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Reach: 72.4k Reg & 86k+ Facilities & 26.8M Social Media + (Email Community Total 180k) Nations largest organic addiction related community. Welcome Andrea Grubb Barthwell, M.D., F.A.S.A.M., is the founder and CEO of Two Dreams and past president of ASAM

A Call To Action!

With a world flooded with those who would seek to take advantage of those in need, the fleecing of private insurance providers by insane overbilling schemes and fraud within the treatment industry doesn’t end there.
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John SFYB Admin/Outreach

When a few ounces of urine are converted into liquid gold by profit mongers using elaborate laboratory schemes promising riches that far exceed any realm of reason, the sincerity of the message literally gets flushed down the toilet. Multi-million-dollar yacht owner James Slattery aptly named his boat “Pissed Away” as almost a means of mocking the federal investigation of his company Millennium Health and the subsequent 256 million dollars fine which was paid the day it was ordered.

This story seems overshadowed by the Chris Bathum scandal by where the self-proclaimed Rehab Mogul is alleged to have perpetrated over $400 Million in fraud, racking up 75 sexual assault charges and earning himself a 35 years sentence. Most recently we watched as the FBI raided Sovereign Health treatment facilities across Southern California to advance their criminal investigations of fraudulent activity within that billion-dollar business. Add to that the Steve Johnson saga in Palm Beach racking up 48 charges of patient brokering and so as the list grows from top to bottom we are forced to stare the corruption down as the epidemic grows.

The opioid epidemic can no longer be swept under the carpet as mainstream America and the world feel its deadly grip grows, grasping increasingly more within its fatal clutch.

The CDC mortality rates may not be the precise statistics some may require in order to raise the red flag yet you simply need a stroll through any impoverished area in order to look this beast in its eyes. That isn’t to say this blight on our species is limited to those poverty stricken by any means as suburbia suffers alongside the ghetto watching its youth die in unimaginable numbers.

Numbers and stats, rates and flow charts can’t compare to the pain we each feel when this brutal onslaught touches down in our lives and we are left baffled as to where we should turn for help. The headline news highlights these two evils almost simultaneously leaving fear for the lives of the addict in our world and doubt that any true help exists.

Power corrupts and great financial means is often confused as such which is what may cause these perpetrators to believe themselves untouchable until some alphabet agency kicks in the door, but what about the addict?

What about the loved seeking help and assistance dealing with the addict? What about the society that will bear the cost of treating the addict?

The solution is transparency and openness in this business which when corrupted is often shrouded and guarded from peering eyes hidden behind HIPAA, a protection intended to aid the client not the facility. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This legislation has been the protective shield for many clients, helping them find recovery without fear of the unfortunate stigma addiction carries.

Being that 91 Americans die every day from opioid overdose and over half those are prescribed by their primary care physician this shadow of darkness must be brought into the light!

When the epidemic more than doubles in deadly force from 2015 and the 33,000 estimated dead from opioid overdose alone, 158,000 estimated total deaths from all drugs that year to shocking numbers this year proves to show, we must rally together for effective means of putting this evil genie back in it’s lantern. 2017 shows so far to be the deadliest year on record where overdose is concerned and it’s only a little more than half over.

Combining the scandal and fraud perpetrated by the very institutions tasked with combatting this disease, the TRILLIONS spent, billed and thrown at it and the headline news airing something about the growing epidemic we must rethink, shift and find a new way. We at Stop Frying Your Brain are a community of over a quarter million addicts joining hands as we do at the end of meetings and shouting for change!

..Revolution in the means we go about treating the addict! Real Progress in the fight against the deadly killer which is not on the streets but the illness within!

Transparent facilities with open doors and legitimate practices! You got nothing to hide you say, SHOW ME! No more will we stand for the same lies and bureaucratic run around, we want to know what you plan to do different! Countless treatment facilities claiming to be evidence based,  well show us the evidence!

The numbers are shocking and I’m not quoting sources because I want you to look them up, I want you informed and not by me, go look and find 90% relapse rates, 85% of all in need receive no help at all, 23 million in need, 4.7 trillion billed…. This disaster must be treated as such, Start asking questions, start taking action!

