Prescription pain medication addiction can happen more quickly than you can imagine. Here is my story of being addicted to pain medication.
An Injury Results in a Pain Medication Prescription
After taking a month off from working out, I decided to get back in the gym and put some muscle on. Attempting to lift the same weight I was able to a month ago turned out not to be the best idea.
Forgetting I wasn’t 21, I hopped onto the bench to pump out a couple free weight chest presses. Midway through my second set, I dropped the weight from my right hand which landed on my right upper ribs. I had so much adrenaline rushing through me from the workout that I barely noticed the pain.
Six hours later, at midnight, I found myself struggling to breathe. I soon had my wife rush me to the emergency room. Upon arrival to the hospital, I explained to the nurse what happened to me. We had an x-ray and concluded nothing was broken. At this point, the medical professional said, “The only thing we can do is pain management.”
Soon the nurse was writing a prescription for 60 opioid pain pills and 60 benzodiazepine tranquilizer pills, both with one refill each. He explains that the opioid is for the pain and the benzodiazepine is for any muscle spasms or tightness. The entire visit lasted no more than 45 minutes and while I was certainly in need of something to ease my pain, I can recall my wife and I being a bit shocked at the quantities of both prescriptions.
The majority of my pain subsided within 48 hours and I was left with over 40 opioids and 55 benzodiazepines for pain. In reality, I knew my pain could be eased with some over the counter medication, but I made the “executive decision” to continue using my prescription. After all the doctor wouldn’t prescribe so many if he didn’t think I should be using them, right?
I vividly remember thinking to myself with some confidence, “I’ll just forget about the pills once the pain goes away, right?”
Little did I know, the answer to my question was a resounding, “No!”
Prescription Pain Medication Addiction Begins
By the third day of being heavily medicated, I wasn’t feeling right without the pills in my system. However, my addictive nature led me to continue taking the pain medication and convincing myself that the “pain” I was feeling was the result of the injury, rather than the minor withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing. Fast forward nearly two months later, and I’m taking close to 100 milligrams of the opioid daily and getting a midday refill at the pharmacy.
Two additional weeks go by and I realize it has been over a month since I’ve been out of the house for anything social and I had missed seven days of work, which is unheard of for me.
I made up brilliant excuses and rationale for why I was still taking the medications. I told myself over and over how the urge to continue taking them will pass in time.
The Signs of Pain Prescription Medication Addiction Become Undeniable
Before getting yet another refill, my wife decided to step in as she clearly saw a change in my behavior and a dangerous addiction forming. We discussed how my use of the prescribed was far beyond anything caused by the original injury and it was now negatively affecting my life. After we spoke, I realized just how many lies I had told myself, how many times I “reasoned” with my logic, and how far I had let my life slip away in just a few months.
Addiction to Pain Medication Leads to Necessary Detox
I allowed myself to finish the medication I had left (a classic addict move) and decided to check into a detox facility to get clean. Shivering, nauseous and crawling out of my skin for 4-5 days, I vowed to never get caught up in the dangerous world of prescription drugs again. Luckily, I had the strength of a woman who loves me to help me out of the mess I had found myself in. I’m grateful I was able to see the destructive path ahead of me and take the necessary steps to correct my life.
My wife and I often reflect on that dark period and the scary ease with which we were able to get prescriptions for so many heavy drugs. The emergency personnel did what they felt was right, of that I have no doubt, but it’s apparent more oversight needs to be taken. We should hope medical professionals prescribing addictive pain medication do so in a safe, regulated fashion to protect the patient, and also hope the public become educated on the use and abuse of such drugs.
This article was written by:
David Rosen is a recovering addict and writer. In his path to sobriety, he has taken to writing content about addiction, recovery and substance abuse. His goal, along with staying sober, is to provide valuable information for others struggling with addiction. David writes for Muse Treatment.