcohol, this is a definite line. Nobody needs to take alcohol. Not that this is easy! I think in many ways alcoholics have it worse because, let's face it, I don't have to speed past a This Percocet's for You billboard on the way to the grocery store. The problem comes in when the drug addict in recovery has real, debilitating pain. Luckily I don't have this pain very often.
I got Lyme Disease two years out of rehab and with it flares that caused so, so much pain. With my history, which I've been honest about, doctors HATE you. Even though the literature says that pain needs to be treated, even in drug addicts like me, this was not put into practice very well. I've had countless sleepless nights and one near suicide attempt due to pain. I'm sure my Lyme has had a more difficult course because of undertreated pain. My immune system has reacted to weight loss, night sweats, poor sleep and constant stress hormones due to pain. I starved myself for a month because I read that starvation releases opioids and I thought this might help my pain. It didn't.
So, when I had a Lyme flare last week I went to the ER and didn't tell them my history. They knew I was in pain and sick. My exam showed that. They treated me as I should have been treated. And then, today I had a checkup with my PCP - the last one was 6 months ago. I never call him for painkillers as he told me he wouldn't give me anything more than tramadol, and believe me, I'm grateful for the tramadol. It doesn't make me high and I take way less than prescribed. So, in December and last week - I had to go to the ER because of pain. I brought in the bottles of painkillers both times and showed him. Just to keep everything on the up and up.
Today, at the end of our appointment, he said, "So what do you need today?" I said, "Nothing. I think I'll be okay." and then he said to me..."Well, if you get another flare on this fluconazole (a treatment for Lyme) then call me and I can refill the percocet for you."
And with that I felt heard. Heard and humanized and cared for. I am going to try so hard not to call him. There is just something about knowing that I have a safety valve if the pain gets too bad. That all my honesty has been possibly worth it. That he doesn't think I'm a crackwhore. That he sees me for me and is willing to trust me. The truth about these painkillers is that they numb out my thinking. My goal is to NOT numb out. They depress me a bit the next day. I hate depression and will go to the ends of the earth to avoid it. I don't have any euphoric recall, which is the biggest blessing of all. When I got addicted I was walking around on a broken pelvis that had been misdiagnosed. I was taking painkillers for obvious reasons and then would get withdrawl when I tried to stop. I didn't know about weaning down gradually. Now I do. I don't want to take painkillers but if I have to, I now have someone who trusts me and I can call him. I finally feel heard.