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Advice accepted and moving forward

Discussion in 'Detoxing From Pain Meds' started by hopespringseternal, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    On the wall of my Grandma's kitchen was a wood frame painted a gaudy metallic blue/silver with a poem by Henry Van Dyke. It wasn't stitched or done in fancy calligraphy; it was probably cut from an old calendar and stuck in the frame. I didn't understand it as a child.

    Time is...
    Too slow for those who wait,
    Too swift for those who fear,
    Too long for those who grieve,
    Too short for those who rejoice,
    But for those who love,
    Time is not.

    It's 21 days today, 3 weeks. I actually have to remind myself that it's only that. It seems an eternity.

    I've experienced the too long of grief more times than I'd like; right now I'm stuck on the too slow. But I have hope and faith it will continue to get better as long as I'm willing to wait for it. And I am willing.​
    Fox face likes this.
  2. Catamount

    Catamount Well-Known Member

    Hey Hope.....I pop on here every now and then to see if you post any updates to see how things are going with you. I hope this is a case of.....no news is good news. As for me.....for the past week my sciatic nerve has been really wreaking havoc on me. I get it every now and then, but it usually passes after a few days. Not the case yet....just hitting it with Ibuprofen for now.

    All my best....and still thinking of you,

  3. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry about the sciatic pain, Cat. That is no fun.

    Thanks for asking about me. I am two months out now, nearly 10 weeks --67 days; and I had to look at the calendar. I'm doing ok, I guess, although I had hoped it might be better. I'm not even sure that all I'm experiencing is related to quitting opiates an how much is me.

    I don't miss the foggy thinking, anxiety, etc. the pills caused. But I do miss the physical well being they provided. By that I don't mean any kind of high, but the absence of the morning stiffness, low level but constant joint pain and the impaired mobility. It's not that I forgot what chronic pain was like. I guess I thought that six months of pt and maintaining regular exercise that would be behind me. I bought into the pep talks of the therapist I worked with (who just happens to be 35-40 years younger.) It hasn't worked out that way. But on the positive side, the days of really bad pain, the heat pad and ice pack days when I'd buy anything a door-to-door drug dealer was peddling (and no, we don't have those here either, lol, just saying...), have been few. It makes it easier, because I've not wavered in my decision to stay off opiates. I have to be willing to take the bad for the good..and I'm not fooling myself in thinking it was all about pain.

    The worst thing I went through was depression that was worse than I've never experienced (beyond quitting antidepressnts.) It's getting better but I still have a way to go. I think lot has to do with dealing with feelings that I have suppressed over the years, especially the mistakes made with our son and his drug use. Some of those mistakes involved taking advice from the "experts" we trusted. But it is still is hard to accept. I am hoping Ill find foregiveness in time. There is also a lot of evidence now that ADs have the same brain changing effects that opiates and other drugs have and may be even longer lasting; and I was on them for 15 years. It is hard to accept that something I started taking for a foolish reason may have had a major impact on me. However, from all I have learned about the brain's plasticity and it's remarkable ability to heal, I refuse to accept any damage is permanent. I guess I have a little Pollyanna left in me.

    It's funny. When I quit smoking decades ago little was known about addiction and smoking was considered a bad habit. There was no internet or instant access to any subject. Anything you wanted to learn about a subject meant reading a book, information that might be outdated even as you read it. With time and adopting a positive attitude I got beyond smoking and lost the desire to ever go back. I had hoped for the same thing with opiates but I'm not sure that will ever live long enough for that to happen.

    This time I've read just about every theory there is about addiction. I can appreciate the differing points of view and have come to my own unique opinion. None of that really matters. It is still hard, there's no getting around that. Maybe time is the key.

    I do know one thing. I turned 67 yesterday. Every challenge physical, mental or emotional, is whole lot easier to face and accomplish at 27 than 67. With a lifetime ahead instead of behind you, with more to look forward to than things to regret, motivation and happiness are a lot easier to find. But it is what I need to do and I'm going to keep trying.

    We spent a beautiful weekend visiting the kids, going to a college football game and just enjoying each other's company. They are young and full of dreams about the future and what they hope to accomplish. They don't realize, but will, that what they already have is what is most important -- family and friends. People mean more than all the things in the world.

