Like the words of the famous song Alice’s Restaurant today’s prescription drug addict “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant”. Why risk getting arrested and possibly spending any time in jail when you can go to a variety of doctors and easily get prescriptions for Xanax, Celexa, Zyprexa, Ambien, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil, Oxycotin, etc….. After all it’s legal.
Go Ask Alice
White Rabbit ☮ Jefferson Airplane ♥ 1967
Thanks to our pill cure obsessed society along with the greed of Big Pharma who consistently bribes most physicians to distribute their pills like they were M&Ms in the Candy Shop to unsuspecting patients who need relief from pain, anxiety and depression. Very few people are suffering from psychosis which most of the aforementioned drugs are designed to treat.
How do I know this? I am a recovering prescription drug addict. Shocked? Surprised? Never would have suspected someone like me right? A church goer, Bible student, Cum Laude College graduate, hard worker, one who has always been able to hold down a job and be success in the workplace. Well now you know. I’ve come out from behind my mask. The mask I’ve been hiding behind since 1999 the year after my Mom Mable Palmer passed away. Nineteen Ninety Nine was the pivotal year when I made my descent down the rabbit hole of grief, depression, anxiety and pressure to get past the pain of my parents deaths which occurred within three years of each other. I had to keep the charade going. I could never reveal to anyone how really devastated I was by their untimely loss.
Nineteen Ninety Nine was the year I started seeing a psychiatrist. It started off well enough. At least I thought so in my troubled mind. She had me watch a video on mental illness, specifically bi-polar disorder, asked me a few questions then sent me into a journey and eventually a slide into the land of Happy Pills. What I probably most needed was a mild sedative and extensive talk therapy but no I received Celexa and eventually was promoted to stronger more debilitating prescription drugs.
Mind you because at the time I had a good job and good health insurance there was no problem in me obtaining in number or manner of pills to satisfy my growing reliance on these medications. In fact my doctor enabled me by reaching into one of her office drawers and dispensing free pills she had obtained from the many pharmaceutical agents who visited her offices, and most likely plied her with dinners, trips, etc…. if she would promote their “medications”.
What Dr. Pill Happy failed to ask me was if anyone in my family specifically my parents had any addictions. If she had asked me that I would have told her my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was an alcoholic most of her adult life. But then again who knows, given the fact that the Big Pharma Drug Pushers were greasing her palms she would have ignored the obvious connection between my behavior and my mother’s and continued adult candy. Then again I can’t just blame this doctor, most doctors just indiscriminately dispense mind altering pills with little regard as to whether this will cause adverse reactions’ in their patients. I also blame myself. I wanted the pain to go away. I wanted to be ten feet tall all the time.
The only thing that stopped my downward slide was I lost my job in 2006 and my health benefits in 2007. Suddenly I had to confront the ugliness in my life and everything I hated about me. I couldn’t hide anymore. Not that I didn’t try. By 2008 I had a new job with its own particular stresses and pressures.
To bring this saga up to date within the last few years I’ve developed severe back, knee and foot pain. My current profession requires me to be on my feet over eight hours a day and the natural ravages of age and time have taken their toll on the lower half of my body. Many times the pain was so bad I couldn’t get out of bed to accomplish simple housework much less stand on my feet for eight hours. Not only was I taking medicine to combat pain I also had to take sleeping pills so I could at least get enough rest to deal with the daily challenges of the workplace. I was going to different doctors getting various prescriptions for physical pain. I took all my prescriptions’ to the same pharmacy. It would seem a large chain pharmacy would see that the combination of drugs I was taking would cause certain negative interactions within my body. They didn’t. At least once or twice within the last four years I nearly lost my life.
Finally I told myself I must climb out of the rabbit hole. I might be ten feet tall outside but inside I felt only two inches tall. I hurt not only physically but emotionally and mentally. The poison that I tried to suppress inside began to seep out. I knew I couldn’t hide behind the mask anymore. My problems lay not just with my parents’ deaths but with sexual abuse I suffered from the time I was 19 up to and including all the sexually abusive relationships I had been in until I was 48. Now I’m in the process of confronting my fears. This is not an easy journey. I’m in my 50s now. Life has definitely changed and not always for the better but change is the only constant in life. I’ve had to make many adjustments and accept my physical limitations. I may fall off the wagon during my journey but nobody’s perfect. But whether or not I have the mercy and compassion of people is neither here nor there. Most of all I have God’s mercy. I have God’s compassion because He knows what I’m going through. God has not judged me for mood swings or depression. This is an illness and I know when I get too tired to go on anymore God in His infinite mercy and wisdom will take me Home to Paradise.
I also knew I had to write this piece clean and sober. My Valentine’s Day piece was written while I was spaced out on Ambien. Strangely this piece was very well received. I mean I got a lot of great feedback from LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter fans. At the same time all the adulation was scary because I knew I could continue as a functioning drug addict or I could make a clean break. As a chronic insomniac Ambien is a very difficult drug to break free from. Taken in its proper dosage you sleep. However take two pills instead of one your body sleeps but your subconscious is still awake, still able to function. In a psychedelic way Ambien has an effect of enhancing talents already residing within you but at the same time with the capacity to kill you. Obviously I don’t want to die but I do want to obliterate the emotional and psychological pain that threatens to rip apart my very soul. But the realization comes that pain can never be totally erased only dealt with on day by day basis. Small doses of healing dispensed over time.
No matter what I have fulfilled my purpose in life because I share this story with others, not for you to understand me but to at least have understanding and empathy others struggling along the rocky path of prescription addiction.