Today I am finding it hard to have any energy to get anything started much less completed. Finding the strength to even write about the lack of energy is tiring. These are the days that are the hardest, as an addict, to get through without having a thought of using just to feel better. I suffer from severe depression and Rheumatoid Arthritis; both conditions cause me to have terrible days of feeling fatigue, sadness, severe anxiety, and chronic pain with inflammation and swelling in my wrist, hands, and other joints. On days like this I do not want to get out of bed. Functioning like a normal person is a challenge for me. The RA is a bitch, it limits my ability to do simple things, like open a jar, or squeezing a bottle of shampoo when I wash my hair. I am only 37 and I have had a total knee replacement on my left knee. My ability to run, jump, ride a bike, dance or kneel on my knees is very painful and limited. Being an addict living with these conditions is like craving an ice cream sundae but can’t because of having a milk allergy. I am not able to take the RA medications because of the damage I have done to my liver from contracting Hepititas C. My options for pain relief are either steroids, opiates or anti-inflammatories. My drug of choice is opiates; percocet or vicodin were like my happy pills that allowed me to get up and go, when I was high on pain pills I was able to LIVE. Some of my friends and family who use pain pills or heroin like to nod and pass out. Not me I was the one cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, grocery shopping and taking care of everyone else. When I was without my “happy pills” I was sick, going through withdraw and severely depressed. So that’s about the time I began to snort heroin; the drug that destroyed my life and took everything I loved and cherished. It is difficult staying clean because of my RA pain; living with chronic pain is depressing. I know I cannot take pain medication but I am not going to lie, it’s tempting as hell, especially when I have a RA flare up, or when I feel hopeless and sad. After my knee surgery I took my pain medication as directed, and I managed to only get one refill. After recovering from the knee replacement I somehow was able to stay clean from opiates, but I began to use other drugs, like alcohol and gabapentin; hell I even smoked weed. My life was unmanageably miserable, and stagnant.
How can a heroin addict like me make it through a day like today? I try to take it day by day even minute by minute. To be honest I am freaking out, I am so afraid that this is what my life will always be like; miserable, disabled, unable to change or grow. Will I ever feel good when I wake up to start a new day? Will my depression and pain ever become manageable? How can I ever be a fully functioning mother and wife? I can barely lift a 5 pound sack of potatoes, so how can I pick up my child when she needs comforted or wants to just be held in my arms? Fuck these days, I am just so fed up with feeling like shit, feeling like I am crippled; thinking that my life is hopeless, and believing that giving up is my only option. On these bad days I feel alone, yet I choose to isolate, there is no one who understands or cares. As I am typing these thoughts and feelings I am beginning to see that all these worries, all these thoughts are a sign of my self-pity. When I feel like this I know what I need to do, I am battling the addict in me. It’s like we are two different people living in the same body. The addict is a weak, manipulating, lying, scared little bitch. Me, myself, Brandy, well I am not weak, because I did get my ass out of bed, I did call my support person when I felt that taking a pill or snorting a line was my only option to escape the pain and the depression. I took a walk around the block, which loosened up my stiff painful joints. I also took a look around at the beautiful signs of Fall; appreciating nature and the outdoors gave me a sense of peace. I also began to count my blessings and be grateful. It is a miracle I am alive, and there is a reason for my existence. Then as the day passes I feel content and I stay busy. Even though I do not have my children back, I still am their mother and I have to continue living for them. If I focus on my goals I’ve set and work at reaching them each day, I will be a better mom, I will have my children back. I may be limited physically but I am so mentally strong that I cannot allow my pain to control my life. I just tell myself today is a little shitty, but tomorrow is going to be great. I am strong, I am brave, I am smart, and I am loved. If I don’t continue to fight the addict, if a I fall for her tricks and her weakness I will never make it, I will die. FUCK today, I hate you Wednesday, Oct. 31! Tomorrow, I welcome you to shine on me so bright bring me good fortune and may GOD’s will lead me to my destination of serenity, hope and victory! I am not the addict, I am Brandy, I am a mother, a sister, a friend, and I am a Fighter! “Today will be history and tomorrow will be a mystery”, as my grandfather always said.
Many of you can probably relate to how I am feeling, addicts or not, we all have bad days. I believe if we can just set aside all the crap that is bothering us on days like this and take a minute to breathe and make a list of things we are grateful for we can then see the humility of it and regain the strength we need to change our negative thinking into positive actions. Don’t let one bad day determine the rest of your life. For an addict this is critical advice; using one more time could mean our life. That phone you carry in your hand, pocket or purse 24/7 has to have at least one contact you can call for support; a person who can help you get through those 15 minutes of “fuck its” or those 2 hours of “I can’t do this shit!” Don’t give up, tomorrow could be the best damn day of your life!