Before I get cranked up on Part 2, let me mention something. Addiction is NOT bias. It can sink its venomous fangs into anyone, and its mission is to take you out. My heart aches for those suffering this disease. Especially those who are desperate to fight their way out from under it. Addiction puts up a relentless fight and it fights dirty.
I consider myself one of the lucky one’s who, so far, has survived the fight of prescription pain killer addiction. I say, “so far” because sobriety doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods, and safe. Addiction is always ready and waiting to strike again, and it could be right around the corner….you just don’t know which one.
OKAY! HERE’S PART 2, DAMMIT!
The doctor shopping, pharmacy shopping, and drug seeking is done by addicts. The sober ones don’t do any of this. So why is there so much focus on stopping the shopping and seeking, and not addiction prevention?
Why wait until someone is addicted?!
There’s a serious issue going on, and nobody is talking about it. Pain is being treated instead of what’s causing the pain, way too often. Doctors everywhere are fine with using pain medication as a long term treatment plan for pain. ANYONE on pain killers long enough, WILL become addicted.
Here’s my story, for example…
I had classic symptoms of several ruptured discs that were crushing nerves throughout my spine. I also had MRI’s proving this. I can’t explain the pain I was dealing with. I’ll just say, my legs felt like they were being crushed. I saw doctor after doctor for help correcting the obvious reasons I was in so much pain. I would hand them my MRI’s and they’d take a look, and I’d hear the same thing from each one of them. “You’re too young for these types of problems. What you’re complaining of just doesn’t happen to people your age.” Then I was handed a prescription.
Sure, the pain pills felt nice. Not giving much of a damn about anything for a few hours was pretty kick ass. Not only was my pain numbed, but so was my mind. I could finally sleep a few hours without waking up from leg and back pain, too. I was able to get things done a bit better as long as I took my pain killers.
This awesome feeling is extremely temporary. The pain numbing, and euphoria starts to weaken as the body builds up a tolerance. So, what does that mean? It means the pain comes back. And, it comes back because the source of the pain was never addressed.
When my crushed leg sensations came back, I was sent to pain management. The beast of all pain medications were prescribed as long as I wizzed in a cup for drug testing. I’d become tolerant of one medication, then put on another. Then another.
I was absolutely miserable and I hated my life so I took the bull by the horns and made my own appointments, this time with local neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. I didn’t bother going back to doctors for a referral. I already tried that route, remember?
The surgeons would take a look at my MRI films and they’d acknowledge my obvious reasons for pain. More refusals to fix the problem, but more than happy to send me back to pain management.
As long as my back issues weren’t fixed, I’d stay in pain. As long as I was in pain, I’d be back to see my pain specialist. As long as I was addicted, I’d be back to see my pain specialist. WHY IS THIS OKAY?!?!?
Masking the pain needs to stop being the focus! The reason for the pain needs to be the focus and treated.
(Yes, I know there is such a thing as there being nothing to fix on some people. I’m not an idiot. A war hero with his legs blown completely off, will suffer pain, both mentally and physically, for the rest of his life. My heart breaks that their pain is forever. There’s nothing to fix to stop their pain. I’m actually brought to tears over this. Their choices are to either endure the revolving door of pain management and addiction, or refuse the pain killers and suffer anyway. Someone like me with a condition that can be treated, shouldn’t be lumped in with this situation, by any means.)
(I was finally blessed with a surgeon who didn’t refuse to help me. He was actually excited to help me. He wasn’t local. My spine ended up being much worse than what the MRI’s showed. I’ve been without pain killers for over a year. The weaning off of the pain killers was brutal, to say the least. I have limited mobility, and there’s things I just can’t do anymore…but, I have my legs back, and my sobriety back…and really cool titanium scaffolding in my back. I wonder where I’d be now had I continued to just mask the pain?…)