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Don’t Get Drunk Friday’s: Jennifer’s Story

Note from Stef: I was thinking about Jennifer in my car today on the way back from Target. I was thinking about how normal I am despite have a wee bit of a problem with substance abuse. And then I was thinking about people like Jennifer who, when I first met her, I was suprised to find out she had been an addict. I remember every time I met someone who seemed normal but admitted to being in recovery, I felt bad for them like, “wow, that sucks for you. I, however, really like my wine and my pills when I can get them and would be really sad if I had to be like you. So, lucky for me, I am not an addict. Like YOU.” I honestly didn’t think I had a problem like anyone else’s. Maybe I was in denial. But now that Jennifer and I are in the same club, oh boy do I get it now. And I’m so thankful to people like her who are willing to talk about this stuff and provide a face and name to something that none of want to cop to.

If you want to check out Jennifer’s blog it’s here at Mommy Needs Coffee.

“I guess you could title today’s “Don’t Get Drunk Friday”: “Don’t Get High Friday.” Where do you start “Your Story” when it comes to addiction? You see, I never identified myself as an alcoholic. For that matter, it took me years to even identify myself as a drug addict. I knew all about drug addicts. (I do have cable, you know.) They were filthy, homeless, pathetic people who were easily identified because they were down right scary! The facts were so obvious. I couldn’t be an addict because I was a middle class PTA mom with a nice home, great kids and a hard working husband. But the truth is I was an addict and denial was a terrifyingly, beautiful thing for me.

I remember that first, wonderful Vicodin that I took for my migraines. The euphoria and energy it gave me was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was Super Mom. I had energy unlike ever before…until I didn’t. I was happy all the time…until I wasn’t. I loved everyone around me…until I couldn’t. Drugs turned on me quickly. Before I knew what was happening, I had become hardcore in my drug usage. I knew every trick in the book to get my hands on pills.

Before my feet hit the floor, I would pop a Vicodin. All day long I would continually swallow pill after pill after pill. It did not stop with Vicodin. I took any narcotic I could get my hands on. I got uppers, downers, sleeping pills and anxiety medication. Near the end of my using, I was taking anywhere from 40-60 pills a day. They stopped making me happy and energetic. They just barely helped me get through the day. They made me jumpy, cranky, and sleepy and downright mean. Yet, I continued to convince myself that my “drugs” came legally from a doctor who knew I was taking them. How bad could that be?

It could be really bad. I lied to everyone I knew. I stole money if I had to fill a prescription. I wasn’t there for my kids in a real way. I was mean and I was unlovable. I hated myself. I probably hated you, too. Rock bottom hit the day I almost killed my kids while I was driving high. The screeching brakes. The crying kids. My own voice shouting out, “Nooooooo!!” It all happened in a matter of seconds but in my mind it was in slow motion. Each sound reverberating around and around in my head.

I needed help.

I checked myself into detox voluntarily. The first person I met was a tall guy who looked at me with eyes of pure anger. He glared at me. Honestly, I nearly peed myself right there. Outwardly I decided I had to treat this situation more like prison where you have to win the first fight in order to not become someone’s bitch. With sharpness in my voice that was in complete opposite of my inner terror, I looked at him and snarled, “Look away or it’s on, asshole.” (Yes, I did get into trouble for the threat by the tech.) However, he and I become instant sober buddies and got each other through the horrific days of withdrawal.

The best way to describe my withdrawal is to imagine having ants crawling all over your body. Sometimes they stung and hurt like hell, sometimes you just had to claw at your own skin until it bled simply to try to make the feeling go away. It was the feeling of never being able to sit still yet an exhaustion that made you want to sleep for days. It was being paranoid that everyone was out to get you and clinging to anyone who could offer you help.

It was hell.

I had to learn how to forgive myself. Forgive myself. I never thought I could or would but with the help of other addicts, I have. (At least I am still working on it when my inner demons attack me. And they still do.)

As I detoxed, I learned that a drug addict can be anyone. Look around you. The mom sitting beside you at the soccer game. The PTA president that seems so put together. The dad who goes to work every day and earns a living. The person standing next to you in the grocery store. We don’t wear a sign. We don’t have a neon red letter “A” for addict on our forehead. But trust me when I say, we are everywhere.

On March 6, 2010 I celebrated 10 years drug free. To a newly sober alcoholic or addict that seems like forever. It seems as if I could never relate to you. I have to be blunt. That is bullshit. I can relate. When life kicks me down, I still know that craving. When things become so painful I simply don’t know what to do, I know that craving. Yet, I don’t give in to it. I can’t. I am an addict and this one thing I know for sure: My next drug could be the one that kills me. And I refuse to let drugs beat me.

My name is Jennifer and today I am a clean, sober and grateful recovering drug addict.”

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on April 2, 2010 9:26 pmDon't Get Drunk Friday15 comments  

15 Comments

  1. Ellie said,

    Wow, you are one brave woman. I loved, loved, loved your post – courageous, funny, honest – you’ve got it all. I’m a good old fashioned drunk (in recovery), I never had a problem with pills (only for lack of opportunity, I’m sure) but the way you decribed withdrawal brought it all back for me.

