Burying Myself Alive

dead artist

You know you are an alcoholic when you cough with the simultaneous pull of the tab or twist of the cap to cover the sound.  Opening a beer can be intensely stressful when doing it in secret.  Well, you think it’s a secret anyway.  Who am I fooling?  I suppose that would fall under the same category as turning on the kitchen sink in order to guzzle a beer, then rattling some dishes in the dishwasher as I dispose of the evidence, all while hiding behind the large pillar about 2 feet in circumference that is supposedly protecting me from judgmental glares and questioning eyes in the living room.  And when the living room is empty, that is the best time to reach into the cupboard for a shot glass and the half gallon glass bottle of tequila. Trying not to make too much noise as I lift it back and forth a foot over my head, because it sits in the most inconvenient place in the kitchen.  My heart never fails to beat as though it’s going to shoot right out of chest when I scramble to rinse out and dry the shot shot glass and place the bottle back exactly as I found it (not easy as I am not tall enough to even see fully where it sits, but rather feel). And let’s not forget fighting off the grimace off my face that would surely give away just swallowing a few ounces of Quervo sans salt or lime.  Maybe my family would not be alarmed at this. But it’s not even 2 pm.   I often start drinking before noon. At this point (the tequila raid) I have either depleted my beer stash or I am trying desperately to stay sober and just lost the fight.  They have to know I am an alcoholic, don’t they?  I have been told my drinking is not a secret, “Everyone knows when you’re drunk.”   Now that’s embarrassing.  Maybe I am just paranoid?

This is addiction.  It is shame in its purest form.

This cycle of shame and drinking continue like two people playing frog hop. Some people would argue that addiction is a choice.  I strongly disagree. Sure, I can choose to pick up that first drink.  That was true when I had my first drink at the age of 14. You see, we have a switch in the back of our brain.  Healthy people drink or use and the switch is not triggered.  They can leave a glass of wine on the table and walk away.  What?  Addicts such as myself, first, find that crazy behavior, and secondly, upon taking that first drink, without knowing, turn that switch on causing a euphoric feeling.  From that moment, every drink and every drug are like a lifeline, a means to an end, the only way we know to feel good.  This progresses like any other disease, in turn, becoming less and less of a choice.

In the last year, my alcoholism has become less of a choice and more of a sickness.  Alcohol acts as a medicine while at the same time being a poison.  My body requires it.  Even though it has made me sick, I will become sick without it.  At this point I am drinking to maintain a steady wellness.  Like a heroin addict needs “just enough”  to avoid dope sickness or withdrawal.  So until I get medical intervention or build up enough will power to slowly cut back and eventually stop, I will need to keep drinking “just enough” in order to not get violently ill.

I want to insert here that alcohol was the first drug I tried 25 years ago.  That is what flipped the switch.  Although I felt sick after 3 beers, it was too late.  I never looked back.  I found what I had been looking for, something to numb the pain of life and keep the outside world just that…outside.  Alcohol, surprisingly, is not my drug of choice.  Opiates have always been my love.  The first time I felt the overwhelming feeling of floating soothe my body, I knew I wanted to hold that feeling forever.  Crack shattered my ambitions and wrecked my life in so many ways  That drug has caused me significant and life altering grief and trauma.  But I could walk away. I have never looked back. I do not have any desire to use crack.  I have used meth, ecstasy, LSD, weed, and probably other drugs I cannot remember.  Pain pills, however, still call my name.  Those, are the prison I cannot walk away. I am on day 2 of detoxing from Vicodin.  I have been through this so many times.  God, I hope this is the last.  I cannot just walk into the local grocery store and buy Oxycontin.  I wish I could.  I have said countless times, “If I could have 2 Vicodin a day for the rest of my life I would be happy.” Then I would never have to detox.   Alcohol, on the other hand, I can attain anywhere.  So aside from locking myself in the house and hiding the car keys, I will always have access to alcohol. Alcoholics and food addicts have it the worst. It is always available.

