Most of my friends are addicted to something. Most of my friends are capable, normal human beings except for the few who aren’t. Chew on that, or not.
I don’t like alcohol so it isn’t an issue in my life. But shit, most everybody else does and they drink it like addicts no matter what they think. The whole wine thing is lost on me, though occasionally I have a glass. If I have a second one I am silly for a while then wake up the next morning with a broken two by four in my head. Some of my friends think I am noble and disciplined because I don’t drink. I tell them if alcohol tasted like chocolate milk I would be doomed. Truthfully, people who drink find it annoying to have someone around who doesn’t. I don’t blame them.
I’m happy for people who are happy to drink. My Dad got to almost ninety-three with his good friend, Scotch on the Rocks there every step of the way (And cigarettes too, though he quit those after thirty years) He was happier than I am. My friends who drink seem happier than I am except for the ones who aren’t. Chew on that, or not.
I don’t smoke pot but I wish I did, because when I was a kid and smoked pot there was a lot of laughter and music sounded great. I can sing every note of the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. I especially like the bass lines in Suite Judy Blue Eyes, and the claps.
“It’s getting to the point, where I’m no fun anymore…”
The first time I had an opiate was ten hours after I broke my back and finally got to the hospital, where I had tried to convince my stupid doctor’s office that I needed to be because I fell and broke my back (Rough sentence that one.) They kept saying it was probably nothing. That’s another story. Eight hours later when things really blew up after the endorphins wore off, we called 9-11 and they hauled me to the hospital where the x-ray confirmed what I had said all along and the doctor said, “I’m going to give you a little shot of something for the pain,” then he shot a needle of Demerol in my ass and I finally understood why people get addicted to opiates.
Not only did the pain from my broken back go way, but every pain I’d ever had floated off. Not the best six hours of my life, those have all been without drugs, but shit, a holiday for sure. After the Demerol wore off I didn’t use the pain pills they gave me. Didn’t need them, didn’t want them.
One more story about “Not being an addict.” I had neck surgery in 2006 to fuse three of my cervical vertebrae. On the way out of the surgery they handed Nancy a prescription for Oxycontin. I was pretty out of it from the surgery but asked what that was for. They said for pain. I said, “Keep it, I’ll take aspirin.” They said, “No, you can’t have aspirin it will interfere with your healing.” So we filled the prescription for eighty, count ’em, eighty Oxycontin pills, and the big dose ones to boot.
Sure enough the pain was pretty bad and I took one or two a day for three days then stopped. I didn’t like the way they made my mind go soft, and having my mind go soft never feels good to me. I have an active mind and am thankful for it except when I meditate to shut it off.
“Your mind is like a wild elephant…”
Three months after the surgery I got a headache from holy hell from the neck shit and took one of the pills for it. Forty minutes later I was even willing to forgive the devil himself, Rush Limbaugh, for his pill addiction, because while it wasn’t as good as the shot of Demerol, when Oxycontin isn’t working to kill serious pain it gives you a very nice feeling. After two hours I announced to Nancy that I might just have another headache tomorrow. She had no idea what I meant.
This is what I meant. From the first second that the Oxycontin kicked in, I knew the only thing greater than the feeling it offered was the power of my rational mind. Battle on!
A few days later I saw a Doc for a follow-up about the surgery and I mentioned my concerns about the addictive quality of the pills. This is what he said, “Those things aren’t addictive unless you take too many of them.” (How about that for reason?) I’m not sure what planet he lived on because I knew they were addictive right away. When you’re thinking ahead to your next headache you kind of get the idea.
This is how I handled the situation. Over the next two years I used one pill about every two weeks for a petite vacance. I described it as a trip to the Oracle because while under the influence I would enjoy the suspension of any barriers I might normally have about my feelings or thoughts. I loved it and doled them out until they were gone two years later. Nancy asked me once when they were gone if I wanted more. “Sure, I want more, but if I got more that would make me an addict and I am not going to let any drug own my being.
A few years ago I was seeing yet another new Doc. This one was a rare, at least for me, good one. There I am filling out the intake questionnaire and honestly checked the use of the Oxycontin years before. Seeing the checked box, she asked how much I used and I told her the same story I’ve written here. She laughed and told me that there are people who’s weekly use was greater than what I did in two years and that I wasn’t even on the radar screen for drug use.
Full disclosure, I was also addicted to pasta about twenty years ago. That went away when I learned how to regulate my blood sugar.
Which leads me to coffee, my all time favorite drug. Lucky me, coffee is legal, tasty, socially acceptable, at times even thought of as health food. And, coffee is cheap, unless you have to drink the kind that runs through a civet cat in Bali, and man what it does to my mind! The only problem is I can’t drink it for more than a few days or my C10H12N2O levels (Serotonin) go bonkers and I get depressed. Dang!
My father the scientist once said, “Coffee seems contra-indicated for you.” How’s that for a dose of rational mind? I’ve gone years without it then start again for a few days then stop again. I get a lot done when I drink it although getting to sleep sixteen hours later (!) is a problem. Of late I have about one to two cups per week. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you probably know when. Like now…
As for the grand scheme of addiction, I’m not sure I have much to say about it. There is a whole profession that deals with that. I just know a lot of people like beer more than water and most people I know are addicted to something. I’d go so far to say that addiction IS the normal state human beings, but if the Oxycontin of your life is winning the tug of war; get some help.
As for my future, I’m sticking with the Joe. And likely with the publication of this piece, I can forever put aside any notions I’ve had of running for Congress.