Prescription Addiction

Today Mandy K. joins us on The SHAIR Podcast. Mandy is part of the SHAIR private Facebook network.

She was first given painkillers for her severe migraines and fell immediately in love with them. This lead her to doctor shopping, taking dangerous combinations of pills, and being so desperate she would drink NyQuil to get through work.

After multiple attempts to quit, she finally found recovery. Mandy still suffers from severe migraines, but now deals with them clean and sober.

How to recover from painkillers when you’re in pain?

Listen to Mandy’s story now!

CLEAN DATE: April 5th, 2007

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Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!

Daily Routine and Spiritual Connection

Mandy gets up at 7:30 am and gets ready for work. Mandy owns her own business taking photographs for car sales and first she makes sure her employee has everything he needs for the day. Before she leaves the house, she says a prayer and does a some meditation. Mandy works outside most of the day, then she comes home to work on her computer. She says a prayer before dinner and before bed.

I figure I can’t pray too much.

Mandy tries to go to a meeting a day. She will even go at lunch if she can. She also regularly reads AA literature as part of her recovery routine.

The First Time

There wasn’t much alcohol in the house when she was growing up, so the first time she used she was 20 years old. Mandy has had depression and migraines ever since she was 5 or 6 years old. When she moved out and got her own place, she went to the doctor for her migraines. He prescribed her Hydrocodone. She thought she found a miracle, the answer she was looking for her whole life.

I thought it was awesome.

She fell in love with the pills instantly and went looking for more. Before long, she was stealing prescriptions from friends and family. She was handing doctors cash for pills. She was meeting seedy people outside work to make her deals.

She was still in the denial. These pills were medication she needed for her headaches and depression. In the meantime, her anxiety got worse. She started using Xanax and drinking with it to drown the anxiety out. She was now married and had a good job that involved a lot of travel. She and her husband were able to afford a nice house and nice cars. But the job was high-stress and it caused her to use and drink in order to cope. She wanted to quit her job, but knew she couldn’t support her habit unless she kept working there.

Her husband and family didn’t know. Then she started having physical problems. She didn’t know they were connected with her using. She went to more doctors who treated her with drugs for bipolar and more. She was also diagnosed with Crohn’s. She went to the doctor’s office to get infusions every two weeks. They gave her more hydrocodone and then fentanyl patches. She took these along with twelve other drugs. She was a wreck – emotional and suicidal. One day she found herself lying on the sidewalk staring up into the sky. She told God she was tired and didn’t want to do it anymore.

But she kept doing it.

Once she got pulled over by a cop. He asked her where she lived. She couldn’t remember her own neighborhood. Her mind was completely blank. The cop tailed her to her house. She started bawling on him. She hoped he’d arrest her.

I just wanted someone out there to help me, and if it meant getting arrested I would do it.

Her family forced her to detox several times. They made her do it cold turkey at home with no medical supervision. Mandy endured horrific pain and seizures. She would make it through, but she always went back to the drugs.

That good feeling I used to have was totally gone, but I was still searching for it.

Then one night when she was driving home, she rear-ended another car. The rescue team had to cut her door off and bring her to the hospital. She told the hospital staff that she wasn’t using and that her head hurt from the accident. They gave her more painkillers.

I was like, ‘this really worked out!’

Her car was totaled. She could have killed the other people, but she didn’t think about that at the time.

Her family decided to detox her again in a treatment center. After three days, she had to go to meetings. Mandy was finally able to listen, and for the first time in her life she thought, “there are other people out there like me fighting like this. There might be hope.” It was the biggest relief she ever had.

When she left treatment, she thought about her job. She knew it would make her use again and that if she used, she would die. She gathered her things, put them on her boss’s desk, and walked out. She and her husband sold their home, traded in their cars, and moved into a little condo. She had to trust in God that it was going to be okay.

My lifestyle’s different now, but I’m actually happy.

What kept Mandy from getting clean?

I wasn’t sure that I had a problem.

She associated addiction with stories of arrest, prison, and prostitution. She hadn’t done anything like that.

The aha moment

Her aha moment was at that first AA meeting when she realized there was hope.

Favorite book

Drop the Rock is her favorite book, which she is reading for a second time right now.

You always find something new when you reread it.

Best suggestion

Let go and let god.

This was so simple to Mandy, but it was huge.

Suggestion to Newcomers

When you first start going, and you’re comparing yourself, look for the similarities not the differences in your story. That’s where you’re going to learn.

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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.