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Stop Frying Your Brain song kept rattling around in my head after visiting their website. It was worse than it’s a small world at Disneyland. Eventually… I would hook up with those guys and it’s all because of that one stupid song.

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What the Hell is the “Opioid Crisis”?


Buckle up, because you’re about to get angry.
Derrick Czerwin

Derrick Czerwin SFYB Author

Way back in the 1970s and 1980s, drugs derived from the opium poppy – drugs like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet – were pretty much only given out to cancer patients, and mostly terminal cancer patients at that. Opioids were dangerous and addictive, doctors reasoned, and so they were only used to treat extreme, end-of-life pain, when drug addiction isn’t really a concern anymore.

Then in the 1990s, there was an explosion of chronic pain diagnoses. By the late 1990s, around a third of the US population had been treated for a chronic pain condition.The medical community started recognizing more and more forms of chronic pain, which was great, but it just didn’t have that many effective drugs available to provide relief for that pain. And drug companies smelled an opportunity.

What the Hell is the “Opioid Crisis”? Click to Tweet

The federal government was desperate to provide more effective ways to treat pain and minimize disability, and drug companies realized that they just weren’t making very much money using opioids to only treat end-stage terminal cancer. So there was a huge push to normalize the use of of opioid drugs for everything. Some early studies declared that these drugs posed no risk of addiction, and doctors began writing millions and millions of opioid prescriptions for all sorts of chronic pain.

The problem was, when those prescriptions ran out, patients immediately figured out that, surprise surprise, they were addicted to their painkilling drugs. They experienced euphoria when they took them, and crushing withdrawal symptoms when they stopped. People went back to their doctors for more drugs, or simply bought their drugs illegally on the street. They were hooked, and the start of the opioid crisis had begun.

By 2010, the federal government was horrified when they realized what they had created. So they panicked, and started cracking down on opioid prescriptions. Doctors who handed opioids out like candy were punished. Addicts were cut off their prescriptions, and the supple of Oxycontin and Percocet on the streets dried up.

 

So, naturally, people turned to fucking heroin.

It turns out that you can’t actually cure mass addiction by cutting off people’s legal drug supplies and offering them no assistance. So people went to the streets. As many as 80% of heroin addicts in the early 2000s had started out as prescription painkiller addicts who had been pushed into heroin when supplies dried up. And that’s a problem. Because drugs like Vicodin and Percocet are regulated; they are made in a proper lab, and the amount of drug in each pill is the same. It’s hard to accidentally take too much. But heroin is a different kind of thing. When you buy heroin off the street, it’s impossible to tell how pure or potent it is, and people started dropping dead from overdoses. And all the while, the heroin available on the street got stronger and stronger, as people built higher and higher tolerances.

And that’s when fentanyl arrived on the scene.

Fentanyl is cheaper, synthetic, and 50 times more potent than heroin. By cutting fentanyl into his drug supply, a dealer can make his product stretch a lot further. Just 2 milligrams of the stuff is enough to kill a healthy adult human. And that’s a huge fucking problem, because most of the fentanyl on the streets comes from street labs in China, who aren’t able to make safe, professional-quality fentanyl. Just a tiny inconsistency can make the drug too strong, and kill a person. And that’s what’s happened. It’s killed thousands of people across North America, and thousands more will die before we can figure this out.

So what’s the point of telling you all this? Victims of the opioid crisis get treated like sub-humans when the topic comes up. We plaster them all over the news and call them selfish, stupid and weak.

But they didn’t come out of nowhere. No one wakes up one morning and thinks to themselves “gosh, I sure would like to try some fentanyl today”. The opioid crisis is complicated, and it has a complex history that stretches back for decades. We are all imperfect people, living in a society with complex problems and unforeseen consequences. The opioid crisis is claiming the lives of real people, who had hopes, dreams, families, and circumstances that the rest of us can’t always understand. They deserve our empathy, and our understanding. via-missmentelle.

