Sunday, February 08, 2009


Am I really doing the best I can when it comes to this pain mess? My pain meds have been changed, from Vicodin to OxyContin, and if I screw up with Oxy (if i take too much as I did with Vicodin), I'll be in serious trouble.

Last night, I took an extra pill, not because I needed it, but because the addiction was screeching in my head. It took hold and completely obsessed me, which is the bitch of being hooked. You're battling your own brain chemistry, your own desires. I didn't want to take it, but like the person who can't resist having one too many, I crumbled and didn't feel very good about it afterward.

I've been researching a lot of alternative theories about addiction other than the 12-step approach, which is very deity-centered and touts the disease model of the condition. While recovery folks will say that you can be an atheist and still work the program, I'm not sure that's true. When notions of a loving creator are profoundly challenged, all the talk of God working in everyone's lives can sound like chatter, even delusional. I don't go to meetings as much as I once did (I used to go every day, now just two or three times a week), not because I don't want to get sober, but because the spiritual words ring hollow.

I must say, I do love the friends I've made there, I like the social aspect of getting together, and I love the experience of such genuine love and compassion.

But in my case, I'm going to have to find either an alternate or supplemental treatment that will resonate. I have to get to the root of my problem, which I suspect runs deeper than I imagine.

On the surface, I'm suffering from an organic, latent infection in my jawbone that has only partially responded to surgery. But on a different level, this disease is a continuation of something very familiar to me, which I've written about in other posts. I'm used to battling as far back as I can remember. There's always been some evil force keeping me down, oppressing my fundamental nature, my desires and my outlook.

It's easy to just escape into pills and television. The harder road would be to explore the metaphors, which I've been doing most of my adult life. It's been a tough, meaningful journey, but when the pain crippled me in '04, all bets were off. When I became suicidal, the pills were necessary in order to buy me time; they also provided a type of comfort that chemically was impossible for my own brain to generate.

But what about now? This past week or so, I've been asking myself, "Am I doing my very best today to get out of pain and get sober?" The answer has painfully been "no" each and every time. I could do better. I could write in my journal daily. I could go down to my art studio, where there is silence (unless I play music) and creative materials all around me. (I tend to create in silence, for some reason.) But in my studio, I'm alone with me, myself and I. I don't want to be alone, perhaps to avoid loneliness, but also to avoid the issues I don't want to think about.

I know what I should be doing to help matters, but if I went off the pills, there are feelings there I don't want to deal with...or perhaps I should say, no feelings at all. When it comes to certain problematic areas of my life, I've hit a brick wall, even with the years of therapy.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a web site that used language I've never heard before, about what happens to someone with post traumatic stress disorder. It talked about dissociation, feelings of unreality, hypervigilence and loss of identity. While I've overcome a lot of this and have gone on to live a relatively full life, there are gaping holes that I still don't know how to fix.

I was encouraged by this site, as it so precisely described what I experienced as a teenager...what happens when a psyche splits into a type of duality as a means of coping. While I've improved tremendously in this area, I still avoid the pain of the fractures that remain.

How in the world will I ever get better if I think that "going back to life" will be fraught with this low-level psychic ache that never goes away, despite all efforts to resolve it?

This site gave me hope, as apparently there are therapists trained in this precise area. I've been in touch with the site's owner who will try to help me find someone in Manhattan.

Fingers firmly crossed.



Lisa said...

Sending you love.

Dave Scriven said...

Thank you for sharing those heart-wrenching words.