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Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11)(Read 2388 times)
Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) on: September 21, 2011, 12:25:57 AM
On July 22, 2011 I celebrated my 5th consecutive year completely meth free. .



Many of you have known me for years now, and you have been around when I was at my worst.


I didn't know what in the world I was doing back then, all I knew was that I needed something desperately, and I didn't know what it was or where it was or who had it. I just knew I would die without it. The truth is, what I was looking for was inside me the whole time, but No One had ever taught me how to use it.


I grew up in a house where the parents were not only absent most of the time, but they were also emotionally unavailable when they were around. The parents fixed themselves steaks and potatoes and sat in front of the tv to eat while my oldest brother struggled at the age of 11 trying to make macaroni and cheese for himself, my other brother, myself, and my little sister. I grew up in a house where attention was only given to those who misbehaved, and so I regularly engaged in physical fights beginning in preschool. The parents in this house did not notice decent and good grades, but punished with a vengeance those who brought home detentions slips and failures. I learned, through negative reinforcement, that the only attention I would ever get was the kind that hurt. And thus began my life as a violent, angry, self harming, torrential crying, agonizingly love-sick, addict. 


I went to thirty-day inpatient rehab in March, 2005. I stayed clean for thirty-five days. In that thirty-five days I attended sixty-eight 12-step meetings, and got a temporary sponsor whom I called exactly zero times. I went back to my old ways of course, and I didn't notice how it had taken me ten years to become the gram-a-day user that I was before going into rehab, yet afterwards, I was back up to that in less than twenty-four hours. In that rehab center, they talked about the disease concept of addiction, they talked about the progression of addiction, they even talked about God and addiction. I wrote two pages on each of those, as well as two to three pages on every single idea and theory that the counselors at that rehab had for me. I wrote fifteen two-page essays, four five-page essays, thirty one-page daily inventory diary entries, and I filled out ninety three-times-per-day inventory questionnaires. That is approximately 200 pieces of paper, and maybe a hundred-thousand words, if you write small like I do. I put as much thought into each of these assignments as my fried brain would allow me. I truly tried to concentrate and apply myself when doing these assignments. Each week when I met with my individual case manager, she told me to stop using " flowery language. Only write the facts." But the facts were that I was still full of meth-aftereffects even a week after leaving detox. Two weeks after leaving detox, I was starving for real food, and alcohol. Then some of the other women there decided that I was all right and started talking to me. I forced myself to be nice and social. My anxiety was at an all time high and my buffer wasn't available. Every ten minutes I was swearing under my breath. I had no concept of coping with anxiety, I had spent my entire twenty-five years of life either stuffing my feelings and fears deep inside, or shoveling all the drugs I could get into myself so that I would pretend to be all right. 

After rehab was over, I got a ride 200 miles back home with an advocate for the rehab. I unlocked my door and stood frozen and still as I surveyed the landfill that was my house. I had left the place a disaster of party objects. Beer cans and bottles on every surface and on the floor. Empty whiskey, tequila, and vodka bottles everywhere. the trash can in the dining room was over filled and about another trash can's worth of garbage was all over the floor. The wall phone receiver sat on the floor, it's spiral cord slightly dangling from the base on the wall. The litter was almost nothing to the stench that had finally caught up with my nose. A putrid and almost fleshy scent wafted across my face when I turned my head to look into the master bedroom to my left, at the bottom of the stairs. I hadn't had any pets for a month before I left for rehab, and I was curious about why it smelled like a decaying animal in my house. After walking through the entire house, master bedroom and half bath, living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, basement, both bedrooms and the bathroom upstairs, I came to the only conclusion I could. That the enormous amount of garbage in the house must have been filled with decayed food along with all the cans and bottles. I mustered up all of my strength and bagged up every bit of trash I could, and after three hours I had to stop and go outside to breathe. 

I wasn't even embarrassed about this yet, I just wanted to stay busy because I had begun to massively crave speed. 

There was only one reason I agreed to go to rehab. I wasn't on probation or parole. I hadn't even ever been to jail before. The food stamp/medicaid caseworker noticed that I hadn't been following through with any of the appointments she had made for me and my kids for a six month period of time. She made appointments for me to see a therapist, following my recent separation from my abusive ex-husband, (which was more like a secret, silent running away) she had made WIC appointments for my three kids, she had made appointments for me to meet potential employers, and appointments for me to keep my housing representative up dated. I failed to make any of those appointments, and I failed to return all of her calls. 