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I lived with a group of all male roommates when I was 18 and still experimenting. I had yet to know what full-blown drug addiction was.

chelsearae

Chelsearae SFYB Contributing Author

I lived in a city with a beautiful landscape surrounded by mountains, but I spent most of my 18th summer locked inside, smoking, snorting, and swallowing substances, instead of enjoying it. My roommate and best friend, Miles, always (at least in the beginning) had a lot of money, but I never saw him go to one day of work.

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He would make vague claims about his past in Seattle and the money he saved from working at a nice restaurant there. He would describe to me how easy it was to be nice and outgoing to the customers when he was on Oxy. I still couldn’t understand how someone could actually walk around and function, let alone go to work on this stuff.

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I had absolutely no money, (though I did have a car we could use so I felt I was contributing in a way), and he paid for everything.

He even bought all of my paintings, which I had a stack of when I met him. He put them up all around the place. I didn’t paint again for quite a long time, although it used to be my number one passion.

 We did cocaine, pills, OxyContin, and smoked a lot of weed when none of those were available. I considered all of these people close friends of mine.

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One friend that would come over was named Spencer. Spencer had won 20 grand on a scratch ticket and had become a hardcore drug addict as the result. His poison was smoking oxy off of foil. He was big guy and pretty attractive a lot of bling, liked gold chains and rings but acted like a child a most of the time. He used to drive around, smoking oxy, get so high he would throw up out the window, and turn around and continue smoking more. A real dumb-ass once you got to know him

He would blow the smoke into a balloon and re-inhale it until it was gone. Sometimes he would pass the balloon to me. Spencer would either be really nice to me, or call me names. He would literally call me a bitch and say I was worthless, and then stop and smile and tell me I was awesome.

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Spencer and I used to bicker like siblings, and one day he and I, along with 3 or 4 other friends were sitting in Miles’s room smoking weed or something.

Things escalated and I pushed him, it was playful and we were laughing and he pushed me to the floor, he was holding down my arms and I started getting a little freaked out and told him to get off me. Instead of getting off me he pulled my shirt down and I started getting really scared and screaming for him to stop. Instead of stopping he pulled my bathing suit top over in front of everyone. Everyone saw what happened and no one said anything, and when I recall this I wonder if they would have said anything if he proceeded to pull the rest of my clothes off or go even further than that.

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Thankfully it went no further than that and he got up off of me. I re-adjusted my top and left the room. I did not move out or stop talking to them like I probably should have, but just pretended nothing happened and continued living there. Luckily Spencer didn’t come over that often.
chelsearae

Chelsearae SFYB Contributing Author

It wasn’t long after I discover Stop Frying Your Brain, they had lots of funny clips and great articles that I started reading. Then as I read, I slowly realized I had a pretty serious problem. One day I reached out to them. They hooked me up with a first class center. Great People.

That damn stupid Stop Frying Your Brain song kept rattling around in my head after visiting their website. It was worse than it’s a small world at Disneyland. Eventually… I would hook up with those guys and it’s all because of that one stupid song. Thanks guys you changed my life.

Just push play below (The little arrow >)

 

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This is an email that I sent to my mother. Joanne Miller Not My Fault

I need you to understand that my addiction is not your fault. Parents are so hard on themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are the picture perfect parent, I know none of those. No one does, but the best ones I do know are hard on themselves. The people that think they are perfect, usually are not.
Joann Miller

SFYB Desk Senior Editor

Here right now I am releasing my parents of any thoughts that they are the reason. I am an adult, and my choices are my own. There are things I need help with that are overdue; that is all. In no way does that mean I blame you for the present, and the past is the past. We as parents all do the best we can with what we have and know. Believing that you love me is no issue. The issues I have now are my own.

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Mom My Addiction Is Not Your Fault Click to Tweet

Please stop beating yourself up…I love you. There are some things that I have to look at about the person I am, not the parent that you were. When I talk about needing mental help, please don’t hear that as a mark of you or your parenting. You are my Mom, and you love me. My Dad loves me; that is not the problem. The problem lays within me. Loving myself in any way healthy has been an issue that I have always had.