    Sleep is still more elusive than I expected. Maybe it's an age thing. I was up early as usual and watched the rain that started last night turn into snow at about six this morning and it's falling in huge, fluffy flakes. I remember the same thing happening last September. I was just beginning this journey back then and now I've come full circle. Back then, I always thought would be at the end of the process. I have come to realize I have only just started.
    Catamount likes this.
  4. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    Happy Birthday Hope!! I can't believe you have snow already! We've had a delay in getting our pool installed because of Hurricane Hermione or whatever it's name was... By the time it's finished winter will be here. I believe you hit the nail on the head. Time is the key! Thanks for the update!!
    Sorry about your sciatica Cat!
    Catamount and hopespringseternal like this.
  5. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    When I quit smoking I had regular dreams about it in which I actually felt the experience of inhaling and could physically feel the nicotine buzz. Early on, I'd awake and feel despondent and frustrated that I couldn't smoke. Surprisingly, they persisted for quite a few years on a less and less frequent basis. Eventually I'd awake from such a dream and think, wow, I'm glad that was just a dream and I didn't actually smoke. Gradually I stopped having them regularly; but even for years, out of the blue, I would get an occasional dream.

    I've always thought it odd I didn't dream about using opiates. It didn't happen the whole time I tapered or after I was off. Until now.

    In my dream I was in serious pain, which is unusual; I've had those dreams when you have an experience in which you think something really should hurt but doesn't. But in this case my left arm was numb and painful; my neck was stiff and hurt to the point I couldn't turn my head to the side. A friend brought over a bottle of about a dozen norco pills that she "had left over" from something and thought I'd be able to use. I remember really, really wanting to take one because I was in so much pain and I knew it would help. But another part of me thought, do I really want to go down that road again? My head is so clear and I sure don't want to go through withdrawal again. I was feeling very conflicted even as I stiffly started to pour the pills down the drain...and woke up. I was in a very awkward position with my arm under me and neck twisted, and you guessed it, in a lot of pain. I need to use my right hand to support my left arm, which was numb, just to get up. Twenty minutes later, after a hot pack and some gentle stretches, I was greatly relieved both of pain and that I had not taken any pills.

    I think it's safe to say I'm not craving opiates.

    I'll do a full and probably final update soon. I have circled today's date on my calendar even though there are no events or appointments written in. I have finally realized I circled that back in July. It's been 90 days.
  6. Catamount

    Catamount Well-Known Member

    Hey Hope....looks like the place went dormant when you stopped posting. I hope you are still doing well and I wish you and your family all the best for the holiday season.

    All my best!

  7. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the well wishes! I check in occasionally and see there is not a lot of activity. I'm almost six months totally off any opiates and have been planning one last update soon, just haven't gotten it done yet; there's so much to say and I can't seem to find the motivation to write. That's funny, I know, for someone who wrote volumes for months. The kids are here today and will stay through Christmas. I'm so happy to have them here.

    I have had a lot of struggles lately for many, many reasons. I guess getting off any substance is hard, but learning to live life without the "help" they provide is harder, I am finding. There is so much I don't understand, and probably a lot has more to do with me than anything I ever "took." But in spite of how easy it would be for me to justify use, I am not wavering on my commitment to deal with life without a chemical fix. Lol, things just don't seem to fall into place as easily as I planned, it seems! No one said it would be easy! More on this later.

    Have a very Merry Christmas and know that I do appreciate your kind message. It was exactly what I needed to hear tonight. You have been one of those who's been there for me from the beginning and I hope your Christmas as well is blessed with the love of family and friends.
  8. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    Merry Christmas guys!! This brought a smile to my face:) Congrats Hope!
    hopespringseternal likes this.
  9. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too Fox face, and Hope, and Cat! I'm hoping the board is going to be working again....
    Fox face and hopespringseternal like this.
  10. spring

    spring Administrator

    GREAT NEWS Hope! It was a long road for you but just look how far you have come!!
    Six months is huge. Congrats on your success!
  11. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to post an update. I was one year off opiates on July 8.

    It's been a long road. I've dealt with serious depression, some of which is related to delayed grief (due to opiates, of course.). There was some kind of weird stuff which has to do with long term antidepressants that's resolved and I won't get into that. I have a lot of fatigue which I really don't know if it's inflammatory from arthritis or psychological. But mostly it gets better daily. The summer, though fleeting, was good. It's supposed to snow today. Pain is always an issue. I get satisfaction with volunteer activities and family.