One day, while I was taking a short hiatus from shooting dope and was snorting it instead, that case manager knocked on my door. I had several friends over and they had their little kids with them. All of our kids were playing in the bedrooms upstairs and all of the adults were mingling on the main floor. there wasn't a single sober adult there. I had obviously forgotten that I even had a case manager or I wouldn't have opened the door and exclaimed, "What you want Willis!!?" 

Consequently, the party was cleared out, the police didn't search my house, they only stood outside near their cars discussing the local gas station's coffee, or lack thereof. The case manager sat me down in the living room. She talked, I looked out through the screen door. She asked me questions and then answered them for herself as I wondered why my parents' truck had just pulled up outside. She babbled on and on and I couldn't understand a word she said through my hazy, amped up mind. she pulled out papers and told me to sign them, and as she handed me her pen I stood up and walked out on to the porch. My parents and the police were talking. My father had taken the two car seats out of my van and put them into his truck and my mother was buckling my two youngest kids into the car seats. My oldest kid was sitting between the car seats. What was happening? Those are my kids- I gave birth three times, why are they fastened into someone else's vehicle? My mind screamed, and I ran down the steps and over the lawn to where my parents were talking to the police. 

I could not comprehend anything that was said, my father's calm voice and insane riddled vocabulary mixed with my mother's banshee screams and the police officer's firm, law-abiding jargon. The only thing that remained sane, even though it was not the same, was my kids' faces, voices, eyes, cheeks, tears, cries, outstretched hands, wails, hearts, broken. 

4,3,2. My kids were not even big kids yet. Babies, still sleeping with momma every night. Still jumpy and nervous just like momma when someone knocked on the door, when a glass fell and shattered, when a voice was raised. These three had not yet had a chance to even begin to heal from the devastating domestic violence that we had escaped only eight months earlier. These three had only a clinging hope that momma was the only constant they had and that she would raise up and grow strong, wide wings upon which they would ride to safety. These three now, in one sudden and scary moment, had nothing.


I will forever remember the utter devastation I saw and felt in my children's eyes that day. The desperate cries and agonizing sobbing that replaced each of their distinct voices and laughter. The emptiness that crept into their smiles, even after I finished rehab and went back and finished again. That emptiness has taken five years to comprehend, and it may take the rest of my life to fully understand and try to replace with trust. 


Although I was conceived and brought up by shattered people, and lived the beginning of my life desperately and shattered myself, and even though I shattered my children on March 2, 2005, I am full-throttle on my way to being whole. And by making every effort to move forward, and by taking every opportunity to do the very best that I can, I will be whole, and I will be able to help my children become whole
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 12:27:12 AM
This was originally a part of ^that, but there is a 10,000 character limit for posts =]

I've learned a lot this year so far. I have learned that I do not have to be everything to Anyone. I can set boundaries and Stick To Them. I deserve to be respected, just as I respect myself and others. It really is possible to stand up for myself without coming across mean or rude. I learned that emotions are physiological responses to events either inside us or outside us, and we cannot control weather or not we have them. I learned that emotions do not last in the same intensity forever, and that I really can and do cope much better with my emotions. If someone said to me right this second, "Rachel, you are such a loser!" I know I would experience one or more emotions, one or more physical sensations, one or more thoughts, and one or more urges. I also know that I have a split second to choose how I will react. In that split second, I can choose to swing my fist at that person's face, I can choose to scream obscenities at them, I can choose to run away and hide, I can choose to hold my emotions in and stew in my misery. Or I can choose that, yes, I am feeling anger/embarrassment/fear/hurt, and yes, I am feeling my anxiety rising from the pit of my stomach, and yes, I am feeling the urge to fight back. All at the same time. So then, I have identified what I am feeling and thinking, and now I open my DBT folder and I read through all of my coping skills to see which one or ones fit my current dysregulation state. Then, I do something I have never actually done before This Year. I cope in a healthy way. I practice these skills so that I do not do/say anything that will make the situation worse. Sometimes I become so upset, so emotionally dysregulated that I need to call my therapist for coaching. And even though I am extremely upset, angry, hurt, suicidal, and even though I feel very intense urges to harm myself, to scream, of fight physically with someone, I explain to my therapist what has happened, how I feel, what I am thinking, and my therapist asks me what I think will help. Sometimes I don't know what will help, because my emotional mind has clouded my wise mind. Then my therapist will suggest things I can do to bring my emotion down. I pick one or two  skills to use, and then I do something I have never Ever done before. I Do What I Say I Will Do. I have to become willing to try what my therapist suggests. And I do.