It’s my shortcomings, something within my mind that tells me you are bad. You have always been bad and always will. I am trying to silence that voice in my head. It is something only I can do. I am lucky to have the support I have; I don’t even deserve it. Mom, don’t beat yourself up, I have done enough of that to you. I don’t blame anyone for my mistakes. They are my own, and that is what I am trying figure out.

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Nothing that happened before I became an adult matter. I chose to do what I do, and I take full responsibility. When you hear me say I need help and need to work through things in my past, it is not an attack on anyone. It is simply the truth. Please don’t take my issues upon yourself.

I love you; I forgive anything you are worried about or may think I blame you for. I don’t, it’s old news and has no bearing on the present. You did the best you could; I do the best I can with my children it is with myself that I fall short. I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused, how I wish I could take it away. All I can do now is work on the voice in my head that works so hard to destroy anything good in my life. That voice is not yours; it is mine. I love you.

*Art by Aaron Griffin

I sent this apology to my Mother in March.  I hope you enjoyed it.

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Beth Burgess

SFYB Staff Writer

Crack, Smack, and Crystal: The Deadliest Drugs?

By: Beth Burgess

Crack cocaine, heroin (or smack, to go by one of its many street names), and methamphetamine (crystal meth) are the drugs that we are most often warned to stay away from. But does that make them the deadliest drugs? Well their’s more to the story.

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Actually the reason why police, politicians, and educators make a big fuss about these three drugs is not because they cause the most deaths. You might be surprised to learn that alcohol is responsible for many more fatalities than any of this trio of chemicals.

The reason crack, smack, and crystal are so reviled is that they are considered to have extremely high addiction potential and can cause irreparable damage to users’ lives and minds.

Crack, Smack, and Crystal: The Deadliest Drugs? Click to Tweet

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Crack, Smack, and Crystal: The Deadliest Drugs?

It’s important to point out that although these are considered very addictive drugs, anything can be addictive if you have a certain type of brain. Although fewer people get addicted to alcohol, compared to people who are able to drink normally, if you’re one of those people who is susceptible to alcoholism, booze can wreck your life just as much as illicit drugs.

In fact, alcohol withdrawal can kill someone who is alcohol-dependent, whereas quitting any of these three drugs may be excruciatingly unpleasant, but going cold turkey can’t kill you, even if you’re a serious addict.

But there is something very sad about people who are causalities of crack, heroin, or crystal meth. If you have become a user, and have been doing any of these drugs for a long time, they sort of kill your body and soul in a way that is very difficult to recover from. That’s because these sorts of drugs actually make certain parts of your brain and nervous system die.

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Ex-heroin users often report feeling like ‘normal’ buzzes lose their thrill compared to smack, while crack users can have psychotic symptoms even after stopping use. Cleaned-up methamphetamine users have an inability to experience pleasure, which may actually be permanent in people who have used heavily.

Crystal is probably the worst of the lot, because of the deep and irreparable brain damage it can cause. Meth is often made with toxic ingredients like battery acid, paint thinner, drain cleaner – never good things to feed your body or your brain. Now you know why the anti-drug campaigns say “Not even once.”

 

But whatever illegal drugs we are talking about, in the end it’s infinitely better never to try any of them, and to watch yourself carefully if you’re going to drink or take prescription drugs. Many people’s lives are ruined by pills and potions you can buy legally – and you never know if you’re going to be one who gets addicted.

Stop Frying Your Brain song kept rattling around in my head after visiting their website. It was worse than it’s a small world at Disneyland. Eventually… I would hook up with those guys and it’s all because of that one stupid song.

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Heroin Addiction and Treatment

BrightFuturesTreatment

Men’s Addiction Treatment – Hope – Health – Happiness

Heroin is a highly addictive drug produced by morphine that is obtained from the opium poppy. Opiates and Heroin is one of the most severe substances abused in the whole world. In addition to health conditions caused by the drug itself, there are numerous of other risks connected with heroin addiction which is not much of an issue with other drugs. Heroin is used in a variety of ways, determined by user preference plus the purity of the drug.