    I dealt with a serious episode of back pain last December that had me flat on my back on the floor with ice packs for 10 days. I got up only to walk about gingerly every hour. Just when I was about to give in and go begging to the doctor it got better. In the end I was proud that I was able to get through it and it helped to know I could get through it again. I have had lesser episodes but with a plan I get by. I have continued with a daily walking, stretches and strength training since the beginning.

    I had planned to post this in July but I started having knee pain that I hoped I would be beyond by now but am not. It keeps me awake at night and is hard to deal with. Ive thought of seeing my doctor for more PT, but I fear I'll find out I need a joint replacement. I know I could take a short course of pain meds and quit them again. The thing is I don't want to. I just don't want to have to go through it all again. So I do nothing except hope it gets better.

    It's funny how I've realized how much I've aged in 15 years. It creeped up on me after all those years that opiates made me feel invincible. I can't garden all day. I don't keep my house spotless. I've had to decide priorities and get realistic about what I can and can't accomplish. Yeah, I probably went overboard on the lazy side for awhile, but I'll find my balance eventually. It goes beyond pain. I miss just the feeling good part of pills. (Don't worry, I also remember the not so good parts even more.)

    I just read what I wrote and I think it doesn't sound too optimistic and I don't mean for it to be. If anyone currently using is reading this I don't want to sound like I have any regrets about deciding to give up opiates, because I don't. I don't know what "kind" of addict I am but I know I was addicted to the pills and won't go back to it.

    It really hard to explain all I'm feeling. I spent 15 years of my life taking pills that made me feel good and now I have to deal with pain -- and bad moods, bad memories -- life, really, without. I don't always know how to do it. I wouldn't have acknowledged it back in the beginning, but I believe I had this fantasy that life was going to be perfect when I accomplished this thing I set out to do-- get off the pills and reset life. A personal exercise plan would be enough to cope with pain. Creativity and accomplishment would provide all the euphoria it did in my younger years. In the beginning, healing to this point would have been a big disappointment to me. I have had to modify my goals as I go and adapt to reality rather than fantasy. Let's face it: sometimes you have to cut yourself a break and just chalk the day up to survival.

    It's hard for me to separate what are the effects of long term antidepressant use from opiates but it no longer matters. It all messes up your brain. I just know that I have no longer any desire to find answers to life's problems in any pill. I am learning to appreciate the "good" days for what they are: a good day, separate from the rest. I don't require a guarantee that the next day and all the rest of the days of my life will be the same.

    Everything everyone said is true. Getting off the pills is the easy part. It's going forward without them that is hard. I don't know why I can't go back to dealing with life the way I could when I was younger. I don't have all the answers but I know that eventually I'll find them within me. I most assuredly have no regrets.
  12. peacenik

    peacenik Administrator

    Great to hear from you Hope. And you are right, we can't go back to the way things were, can we? You know one of the most cathartic and important things I've learned happened when I went through a really painful time after over 10 years in recovery. I started to remember what it was really like when I was young.
    That's part of my story but I think you will find the answers within that you are looking for as well if you stay drug free. Best of luck Hope
  13. AumuA

    AumuA Well-Known Member

    Wow, hello Hope!

    It almost sounds like you're growing up a little, or something. ^_^

    If you're feeling malaise, you could always you know, get a sponsor and work some steps, go to meetings, work with other addicts, and carry the message. You probably won't do that, and that's ok, but really what do you have to lose? Your soul, your individuality? Don't worry, we don't ask for very much of your mind, just a small part ;).

    Anyways, it's good to hear from you, and your perspective is appreciated, warts and all. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on making it this far.
  14. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    LOL, your well wishes sometimes come across as a bit --condescending? -- sometimes! However, I still appreciate them.

    There are lots of reasons I won't go to "meetings" -- they're aren't any here is a start -- but it goes beyond that. Let's say philosphically it wouldn't be a good fit. I don't have all the answers, but I'm not giving up on finding them my way. More to come.
  15. AumuA

    AumuA Well-Known Member

    Yeah I know. I don't mean it that way, it just comes out that way sometimes. What I do mean is that it is good to hear from you, and I hope you keep posting!
    hopespringseternal likes this.
  16. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    I want to post a update on a current event and some insight based on the two responses to my last post.

