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My exposure to substances has been very limited.  I'm 39 and have never tried an illegal drug.  Not even weed.  Alcohol hasn't even been remotely a problem.  I always felt that I could easily have a problem with substances, so I stayed away from them.  Addiction gene or personality or whatever.

But two and a half years ago I got hit with depression really bad.  After awhile I couldn't take it anymore and was desperate for relief.  So I started abusing oxycodone.  Between my wife and I we had a LOT of pills that had been prescribed to us.  I remember the day I took the first one, it's like I knew I a crossed a line and it would be a problem.  Pretty much right off the bat I used daily.  Oxy was how I coped and made it through my day.  It got me out of bed in the mornings - so I could take a pill.  I naturally have a low tolerance to drugs, so at first half a pill was all I needed (I don't remember the strength).  A little too much and I felt like shit.  Taking them too late in the day and I couldn't sleep that night.  I eventually figured out what worked best to make me feel just right.

After about a month I had built up some tolerance.  Taking one in the morning was no longer enough to get me through the day, I had to have one in the afternoon too.  I had been rationing my supply, but my half a pill a day wasn't cutting it, so I was getting by on a whole or so (about twice the dose as when I started).  Still not very much, but like I said I'm fairly sensitive to meds.

I hit my rock bottom with the depression and the voices trying to trick me into suicide, so I reached out for help.  After using for about a month I ended up in a psychiatrist's office.  I told him about the oxy and he did a great job in explaining what addiction would do to my life.  My friends had been begging me to stop before it got bad, but I couldn't (or just didn't want to).  I figured hey, I'll just quit when I run out, right?  But when the doctor scared the shit out of me (oxy->heroin->fentanyl->death), I decided then and there to quit.  For a few days I felt cravings but nothing bad.

In the months following a few times I had random cravings.  Also very vivid dreams of being high.  After a year or so of treatment/therapy I thought I would be strong enough to resist the temptation.  But a few weeks ago a buddy offered me vicodin and just as I was saying "sure" he told me he was joking.  I realized then that I don't have the willpower to resist.  What's keeping me from using is that I don't have access.  I never had to find any, since I had plenty by prescription, so I wouldn't know where to look.  The people I run with aren't into it.  Over the last week I started looking online for how to get on the darkweb.  I'm thinking that I would try any drug if offered, although opioids are my drug of choice.  Right now I'm not depressed (maybe a little manic), but really want something and would take it in a heartbeat.  I'm scared I'll accidentally find some in someone's bathroom.

I never considered myself an addict, because I never thought I had an addiction.  I was at the point of developing dependence.  But I don't meet the criteria I've seen for addiction.  I only used for a month, that's nothing in the grand scheme of things.  But did it permanently reprogram my brain?  Could it have been an addiction?  I hate trying to put labels on myself.  I just need to be careful.  And I don't want to parade around as an addict around guys who've really suffered (I go to 12 step recovery meetings for my mental health and we have a lot of addicts there).

I'm just wrestling with all this, and wondered what y'alls opinion is?  Is it ok to call myself an addict or would it be offensive to someone?  Or is my problem not addiction, but just abuse?

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Sorry, yes, that is an addiction and yes, it did change your brain permanently in the sense that you will always be tempted to return to the substance that made you feel so good, or to similar ones.

It is great that you were able to stop before more damage occurred to your life but, in the end, the cravings you experienced, your attempts to do your best to score when it became unavailable, the ongoing preoccupation with the substance, the fact you're using to cope with your feelings not for physical pain/to have fun...I don't think I need to go on, right? The only difference between your situation and most addict's is length of time you used. 

 

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Just to point out tho- limiting access to offending substances is sometimes a valid strategy when beginning to avoid behaviors/triggers/substances. You shouldn't fault urself for realizing that is what u need to do right now while working on other therapeutic skills/coping mechanisms that will help bolster your ability to not do things later one 

also- you're not "parading Around" if you definitely need help, you are using those tools to your advantage- it certainly sounds like you're suffering and struggling 

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On 3/12/2019 at 1:52 PM, freesoul said:

Sorry, yes, that is an addiction and yes, it did change your brain permanently in the sense that you will always be tempted to return to the substance that made you feel so good, or to similar ones.

Well, damn.  I'm not bothered by the label.  Everything you said was spot on.

22 hours ago, Iceberg said:

Just to point out tho- limiting access to offending substances is sometimes a valid strategy when beginning to avoid behaviors/triggers/substances. You shouldn't fault urself for realizing that is what u need to do right now while working on other therapeutic skills/coping mechanisms that will help bolster your ability to not do things later one 

also- you're not "parading Around" if you definitely need help, you are using those tools to your advantage- it certainly sounds like you're suffering and struggling 

Thank you.  That helps me realize that I need more than just access control.  That makes sense, because I have been worried what would happen if I accidentally got access - found some pills on a bathroom counter, or be in a social situation where they become available unexpectedly.  I can't just rely on not having a means to obtain substances.

It seems like I have some of the same addiction issues to deal with that many other people have.  Just because it didn't get very bad doesn't mean I don't need the same kind of help to make sure it never gets bad.

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