 

Heroin can be injected right into a muscle, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette, injected into a vein, smoked in the water pipe or standard pipe,  inhaled as smoke by using a straw, or snorted as powder through the nose.

 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2002 and 2013, the speed of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled in the Heroin Addiction And TreatmentUSA, and  8,200 people died in 2013.  The CDC cites heroin as one “illegal, highly addictive opioid drug.” Its overdose may result in slow and shallow breathing, coma or death.

It is a common practice with folks to use heroin along with drugs or alcohol. This is often a dangerous proposition since it increases the probability of an overdose manifold. Usually, heroin is injected, but people also smoke or snort it on occasion.

Individuals who inject heroin are at risk of severe, long-term viral infections WHICH includes HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B, and also bacterial infections in the skin, bloodstream, and heart.

Not only in renowned rehabs just like the drug rehab centers, but heroin addicts undoubtedly are a regular feature among patients in hospitals even in a remote borough. Heroin use has skyrocketed in rural parts of the United States in the past years, triggered due to the widespread availability of inexpensive forms of the drug — in many cases cheaper than black-market prescription painkillers.

Who is at risk?

Heroin abuse has reached a dismal level which necessitates drastic measures to counter the harmful effects. The CDC identifies the following at a greater risk of getting addicted to  heroin:

  • Individuals who are dependent on cocaine
  • Persons who are addicted to prescription opioid painkillers
  • Individuals who are not insured or opted in for Medicaid
  • Non-Hispanic whites
  • Male and female from 18-25 years old
  • Individuals who are dependent on marijuana and alcohol
  • People living in a vast metropolitan area

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin addiction treatment centers put up a unique plan for every heroin addict based on the previous discussion with the addicts, members of the family and addiction level of the person involved.  These centers provide residential and outpatient care on the addicts. The treatment centers provide a high amount of facilities and medication therapy programs for the addicts. These specialized facilities help heroin addicts to encounter a relaxed atmosphere knowing that it leads to personal reflection and healing for adults and young addicts.

Heroin use is directly related to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, together with the problem of the heart and brain. To solve this problem, heroin drug rehabs are the most effective options for complete drug treatment.  Heroin rehabs design various types of programs for short term and long term care.  Inpatient drug treatment facilities are one of the best choices available for people seeking to recover from drug addiction.

Some drug addicts are managed by experienced drug treatment specialists who end up an accomplishing heroin recovery case. These drug rehab centers have a specialized team of professionals for every result oriented drug rehabilitation program, and experts from the industry provide many types of these programs. The staff of these drug rehabs is skilled with numerous experience in working with many drug addicts.

The treatment therapy is depending upon the average person addiction level. Most of the following methods are best drug recovery treatments that will help heroin addicts get over addictions

Detoxification

It withdraws the symptoms of heroin and gives a drug-free life to the addicts. It can be a long-term treatment that uses residential and outpatient treatment programs. The amount of this treatment is at least three to six months. During the treatment, drug rehabs use medications as part of the treatment.

Methadone programs

It’s is a secure and efficient program to treat addicted peoples before the last thirty years. The medication therapy is used in this program for 24 to 36 hours. Patients can come out of their mental and emotional reactions. Methadone eliminates the craving that affects on our relapse. Methadone dosages should be carefully monitored in patients who’re taking antiviral therapy for HIV infection.

Behavioral therapies

These combine residential and outpatient approaches. An important task would be to match the most effective treatment method to meet the particular needs of the addict. Cognitive-behavioral approach is built to modify the patient’s thinking and expectations.

LAAM and other medications

LAAM is like methadone used to take care of the heroin addiction. Methadone prevents the effects of heroin as much as seventy-two hours with little side effects. Its long duration of action permits dosing three times weekly. Another medication to take care of heroin addiction is Buprenorphine. It produces a lower level physical reliance.

Citations: Bright Futures – Heroin Addiction and Treatment

meth-mouthWould You Trade your Smile for Drugs?

BrightFuturesTreatment

Men’s Addiction Treatment – Hope – Health – Happiness

Most who suffer from drug addiction know what it’s like to have oral hygiene problems. Many who struggle with crystal meth addiction develop what’s called “Meth Mouth.” However, not all of the people who struggle with the effects of lack of oral hygiene are addicted to crystal meth.