    I had surgery on my knee. I didn’t want to, the idea terrified me actually. But I was getting more imobile daily. It was the easiest joint surgery I’ve had. A badly frayed meniscus, weakened MCL and mostly, a broken off bone fragment that was making walking impossible. I was on crutches briefly, took minimal pain meds less than two weeks and will need to wear an immobilizing brace for six weeks. I’m pretty much doing what I did before and have less pain than before. I was given dilaudid which I hated. It was unneccessarily strong and caused as much anxiety then it relieved. Still, I was amazed to find I did experience a mild withdrawal for a few days after pitching it. (What was my surgeon thinking in prescribing 84 dilaudid to an addict — for a meniscus repair? Does he not read!?) I am happy to have my clear head back and I realize I know longer have a desire to use these drugs. I don’t need, or have ever needed opioids for chronic pain. I probably had more pain as a young adult than now; and I never considered drugs beyond post op use.

    However, I have more work to do. I struggle with depression on an ongoing basis and I need to finally address it however I can. It will, however, be without drugs of any kind. Even if I didn’t end up being totally successful, I really will not go back to drugs. Depressed without drugs is better than depressed and using and all that goes with that.

    I think I have more inner strength than I have given myself credit for and I need to draw on that in whatever way I can. My resources are extremely limited (age/Medicare) and location (lack of Medicare approved counseling). I will do some research, consider group support and whatever I can find.

    Dave said something that resonated with me. I grew up in a traumatic childhood but surprisingly was resilient and remarkably optimistic that things would get better. By the time I was a teenager I no longer thought things would get better at home but I would leave and make things better for myself. What I failed to understand is that the baggage of childhood follows and it’s hard to know how to achieve that without help.

    I think I have always looked to something outside of myself to find comfort and relief from stress. In childhood it was food; I was a chubby teenager, in my mind fat. On my own I turned to smoking, which was better for my weight and self image, but was still a fix. Also, I denied my childhood entirely. When thoughts and memories intruded, I chased them away. It surfaced in other ways unfortunately which I did not realize at the time. I convinced myself that it wasn’t all that bad. I was lucky that in college I took a class in psychology in which we were assigned to observe group therapy. At the end of the class (which initially scared me to death) I decided it might help. I went to the counselor, ended up participating in a group. It wasn’t specifically for children of alcoholics/dysfunction, but we were allowed to focus on our own specific issues. It helped. Yeah, Dave I remembered how bad it was. I am actually amazed at how much happiness I was able to find in the childhood I had.

    I have also struggled between wanting to have a fix and the perfection self-demand that is very internalized. Hence, I gave up smoking shortly after I married. I’m sure I have written about that at length. Life for a number of years was good. When things go well it’s easier to cope without a fix. My husband had a similar background but emerged from it differently. He was more rigid with expectations from our children and it caused problems. He grew up with an alcoholic father who drank privately. His house was not chaos and he hated what he considered chaos from normal active boys. I was more of a marshmallow, afraid of becoming my parent. I won’t go into more except that our youngest began to have problems at age 11. We argued but never agreed. I reluctantly agreed to initiate the medications, antidepressants, eventually antipsychotics for our son that plunged us into the hell that led to his death at 19. He never need those meds which have now been demonstrated to cause suicide. We should have gone to counseling before instead of after the event that nearly destroyed our marriage.

    I think I’m currently grappling with issues that I should have eased by now. It’s been 14 years. I have numbed myself with ADs, opioids, not deliberately but the effect is the same, for so long I didn’t attempt to deal. It was just to easy to pretend that I was doing ok. It’s time to try to address these issues that have me stuck in grief. All the longing to get a chance to do things over will not make it happen. The guilt whispers to me relentlessly. I need to try to find a way to make peace with my past and mistakes and try to find some joy in what is left of my life, try to make my marriage better while I still can.

    Finally, Amuu, there’s more than the philosophical differences I have with 12steps, prayer, for why I don’t go to meetings (which I’ve discovered NA has started up, if they still are). At this point I don’t feel I have anything to offer anyone. I am empty. I feel as if more of my life has been a failure than a success. This I hope to change.