I am happy to report that I have quality in my life now. I believe I will succeed at whatever I decide to do with my life, and I believe I will be able to focus on my goals now. DBT is Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It is different that traditional Cognitive Therapy. If you, or someone you know suffers with very intense, unstable emotions, interpersonal relationships, self harm/self mutilating, substance abuse, or any other criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Dysregulation Disorder, please research Dialectical Behavior Therapy.


I am living proof that people with Borderline really Can have hope, and really Can change.


So, there was my DBT plug. Shameless, I know, but sticking to the strict schedule of DBT is a part of why I was able to celebrate Five Years Off Drugs!
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 10:42:05 AM
Congrats on kicking the habit. I'm a firm advocate for trying out drugs but addiction - specifically harmful addiction - is definitely not cool. I'm quite thankful that I don't seem to have any problems with addiction. Although I've been accused of having an "addictive personality" by those who have spent time with me, it is definitely a mischaracterization of a simple love for experimenting. In hanging out with drug users, I find one common trait in most of those that do become addicts and that is a lack of pride/ego/self-respect and willpower.

There was a fascinating drug study done on baboons (I think it was baboons... maybe mandrils...) that I read about a few years back. The researchers had made some addictive drug readily available for them in order to examine alternative resource management within the group. The expectation was that the most powerful members of the group would develop addictions and that this would allow the lower-in-the-hierarchy monkeys to become dominant until they took over the drug supply. The results were quite the opposite. Although the most powerful monkeys did try the drugs they took only a dabbler's interest whereas the lower-tier monkeys gobbled drugs like some sacred ichor and eventually became addicted. The conclusion was that monkeys craved pleasure equally and that the higher-tier monkeys were producing their own dopamine at a better rate endogenously than lower-tier monkeys who had to turn to artificial means of pleasure.

To think, an endogenous source of pleasure... The dominant monkeys were high on life! Almost reason enough right there to make me start going to the gym and rounding up a harem.

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 02:06:36 PM
Good for you, yes it is possible. But You have to be vigilant over your cravings.

I went through a 12 month alcohol diversion program in 2002 and stayed straight AND sober for 7 years.
But I had heard all the horror stories of people who went back to their old ways and just had to find out for myself. I started out small with mainly one glass of scotch a few nights a week. This was actually pretty safe because my drink of choice is Malt Liquor. But it wasn't long before I was drinking beer again, a little more each day. Then I met up with an old army buddy and really the only thing we ever did together was drink. So things got much worse from there and I wound up with a DUI last year that depleted my resources. That still didn't stop me. I knew I had to cut back though because it was getting out of control, just not quite yet I told myself.

The police stopped me walking out of a store last week and made me take a ride home with them and said they could have busted me for public intoxication even though I only had a buzz at the time then he said he would be watching me closely.  I'm still on probation and technically am not allowed to drink at all.

Anyway, I've been sober for 7 days today. Yeah! Almost blew it yesterday after working in the sun for hours but decided to just go home and be with my kitties. I bought some ice cream on the way though. I guess that's sort of like trading one addiction for another.

I'm glad you're doing well, been a long road for all of us.
And where were you while the cat was away, making like a mouse?

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 04:16:18 PM
Thanks, both of you.
Doormouse, I watched a similar documentary, only with was just observation of different groups of primates and there were so many comparisons between humans and them. Actually, now that I think about it, the purpose of the study/observation was to learn about stress. And even though most people believe that the filthy rich people have no stress, and the poor people have all the stress, it's not exactly like that. Stress seemed to be equally distributed, with the not exactly poor, and not exactly rich taking the least beating from stress. And there were almost identical findings in the study.

Tru, I read your story about being approached by the fuzz. I thought it was ridiculous that they stopped you walking. And I think it's amazing when people are able to stop harmful behaviors. I know how fucking hard it is, to say, even quit smoking cigarettes.

I will admit, I was hard core addicted to meth. And coke. And heroine for a few years.

I was never really into alcohol. The bottles and  cans at my house when I returned from rehab were a slap-in-the-face-reality-check kind of thing. I had all sorts of people coming and going, and I needed to see that. They were from a three week long party-at-Rachel's-house adventure.

