Hardest Years of My Life and Many To Go
by Chad H
(Danielson, CT, USA)
I hate to start off like so many other addiction stories, but in the basic picture of addiction, they pretty much all revolve around the same starting point.
As so many others, I had everything going for me, I may not have been the smartest kid in High School, but when I took the ASVAB for the military, I scored high enough for special forces, which is what I wanted.
Upon graduation in 1990, within two weeks I was in boot camp, where I exceled to the top of my class. I eventually became a "superstar" through out my military career, earning several medals that you just do not normally get at my rank.
I could not get enough. All my evaluations were 4.0 and was recommended for OCS by my captain and Chief Engineer, which I foolishly turned down, very foolishly. Then I made the biggest mistake of my life, I decided to turn down being an officer as well as renlistment, all for a girl who I as going to marry, then we broke up, six months after I was discharged.
So, I took my GI Bill and went to a Tech school for HVAC/R, where again I exceled to top of my class and graduated in 1st place. Three days after graduation and two days before I was suppose to start the best job the field had to offer, I was in a very serious motorcycle accident, second one in my life.
I suffered serious injury, shattering my collar bone, breaking ribs, but worst injury wouldn't be made known until almost six months later, my lower back. Apparently I herniated some discs in my lower back.
The neurosurgeon even said it was one of the worst cases he has ever seen in his career and this is where my life changed forever. Right there on the spot he asked me what painkillers I wanted, he even said "The candy store is now open".
The problem was, I didn't even know about opiate painkillers or addiction. I was in extreme pain, so I said give me something strong to get me through until I have my surgery, which was scheduled within a week. The drug was oxycodone.
The first one I took, didn't take the pain away, but it did definitely help, until I realized, if I took more than prescribed, the better they worked. Then I experienced euphoria. Wow. The pain was still there, but the feeling was amazing, and you opiate addicts know what I am talking about.
Eventually I had the surgery, but when they opened me up, the damage was so much worse then they had diagnosed (where was House when I needed him, lol). They did the fusion, but it failed because there were so many other problems.
They had to do a "redo" of my first surgery, all the while my need for opiates was growing stronger, to the point I was on Morphine and Percocet fulltime, still knowing nothing of addiction.
Things were different in the early 90's. We didn't have the knowledge of addiction we have now. Years and surgeries went by, ending up with metal rods and screws and diagnosed with Degenerative Disc disease, Failed back syndrome, arthritis, and massive bone spurs, all the while on opiates, by this time, I had tried every opiate under the sun.
I did also try other methods of pain control, everything from accupunture, physical therapy(aqua), Tenz unit, and prayer, nothing worked. My doctor said there was not much else to do except manage the pain
with medication and I agreed.
Now I can't get out of bed in the morning without first taking my morphine (300mgs+ a day). All this took place from 1995 until present. I am on full disability (social security) and the VA is my healthcare provider.
I could not work so I could not get private insurance, if I had, treatment may have been different. Anyway, I am going on almost 20 years of being an opiate addict, yes I did alot of bad things during those years to feed the monster of addiction, most I regret.
Right now (took me 20 years), I have a manageable lifestyle with people who care about me and who I love. My mother never gave up on me even after all the awful things I did to her. My sister as well.
At present, I have a very lovely lady and three children in my life, we live together and thankfully she understands what I have been through.
I am still an opiate addict and always will be. I take my prescribed medications exactly like I am supposed to, but the chaos is gone from my life. Mentally, I am extremely depressed, which I am going to see someone about tomorrow.
I may not be 100% clean (still take legally prescribed medication), but I have 100% changed my life. For me, their was no magic secret that got me to change my life, I just woke up one day and decided enough was enough.
I want the chaos, drama, street drugs, loss of money, neglect of my family gone, so I picked up the phone and started making calls to rehabs in the area and after hours, I found one that changed my life forever (wish I could give you the name).
The next day I was inpatient where I learned about myself and what I wanted to do with my life.
My life now: I take my medications as prescribed, which is something I have never done, chaos is gone, street drugs are gone, their will be more money than usual for Xmas this year, bills are paid on time, all my court issues are cleared up.
I still live in alot of pain, but the pain I was experiencing before my change was 10 times worse.
I guess what I am trying (desperately) to say is, for myself and my addiction, nothing magically happened, like alot of people expect.
Also, people once clean, think problems and bad situations will suddenly get better, it does not work that way. Addiction is one of the worst things in life with no cure, only manageability, so for a positive outcome in trying to get and stay clean requires more work than you have ever done in your life.
If being clean is something you want, and believe me, its worth it, be prepared for some rough times ahead and work like you would not believe, but it is more than worth it, if you value your own life or lives of people who love you.
I skipped over alot of "life moments", but I have never written anything before in my life, sorry if this so called story seemed confusing or boring, I just want to help people who are struggling with this awful disease.
Once I practice more writing, I will try to clean this up better. I hope this brought some light to some of the addicts who are unfortunate as I am.
Thank you if actually read this whole thing through. The end.
Written By: Maurice