If you are struggling with prescription drug addiction then you may be wondering how you can ever escape from the cycle that you are caught in. Every time that you try to walk away from the pills you go through terrible withdrawals that drive you crazy, to the point that you are driven to seek out more medication in order to get rid of the terrible withdrawal symptoms.
Eventually you go overboard and take more than you want, lose control, or suffer heavy consequences due to your using. At that point you feel shame, remorse, and regret, so the cycle starts all over again as you attempt to ditch the pills again. You are trapped in a cycle and you do not know how to break free from it.
Nearly everyone in today’s culture is aware of inpatient drug rehab, the kind that lasts for 28 days typically. We all know about such places and we all have an idea of what such an experience means to us.
Whatever your mental image of rehab is, and whatever the profile of the person who is typically going to rehab is, that is the stigma in your mind of what it means to attend rehab.
Most of us think of this in a negative way. We think that rehab is beneath us for various reasons. “That must be for people who have no self control, no willpower at all.” Or we think “Rehab must be for people who are completely homeless and without any resources, people who live in the streets.” We have a negative view of the process and we are afraid of it as a result. We believe that if we go to rehab then we must be the kind of person who is beneath everyone, someone who is morally bad, someone who is hopeless.
Obviously, the solution is clear enough here: You need to break through this stigma in your mind and give yourself a chance to heal your life.
If you cannot overcome prescription drug addiction on your own, then you need help in order to do so.
Think about that for a moment: If you could quit the pills you would have done so by now, right? They are ruining your life and you know it. So if you could walk away from them then you would. Simple as that.
If your brain is telling you the excuse that “You just don’t want to quit right now” then that is denial. You are in denial because there all sorts of negative consequences pilling up in your life, yet you continue to abuse the medication. Any rational person would take note of all the negative consequences and realize that they need to quit, and therefore they would simply do so. If you cannot simply quit and walk away then you have a serious problem. This is addiction. You are telling yourself that you could stop if you wanted to, but you just don’t want to. The truth is that your life is a mess and anyone in your position would want to be free from the drugs. You are lying to yourself, and this is denial.
How do you break free from the denial? How do you move past it? My suggestion for doing so is to start keeping a written journal. This is a rare suggestion for a drug addict to adopt, because it helps to expose their denial and it shows them the truth. In other words, if a person in denial starts writing in a journal every day, and they write down their real feelings, then over time they will look back at this journal and realize the full extent of their misery.
Their brain has been lying to them all along, telling them that the prescription drugs are the solution, that their medicine fixes everything and that it makes them happy. Their brain has been telling them that they are only truly happy when they are high on pills. The truth is that they are miserable, and they have been miserable for a long time, and the pills are not helping at all any more.
The illusion of denial is all based on the fact that, in the beginning, taking the pills actually was a lot of fun. That part is true. This is why the denial exists–because at one time, the pills worked like magic and they really did fix almost everything in the person’s life.
The problem is that as their addiction progressed and their tolerance increased, the pills became less and less effective at making them happy. Yet the person, for some reason, clung to the idea that the pills were magic and that they fixed everything in their life and gave them the ultimate happiness.
Hence, denial. So before the person can escape from this particular trap they have to move past the idea that their pills can make them happy in the long run. They have to wake up and realize just how miserable they really are, and they have to get a glimpse into the future to see that it is never going to change, that they are never really going to be happy on the pills. This moment of clarity cannot really be forced; it has to happen naturally. When it does, the person will surrender and agree to seek help. Again, I believe that if a struggling addict writes down their honest feelings every day in a journal that this will move them closer to the point of surrender more quickly, but the willingness to do such an exercise is likely to be lacking. The whole point of denial is that we want to avoid the truth, and writing our honest feelings down every day exposes that truth to us. So most addicts will want to avoid this exercise.
Once the person surrenders completely, going to inpatient treatment is the single best course of action. Getting past the stigma is not a big problem if the person has truly reached a point of surrender. Once you hit rock bottom then you become less concerned about everything, including what other people think of you. So going to treatment becomes less of a big deal because suddenly the person has broken through their denial and they realize that their life is completely miserable and chaotic in their addiction. At this realization a struggling addict becomes willing to do just about anything in order to avoid the misery and pain of their addiction.
Most of us started taking prescription drugs for a reason, so you might have concerns about chronic pain or anxiety when you finally get clean and sober. Will you suffer with these conditions because you can no longer medicate them in recovery? This is certainly a valid concern for anyone hooked on prescription drugs.
The truth is, there are alternatives for both pain and anxiety that do not involve addictive medications. What has to happen though is that you need to get fully detoxified first so that you can get back to a baseline. Then you can explore the options of treating those conditions with non addictive solutions. If a doctor is not willing to explore those alternatives then you may just need to seek out a doctor who is more experienced in dealing with recovering addicts. Having the right attitude is critical in this case, as you cannot expect the alternative solutions to work like magic right away, and you may need to combine multiple solutions in order to get the results that you want. Good luck!