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Posts Tagged ‘pain medication’

i thought i’d share a letter i completed. i made a difficult decision, to try to return to my graduate studies in counseling and i’m asking for a second chance after i completely unraveled, unknowingly, from multiple prescription drug addictions and entered into subsequent relapse in my alcoholism.

hi p.,
 
it’s been a couple of years now…after talking with a lot of people for a while, everyone’s input has led me back to the same spot: “go back to work on your degree in counseling”. so…
 
my BVR counselor, c., suggested that, in light of how things ended for me in the department, maybe i should initially contact you to talk about how i might be able to get back into the program to complete my masters degree in counselor education.
 
after all this time has passed and so many things have happened, i can see more clearly, what went wrong my last time around. yes, i wrestled with being very sick, but what i wasn’t fully aware of was that i had developed an addiction to pain medication after being prescribed the drugs for over two years! yes i was working on my counseling degree. yes i was active in AA. i was even counseling and working with so many alcoholics and addicts. but, since i never abused my medication and never got high off of it…drugs were never “my thing”…i didn’t see what was happening to me. at one point i told my doctors that i needed to stop taking the pain meds, but i didn’t realize that i was addicted. my behavior and judgment had gradually been changing and finally, when i did try to stop the meds…well i tailspinned into a total relapse with my drinking. but through it all…i couldn’t see what was happening.
 
amazing that with all the resources and experience i had…it happened (well i happened). and of course i can see all the elements of my unraveling now…the most sneaky aspect was that i got so busy working with others (interning)…at the end of a day i would feel that “i’ve been studying, counseling and working with other alcoholics and addicts, facilitating groups…i probably don’t need to get myself to my meetings and continue with the work that supports my continued recovery”. i’ve learned from raising this issue in meetings and while giving leads, that this is a very common cause for addiction and relapse in the helping professions. (you hear about it, but you can feel immune until it knocks on your door.) working in the counseling field can be full of “land mines” we don’t consider until we’ve stepped on one, and it’s not for lack of warning signs. this time around, things got much worse before they started getting better. i got back into AA in september of ’06. it’s been a good and productive 18+ months.
 
i just uncovered recently…and here’s a really good one…that i was addicted to klonopin! after over 11 years on the prescription drug…go figure. it was when i began a titrate off of all my medications and finally approached the detox from klonopin that, all of my addictions became so horribly clear to me. it took going through an intentional and “going into with your eyes open” detox off of meds (and i’ve been this route on alcohol) to understand and see what’s been going on over the years. it’s humbling to look back and think that “someone like me”,  could have become so tangled in so many addictions, for over a decade, even in active recovery, therapy, under doctors’ supervision, and studying to become a counselor!
 
i can’t say that everything is alright now. no, there’s a lot of stuff to continue to learn, clean up and work on. what i’m aware of now is how one can get “lost” in the midst of trying to be a counselor and…in life. there may be no perfect prevention, but there is a lot of “psychosocial insurance” available. i have a valuable past to illustrate what can lurk in the shadows, of even a seemingly together person…as i once thought i was. i’m a firm believer that the wreckage of our past can be our most valuable resource as we try to move forward.
 
with all of that said…am i crazy for wanting to re-enter the counseling program? maybe. i weathered some storms that woke me up and taught me some…great lessons. while i am still me, i can’t help but be changed. i have some good material to bring to the table. so…i’m wondering if i might be able to schedule a time to come in and meet with you to discuss what is going on in the program now and if i may still find a place there.
 
thank you for your time,
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