The shame of addiction

untitledIt’s nearly 4 in the morning and again I can’t sleep. This week has been worse than normal for insomnia. I’m so tired right now and yet,… can’t sleep. May as well do something productive and write an entry in here. But a troubled mind in the middle of the night can conjure up all sorts of tales,… tonight I think I will write a bit about shame and the consequences. Probably won’t be cheerful.

In group tonight we talked about the embarrassing and shameful things that we did while under the influence. I had many but couldn’t be impelled into sharing them even with our close-knit group. Just too embarrassing. There were many stories told with tears and regret but still I couldn’t come forward with my own. Now that I have come out to admit that I was using opiates from street drugs I purchased, I think we can all appreciate how dangerous my drug addiction had become. And the changes it caused in my behaviour. I’m not going to go into them all,… we’d be here all night. But there are a few that stick out in my mind. Not the worst of my behaviour but certainly not pretty

I remember once it was early in the morning. I was sleeping. I didn’t hear the  knock on my door. I didn’t hear anyone enter my apartment right away. But suddenly I heard voices. I wanted to get up but I was much too high. My body felt like lead and my eyes would barely stay open. I had taken enough Xanax to put a horse to sleep. I managed to stagger into the living room only to find the owner of my apartment building and a plumber. I remember them looking at me like I was from another planet. Indeed I must have been a sight. Totally wasted, in just a t-shirt, and staggering around like a college kid at their first frat party. Holding on to the door jam just to stay upright. I barely remember him saying they were their to check the plumbing or something. My mouth felt like it was full of cotton as I tried to answer them. I couldn’t get the words out. Then I began to slip down the door jam and fall on the floor. I mumbled something about getting my wisdom teeth pulled and I was on heavy medication. I knew they didn’t believe me. (It was only 8 in the morning) I then stumbled into the living room and collapsed into my lounge chair and promptly passed out right in front of them. I woke up hours later. They were gone. I had just made a complete fool  of myself. There were already rumours of “someone smoking pot” somewhere in the building so I knew there were a lot of suspicious neighbours already looking my way. This, no doubt, let the cat out of the bag. “It’s her,… her in apt 5,… she’s the one doing drugs,…” I could almost hear the gossip jumping from neighbour to neighbour. It was humiliating and I wouldn’t come out of my apartment for weeks. I was now probably branded the druggy.

Another time I was again really high and I was staggering around my kitchen trying to get a glass of water. I lost my balance and fell – really hard – onto my kitchen floor. The glass dropping and shattering everywhere. But when I tried to get up, I couldn’t. I heard knocking on the door but couldn’t answer it. I couldn’t get up and I couldn’t walk. Again, I just passed out right there on the kitchen floor. I found out a few weeks later it was the neighbour who lived beside me at the time. She had heard a bunch of banging and glass falling. She was wanting to know if I was okay. Well, if okay meant waking up bruised and sore all over in a bunch of glass then I was impeccably fine. perfect. That neighbour has since passed away and I don’t know if she ever told anyone else about it. Probably.

When your an addict, the hardest thing is trying to look and act completely sober when anyone drops by unexpectedly even though your wasted. I remember my brother and sister-in-law coming over on a couple of occasions. I would be roused from my bed at 5 in the afternoon. dazed. trying to look ‘normal’ I would have to ask them what day it was because I didn’t even know. I would always be shocked to hear that I had ‘lost’ days. I would think it was Wednesday and they would tell me nope, it’s Saturday. Don’t know if they ever knew how out of it I really was. Probably. In hindsight I don’t think I ever fooled anyone.

And then there’s the nodding. Nodding in the drug addicts world is the drifting between sleep and consciousness that comes with opiate use. I have been known to nod-out standing up for minutes at a time only to crash to the ground waking me up. I had a lot of bruises during this bad phase of my street drug use. I could be in mid sentence only to nod off,… most of those people knew of my drug use though (while living in St. Thomas) In fact they were the few friends I had and they did drugs as well. They got so used to it they would just leave me to it and go home.

There’s much more that is worse but I’m just so ashamed and humiliated and embarrassed that I just can’t bring myself to talk about it. And it is this shame that has left me ‘stuck’ in moving forward with my sobriety. Part of getting better is to forgive yourself for all the things you did that shamed you. But I can’t. Some of them are just too horrible to even think about let alone forgive myself for it. Nope, I am definitely ‘stuck’ on this step of getting better. I’m hopping I can talk to my social worker about it next appointment. What do you do with all the shame? It eats away at your self-esteem. how can you ever think of yourself as a good person when you’ve done so many bad things. Yup, it eats away at your soul until you hate yourself.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robbear13
    Sep 13, 2015 @ 21:48:48

    Don’t let it eat you up! Even though you’ve done some pretty crazy things, remember that you are still a loveable human being. That’s the starting point!

    Blessing and Bear hugs!

    Reply

  2. OverLondon
    Oct 13, 2015 @ 20:28:28

    I found an article on your old blog tonight while googling my recurrant depression and unstable emotions….then I ended up here on your new blog soon afterwards because I wanted to see how the blog author was doing these days.

    Turns out you are still an awesome and thought provoking writer!

    While I can’t offer much advice, I can say that reading your posts about your experiences has helped me to question myself and think about my own problems in different ways, which is helpful for me.

    So while you may have some negative things in the past, your catharsis is at leaving having some positive effects in the world. Also, I really do like your writing style.

    Wishing you every success as your recovery continues.

    Reply

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