Alcohol makes me hungry so I gain weight.  I stopped exercising because I drink so much, I don’t think I could run a block without falling over.  A year ago I completed a 12 mile obstacle course.  Named the most difficult obstacle course in the world, developed by the Military. What an accomplishment.  I felt so good!  I signed up for this year’s run, which is next month.  I am in no shape mentally or physically to go through with it.  I’ll get to that place again.  I have to get there.  If I give up on myself and give in to this disease I will slowly die, like I am doing now.  I will always be an addict, but I can be in remission. It requires strength.  Inner strength.  I do not feel it, but it must be down there inside of me somewhere, right?

Alcohol also changes my personality.  It never used to in a negative way, but my chemistry has changed.  I am on medication for Bipolar,  major depressive disorder and anxiety, so I should not be drinking at all.  I think the Lithium has changed the way alcohol affects me.  I never used to become angry.  I was always a happy drunk.  I could drink all of my friends under the table.  Now, I get sad and depressed after too much,  and when confronted about how much I drank or told I should stop, I get pissed.  I am not proud of that.  I feel bad the next day, given I remember acting that way.  One thing at a time.  Let’s get these Opiates out of my system, then I’ll start cutting back on the alcohol.  My doctor said with the amount of alcohol I am consuming daily, it would not be wise to stop while detoxing from pills.  That could be more dangerous than the Opiate withdrawal.  I do not have a green light to get drunk everyday, however, I need to maintain a certain level of alcohol in my system to not send my body into shock.

I am a few months into my 39th year in this world.  I am not sure I have found my place.  Like a puppy finds its comfy nook to call home for the night. He spins around a few times, plops down, nuzzles until it feels right, and lets out a sigh… yea, that’s the spot.  Is this what life is supposed to feel like?  Or are we intended to squirm and wrestle with our goals until we die?  What if we don’t have goals, know what they are, or cannot keep up with them because they keep changing?  I am as unconvinced with any theory and as confused by how I ended up here and what path to take as I was 20 years ago.

hope clark writing image

I know I have a tragedy to sift through.  My aspiration is to relay it to you.  If my only accomplishment in life is purging my experiences into a series of words, I will be complete. My story cannot remain here in front of me, trapped in a keyboard, bound by my lack of technological genius.  Memoirs just don’t write themselves.  I am sure it come in its own time.  I have more living to do.  I will not push the process.  My story is in a million little pieces.  Every piece completely different, yet somehow tied together with a common thread.  And, coincidentally, I cannot sew.

I have battled addiction since my adolescence.  There are peaks and valleys to my romance with substances.  I love being high.  I mourn my drugs when they are gone, or when I am forced to abandon them.  It is the strongest pull I have ever felt in my life.  I imagine an astronaut falling, bracing for the inevitable lack of oxygen, the absence of something so basic, yet so crucial.  That is how I feel when I am addicted and am being forced to stop.  I do not want to stop.  But I must.  I have a family who needs me.  They express their need for me.  I am sure they would be fine without me, except the missing me part.  But, I don’t do much anymore except occupy space.  I am available for a hug and I can fix a bowl of cereal.  My girlfriend takes care of the rest.

So, that circle I just drew for you?  Ya, it shocks me too.  I am sick, I need help, I don’t want the help because I like to numb my feelings, and getting better is a painful process, I begrudgingly stop using in order to be a present and functional mother.  I love my kids, but I feel too sick to be a good mom.  I know I am capable.  But I am, as always, afraid of failure.  I have been through Detox and treatment and suicide attempts so many times.  I do not know what it is inside of me that wants to drink and swallow pills.  Well, actually, I do.  I possess a vexation of spirit so strong, it binds me to the state of being sick.  Once I figure out how to manage my tragedy (keeping it to examine and filter, not disposing of it) I will discover a new way to deliver my life to you while not drinking and taking pain pills.

Some being keeps walking into my room, unlocking my shackles, and I snap the locks back together and yell, “Stay the fuck out!”