Many who survived the “Pain Pill Epidemic” were lucky to make it out with their lives, but not so much with the beautiful smiles they had prior. Most who were addicted to pain pills or actively ingesting them in anyway other than the way prescribed have left over issues with their teeth. The majority of the addicts recovered or still actively addicted have severe cavities and the enamel has been stripped from protecting their teeth.

Personal Experience with “Meth Mouth” from Prescription Pain Pill Addiction

I got sober in 2009 from alcoholism and drug addiction. I remember after about three months in recovery and I was feeling great! One day while I was sitting eating a submarine sandwich as I bit into it and heard a big crack. I was spitting out pieces of teeth left and right. My mouth hurt so badly and the pain was almost unbearable from my nerves being exposed.

I remember calling a dentist and asking for an appointment. Once I was at the appointment I recall the astounded look on his face with disgust as he took a closer look. I felt so ashamed of myself and I asked the dentist, “Can you help me smile again?” The dentist said, “Just relax.” I had to have almost all of my wisdom teeth extracted. Due to my own behavior had to see the dentist several times over the years and I am still not done with the work.

I was heavily addicted to blue Roxicodone 30s, which one would be enough to put a normal person on their ass for a day. The addiction I had called for anywhere between 30 and 50 a day. I recall not smiling for very long and after withdrawing several hundred times the toll it takes on your soul after 5 years of addiction, it’s hard to crack a real smile.

The biggest hope and Joy throughout the day is the smile you display in the face of the days adversity. ~Peter D.

The issue lay in the fact that the Oxycodone tablets rot away the enamel on your teeth, Having no enamel on your teeth will leave you prone to infection, gum bleeding and cavities. This can typically happen with many other things like coffee, acidic juices and cigarettes.  However, it’s easier to maintain your oral hygiene when your not ingesting 20 Roxi’s a day. Most addicts don’t really care to much about their personal appearance or their oral hygiene for that matter. They are sick and just want the next drug the cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

I would love nothing more than to smile again without fear of what others think. To have a nice pearly white to shine back with would be the greatest blessing. I’ve no choice, but to accept that prescription drug addiction did irreparable damage to my smile. I am blessed with the fact I survived and got sober. I’m blessed with the fact that I have a conscious contact with God.  To smile without fear would be the greatest gift an addict could receive.

If you’re struggling or have struggled with prescription drug addiction and have a hard time feeling comfortable smiling you’re not alone. First rid yourself of the active addiction and then work on the smile later.

The biggest hope and strength I can share is that I am happy and content with my life. I no longer need to struggle to wake up or find the next drug to feel better. Some days are hard, but most days are easy. Every day is better than any day I struggled with prescription drug addiction.

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The Friend Who Introduced Me to My Undoing

chelsearae

Chelsearae SFYB Contributor

I was 18 when I met the person who would introduce me to my ultimate undoing, Oxycontin.

His name was Miles. I was outside smoking a cigarette and he was the only other smoker there. I was sitting down leaning up against the wall of the porch, looking up at a shorter guy with a medium build, unkempt black hair and large hazel eyes. He had some weed stuffed into the end of his cigarette. It was the first time I’d heard of someone doing that.

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eIGHT BALL

On the subject of pot, we moved on to talking about other drugs and found out we both loved them. We exchanged numbers and decided we were going to do an 8 ball (3 and a half grams) of coke the next day, and so we did. We sat in the living room of his dad’s house out in the country and sniffed it off the coffee table. From that day on we were inseparable.

The next day we walked around the park with 32 ounce Taco Bell cups filled half with Pepsi and half with rum. I doubt we shared more than a few sober minutes when we first met, and that was exactly how I preferred it. This way I did not have to think about anything stressful.

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Not long after first meeting, Miles asked me if I’ve ever tried pain pills, and handed me a yellow oval shaped one on my front porch. I had liked every substance I had tried thus far so I was excited to see what it was all about. After that we went to eat nachos. On the way to the restaurant it started hitting me.