    But I have been off ADs for three years and opioids for 16 months (prior to recent brief use). It seems like a long time to be still waiting to be better. In waiting for life to get better I feel I’m not dealing with the situation in any positive way. Lol, I have no idea what I’m going to do, but when and if I succeed I’ll post an update. As always, I welcome advice should anyone actually have it. I am realizing I need some kind of action. While I still have it, Hope is no longer enough.
  17. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    One last thought.

    While on the anxiety inducing dilaudid I had a nightmare. It was probably the most terrifying dream I have ever had. I have always had a fascination with analyzing dreams for meaning. Yeah, sometimes a dream is just that. Sometimes I think our mind is trying to tell us something.

    In this dream I was on the top of a flat tower, a sharp sided cliff in the middle of the water. It was dark. The tower top was barren of vegetation and hard rock. There was nothing there, really. A few people milled about eventually descending the tower by a series of narrow paths that wound around the tower and down to lower ground. I started down one path which got narrower and narrower until the only way to navigate was to sit on the edge and inch my way. It was so narrow that balance was precarious; it was terrifying. Others had followed me so there was no turning back. People were falling off the cliff at regular intervals and their screams could be heard as they plunged to the water a great distance below to disappear. There was a little girl following me. I kept trying to coach her to sit back against the cliff wall and move slowly, not lean forward, but she seemed desperate to reach me. She eventually fell to the water below to surface once saying, “Why di...”. I finally made my way around the cliff until I reached an ending to the path; an abrupt wall slightly higher than my head as I sat. I felt hopeless. Down below were ships, so far they were barely recognizable as such rescuing people who had made it by taking other paths. They couldn’t begin to see me in the dark. I looked to the sky hoping to see helicopters searching but their were none. By then no one was following me. Should I risk falling by making my way back the trail to the flat top. There was nothing there and eventually I’d have to try and get down again in some way. Should I try and stand and make my way over this wall, hoping the trail continued? Surely that was too risky and I’d fall. If I stayed out and no one came to rescue me I’d get tired and fall anyway. I awoke in the worse terror of my life. For several nights just thinking of this dream made me frightened.

    I think when we’re ready to make a change we start to perceive it’s necessity as well as possibility. From a safer mental place, I think this dream was my mind telling me it’s time to try another way. The flat cliff top represented my drug use. It provided a safe place, initially in that it provided a safe haven from overwhelmingly painful feelings. But it was barren and not really living. The little girl? Either represented me as a child or probably my son. “Why didn’t you help me?” “Why did you abandon me?” Emotionally numbed out on antidepressants, did I? At the end of the trail I needed to decide. Go back to the top and try another trail? Risk standing and falling? Hoping for a helicopter to rescue me? My life has been lived looking for someone or something to rescue me. I awoke without answers but I’m ready to try and find them.

    I am not going to use this forum as my journal of my way out of depression. It’s purpose is for those who want to get off opioids (not that it’s too busy on this front, lol). I just think we do the things we do for a reason. I hope not to offend anyone, but I have never thought of addiction -or mental health problems for that matter- as diseases, but as a way of coping with feelings and situations we don’t think we can deal with in another way, until we find that way. For sure, once addicted the physiological tolerance comes back quickly. I also don’t know why some get addicted and some don’t (although I guarantee most who use opioids for chronic pain long term do). It’s possible they tap into some vulnerability that many of us have, such as childhood trauma. I know I never really learned healthy coping mechanisms growing up.

    I just know that I will not be using opioids any longer. There’s no going back down that road no matter how comforting it might seem at times. I remember too well the emptiness I ended up with. My goals from here are to deal with the issues that have me stuck. I had to let go of the anger I felt- once I realized how much anger there was- related to my childhood. It was crucial to forgiving my parents and having a relationship with them before their deaths. I have to learn how to let go of the anger I now realize I feel regarding my son’s death. Anger at myself for my failures, however unintentional that perhaps has left me feeling that I no longer deserve happiness? I suppose there is anger at my husband for his failures as well. There definitely is overwhelming anger at the system we trusted that failed us. I was happy for long periods of my life and there is no reason not to get it back.