Many of the worlds greatest artists have not lived beyond the age of 30. We associate incomprehensible genius with eccentric insanity.  I think that is accurate. People who take chances and step outside the realm of what is seen as normal, accepted and comfortable are seen as crazy.  They are the individuals who break barriers and tear through boundaries.  Their souls, however, hold the most pain.  All that passion, when contained for too long without an appropriate outlet can cause one to feel misunderstood.  This leads to loneliness and frustration.  Imaging beating your fists against your head.  Imagine having a greatness inside of you which no one can comprehend.  A talented individual may be successful and seem normal on the outside when forced to mingle among the rest of us, but they feel like an outcast on the inside.  Possible even a failure.  They hurt.  And before anyone truly sees the signs of depression, they are no longer with us.  And we ask  “How could she take her own life, she seemed so happy.”  Or “She was so successful, everyone loved her art, music, writing…”

kurt insanity art

Such a tragedy.  I recognize the pain I feel inside to be something similar.  I am not claiming to be a genius.  I am, however, claiming to feel misunderstood.  To feel trapped in my own body. I have a story inside of me.  I am acutely aware of its power.  I sense a growing urgency to get it out of me. If I listen closely, I can hear another world inside my brain acting as a ticking bomb.  I believe this is the connection between drinking and my mental illness.  My past is haunting me in the way that it needs purging.  I am not ashamed of my past, I am grateful for it.

This triangle of the past, numbing the pain with alcohol, and being afraid of the future, is slowly causing me to feel insane in the way I described above.  My writing is my art and my outlet.  Whether my art is understood is irrelevant.  How I feel when I write, why I write, and what I write about is relevant.  People think it is so wonderful that I am writing . What a healing process this is for me.  That is accurate, however, it does not lessen my pain or take away the craziness in my head.  The insanity which screams at me so loud only I can hear it.  I may appear to be “getting better” on the outside, but am I really?

Maybe later, in hindsight,  being misunderstood by those around me will prove to have been a tolerable place to be trapped.  Because then, one day the audience I reach, as far as the ocean is wide,  will hear and read my art and “get” me, and everything will fit.  Sometimes thoughts and ideas which make no sense in that moment, fall into place like puzzle pieces in my head allowing me to visualize how those nonsensical ideas can become poetic and absolute in the future.

 

No Detox Beds, Going Cold Turkey

reaching for pills 

I have posted twice in the last week about my current situation in regards to needing a place to detox from opiates and alcohol.  I know for sure after multiple attempts at securing a bed that I am unable to attain one.  I have state insurance, for which I am grateful, however in situations such as these, it does not play nicely with an addict running out of pills in need of medical attention. I am unable to set bed date, as I have years before, because my insurance only covers specific illnesses.   If I were pregnant, I would be in a nice facility right now.  The place I detoxed at years ago allows my insurance, but only to pregnant women needing to come off drugs.  Well shit!  I’m not pregnant. So, for me, it’s the phone game of calling every day hoping that some addict has got up and walked out leaving an open spot for a caller like myself.  Not to mention, the line out the door of junkies hoping for the same bed as me. My chances aren’t good, even though they consider Opiate withdrawal
the highest priority. 

I have court tomorrow morning for the Hit and Run on Property charge. ( I drove drunk into 2 mailboxes 2 months ago.)   This is why I cannot sit, wait and call every day hoping for a bed. I have 3 Vicodin left.  I should be tapering down.  I have been, however, along with a Doctor’s appointment 3 hours after my court appearance, and random stops here and there, tomorrow is going to be a long day. I need to make sure I have at least 1 1/2 pills to sustain me.  

I am relieved that I get to see my doctor tomorrow while at the same time nervous.  I let her prescribe me the Hydrocodone without informing her of my addiction issues.  I should have been up front with her, but being a classic drug addict, I had my eye on the prize. This was not my intention, but in order not to interfere with my other mess of medication, Vicodin was my only option and I was in pain.  I am hoping she can give me something to help with the withdrawals.

