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Get Me Out of This Painkiller Prison: Sami's Story

by Sami

My name is Sami. I'm 27 years old and an internationally collected artist. I'm also a mortuary cosmetologist and former Hooters model. I grew up in Savannah, Georgia and spend most of my teenage years in Miami Florida.

Both of my parents were alcoholics and after their divorce when I was around 8, my father remarried a woman named Michelle. My father soon received custody of me and between the ages of 9-14 I was physically and verbally abused by Michelle, ending with a broken nose and 3 broken teeth.

My father then turned his custody of me over to the state where I lived in and out of group homes where during this time I began experimenting with drugs such as pot, LSD and cocaine. Soon I moved to Texas to live with my mother and my depression and other mental issues just got worse.

I had been on anti-depressants with no success since I was 13 and then a doctor diagnosed me as having bipolar disorder. The medications prescribed to me for bipolar had serious, life threatening results and the trial and error was hell.

By the time I was 22 I had been on over 40 different medications for depression/bipolar with no success. I never liked alcohol and then I was prescribed vicodin for severe menstrual cramps. Immediately I realized that this was the drug I had been searching for my entire life. My depression was gone and the suicidal thoughts left my head.

My depression was to the point I was not only unable to work or even be around people, but I had attempted suicide twice and had a wrist full of cuts. I thought about suicide all the time. Finally a pill that took it all away. For three years I successfully used hydrocodone (the active ingredient in vicodin) to treat my depression ... only taking it when I was feeling suicidal or unable to get out of bed.

During this time I received my GED (dropped out of school at the age of 17) went to college and received my applied mortuary science degree and began working two jobs, one at a funeral home and the other at Hooters. I was taking around 10 pills a week and never felt better.

Soon I began modeling swimsuits for Hooters and being around beautiful girls all the time, who were taking hand fulls of pills, caused my self-esteem to drop. I made the one biggest mistake of my life. I began taking the pills "just because" and not when I really needed them.

I realized that for a few months I was in a great mood all the time with no next day hangovers or headaches. Before I knew it I was addicted. Now I'm taking over 20 pills a day, knowing that the acetaminophen is killing my liver. (the other ingredient on vicodin labeled as APAP)I cannot stop without going into serious and painful withdrawals.

I am currently trying to taper myself off the pills but this is extremely difficult. With my situation of depression and having no other option, deciding to quit taking the pills is scary. I have no idea if I can survive the withdrawal depression which is horrible for those even with no previous mental illness.

Since I have lost both of my jobs due to my temper from times where I was lacking pills, I have no health insurance and barely enough money to support my habit, and God forbid paying $3000 a day for rehab out of pocket!!!

There are no low-costs rehabilitation facilities in the state of Texas. It's really crushing to know that you either have to be rich or have a great job with benefits in order to get help for addiction. This is my story. I hope it can help someone else who isn't quite to this point see that taking pills may be a temporary fix but you will eventually end up like me.

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Jun 20, 2011
by: Anonymous

I can relate and want to end this too. I have been on painkillers for years and want to quit but am very afraid of withdrawls. You are not alone. It sucks! Hang in there and I will let u know as I am starting to wean off today. Wish me luck. Smile

Apr 17, 2010
A possible option for you
by: Greg A

There's a very good in-patient treatment center in Chandler, Arizona called Valley Hope. They have successfully treated people with addictions of all kinds (including myself) and their fees are quite reasonable. I believe it's a 28 day program and last I spoke to an intake counselor, if you can come up with about $9,000 during the first week that's all it will cost you. That's not bad for residential treatment.

They've also been known to help people out who want to get clean and sober and can't afford much. Like C-P said, a lot of these places will work with you--your physical attractiveness will work to your advantage--and where there's a will, you will find a way.

Keep in mind that the voice of your addiction will fabricate roadblocks simply because it cannot stand the thought of going without its fix. Recognize it for what it is and tell it to shut up when it rears its ugly head. You've got far too much life to live to throw it away.

Apr 09, 2010
You'll Find a Way
by: C-P

You'll find a way to get help and treatment if you're determined enough. Even the most expansive rehabs allow for one or two spots for people who can't afford payment - so phone each and every treatment center in Texas, explain your situation and I bet you'll find a place that will take you in.

Failing that - find a rehab outside of Texas. I'm sure you could find the money to get you there somehow. Look, I know sometimes that it seems there is no way and that one's path is just filled with obstacles, but if you're determined enough to find a way, you'll be amazed at how things work out.

There also has to be a Doctor or Addictions Counselor in your area that you can go and see. And that shouldn't cost a lot. They'll no doubt be able to then put you in touch with some kind of facility that can help you.

Whatever you do just don't give up. Where there's a will, there's always a way.

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