It was a heavy feeling, but light. I was floating; my head and entire body were buzzing and tingling. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, every muscle in my body was relaxed, my mind was clear and free of worry. It was such a warm feeling and I absolutely loved it. I remember Miles looking at me and saying “Do you feel it yet?” and I just smiled in response.

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I thought Miles was the coolest. He was extremely intelligent and super nice to me and everyone I saw him interact with; even my mom liked him. He would look directly into someone’s eyes when meeting them, and shake their hand firmly, then he would proceed to ask them very interested questions about themselves and listen intently, usually making them laugh or smile in one way or another. He had the ability to connect with absolutely anyone. I had finally met my match when it came to being in love with drugs and wanting to do them as often as possible.

He was the exact same way, so instead of feeling bad about my addictive tendencies, I felt that they were acceptable and I was not a terrible person. What I had previously considered a questionable aspect of myself, I now found validated, and every day was an exciting adventure of exploring altered mind states. He did not consider getting high on various things as something to do “every once in a while”, or “on the weekends”, it was a way of life, and I loved this idea. He was always handing me random pharmaceutical drugs and I happily accepted all of them.

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Miles introduced me to OxyContin by handing me what looked like a tiny white speck of plaster and telling me to swallow it. I was thoroughly confused, especially after taking the yellow pills he had given me before that were much bigger. I didn’t think it would do anything to me but he said to trust him. We were both over at the mutual friend’s house we were at when we met when this occurred, and about a half hour later I ended up lying on the couch, unable to open my eyes from that tiny speck of a pill. I had to go to the bathroom a couple of times and lean over the toilet, unsure if I was going to get sick, but I don’t think I actually hurled that first time. This is how I got started.

Then I discovered Stop Frying Your Brain.com

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The Realization that I was in Deep with Oxycontin

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Chelsearae SFYB Contributor

There was a time when I thought that if I kept my Oxycontin use to only work shifts, I would not get addicted. What a funny joke that is now. My dealer absolutely always had pills. All I had to do was text him and drive right up the road to grab them. If I was at work, he was more than happy to bring them to me, which resulted once in a customer calling and complaining that she saw me buying drugs outside. Luckily it was my co-worker who answered the phone and not the manager.

I could do very small lines and get super high at first. Slowly I started noticing that I needed a little more to feel it. I can’t remember how long my comfortable little illusion of “not getting addicted” lasted, perhaps a couple of weeks, but I will never forget the night I discovered that my work aide had me enslaved.

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I had 2 days off in a row, something that didn’t usually happen. So the second day passed and I’m lying in bed, and for some reason I’m having trouble falling asleep. I feel as though I may be coming down with the flu or something, I can’t stop moving my legs. I’m so tired yet cannot rest for the life of me. It feels as though I am having menstrual cramps but that is impossible given the time of the month. My bones start aching, my skin is crawling and suddenly I realize what the problem is here. I haven’t done any OC for a full 2 days. I knew that all this pain would go away if I just did some. I took what I had left of my pill out of my purse, staring at it. But I couldn’t bring myself to do any.

I wasn’t ready to admit I was dependent, or that I needed something just to feel okay and normal. I did not sleep a wink that night. I had a dentist appointment the next morning that I was a complete zombie for. My nose wouldn’t quit running. I had no idea how minor these withdrawal symptoms really were; to me they felt like death.

I went to work the next day, I had what was left of my pill in my purse, knowing that it was an option. I talked to my co-workers about what was going on. I had to, I was completely sick, plus I had made some good friends there and trusted them. The second day of the withdrawals is always the worst. I could barely stand up. Looking back I probably only went to work so I could convince myself it was okay to take some Oxy. I had to, how else would I complete my shift? I held off for as long as I could, with one of my coworkers, Dennis, rooting for me to resist (his sister was a heroin addict).

I finally gave in and went to the bathroom to take some. My friends looked very disappointed.

A female snorkeler rises from the depths of the ocean at Turtle Canyon in Hawaii.