If I beg, maybe she’ll try and get me into facility right then. Along with my mental issues, it’s just not fair to have “normal” people carry this burden of mine. I have kicked Heroin, Methadone, Oxycodone, all of it.  I never imagined 5 milligram hydrocodone would do this to me.  But it did.  Because I let it.  Because I am an addict.  And with this being an Opiate just like the rest, it’s going to be just as painful.  I can already feel it. And it hurts.  I’d rather give birth again!

withdrawal

 

In addition to the pills, I have been drinking 8 – 12 drinks a day.  I start as early as 11 am.  And I go all day an evening. I embarrass myself and my family I am sure.  That’s why I hide it.  I’m on my 4th drink, but no one saw the first 2.  I hide the evidence.  I have been buying the little 8oz cans of Mike’s Harder Lemonade.  They are easier to dispose and easy to guzzle.

So, all this being said, after tomorrow, the detox begins.  I sat down with my girlfriend.  I found a site online explaining Opiate withdrawal and how to endure it at home.  Of course, it is advised to not detox from Opiates at home, but this is what my situation has come down to.  The symptoms I may endure are listed for her to see. Being that I have done this before, I told her what I am most likely to experience out of the long list of maladies.  My girlfriend, her Aunt and Uncle, and my 2 kids will be here.  My girlfriend has never experienced anything like this before. Her Aunt is a little more sympathetic, however, I am embarrassed and ashamed doing this in her home, just being this way in general. Having to come clean about my addiction.  But it is what it is.  I know that no family is perfect, but dealing with mental illness and addiction is difficult, and I feel very alone. But everyone wants me healthy.  That’s the bottom line.  Hopefully I can tell my kids I have “the flu.”

So, tomorrow is court, doctor and errands.  Saturday the pain sets in.  Wish me luck.  If I am able to write, I will.   This could last 3-5 days, or 2 weeks.  My addiction changes as I get older.  I am scared.  

Thank you for being here for me. 

 

 

No Detox Beds?

Update as promised…

There are a lot of addicts around here!

Unfortunately, I have yet to be accepted into a detox facility.  Years ago, when I needed detox for alcohol and opiates, I had the privilege of top notch medical insurance.  I was placed at a facility which could give me an admittance date while coaching me on how to maintain until I got there. The nurses maintained frequent phone contact with me, ensuring my stability until I arrived.  

I currently have State Medical Insurance.  I have called 5 different detox centers. And I call every day when they tell me too.  It seems as though my only two options are County Detox centers and one city detox which is over an hour away. I am willing to travel there, however, they have not returned my call.

Ironically, I left a message with the Detox Facility I went to years ago out of desperation.  I knew they didn’t accept my insurance, but I requested a referral and some possible advice. 

Out of all the places I have called, That was my only returned call.  Given my desperation of course, I burst into tears as the woman I spoke with was so caring and helpful. She told me to keep trying,  not to give up calling the Detox Centers.  She also asked me if I had informed my doctor of my situation.  Good point.  I have been afraid. I accidentally on purpose failed to mention my past with addiction…. my love of pain pills.  I even managed to keep from her that I was taking opiate blockers until a few months ago.

I honestly had no idea 5 milligram Vicodin would do this to me.  I had legitimate back pain and took the prescription.  I take Lithium for my Bipolar Disorder, and I cannot mix any pain relievers with the exception of Tylenol with it, so Hydrocodone (Vicodin) was my only choice.  Some would have been up front with their doctor, but the addict in me wanted the pills.  

So, I called my Doctor and  explained what I was going through.  I told her I couldn’t get into a detox bed and I had only 2 pills left.  She refilled my prescription if I promised to keep my appointment we set.  I can’t believe she refilled it, but thank god she did.  I was starting to detox pretty hard.  In addition to this, I have been drinking heavily.  I guess one addiction feeds the other, on the other hand, one helps in the absence of the other.

Right now, I have enough Vicodin to get me through the weekend.  We have guests.  I didn’t want to either disappear or withdrawal in front of them.  I am attempting to keep my drinking under control, but I need to keep it in my system until I can get help.

This really sucks  It hurts and I am tired.  But I guess it’s my own fucking fault.  I can’t wait to get off this shit.  I want to be me again.  I need to be me again.  I miss me.

