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Thread: A Great Success

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    45

    Thumbs up A Great Success

    Somewhere around today is one year and 7 months.

    For those of you who don't know me, recently I had some severe and painful dental work done. Seven, yes, seven root canals in three days. And I need to have more. This is not counting the numerous fillings I've already done, plus more I have to do. I'm terrified of dentists. I'm also addicted to pain killers.

    My dentist, after the seven, said, "I'd be a complete monster if I didn't give you something." Honestly, I believed her. Even though the first three on the bottom didn't hurt, the next four were on the top, very sensitive place, that even took a few extra shots to numb completely to do the work. So, I was given Tylonal 3, or Tylonal with Codine. I was scared, honestly. I hadn't had painkillers in the house since a year and seven months ago. And I had no one to help me manage them.

    I've been a member of SMART for about a year and 5 months. I know it's only online, but the 24/7 connection to the chat room helped keep me focused on what was important. They kept me honest, sometimes talking about my pain, and recognizing the signs when the pain killers were NEEDED, or when Tylonal would suffice. I didn't trust myself to judge, and being in those rooms taught me the skills needed to determine that. Plus, I attended every meeting I could, talking about my dilemma, and keeping me honest with myself. I am some one who abuses pain killers, and I have to be careful not to abuse them.

    Sunday was Father's Day, which meant visiting with my parents. Since a pain killer addiction runs in the family, I couldn't bring them. This made me nervous, but I stocked up on Tylonal to bring with me, just in case. And my ice pack.

    I made it through with no pain. I got home, and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night I was woken with... not pain... but an incredible craving. My body, my addiction, rationalized that I was out of pain, it was not needed for that, and actually had itself convinced that since I was in no pain, the rest of the pain killers were for me to "have fun" with. And who would know?

    I tried to go back to sleep. I tried to ignore the cravings. They kept me up. But, I was determined to not abuse the pain killers. Unable to quiet my addiction, and knowing they were at home, I ignored the nagging feeling of what "what if". "What if I do wake up in the morning and find that I'm in pain?" I ignored that. That was my addiction speaking. Well, okay, I didn't ignore it. To be honest, I half let it convince me as I stood over the toilet ready to watch the pills tumble down the drain to my horrified mind. I almost pulled out two, "just in case."

    Before I could let my mind convince me not to do this, I tilted the bottle over, watching every pill land in the water, and flushed. The next day I was in the room all day. My angry addiction screaming at me. But, it could scream all it wanted, because there were no pain killers to quiet it, and it would have to get over it. It had no choice, and I'm happy it didn't. By the night, they had accepted that.

    I am proud of myself, and thankful to the SMARTies for being there for me. Without it, I think I would have honestly used. To be honest with myself, they helped me chose was right for me. Of course, I could have gone to local 12 step meetings. A part of me wanted to at the time. But, honestly, I thought it was a bad idea. Not because I completely disagree with the idea of seeing people face to face (there are no SMART meetings in my area face to face). But, because I thought driving a two ton missal under the influence of any substance that could alter my perception of things as outright dangerous. So, I thank SMART for that too. I think people who believe in the power of the twelve step meetings would even agree, certain circumstances can prevent people from attending, and online, even though it's less personal, is a god send.

    So I am thankful to my success, my CHOICE to succeed, and happy SMART was there to help me remember this choice, and why I made it. And while I really only have myself to thank for the choice, I also thank SMART for being there, reminding me, and supporting me though the choice. This program works, and in circumstances where pain killers may be a necessity, the principals and strategies I learned here helped me keep a good head about it, and not abuse them. Thank you so much SMARTIES.

  2. #2

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    NN, you thought about it rationally + made good choices. Bravo, success is wonderful. billy

  3. #3

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    Wow! You are amazing... Due to bad genes in the teeth department, I have had painful and extensive dental work required all my life, with still more to come. In the past, I would self medicate my dentist phobia with copious glasses of wine. I have never been addicted to pain-killers, though, so you were faced with some extra hard choices and temptations. But you ultimately won the fight between the "old" you and the "new you". Good on ya!

  4. #4

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    Your story is inspiring. I'm on my first day without my favorite drug, and I'm definitely jonesing. But, reading your story has calmed my mind and reminded why I am doing this. Thank you for your honesty and sincerity.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    45

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    I'm so glad I could help. Believe me, I know it's hard. I was abusing pain killers for almost 10 years. And suddenly to realize they would be taken away... in what felt like forever... was hard.

  6. #6

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    Years ago I took a pain management class and learned visualization techniques. I have a specific image I use for when I'm at the dentist and need to "instantly" relax. The image is a cool field of green meadow grass with wet dew on it. It's smooth like a golf course only that it is a beautiful wild field, part history and shined up by imagination. I can call up this image in my mind and look, feel and smell the grass. The longer I stay in that cool place, the easier it is to let go of the moment and let the image take me away from stress and fear of pain. I shut my eyes when the dentist brings the needle, and I'm not afraid to ask for more injection or more time to let it work when necessary. This technique works wonders when you learn to use it through repeat practice.

  7. #7

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    Your story is inspiring. Drug addiction always causes serious troubles and it's difficult to cope with the after effects it has on our body. Once we fall in addiction with any of the drugs that we use frequently, then it's so hard to live without that even if we don't want. I have a known friend of mine who started taking painkillers whenever he suffered from pain. But the real problem starts when he began to have the pain killers unnecessarily. He started to behave strangely at times and his parents took him to a drug treatment center in Toronto. He was in rehab for 3 months and recovered well.

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