    I was probably slipping from the time I started ADs and opiates. In spite of their effects, something in me rebelled and made me realize I had to get off. My use was legal and could have continued. It is easy to live life when things go well, not so easy when bad things happen. Lots of bad things have happened to me. At my age, they will probably keep happening. The key, I think, is choosing either “poor me”or or a way to push on when they do. I am truly grateful for all of you on this board who helped me master the first leg of this journey. If you’re reading, wish me luck on the next one. I am both motivated and terrified.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  18. AumuA

    AumuA Well-Known Member

    Life doesn't get better just because I get clean, but if I do some work, then I get better. Then my responses to life's ups and downs improve, then my circumstances in life generally improve. It's a source of great self worth, doing the footwork, walking a spiritual path, whatever that means to you, Hope. The outcomes are not ours to control, but the choice to act is ours, and no one else's. It's funny, cause I was just thinking reading your post, that some people could really benefit from hearing your story. The idea that you have nothing to offer is false. Who knows where we get such ideas? I know it's scary, I'm afraid sometimes. Speaking of hope, I've been asking for faith a lot lately. I'm at the doorway to bigger dreams, more intensity, exposure, more light. And it's terrifying. I feel like a fraud, they're going to find me out, that I don't know what the f*ck I'm doing. I know I'm not the only one who feels that. Faith is the only thing left that I can wrap my mind around sometimes. There will be some path forward for me, no matter what happens. Because of God, whatever that means to you. Someone said that forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past. You can forgive yourself. You can make a living amends. Keep updating, Hope.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  19. aprsh

    aprsh Well-Known Member

    Hello Hope, I have also lost someone in my life where opiates and god don't really mean much about it. It may have seemed so at the time and so on-thought that i could get better if I was just better...This site has a very narrow view and fix to why people use drugs. In my mind you have already moved past this or were never there (concerning your drug use) and my do better contacting a suicide forum. As terrible as that is. I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry for mine. I wish I could give you a magic program.
  20. hopespringseternal

    hopespringseternal Well-Known Member

    Ok, so a quick update.

    AmuA, thank you for thinking I have something to offer and your encouragement.

    aprsh, I’m a bit depressed lately and struggle with some feelings of anxiety but I’m not suicidal. Unlike my son, I do have hope of getting beyond this. And don’t think I haven’t had a serious problem with opioids, even though I did a better job “controlling” my use than some. I got rid of a bottle of pills because I knew I could not have them around. There are days when pain is a pretty good excuse for wanting one. And there are days when I’m having trouble dealing with life when I want one for no other reason than it would make dealing with life easier. I may not have started out with that as a reason for using, but I am not kidding myself in thinking it was only about pain relief in the end. I got addicted. I think there’s a lot of reasons people use drugs but they all end up in the same in the end; taking drugs they have a hard time giving up.

    In a nut shell, I have used opiates and ADs for over 15 years of my life. The pills numbed the pain, soothed fears and dulled thinking. Now I have to adjust to life without the crutch and I’m finding it’s harder than I thought it would be. As amuA said, life doesn’t magically get better because I get clean. I have to make it better.

    I will post an update in the future about specifics, but right now I am researching and reading and just reaching out to others. The fears and anxieties (that everyone has to some degree) didn’t just go away while I was numbing the pain. And they probably seem even more overwhelming than ever because I masked them so long.

    The truth is I don’t know what I might be like if I had never started using opioids. I tend to think I wasted years of my life; but surely it wasn’t all a waste! I am 68. I very much dislike this getting old thing. I fear losing my spouse and remaining son and being alone. How can I be sure that I would not be having some issues with that even if had I never used? I think dealing with pain is so much harder knowing that there was (temporary) relief in pills. But I would still be dealing with it, wouldn’t I? I have a problem with the loss of faith that provided me with comfort in my youth. But I started to lose belief in a god or afterlife in college. Never taking opioids wouldn’t have changed my escalating agnosticism. But I may have reached a peace with it I don’t yet have. Opioids had a big impact on my life. But I can’t blame them for everything.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that drugs have put a temporary hold on dealing with life as it comes and the feelings that go with it. Those issues were always there under the surface. I’ve got no way now to banish them with an (artificial) warm, fuzzy haze; so I’ve got to deal with them. That is what I am trying to do.

    I hope you all (AmuA, Spring, Fox, Dave, Cat, aprsh and everyone I’m forgetting) have a wonderful holiday season and are able to celebrate with family and friends.

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