I have been in substance abuse treatment since March 10, 2013. I am by no means perfect but I have managed to stay in compliance with the same program since then, without any use or abuse of my drug of choice, prescription painkillers. Having a clear head means remembering some things that you’d just as soon forget though, and as I’ve been struggling lately, I felt inspired to post a few of these things to remind myself why I never want to be that woman again.
1. I neglected my children’s needs for my high or due to my withdrawals. At the time, I blamed it on my health (and I do have legitimate health problems) but the reality was I was heavily abusing any opiate (also sometimes benzos) I could get my hands on. So that had me super high and out of it at times and when I was withdrawing I would be angry, sick and unavailable to them. Daughter suffered for this in many ways that Son did not end up as she was older. It has been painful for me to see and know, as she’s now in college, if I’d been there for her when I was supposed to she wouldn’t have nearly as many issues with math and math anxiety. And math is important to her long term goals as she wants to be a nurse. Son was in the second grade when I detoxed and I have been an active part of his education since then. He’s now finishing 4th grade and his progress has been amazing. I do often wonder, though, how much his anxiety issues and stammer are my fault. Nonetheless, as imperfect as I was and am, I know I am a huge percent better mom now. I make sure he has all kinds of things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do for Daughter. She is happy about this. When things were at their worst with the pills, she’d sometimes scream into my drugged out face,”Get your crap together! Don’t you dare do this to him too!!”
2. I drove, loaded, with the kids in the car. It’s only by the grace of God that all I ever did was put small, cosmetic damage type dents. I have a dear friend that crashed with her 3 kids in the backseat and 2+ years later, their lives are still forever changed. Friend has made amazing progress and even managed after serving time to get full custody of 2 of her 3 kids. Her eldest lives with her dad, and only sees her mom on the weekends that her dad deems Friend worthy. As she is still in a sober house living situation and just barely got the other 2 back this isn’t something Friend is ready to take to court.
3. I overdosed on multiple occasions. Sometimes, I didn’t know what happened. One night, I mixed a bunch of Percocet, caffeine pills, and Klonopin. Back then Daughter and I used to go to the all night Laundromat to do 2-3 weeks worth of laundry at a time. Husband was super controlling and rage prone back then and we would kind of look forward to these trips. That night however, I was on edge about something, so I bummed a few Klonopin off my Mom. I felt mellow after the first one. But then I took a few more Percs and a couple of No Doze, with the idea of getting the pain relief, motivation and energy to get through the night. They hit me weird, however, and all of a sudden it seemed like a good idea to pop another 2 Klonopin. I don’t remember much of what happened after that except 2 things that stand out clearly.
First, I remember being woken up by Daughter screaming my name and lightly smacking my cheeks. I was reclined in the driver’s seat of our car with the radio blaring Lady Gaga, and Daughter kept saying,”You weren’t breathing! You weren’t breathing.” That is scary as hell (for obvious reasons) and also because we lost my brother in 2007 due to that same type of overdose. He mixed Percocet and Klonopin with who knows what else all the time but for some reason, on 10/30/07 he ended up with just the right opiate/benzo cocktail to just go to sleep and then stop breathing and by the time they found him it was too late.
Second major highlight of that messed up night was when I got home and went to go pee before bed. I vaguely remember going in the bathroom, then the next thing I knew I was on the bathroom floor and my face hurt like hell. I had passed out and hit my face on the heater grate. I blamed it on my bad knees, saying that my knees gave out when I stood up after peeing, but really I had just blacked out. I had a concussion, a cut cheek (within an inch of my left eye) and a badly bruised fat lip. I know Son remembers this at least a little because every now and then he mentions the time I fell and got a “giant purple swelly.”
Other times when I KNEW I had taken too much of one thing or another, I would wait it out, monitoring myself, instead of asking for help from anyone. I would lay on my side, with the idea of not choking should I puke, and set alarms on my phone. I would then wait it out, usually playing solitaire or some other game, self assessing every 45 minutes or so till I felt safe to go to 2 hour increments of time. I never asked for help even though I was scared, sometimes really scared, because I was always MORE scared of someone in power finding out how out of control I was and cutting off my supply.
I also lied, cheated, manipulated and stole from loved ones and even a few strangers on a regular basis. Bottom line though, being so screwed up with my priorities that my precious children and even my own life came second to the almighty opiate is what haunts me the most.