I do think there are people who can drink and/or use without it ruining their lives, I'm just not one of them.
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 06:53:16 PM
I know how fucking hard it is, to say, even quit smoking cigarettes.

Even cigarettes? Man, in my experience, cigs were waaaay harder to quit than booze, coke, or weed.
ever tried. ever failed. no matter. try again. fail again. fail better.

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 07:45:44 PM
I think everyone is different when it comes to quitting, or starting things.

I had an easier time getting and staying off heroin than anyone I know. But when it came to any upper, I felt like I was being asked to stop breathing, and run mile after mile.

Cigarettes were fucking hard for me to quit, for some reason people around me that quit successfully didn't seem to "suffer" nearly as much as I did... maybe that's why I worded that sentence the way I did.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 02:11:08 PM
I've heard from many people over the years that cigarettes are the hardest thing there is to quit. Not that most people even try. My dad quit when I was still really little but only after having two heart attacks.  My mom and sis never really had a warning of what was coming.

Although I've said this before, my sis and I had a running joke, she always said booze would kill me and I always came back with yeah and those cigarettes are going to kill you.

I won. Yeah ...

I attribute heavy cigarette smoking to both their deaths, my mom was in her forties and my sis was barely forty.  My dad was in his 60's but was in moderate to poor health most or all of my life that I can remember. There are other circumstances involved there though.
And where were you while the cat was away, making like a mouse?

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 12:52:40 PM
I previously quit smoking once for 17 months. Started back up again and smoked for 2 years. Then after a series of quit-attempts, that lasted for another year, I finally just asked my doctor for wellbutrin. I was taking that when I quit before, then the depression (original reason for the drug) went away and I stopped the med. So, I've been on the wellbutrin for about 7 months and I haven't smoked in 6.

The month before I started the med, my dad went in for a special stress test. Special, in this case, meant that he weighed too much for a treadmill stress-test. They injected some adrenaline-inducing stuff in his arm and then an hour later measured how his blood flow and pressure handled it. They found 4 arteries that each had AT LEAST 70% blockage..... He had to have 4 stints put in.
His diet and lack of activity had a lot to do with alla this, but he was a heavy smoker from age 16 until age 43.
His diet is literally meat, cheese, beer and starch. He weighs around 450. 

I desperately do not want that for myself. Fat laziness 'runs' in my family and so far I am the exception. My mom an sister are pretty heavy as well and all three of them are sedentary.

I spend as much time as possible with my kids- running and playing basketball and (mock)football and riding bikes because they live with my parents and sister and I am worried that my kids will become like them.

My youngest son asked me if he could "try" my cigarette in January this year..... That's what motivated me to quit. I am the only good example they will have from family. It's a long story.

It's sad that so many people stay unaware of what they are doing to themselves, even if it's mostly denial.

Life is short.
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 07:16:52 PM
My one year smoke free is coming up in three weeks or so. Don't miss it a bit.
No Nyarlathotep, no chaos...

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 01:06:54 PM
Sweet. Yeah I don't miss smoking.

I had a 'smoking dream' the other night. Similar to the 'using dreams' I had inthe first year or recovery only those dreams truly involved getting as fucked up as possible and believing I was in dope heaven. This 'smoking dream' was different- in it, I snatched someone's cigarette and went off into hiding and smoked it and then trodden pretend no one could tell that I had smoked. I was doused with that acrid cigarette stench an my mouth and nose tasted and smelled like ashtray... And I just kept pretending that I hadn't smoked.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #11 on: December 26, 2011, 05:48:35 PM

Quote from: bagman, 04-29-2002 04:35 PM
Haha I'm gonna get some punani soon ya fucks!

(='.'=) This is the signature bunny. He's hard-fucking-core!

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 11:45:32 PM

Yeah, I heard you were quite the Vapist ...
All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #13 on: January 02, 2012, 12:43:53 AM
He will suck on anything that comes close to his mouth. Or so I've heard.
And where were you while the cat was away, making like a mouse?

Re: Dissertation of an Addict Come Clean (7/25/11) Reply #14 on: January 02, 2012, 08:03:41 PM
That calls for an experiment. Let's gather loads of random objects that may or may not be attached to other objects in the form of appendages, and set them all in a row. Then, let's blindfold Dave, and you can hold each object, in turn, up to his mouth. I'll record data as we move down the line. And when all of the data has been compiled, and compared to the thesis that he will suck anything that comes close to his mouth. Then we'll have a scientifically proven answer.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
-Edgar Allan Poe

-Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn-