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Don't Let Your Shame Kill You

Discussion in 'Heroin ~ Addiction and Recovery' started by spring, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. spring

    spring Administrator

    I am posting this because maybe it could help someone out there looking for answers. Someone relapsed and was too ashamed to post about it so contacted me thru email. The shame isn't in the relapse. It's when you don't pick yourself up and start over again.....

    Dear ######,

    I wish I had some magic words that would help you prevent relapse but I don't. All I can give you is the advice and suggestions that I learned by years of trial and error.
    Even if a person WANTS to be clean really bad, that's not enough sometimes. It's such HARD work in the beginning. Probably the hardest task you will ever have before you.

    I have been an addict for over 20 years. It was about the 3rd or 4th year into it that I realized I was an addict and needed help. My first attempt at getting clean was 15 years ago in a 28 day program. 28 days sounded like a lifetime. The first 5 days dragged on and on but after that the time just flew and before I knew it I had 30 days clean under my belt and was fairly safe from the obsession to use. Of course the impulses are still there and will stay for awhile but they are easier to resist than that obsessive thought that you'll have for the first couple weeks or so.

    I relapsed many times over the years because I never took that first step of the 12 steps. Which is "Admitting we were powerless over our drug". I had no problem admitting THAT! or so I thought.
    I had that first step licked. Wrong!
    Even tho I knew I couldn't control my intake, it didn't get thru my head that "I" had no control PERIOD about ANY aspect of my drug use which includes staying away from it.

    Once I finally "got it" is when I was, for the first time, able to get totally honest with ME.
    It was then that I could plainly see that I wasn't doing ALL that was necessary to stay clean.
    *I would keep a syringe stashed "just in case".
    *I would keep a few pills stashed even tho I didn't take pills, but I kept em in case I screwed up and needed something to taper with.
    *When they suggested rehab I tried to convince them and myself that I didn't need it. (I actually had myself convinced that I was being a good mom among other things).
    *I hung onto my dealers numbers.

    So...you see? I was STILL not willing to give up the life completely even tho I really wanted to quit. I really had myself believing that I was doing all that was necessary to stay clean. But the fact that I held onto those "just in case" things showed that I didn't really want to totally give it up.

    Since you asked, I can see two things right off the bat that need to be changed if you want a successful recovery.

    First...For one thing, and one of the most important is to take every measure you have to take to make the pills inaccessible to you.

    *Wherever and However you get your pills...CUT OFF your source.
    *If they are RXed by a doc then tell that doc that you are addicted to them. Most times they will cut you off or at least offer detox meds, which BTW are no longer needed with the Sub around nowadays..
    *If you buy em off the street then tell your dealers that you are stopping and not to contact you.
    *If you buy em from friends then tell them the same thing... IF they are real friends they wont try to sell or give you any.
    *If you need a watchdog then GET ONE. By that I mean ask your mom, friend, spouse, somebody you trust that doesn't get high to "babysit" you for awhile, someone who can prevent you from impulsively using the drug before you have a chance to think about it and change your mind.

    You said things got bad. I don't know if you are talking about things getting tough for you as in cravings or if something happened in your private life or what.
    Listen closely to this...
    no matter what happens or doesn't happen....DON'T USE....not for any reason whatsoever....Because they aren't really reasons, they are excuses.

    That little addict inside your brain WILL use every trick possible to get you to feed it.
    You keep telling and repeating to yourself "This too shall pass", "This too shall Pass"...Etc. Because EVERY situation that comes up in life WILL PASS. Yes, even an obsessive craving will go away.

    I don't know your story so I don't know what your reason is for wanting to stop the pills.
    *You have to want recovery bad enough to be willing to WORK at it and I mean work hard!.
    *To have just as much passion about not using as you did for using the pills.
    *You have to be willing to do WHATEVER it takes for you to stay clean after your detox.

    You need to think ahead about any and all situations that would make it possible for you to get your hands on some pills and convince yourself of the truth which is "There is NO excuse to ever take another pill no matter what". And it IS the truth for a recovering addict.

    People like us have an "allergy" to opiates, bad things happen to us when we use them, so we have to stay away from them at all costs.

    *Did you have a therapist lined up?
    *Did you have a female sponsor from NA picked out?
    *Did you make it to any meetings?
    It is crucial that we have SOMEBODY, a non-drug user, who knows that we are newly clean. We HAVE to have somebody to be accountable to. It's a must! Many use the board for that purpose if that's all they have, but it's better to also have a person who can actually see you and talk with you.

    You couldn't rely on yourself to stop taking the pills even tho you knew what harm you were causing to yourself and everybody else. So what would make you think that you could "rely" on yourself to keep yourself FROM using. Our own sick mind cannot help heal our own sick mind. We just HAVE to have somebody else, somebody clean to be able to talk to and hang with..

    Get gut level honest and ask yourself this question....Why did you keep a refillable script of pills around? I think you already know the answer.

    THAT is what I mean when I say this has NOTHING to do with willpower. Just because you dont want to be addicted is not going to keep you from using again. Excuse the analogy but.....try and stop diarrhea with your willpower.

    The fact that someone doesn't talk about their cravings to use is like a neon sign flashing "Relapse On It's Way". I mean sure, you can talk to others who are also struggling. But you need to get feedback from people who are clean also.

    Recovery is a very SELFISH program. Our very lives depend on it. I understand your wish to protect a friend from relapse...but, you're not that powerful, no one is. That friend will end up using if they want to whether they know about you using again or not. By you putting your focus on someone else's recovery you are taking away from your own.

    What I mean is this...You could have posted this on the board and heard helpful things from 10 or 15 others besides just my advice and comments. One of those people may have said a few words that hit you in the heart and became life changing words for you.

    And it works both ways, by you having the guts to spill about your relapse, it may give someone else the courage to open up about their own relapse.
    Or also, it may help prevent someone from relapsing. So you see? By being selfish you are actually being UN-selfish. It is the whole key to the recovery process. We can't do it alone.

    Please don't think I'm any better than you because I haven't relapsed lately. I am only ONE shot away from relapse at any given time. The trick is to NOT take that first one after getting clean.

    I say this all the time. Our shame about relapse, many times prevents us from talking about it to someone who is clean.....been there, done that.

    I totally understand that you want to keep the pills (the hydro refill) you have for now. Nothing wrong with that but make sure they are gone before you detox again.

    You say the pills are always so accessible to you. Well, You're just going to have to make a choice then. Either you want to get clean and will do whatever it takes or you won't. Simple as that.

    You're no different than anybody else when you say you're afraid to face life clean. It's natural for people to fear change.

    The trick is to just get thru one day at a time.

    Get thru that day and even if the ONLY thing you accomplish is staying clean then it's been a productive day.

    The next day, do the same.

    Eventually little things will start popping up in a day that will cause you to take a few steps more towards a more improved life.
    That impulse to jump up and go get high will get lighter each day til one day you notice that it's been a whole week that you didn't even think about using.
    If you believe in God then ask Him to lead the way and then watch for the miracles. Opportunities will start coming your way. Good things will happen to you.

    It's the best feeling in the world to look back and see how far you've come just by taking one step at a time, one day at a time.

    BUT....ALL of this depends on whether or not you make that choice....to use or not to use. I swear to you...EVERY TIME you fight it off, it will get farther apart and easier each time. This I can guarantee you.

    You ask how many times will it take.
    Answer is "It takes what it takes".

    Relapse isn't a requirement for recovery. Sure it happens a lot but just as often it doesn't happen.
    Everything rests on you making that ONE CHOICE....to say yes or to say no.

    If you fall then get back up and start over again. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
    It's not something that is a rarity by any means. We all do it, some more than others. The shameful part is when you give up trying and stay lost in your addiction.

    Please try not to kick yourself when you're already down...
    I notice many people write to apologize when they relapse. I did the same thing. That shame we get because of relapse is toxic. It only keeps us down.

    Someone at a meeting once told me to remember that addiction is a disease. When I looked at it from that point of view, my self esteem improved greatly.

    Say I had cancer, had the tumor removed, went thru the pain and discomfort of chemo, lost my hair, all that terrible stuff that we have to endure to help ourselves get well. The efforts pay off and I get well.....for awhile.
    Then one day I go for a check-up and find out the tumor has come back. Would I be ashamed that I my cancer is out of remission?
    Or would I get more aggressive this time and make sure I did whatever I had to do to get rid of it for good this time. Like finding the best doctors for their expert advise, putting my all into research on the best way to go about fighting the disease. Comparing what seemed to work for others and what didn't work....and then applying my whole being into making sure my treatment is going to help me get well again.

    Don't let your shame kill you.

    PS. I hope you don't feel like I was lecturing you. I totally completely understand where you're at. You brought up a good point. Not many people post about relapse do they? I'm sure it has to do with being ashamed and afraid of being shunned. For that reason, I am going to post what I just wrote you but I will leave out names and any other thing that could identify you.

    Take care and keep me updated, Spring
  2. ashley80

    ashley80 Well-Known Member

    Spring, this helped me, thank you for posting it.
  3. Jessie

    Jessie Well-Known Member

    Great post Spring.....

    I know it must be difficult to admit when you relapse....I know the first few weeks that I posted here, I was sooo Fired UP about when I was going to start my Suboxone...That I was going to STOP sniffing them and take them oraly as prescribed....I couldn't do it [B)], I just kept using more & more ....Well those few weeks, I foolishly felt like I shouldn't post here, cause I felt ashamed....I didn't feel comfortable enough to come in here and say, hey- I can't control myself like I thought I could.....I really wish I would have came here when that was happening, cause I know that there are many out there who experienced the same thing...
    It wasn't until I flushed the last of my Oxy's and really started to taper that I came back...Then of course after I started my Suboxone...

    It's just like I HAD to test myself with the Soma's, knowing that-like opiates, I can't take just one....I had the Dr call me in a 5 day supply ....Well, I fell on my face and paid for it for a good 3 days.....So, I called the Dr and told him never to give them to me again (AGAIN, NOT telling him the truth)...So, I still have my issues as well....Not many people know my addiction....My own husband doesn't know the full extent of what I was doing...Hopefully I will get strong enough to tell him about it....But for now, I just need to concentrate on staying away from opiates and using my Suboxone till I feel strong enough to try it on my own.....
  4. Rohan

    Rohan Well-Known Member

    Wow that was powerful stuff! Thank you for that vivid picture of "What it takes to be sober", Spring. That was a very honest look at what you gotta do. Bravo! It also addresses the important issue that we all face, relapse. I can't tell you how many times I've "fallen off the horse", but like they say you gotta get back on. Relapse almost seems like some sort of requirement for sobriety. But man, it sure is hard to admit that we have sliped, isn't it! Thanks again for your post Spring!:)
  5. mramell

    mramell Active Member

    Relapse seems like such a foriegn idea to me anymore even though I'm going through the toughest period of my life right now. I've been clean almost 10 months, but I never get to be with anyone in my family. My wife is in Ohio as are all my kids and grandkids. I have a brother and sister here, but they could give a rats ass if I live or die so I never bother calling them anymore and they don't call me either...
    I guess the reason relaspe is so far away from me is I'm just flat out to broke to cop any dope even if I wanted it.. And trust me, the desire has been soooo strong at times, but I know I don't have it so I shove it out of my mind.. I have so many other things to keep me from worrying about relapse..like total poverty and isolation and lonliness the likes I've never dreamt of before. it's worse than jail because we're well over 1000 miles apart....
    I guess that's how i keep clean, but I hope you all have better ways.. Mine is a recipe for disaster, but I know where it would take me if i loose it...

    Yeah, sure it is...Sell me a bridge too.
  6. Rohan

    Rohan Well-Known Member

    Marty I just posted you in another thread. Listen, I know that things seem really crappy for you right now. They may be that way for a while, who knows? But they WILL change. Keep your fight up, don't use (you know it's more than just money that is keeping you from using, so don't sell yourself short) and stay strong. You will prevail.
  7. ness1ny

    ness1ny Member

    You have no idea what reading this post right now has meant to me. I am trying to get off and detox myself again this week. I don't care how bad I feel, I am making it through this week. You know a few weeks ago, the addict in me, says get off bup to get back on dope because the w/d won't be as bad or as long. As bad I say because I just can't tapper. So I fell back in for a few weeks. What you posted about not really letting go, has that been me. Keeping dealers #'s, pills which I don't even do and also not being willing to change things in my life that pose as big triggers for me. The feelings, I want them back. Part of me just wants to be able to feel, good or bad. And to cry, I even want to cry again!!! Anyways I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that you know what your words can do for somebody and how much they have meant to me.
  8. Rohan

    Rohan Well-Known Member

    Wow Ness, I am sure Spring will be very happy that she touched you. I just want to congratulate you! You are doing the tough thing, but it's the right thing for you. I wish you the best, and I hope you continue to post and share here.
  9. Loop

    Loop Well-Known Member

    Spring,how do u feel knowing you touch so many people in such an amzing way [^] I am the worst for not posting through the shame of using again.Today I'm on Day 5 on Sub n off H!!!I can't quite believe it myself!It just helps so much to have people that understand.Its like,for me,I'm in my 2nd yr (again!) of university (n it took 2yrs to get thro the 1st!!!)My family n freinds just see me failing n cant understand why.They don't know that I started H the same time I started uni (4yrs ago-wow time flies when your in a haze!)so I've been battling that.Uni is really important to me but most important is me sorting out my addiction before I start on the rest of my life.They can't see the progress I've made,just the uni exams I've missed!I'm sure there's a shorter way of saying all that![:I]

    LOL loop
  10. Koolaidmom

    Koolaidmom Active Member

    Spring, I wish I had read this a few days ago. I am printing it out for my son to read.
  11. sleepless

    sleepless Well-Known Member

    Wow spring, you really made me re-think a lot of things in my own life...That post has to be at the top 10 of my favorite, heart felt, life changing post since I've been here..

    I never really thought much about the shame (well that's not fair to say, but never really thought of it as I have after reading the post)...I'm sure each and everyone of us reading & posting here have became some what fimilar with *shame* and kept it close by us more times than not...Speaking for myself, *I* still feel shame everyday of my life and probably always will...For the way I would sneak around hiding empty pill bottles at the very bottom of the garbage can so no one would ever see them and be able to put their finger on what I was doing...My God, I use to would have thrown out 2 empty bottles of pills a week...Also the shame of knowing and remembering the times I put my own children in harms way by putting them in the car with me and driving them around all over town toasted outta my mind without a care in the world except for when it was gonna be time for me to pop more pills in my mouth...I everyday of the world Thank God more times than I can count on two hands and feet for Him having mercy on me and keeping His protective hand on me, but more importantly my kids...I still sometimes feel shame when I kneel before God to pray because of what *I* allowed myself to get into...I know God forgave me just as soon as I asked Him for forgiveness, and all the awful, horrible things I did were thrown into the sea of forget to never be brought against me again...But still the shame is there at time lingering over my should, lurking over my head like a dark cloud...Maybe the shame will never leave me, but I pray for ALL of us that it does...We've deserve a second chance, and third, forth or fifth chance if that's what it takes..

    Geesh, what a truly moving post spring...Thank you for sharing that with us girlfriend :)

    Take Care & God Bless :)
  12. MT

    MT Well-Known Member

    thankyou thankyou thankyou for that wonderfully enlightening piece on truths about getting clean...time to face the facts and start walking not talking...for me anyway...it was just what i wanted to read today.again thankxxxx.
  13. spring

    spring Administrator

    Welcome to the board Marita and thanks so much for taking the time to tell me that my post is helping.

    Thanks to all the rest of you too for your comments. This stuff comes straight from the heart. I put my fingers to the keyboard and it comes pouring out. God knows if I can help save someone, even one person! from making the same mistakes I have thru the years then all my stupidity and suffering wont have been in vain.

    ~~~Do the right thing and risk the consequences~~~Spring~~~
  14. MT

    MT Well-Known Member

    shame and me :
    shame kept me using (amongst other things) but now i have a window of opportunity, with subutex i feel v.v.v. hopefull for the first time in 7 yrs.usually by now (its 3 pm sunday afternoon id of been to london and scored by now) but todays is difrent..i have a choice and i choose to not score but to go to an a.a. meeting instead.im working my recovery to best of my ability and i really do just take one day at a time.
    when i first tried to get clean i made a concious decision to tell people (selected ones) but still people...family, friends, not evry one as some dont understand and might use it against you, that i was an addict b coz addiction thrives on secrecy...i blew the lid on myself b coz i was unable to help myself and i was crying out for help.its is hard to share a lapse and that is all it is...dont obsess about it...you just pick your self up dust yr self down and start all over again...if you fall of...get back on...a mantra that works for most of life.
    be good...and please share yr lapses as they will help all of us out there.
    l8rs...of to the meeting.
    marites x PS SPRING that was beautifully written yr first post at top of page i read it all the time......i feel yr hand in mine.
  15. ruby

    ruby Guest

    Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    Hello everyone-
    I don't know if you remember me, but I first posted here about a month ago with my grand plan to stop abusing pain pills.

    Well, I think the sub-title to this post says it all- I have failed and relapsed. Some of you have already read part of my story since falling off the wagon.

    And Yes, I was scared to post about my mishap because I was ashamed....so I emailed Spring about my troubles and she posted her response here which gave birth to her thread here titled "Don't Let Your Shame Kill You."

    You all seem to do this getting clean thing so well, that I did not see a place for my failure here. Now let me make one thing perfectly clear- I am NOT looking for pity from anyone. I now know that relapse happens, the big thing is learning from it and moving on with your life.

    I don't know what happened to my common sense the day I decided that "one more go 'round" wouldn't hurt. I am back at square one again, and trying my best to get the courage to hop back on that wagon. Life w/o drugs is hard for me to face. I want it, but I need to ask myself "How much?" I am a strong- willed individual, and it confuses me as to why I choose not to put energy into making myself better. For the short time that I was clean, it was actually refreshing not having to worry about when or where I was going to get my next supply of pills. I was happy about not spending all the money I spend on them, and realizing that I was on my way to re-learning how to function in society and take on stress with a clear mind. But for some reason, none of that really sunk in. I thought about it on the surface, but never really went the extra mile to push it deeper into my brain.

    I am not going to lie....those first few days back on the pills were great. I had no more depression, I was able to clean the house and get tasks done that I put aside when I was too tired to do them w/o the pills. But now I am at the point again where the thrill of the high is not what it was when I first started again. I am lethargic, ignoring work, thinking about when I get to take my next dose and so on. It is a trap, plain and simple. This is the first time I have ever been addicted to a drug so powerful and time consuming, thus the first time I have ever tried to get claen. How many times does it take?

    I know the answer is ultimately up to me, but right now, I do not have the answer. It is amazing how the addict's mind can justify going back to the very thing that our non-addict mind tries to steer us away from. I am constantly battling with the two in my head. I am consumed with thoughts of wanting pills when I am not on them, and consumed with thoughts of knowing how bad it is for me when I am high. I hate it. Well, there it is.... my confession. It took alot of thinking and pushing the denial aside for me to post about this, but now that I have wrote about it I feel much better. I will beat this- I have to. Thanks for listening, and even though I have not posted for quite some time, I have been reading about everyone's successes everyday here and I am proud of all of you!


    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle" ~Plato
  16. ashley80

    ashley80 Well-Known Member

    Re: Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    Welcome back, my good friend!
    You are on the right road, and I know you will find what you need inside of you.
    If you can make it through the first, really tough part, and get some longer 'clean' time behind you, it DOES get easier. The addict side of you gets quieter, altho' of course you know from reading my posts, it doesn't go away completely. I'm still doing it one day at a time - too hard to face "forever."
    I'm glad you are back, I have missed your posts and encouragement!
    BTW, I am sure I am speaking for others too: we want you to come here whether you are taking pills or not!! There are lots of people here who have relapsed, or tried to relapse (like me, lol), or are still actively using.
  17. ruby

    ruby Well-Known Member

    Re: Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    (((((((Ashley))))))), my friend, if I could hug you right now, I would..... (but you will have to do with those parentheses right now)You have been here for me since the get-go, and I appreciate it. I know I will get it right- trail and error seems to be a big part of getting clean. Thanks for your support and uplifting words!

