See, I dint set out deliberately to be an addict. Mine was a simple case of hip joint pain, a couple of pain killers and the problem was supposed to fade away.
My job required a lot of moving around and my mobility was key to my livelihood, so when the doctor gave me a month’s prescription and told me that I would need to take a few weeks off from work to give the medication and my body enough time to heal and work, I remember laughing sarcastically and thinking to myself “these doctors and their damned advice!”.
So fifteen months down the line why was I a jobless, separated, stinky, disoriented fall down mess?
Problems started mid way on my prescription as I decided that the dosage was no longer working to my satisfaction and so I upped it. Without consulting the doctor I moved from one pill thrice a day to two pills thrice a day. In the beginning, I noticed that I had somewhat slowed in performing certain activities and maybe even my reflexes were slower but I did get the job done so no cause for worry there.
Two weeks later I went back to the doctor, guns blazing and missiles locked! I accused the doctor of minimizing my pain and prescribing drugs that dint work, thus compromising my mobility. I got my way and left the clinic with a stronger pain killer prescription.
Now, what I didn’t realize at that time was that I had grown somewhat dependant to the way the drugs would make me feel. Yes two weeks! I know, what’s this tolerance people keep talking about anyway?
I remember my wife waking me up in the mornings so that I wouldn’t be late for work, at times she would come home in the evening and find me in bed or just being lazy on the couch, yes she noticed that sometimes I acted as if I was drunk but she couldn’t smell alcohol on me. With time she became overly suspicious of my behaviors or lack thereof, and started asking too many questions. Conversely, my supervisor was growing tired of my excuses for non performance, coming to work late and at times complete absence from work. Inevitably I lost my job.
What most of you don’t know is that a month before my hip pain, my family had just paid dowry to my lovely wife’s family and a week before I finished my second doze of pain killers she had just moved in to my house!
Hmmm…, I cringe every time I think of what I put her through. By the time I got fired, I knew all the dark corners of the city where I could buy my drugs and at a much cheaper price at that. So now without a job where was my pill money supposed to come from? My wife bore the wrath of my unemployment until she could take it no more. When she couldn’t afford me the money I needed, I would tear at her personality, self esteem, tell her she was inadequate, sell house appliances etcetera. But the night I physically abused her was the last blow.
For a minute, the fact that I could not afford the next month’s rent on my own was scary and I remember resolving that I seriously needed to get myself together. But that is as far as I got on that front. Why is it that as addicts, we rarely lack our drug of choice? Seriously, even when I was at my most broke, even when I had gone for days without a decent meal, even when all my known friends dissociated themselves from me, I still managed to get high.
My family got wind of what was becoming of me and they sent my younger brother to come visit with me and find out what demons had possessed me. I don’t think there’s anyone with as good, convincing, manipulative instincts than an addict! In the week that my brother stayed with me, I convinced him that the medication I had been taking for my hip pain had bad side effects which affected me physically, that being the reason I had to take unpaid leave from work. As for my wife leaving, I graciously played the “women can’t take care of a man if the man no longer has money” card and just like that hook line and sinker, my little brother went home and now the family was sympathetic with me.
A few days after my brother returned home, I received two months’ rent money but I had to promise my mum that I would talk to my doctor and get medication that had less adverse side effects and go back to work. So what was my situation? Jobless, separated, lonely, sad maybe, but neatly liquid.
I never paid the outstanding rent. I did however have a genius plan, escape without paying what I owed, leave what I didn’t really need for the landlord to salvage, stay with a friend for sometime then figure things out later. I can remember sneaking out late at night a week after receiving the money and feeling really brave. At the back of my mind, I was laughing at the landlord thinking of how foolish she would feel when she realized that I was no longer returning.
I think that the worst part of being an addict is that your world revolves around your next fix. I moved in with a lady friend I had met during my dark corners escapades, and she had a lot of friends who were always loaded. I loved the parties she would host, they were fun. Here, I was introduced to bhang, alcohol and cocaine but I liked alcohol better.
My first few experiences with combining alcohol and the pain killers were horrendous! But soon I acquired the feel of things. I think I was out most of the time, I would eat once in a while, I didn’t need the sun that often, I didn’t even need money! I could always find something to get me high around that house. I was numb from day break till dawn. Here, no one questioned me about anything; no one cared that I couldn’t keep my wife, or the job. All we cared about was getting high, then higher than the last time.
So when I woke up in a bed, not sure I knew where I was, what day it was or why my body felt all beat up, I couldn’t put a finger on what was happening. I couldn’t help but sweat a river. Turns out, I had been in hospital for a month! Three weeks in a coma and one week in treatment with the nurses trying to find out who I was or where I was from. This was a really sad moment in my life, how did I get here? I should have known better, made better choices, and had better control.
It took me three days to remember my wife’s and mother’s phone number. My family showed up the next day in hospital and I prayed for the ground to just suck and hide me forever. My family had tried to look for me for two months, no one knew where I was and they had feared for the worse. My mum gave me a picture of me and my wife that had been taken before this whole fiasco began and I cried like a baby.
It took me two weeks after discharge and transfer to rehab for my senses to comeback. As I begin my program my goals are to get past my addiction, repair my relationship with my family, and maintain my sobriety.