I was embarrassed to seek out a drug detox program for my nearly two decade addiction to pills and alcohol, but really it was necessary. My life was increasingly bleak and I was worried about a fatal overdose, the kind where you fall asleep and never wake up. Anna Nicole Smith’s death from pills about ten years ago should have been a wake up call, but it wasn’t because I justified by thinking that I never took that many drugs at once. Still, mixing these two substances is usually a fast path to a coffin and I knew I was flirting with disaster.
It started innocently enough with a back injury and a prescription for muscle relaxers. I started mixing them with beer because it seemed they enhanced the effect. By the time the back injury cleared up, I was using both just to sleep. As the years went by, they became my constant nighttime companions. I thought about quitting, but my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to sleep for months. I would just lie there in bed becoming more desperate by the hour, and that I would go right back on the two just to get some shut eye.
I finally found a clinic that understood my fears and my embarrassment and they had a concrete plan for getting me off of them. It wasn’t easy, and at first it involved some other drugs that helped with things like anxiety and blood pressure, but in time I was able to not think about drinking and pills. I didn’t suffer horrible withdrawals either. After the detox I was able to take part in the other methods of recovery, which included addressing underlying issues that compelled me to self-medicate. I’m still apprehensive, but I’m doing better and feel far more capable of living my life.