I’ve been under the weather a bit with health problems recently, most attributable to inactivity and age. Enjoying my sobriety for the last thirty years, I have scrupulously avoided taking any type of medicine to relieve pain other than ibuprofen, Tylenol etc... I have always had a healthy respectful fear that the use of mind-altering chemicals including pain medicine, would lead back to abuse on my part and I wanted no part of that ever again.
A few days ago I injured by back to a point that the pain was intolerable. After an injection of some type of steroid and a prescription for more steroidal drugs, my doctor prescribed a codeine type of pain medication which I was to take in conjunction with the steroids. I will tell you that for 24 hours I was not comfortable with the feelings I was experiencing. Due to the excruciating pain, I had no choice but to take them until the steroids could do their job. It was a long 24 hours. With the pain ebbing somewhat, I quickly stopped taking them and switched back to my usual remedies with which I was more comfortable.
In the process of going through all this, my mind was reliving days of old. When that first codeine pill hit my system, I was thrown back into a period of my life I had completely forgotten. To say I was buzzed is an understatement. It only took one pill to reawaken those long ago lost feelings of indifference to my surroundings and the euphoria induced by this drug. I was truly stoned on one stinking pill. This insidious drug actually had me trying to remember the good old days when this feeling was a daily occurrence.
The good news is try as I may after 30 years of sobriety all I could come up with for memories, was the bad times. I clearly remembered the sick mornings, the missed opportunities, the social missteps and most of all the pain I caused my family. The mere thought of returning to that period in my life was enough to get me to suffer the pain I was experiencing and to dispose of the balance of my prescription. For some reason the “good old times” were no longer in my memory. Perhaps they never existed.
Reinforced in my mind was the knowledge that for this addict, one pill, one drink, and one snort is never appropriate or wise. I would not go as far as to say that I will never take another pain pill or narcotic medication should the absolute need arise, but I will always maintain respect for the danger these drugs present.