Sobah’s Bettah (and other life lessons in addiction recovery)

Addiction is a funny thing. You don’t wake up and decide “Hey, I think I’m going to start working on that addiction I’ve been meaning to pick up.” You don’t mean to hurt everyone around you as you sink deeper and deeper down into the addiction; especially your family and friends who only want the best for you. But sometimes, they can be really fucking stupid, yanno?

Hey, That Hurts

I’ve written in the past about my kidney stone diaries and the chronic pain associated with them. I was diagnosed in 2002 with Adult Polycystic Kidney Disease, which is a degenerative disease that will eventually cause complete renal failure as more and more of my kidney is consumed by cysts. I inherited this disease from my mother but I got the fun little side effect of kidney stones, on top of the disease itself. At first, I didn’t really need anything to manage the pain except when I was passing a stone. But as time has worn on and more and more of my kidney is destroyed, the pain has become a constant companion. And I’ve discovered I have a pretty high tolerance to pain but I have an equally quick drug intolerance; meaning it doesn’t take much before my body stops responding to medication meant to deaden the pain and I have to have a larger dose more frequently. I started out taking 800 mg of ibuprofen, then graduated to Vicodin, then morphine, and then finally, dilaudid.

Pain Management

By the time we moved from Massachusetts to Florida, I was already an addict but I had control of it (yeah, stop laughing). I still only really needed the heavy duty meds when I was actively kicking a stone but I started needing “something” in between stones. I didn’t recognize this as the first sign of addiction, despite being an ACOA; I just thought it was the natural progression of my disease. I didn’t recognize that I was no longer needing it just in times of pain but now it was all the time. It wasn’t quite necessary for my day to day but it was pretty close. And of course, because as we all know the Universe is universally, a cunt, I started passing kidney stones daily, sometimes as many as three a day. Yea … hold onto that feeling. Giving birth three times a day.

Crippled Addiction

Now keep in mind, while all of this is going on, I’m still suffering from insomnia so I’m taking pills for that plus the pills to keep me from stabbing everyone not currently passing a kidney stone within a five-mile radius. And all of this occurred before my anxiety and depression came to the party so, by the time January of 2017 rolled around, I was taking pills damn near constantly. I still didn’t see the addiction, I just saw the pain relief. But I was also seeing my income drop significantly and I was even more disorganized than normal. (and those of you that know me, know how bad that has to be). I was starting to see screw-ups, such as blown opportunities, and damaging my professional reputation. But I still needed the pills! I was still in pain … legitimate “Holy Christ Kill Me” pain. This is where our family and friends get difficult. They see me in pain, they encourage me to take something. But taking something is admitting defeat in my eyes and I’m not ready to do that yet.

Addiction Recovery

So here I am, two years later, and I’m trying like hell to claw my way out. I’m trying to find where my pain is controlled but I’m not doped out of my mind. I’ve started looking into alternatives but nothing kills the pain quite like the opiods. I’ve started using medical marijuana and it helps but the only strain I’ve found that works for me isn’t available in my state and holy mother of God, I had no idea marijuana was so goddamned expensive! I can get a thirty day supply of dilaudid for about $10 or I can blow $145 on vape oils and topical rubs every three weeks. I keep telling myself it’s worth it, because I’ll be back to myself and therefore able to work more and make the money. I don’t believe it yet, but I keep telling myself.

I have to keep telling myself. I have to believe I can do this. I can’t do anything about my disease or it’s progression. Hopefully I’ll be able to find something. I exercise, I changed my diet to a low oxalate, low sodium, low protein diet (yea, I know. Try to contain your jealousy), and I drink enough water to drown a fish.

Someday …


D. Jordan Padrona

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