 

 

In Need of a Detox Bed

opiate withdrawal

PART 1

I am checking myself into a 3-5 day Detox facility. Hopefully today or tomorrow. I have 3 Vicodin left and am shaking from alcohol withdrawal. It’s 9:45 am on a Wednesday. I called this morning at 9:00 AM as instructed when I called last night. There are no beds available right now, but the attendant who answered the phone said to be persistent because people often decide to leave without warning.

I have been dancing with addiction and self destruction my entire adult life. I have been through detox before, once in a facility, and countless times on my own. I have been to a 28 day treatment center twice. In my opinion, those places do not work. For some, sure, there are always exceptions. Maybe I am the exception here. I know detox will give me a jumpstart. I need medical assistance for the opiate withdrawals. I need to be in a secured environment where I am unable to walk to the fridge and grab a beer or down some tequila.

I’ve been hiding in the bathroom to drink because noon is too early for anyone to see. I have been making extra trips to the recycle to dispose of evidence so at the end of the night it appears I have drank less than I actually have. I woke up in withdrawal this morning. I usually hold out as long as possible to take my Vicodin, but I needed it immediately. I feel a little better, but not well. This is comparable to kicking heroin or methadone, which I have done. I am scared, but being in a place with doctors and nurses will be better than at home. I may have no choice if I can’t get a bed. I just trying to keep myself ‘well’ right now so I don’t go into a painful withdrawal. No one here needs to see or hear that.

The last time I went to detox/ treatment was in 2007. My kids were 5 and 3. They thought mommy was “sick.” They were not affected in the same way they will be this time. That was a month long absence. This will only be 5 days. They are 11 and 9 and know that I am drunk much of the time, and they watch me take pills. My plan is to have everyone think I am going somewhere for mental health reasons. I am less ashamed of my of my mental health disorders than of my addictions. They are both shame based illnesses with attached negative stigmas, but for some reason my drug and alcohol abuse seems more like it’s my fault as well as more visible. For example, when I crashed my car into a mailbox post last month. I feel judged and embarrassed by that. I am not embarrassed about my Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar, PTSD, or Anxiety Disorder. (Unless I have a failed suicide attempt which has happened more times than I can remember… that probably trumps everything in regards to humiliation).
opiates

It’s 11:30 now. I am getting antsy. My back hurts from the low dose of Vicodin. But it’s not yet unbearable. When I am done writing I will most likely make up an excuse to go to the store. My girlfriend is the only one who knows what is happening with me right now. She is frustrated and irritated. She’s not mentally ill nor is she pained by any addictions except cigarettes. I quit smoking with ease 2 years ago. Funny how certain things affect everyone differently. In saying that, she kind of understands, but not really. She is tired of my “victim mentality.” She says I act like I am only one with problems this huge. Maybe I do. I don’t know. Also, she can no longer trust me because every promise I make, I break. Addicts will say anything in order to get what they want. We don’t think of the consequences in that moment. All that matters is the next drink or fix. So although she will see the alcohol I bring home, she will shake her head in disgust that I need it so early. And although I know she knows I have it, I will still retreat into a hiding place to guzzle a drink hoping no one finds me.

I really hope a bed opens soon. If not you may hear from me during my withdrawals at home. If so, I will write when I get home.

PART 2
This is something I wrote yesterday in a waiting room on a piece of scratch paper and I want to share it with you…

It has come to my attention that in my lifelong quest to self destruct, I have afflicted and continue to injure and knock down all those in my path. There is a picture in my mind of this. It looks like a little girl with a flowing dress, twirling around and around. She is innocent at first, like any little girl. As time passes, she slowly grows older, taller. With her arms outstretched, her dress reaches, breaking new boundaries as she spins with growing velocity. She feels heavy with experience and pain. Her momentum is so strong, it is unclear whether she cannot stop or simply won’t stop. But those she has loved and lost, she knows much of their pain was created by her. Those she loves at this moment are standing in her destructive path. She fears for them. She has been a whirlwind of self hatred so long, she is not sure she knows what love is, what it means, or how to show it. She does know that if she ever did love, she has fallen out of love with life and everyone in it.

twirling dress