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle" ~Plato
  18. Crystal

    Crystal Well-Known Member

    Re: Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    Ahhhhhh, girl!!! I'm sitting here, litterally with tears in my eyes, because you have just written about "ME"!!
    That's right, about me!!!

    I relate allllllllllllll toooooooooooo well to your words. I've done it many times.

    You say you don't want pitty and I completely understand that. I KNOW that's what you don't want.
    BUT, you still somehow come thru as being soooooo ashamed.
    I FEEL you shouldn't be. What makes you unique Ruby is that you get up to fight this crap again.
    That' sall that matters. You fall, you get back up.

    That's all we can do.
    It's the falling down and not doing something about it AGAIN, that makes us failures.

    The fact that you even tried and made it as long as you did girl, Is "GOLD"
    Learn from your mistake, Move on! That's all we can do.

    I'm routing for you! :)

    Communicate,Validate and Appreciate!
  19. Rohan

    Rohan Well-Known Member

    Re: Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    Ruby good for you to come back and post! I know it wasn't easy. It took courage and lot's of it. I am very happy you did it!! It is easy to say, "Lookit me I have acheived my goal!" it is not easy to say, "Hey I tried but I slipped and now I am going to try again." But you have said it and that takes GUTS! You should be proud.
    We all have to go through our own process and even though we each have our own experience, most of them have at least one common thread; we have made multiple attempts to quit using. It is EXTREMELY HARD to do! I like to look at it like this: when we learn something new, like when we are in school, we don't learn our lesson in one day at class, do we? No. We attend school for years. Learning takes time. Well the same thing applys to detox, we have to LEARN again how to live witout opiates. Not only to detox our bodys, but to occupy our time and thoughts. As you know it takes alot of resources both financial and emotional to keep a habit. I think you are doing a great job Ruby. You may need 20 trys or you may get it the next time you try. Who knows but one thing is for sure, we always have to work at it. You are doing fine! This is really tough to do so don't be so hard on yourself, we all fall down! Just keep getting up, that's the trick!:)
  20. sleepless

    sleepless Well-Known Member

    Re: Relapse ~it's my turn to tell about it

    Hi Ruby, welcome back girl :)

    I'm SO glad you decided to come back and share your story with us...This whole crazy game of drug addiction is a learning process, and when you slip (I'm not going to use the word *fail* because you DID NOT FAIL, you just slipped a lil bit) as long as you learn from it and pick yourself back up again and get back on track then it was not in vain..

    Ruby, ALL of us have slipped at some point in our journey, some of us more times than others...And there is absolutely NO shame in it, even tho we torture ourselves into believing so there really isn't...The ONLY shameful part of someone trying to detox is saying *Oh well, I messed up, I might as well continue to abuse drugs until I kill myself doing so*, now IMO that is the only thing someone should be ashamed of it that is ever the case...Ok, you slip & slide a lil backwards, big deal, you pick yourself up, admit your mistake and start anew and keep moving forward without ever looking back...

    This journey we are all on *together* is a DAILY walk, and you can't just walk it when you feel like it and stop and take a break when you want to...You MUST continue walking & fighting everyday, it needs to become a way of life for us all..We have to constanlty keep our guard up and our witts about us so we won't/don't stray and end up in worse shape than we started in...

    I'm proud of you for admitting your slip and I'm so glad you are back to tell your story and share your pain and struggles with the world...You may be helping someone right now to keep from slipping, we never know who is reading the things we sit and type from day to day...We are ALL here for you Ruby, we love you and welcome you back into our family with open arms girl...Don't ever be ashamed of something you have done to the point that it keeps you from posting again...You are a member of the family, and family members need to stick together and help and encourage each other along the way...And if you are'nt here posting then you are'nt encouraging someone else that needs it desperately...Try an always remember sweetie that we are counting on you and needing you here just as much as you are counting on and needing us :)

    Welcome back sweet lady, everything is going to work out now...You've done a very brave and strong thing for yourself, and I'm so proud and glad you did it...We love you girl, you hang tough and stay with us from now on, come hell or high water ;) {{{Hugs}}}

    Take Care & God Bless :)

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