Learned an important lesson on how powerful this disease

  1. I have a newfound respect (even though I've always regarded this disease as progressive and deadly) for addiction after last week. I had to have surgery on my mouth and when I had this procedure before, I always went home with a bottle full of vicodin, then called in for a refill because "I was still in pain". So this time around, I was bound and determined (aha, Lesson #1 - not letting go and turning it over!) to do this like a "perfect sober person" (Lesson #2 - I don't believe there are any "perfect" sober people....but I am a perfect addict!). First, I planned on just having local anesthetic used to numb my mouth instead of conscious sedation (mix of fentanyl and versed) and go home with 800mg ibuprofen. I was so terrified (Lesson #3 - fear....letting my fear steer my decisions) of waking up the receptors in my brain (opiates were much my #1 drug of choice) that I thought I should stay away from all things narcotic. But when I realized I kept canceling the appointment because I was terrified to have it with only local anesthetic, I consulted with my Aftercare group, my sponsor, and my LADC, who all said to have the conscious sedation...."check your motives" was the phrase I heard quite a few times.

    So I called up my periodontist and told him I wanted to have the conscious sedation but "no way am I going home with narcotics" (he knows my history). I get to my appointment and before he starts, I ask him for the ibuprofen prescription and TWO vicodin, in case the pain is too severe for the ibuprofen (Lesson #4 - trying to control and play doctor). I have the procedure, go home, take my ibuprofen and when that doesn't do diddly, I ask my husband for 1/2 vicodin after asking my LADC "how much pain do I have to be in before I can take a pill?" and he answers "take 1 pill now and see what tomorrow brings" (Lesson #5 - listen to AND follow instructions....take meds as directed and not 1/2). Because what happened was the receptors all woke up and were screaming for more opiates, but 1/2 a vicodin didn't touch the pain. I ended up being crazy for a week, isolating myself, and being miserable. Luckily, I pulled my head out of my butt and started talking to everyone about how my head was feeling, etc. I was horrified and really surprised at the speed all those crazy thoughts, obsessions, and cravings came back. I guess I thought I was "different" and almost 3 years without having those cravings and feelings made me feel like "I got it". Thank God I didn't have to change my sobriety date but it proved to me that this disease just lies in wait. And that old timers who talk about craving a drink or a drug are serious when they say they think about it from time to time or it will just come back in a flash. They aren't kidding.

    I'm having an MRI on my knee for what I think is a torn meniscus and I may need surgery. So the lessons I learned from this last minor surgery will be going with me on the next procedure. I will let go of control, not play doctor, allow the surgeon to prescribe what he normally would for anybody (going home with those 2 vicodin put me in fear.....the fear that I only had 2 and what if my pain was worse, etc.) and then give the RX to my husband. I will have my sponsor over to the house post op and involve my LADC and other support in my recovery from surgery. I will not take the meds as "I" directed, but as the doctor directed, and step up my meetings. I will talk, talk, talk about what my head is thinking. I have gone to about 7 meetings over the past 5 days and my head has cleared up....a LOT. Those cravings that were so insanely strong last week are just about gone and I'm not obsessing over the pain meds. I guess I just wanted to share in the event it may help someone else who might go through something like this at some point in their recovery.

    I have been very blessed to not have the cravings for as long as I did, but last week was also a blessing. Because now I know how quickly those feelings can return and how fast I return to "old behavior"! I also learned how much I don't like to turn things over to my Higher Power and what the end result can be. It was very uncomfortable and saying "I got it" had the opposite effect....I had nothing, except for insanity. And that's not something I really enjoy these days
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    About LilRedRN1973

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 1,163; Likes: 460
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in ICU, psych, corrections


  3. by   jackstem
    Thanks for sharing your experience, strength, and hope in dealing with your fears. There are numerous methods of dealing with procedural and post procedural pain in those with this loust disease. Having a plan and actually using the plan can prevent much of the fear and suffering we go through when facing surgery.

    As I've said before, if we don't understand this disease we base our decisions on Myth, Misbelief, and Misinformation (the 3 M's of Poor Addiction Management).

    Glad you're doing well.