A female snorkeler rises from the depths of the ocean at Turtle Canyon in Hawaii.

The whole struggle was probably complete BS, contrived by myself to make me think I still had some level of control over my usage, and consequently my life. I was giving up. I knew I needed it to feel okay and still I said yes. I loved it too much. I loved the confidence it gave me that I had never known before. I loved looking forward to work, wanting to run errands, and not being afraid to interact with people. I was a shy kid growing up and I was a shy adult too. This was the only thing that had ever allowed me to stop being too afraid to speak to strangers or anyone really. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and could stop questioning everything until I drove myself nuts. My social anxiety was gone and I felt very free when I was on that stuff. My relationship with the drug changed a bit after that day at work, into something with more of a fiend-like edge to it, but I continued to lie to myself for years.

Stop Frying Your Brain.com is a great resource to get the help you need. They have the greatest people in the business.

 

 

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Ending My Love Affair With Opiates

chelsearae

Chelsearae SFYB Contributor

You’d never know it by looking at me, but I used to be a full-on, conniving, thieving drug fiend. There was a time that I couldn’t imagine a life without opiates and didn’t want to.

Once I discovered them, I assumed that I would always love them and that living without that stuff was a dull waste of time. I looked at people who didn’t abuse substances and thought they looked so boring and so naive. Clearly they couldn’t be having as much fun as I was. They didn’t even know what fun was.

About two years have elapsed since I chose to renounce my dedication to opiates (though I had some other favorite drugs as well), but it was a long and very gradual process with countless relapses.

2016-06-18_11-35-27

It started with trying a couple of mild opiates, you know, the kind they prescribe when you get your wisdom teeth pulled. I loved it immediately and eventually progressed to a long and arduous love/hate affair with snorting Oxycontin.

Starting my Oxycontin use was innocent enough at first, and affordable. I was functioning better than ever before. Instead of being a shy, anxious, and worthless procrastinator, I was now productive, alert, and an overachiever in the workplace. Eventually, I lost everything, as addicts tend to do. About 6 months later I had no job, I was living in a car for some of the time, I was stealing DVDs and pawning them for money, and even participated in a drug robbery at one point.

 

For the first year clean off of the stuff, I missed it like hell at times. I missed being able to pretend I had everything under control and didn’t have to give up my illusion until my supply ran out. I could calculate exactly how many more hours of serenity I had left, and then immediately set my mind to seeking more. I had my tasks laid out before me in black and white. My goals were clear cut rather than ambiguous, and I was aware of exactly what I needed to do to fulfill them. I was never plagued by troubles of figuring out what to do with life or what existence means. I already knew.

That life could be all kinds of fun and exciting sometimes, especially at first. Even the stealing could be fun at times, especially when I finally got that reward in hand. It made everything worth it. When I was in that warm opiate bubble, nothing could get to me. I had my first huge fight with my best friend of 5 years and felt nothing once I got high. I see now that chasing those states of mind was just pure laziness and immaturity, but I won’t say I do not understand the appeal, and the relief it can bring to some people. That particular brand of craziness seems to be ingrained in certain personality types, and I was most definitely one of them.

I’ve read a lot of stories about addiction, and two years is not very long to be clean if the things I’ve read about addiction are correct. Apparently some people spend decades sober and then fall off the wagon again.

 

I feel like all that stuff is far behind me now. I do not miss it anymore. I know for a fact that that lifestyle holds nothing of value. This knowledge did not come easily to me though it seems like common sense to the average person. Some people don’t even enjoy drugs when they try them, and once is enough. For the rest of us, we need to live out the experience for the reality of their lack of value to feel true. I have at least 5 years of experience learning these lessons, and many stories to tell.

They say addiction is a disease of amnesia. I’m not sure whether I believe that addiction is a disease, but I definitely know that it’s easy to forget just how bad things can get, and convince yourself that this time, you can handle it. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I think about all of the times I told myself that. When you give up drugs, you’re forced to confront yourself. That’s not a very nice feeling at first, but at least you get to stop running.

Stop Frying Your Brain.com is a great resource to get the help you need. They have the greatest people in the business.

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