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A Life AFTER 40 pills a day

Here is the condensed version of my history and of where I am today.
I offer to all, any help and support I can provide. Please remember, this is what I did, and I tell this only as suggestions.
Only after I started accepting the fact that others as bad or even worse than me, found success, did I realize that there was hope. "Time" + Learning from others was the key.

I began using Fiorinal in 1977 (same as Fioricet except it contains aspirin instead of Tylenol) when I finally was able to get some help on my own for headaches.  I had been suffering from very severe headaches since childhood and was never taken seriously until I was able to seek treatment as a young adult.  Unfortunately then, I began to see that the medication was doing much more for me than just treating headaches.  It seemed to be the answer to all of my problems - at least before it got way out of control.  I found that it relieved my tremendous lifelong anxiety problems - anxiety had always been my chief problem.

When I took the Fiorinal, all my anxieties went away and, for the first time in my life I felt free.
Then the nightmare began. In a very short period of time, I had to take more and more to get the desired effect.  Two became four and four became 12 and so on until, in 1978, I was taking 16 a day.
When I ran out, I had seizures and terrible anxiety from the butalbital barbiturate withdrawal.
I got into legal trouble and lost my teaching job.  After that incident, I remained Fiorinal free until 1981 when, for whatever reason, I decided I wanted to use them again. I thought I could control it. (There is no controlling it - even if you believe you are doing so now!)  By 1983, I was using 25 of them per day. I had many doctors and many pharmacists.  Sometime in October 1983 I quit using them and was just "dabbling" in them in the 80's until in 1987 I got addicted again.  I never understood, until 1999, that there is no such thing as "safe / periodic" or "controlled" use. No such thing - everybody, until they totally quit, eventually gets sucked in!
By 1992 I was taking 30+ pills per day. Based on my history, and how dramatically things were falling apart around me and inside of me, I checked into a rehab in Sept of 1992.  After discharge, I remained drug free for a while and in 1996 I stupidly picked them up again, beacause I, for some unknown reason, wanted to - despite all I had been through!  I lost more jobs, cars, girlfriends and family relationships. I was now taking 40 or more per day and finally it had to stop!

After more job loss, more legal trouble and a few instances of nearly dying, (including a suicide attempt) in August of 1999 I checked into a detox / rehab  - I knew that this was it!
Then something magical happened towards the end of my 28 day stay.  I told them at this facility that based on my history, I knew I needed more than just 28 days of treatment. I knew I needed more.  I am so glad that this mysterious force overtook me and make me make that point to my counselor.  I knew that if I just went home after the 28 days, it would be no different than before, and I would just use again.  And I would be NO DIFFERENT than I was 28 days before.

I therefore went to a sober, drug free halfway house in south Florida, got a job, stayed for a year, and got involved in the 12 step program of AA/NA, but that was only PART OF IT.
I realized THE most important thing about my drug use:
and that was I would never get better until I accepted the fact that I used the the pills for no other reason than "I like what it did for me"!
Yes, I still suffered from migraines and other headaches, but drugs WERE NOT the answer. I had been overmedicating myself to the point that my body could not even take care of itself - headaches or otherwise.

My pill use and abuse wasn't due to my sinfully abusive childhood, my lousy self image at the time, breakups with girlfriends or anything else.
I needed to accept that the drug was doing for me what I could not do for myself.
This DID make sense to me.

I have been drug free for over 13 years now because I got connected to a more complete understanding of myself, the intricacies of my own addiction and being aware that a higher power is an important ally in recovery from a life long problem. By spriritual, I don't mean to scare anyone. It is simply an awareness that, regardless of and apart from anyone's personal views of religion, perhaps faith in a higher power could be an important ally in striving to reach and achieve a goal.

So much changes, when drugs are finally put down. I have been to hell and back, and my story is truly a miracle.

Please, don't look at yourself and say, "Wow, I am not THAT bad". or "Oh, he's much worse!" Drugs have a tendency to bring everyone down. For some quickly,
much longer for others. It eventually grabs hold and almost refuses to let go.
You know what they say, if you think you have a problem, you probably do! It is nothing to be ashamed of, despite society's view of drug addicts.
Most drug abusers and addicts are not street bums. We are normal, mainstream, family people who have just gotten in way over their heads. Please do not look at yourself as different - because you probably are not. You just need some guidance and reassurance that there is help out there (and within you). 

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Categories: Prescription Drugs, Recovery, 12 Steps, Detox, Rehab, Treatment


March 02, 2013 | Jon

To Cherrie who commented on my story above.
Hi Cherrie.  My name is Jon, and I thank you for your comments and good wishes.
The disease of addiction DOES take prisoners.  My heart goes out to you as you grieve the loss for your beloved son.  I am so sorry for you.  I never know what to say when I hear things like this, so I wish I had some words of wisdom to comfort you.
Maybe, just maybe, if there were anything that could come out of our two stories is that maybe someone could be helped by reading them.
There is a lot of misery when it comes to drug abuse, and I am a very blessed example of a person that can come out on the other side of addiction.
Again, I am so sorry for your loss

February 16, 2013 | Cherrie

Your story sound as familiar as my son’s did. Please continue to recover & live your life with your head up high. My son was not as lucky & died of an overdose in November. His chief complaint was inability to sleep…it drove him to every sleeping med known to man and then on to Benzos & many pain meds. God Bless You for sharing and keep up your good work!

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