    Thanks for your story – I’m off to check out your blog!

    -Ellie
    .-= Ellie´s last blog ..My Refrigerator, the Dalai Lama, and Me =-.

    | April 2, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

  2. Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said,

    You are so right that addicts are everywhere yet we, as a society, like to pretend that they look and act a certain (horrible) way, preventing all of us from learning about addiction because it is boxed in so tightly. I applaud you for sharing your story.
    .-= Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist´s last blog ..Yet another struggle with the title of "Writer" =-.

    | April 2, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

  3. Aunt Becky said,

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your story.
    .-= Aunt Becky´s last blog ..Blue, Baby, Blue =-.

    | April 2, 2010 @ 11:53 pm

  4. seekingclarav said,

    Thank you, Jennifer. You are a brave brave woman. I gasped when I read that you were taking up to 60 pills a day…but look at you now! 10 years is huge.

    I only have about 100 days but can so relate to your story. Especially the part about what an addict/alcoholic looks like. Initially, that stereotype held me back from admitting my powerlessness over alcohol.

    So here we are, moving forward and better for it. You rock.
    .-= seekingclarav´s last blog ..Girls in grundies =-.

    | April 3, 2010 @ 2:08 am

  5. elizabeth sober said,

    Thank you so much for this post. It is so vivid, and I also gasped at the number of pills per day, but of course that isn’t so different from the amount of alcohol many of us were knocking back nightly. 10 years is great – thank you for sharing!

    | April 3, 2010 @ 2:24 am

  6. angelynn said,

    Congratulations on 10 years! I’m an alcoholic and am 33 days sober. You’re right, it can be anyone. The parallels between addicts of any kind are surprising. I can relate to your story even though my choice was alcohol. Thank you for sharing your story here. Your long-term success gives me hope and inspiration.
    .-= angelynn´s last blog ..Twinkle Twinkle =-.

    | April 3, 2010 @ 7:33 am

  7. Amy said,

    Thank you for this post. Two months ago I found out my husband has been addicted to prescription pain pills for over a year. Reading your description of how you treated your family and loved ones while in the throes of addiction really hit home for me–that’s exactly how I’ve been treated for the past year. To say the past two months have been painful would be the understatement of the year…but reading this post gives me hope that he will get his s**t together and come back to our family. So thank you.

    | April 3, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  8. Fiona said,

    Thank you.

    | April 3, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  9. Cynthia said,

    Thank you so much for your post. I think it’s important to admit that we are addicts. I think some people can say alcoholic, but not addict, but it’s all the same. I have been addicted to so many different things in the course of my self-destructive behavior, and at the base of it all, is that I am a big old addict.

    | April 4, 2010 @ 1:35 am

  10. Shannon Kieta said,

    Well, You have hit the nail on the head! I an addict I guess you say. But I am not quite sure what to do. I have RA and Fibromyaligia. The meds that I am on make me able to function and take care of my babies. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to walk. I find myself on days, taking way more than I should, because the pain is so unbearable. My Xanax is another story. I have given it up, because I have become so dependent on it. With two kids under the age of 5 and four on the weekends and constant, agonizing pain, it was the only thing keeping me sane. I found myself getting meaner and shorter with the kids and my husband. I thought, “Wow, if I don’t want to lose the best things in my life, I’d better get it together.” Soooo, I at least got the Xanax under control. The Oxyxodone and fifty other meds I take on a daily basis is a whole other story. Like I said, I need to keep up with the kiddos. Sometimes I feel like I am spiraling down in a black whole and eventually will end up in that wheelchair in the end anyway. But, I do not want to become a dope addict from a docor’s order of prescription drugs. That would suck…BIG TIME!!! Good Luck with your sobriety!
    .-= Shannon Kieta´s last blog ..Another day in the Life =-.

    | April 4, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  11. Amanda said,

    You are so right about the addict could be the person sitting next to you. It’s easy to judge before but after it’s almost impossible.

    I’ve been asked recently what constitutes a problem.
    The difficult answer is that you don’t know you have a problem until it’s too late to make any ‘easy change’ most of the time.

    Glad to see you are sober and have been for several years.
    It gives me hope.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Why Can’t She Just Stop? =-.

    | April 5, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

  12. Mommy on the Spot said,

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    .-= Mommy on the Spot´s last blog ..Love, From A Member of Aunt Becky’s Merry Band of Pranksters =-.

    | April 5, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  13. muskrat said,

    Wow. Glad this story ends well.
    .-= muskrat´s last blog ..garbage in, garbage out =-.

    | April 5, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  14. sam {temptingmama} said,

    Jenn, I am SO proud of you. I told you over and over at BlogHer last year just how proud. I am in awe of your strength.

    I can’t wait to see you again so I can hug the sh!t out of you! XO
    .-= sam {temptingmama}´s last blog ..Always. =-.

    | April 9, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  15. Tess Jones Ramin said,

    Has it been almost a year?!?! Amazing!! Keep it up!

    | April 10, 2010 @ 4:53 am

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