I was reading my morning dose of blog posts from members here on WordPress that I follow. One that caught my eye discussed recovery and how it wasn’t a linear equation; that there wasn’t a map, so to speak, to guide you on your journey.
Although I can agree that sobriety and recovery isn’t always linear, it can be and has to be for some people in order to stay alive and live their best lives. There can be no error for some addictions and problems because the next time they use or partake in their problem could very well be the last time that they partake in anything in the physical life / world altogether.
This reminded me of my own sobriety. Two months and three days off of alcoholic substances. Just about three months off of marijuana. I will have nine months on the 14th of June in regard to gambling sobriety.
I know it’s not much, but I feel so good. I just finished my narcotic prescription last night so I am completely off addictive substances (these were prescribed to me for my recent foot surgery). It will be difficult to manage the intermittent pain levels and to be honest, I’m a little scared that I will need pain killers now that I can’t get anymore. I suppose I could ask for more, but I don’t want to risk being “drug seeking” and get banned from having narcotics in the future God forbid I need them in the future.
But I guess fear of going without is either addiction or some type of dependency to some extent. I have never considered myself to have a narcotic problem. I like to feel good because as a bipolar person, happiness happens very infrequently. But to have a synthetic “high” does feel good and feels more socially acceptable because it’s prescribed; I have a doctor’s blessing, so to speak.
I have mentioned this fact before, but in the past twelve years, I have had 8 major procedures or surgeries that have not required, but where narcotic use was suggested and recommended for afterwards. I think the hardest time I had was after my appendectomy and exploratory abdomen surgery when I was 17. I was on bedrest for a month and was on round the clock narcotic usage for about four months before they stopped prescribing these strong Norco altogether.
I went through withdrawal symptoms at then, eighteen years old from severe narcotics. I had not ever tried marijuana at the time so I just suffered. I thought I would be transferring problems had I switched over to weed for withdrawal symptoms. Which is technically true, but I would much rather have weed be a vice than narcotics be a problem forever in my life.
Three years later, I hadn’t touched narcotics since then. Until I broke my foot on the job. So in 2019, 2020, and now 2021, I have had three surgeries back to back just shy of three years. Narcotics were used for six weeks out for each surgery, including this one. I can tell my body has built up a tolerance to these pills because unless I have 10mg of Percocet and a whatever milligram anti nausea / sedative, these bad boys don’t phase me and even then, they don’t dull the pain much.
I also feel like living in the United States that if I were to ask my doctor for something stronger, I would be seen as “drug seeking”. Drug seeking is those who doctor shop, who lie or tell half lies to doctors to get scripts for narcotics that they may or may not need. I have a legitimate purpose for asking for medication, but since the war on drugs and opiates have evolved drastically in this country, the poor little Dani’s of the world suffer with lack of pain meds while severe addicts get what they want or dig deeper into harder drugs. Either way, it’s tragic.
So do I have a right to be scared about getting off narcotics? Yeah. But am I gonna start using other substances to cope with the lack thereof? No of course not. I might be cranky or more ouchy in the next three weeks, but I think I will be happy to get out of my cast here in nineteen days. I can then start working back on my core strength. I don’t know if any of you know this, but when you lay in bed all day every day on bed rest due to an injury or procedure like mine, your core strength is the first to go. I have trouble sitting and getting up because my core muscles are so weak. So the more I walk on my foot with my boot on, my gait is off because I’m over compensating for the weird wobble I have when I walk since the boot makes my leg lengths uneven. Standing and walking like this leads to severe lower lumbar back pain, but it all stems from the core and not working it out.
Back to the main topic that recovery isn’t linear. For me and gambling, it was going to end up being life or death had I not stopped when I did. I would be in so much debt and it would be ridiculous for me to climb out of that hole. I can’t imagine my life now if I didn’t quit back in September of 2020. I wouldn’t be going to university or have any friends or family in my life. That makes me sad to think about, but I need that reminder of my “why”; what I am fighting for.
However I could see me in the next few months or maybe next year would go back to drinking or smoking weed. But I recognize the dangers of both substances and would partake moderately. But I do have an addictive personality. My family doesn’t think it’s feasible for me to drink anymore, at all. But my dad is okay if I smoke weed for pain and sleep purposes. My friends, however, the people I drink with and in front of every time I have a drink, don’t think alcohol is an issue for me. I had a medical professional deem it’s not an issue for me, either weed nor alcohol.
But then again, I’m sober another day at least until July. I just don’t think I will have time for work and school and partying, so if I have to sacrifice one thing, it’s obviously the partying. I am at the point in my life that drugs and alcohol are not worth sacrificing my family or my grades over. Can I say sobriety isn’t linear? I say yes and no to that. However I do disagree with the lack of a map.
God has the master map, or the master rule book, or whatever you want to call “the plan”. He will not lead you astray and if you give into temptation, just know the God did, has, and will always provide a way to escape temptation to serve Him. Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant. However, it’s either you, Him, or both of you who are trying to control and take part of the map, but never neither of you. Even when you give up on your journey, God will never give up on you and He has the master keys. But I do want to say whenever I try to control my own destiny, it never works out very well. So I’m going to leave my jumble of mess up to God to sort through, gladly so.
I think that’s it for me and my bipolar rant.
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2 Comments Add yours
I agree for addictions it needs to be more linear then not for the reasons you described but in a mental health i feel it just can’t be as the brain has a mind of its own. You can’t abstain from your thoughts over time you can cope better but the thoughts are sometimes never ending.
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I do agree that sometimes the thoughts can be never-ending. I’ve been blessed to be in a good spot, mind-set wise that it’s hard to come to terms that bipolar isn’t always linear with recovery. You’re right when you say that you can only cope with your thoughts rather than abstain from them.