I slept a little late today. I’m not such a great sleeper anyway, and on top of that both my kids are sick, so the little sleep I usually get was even more disturbed tending to them during the night. No big deal, it’s all part of being a mother. Every morning I begin my day with prayer and meditation. “Dear God, please keep me away from that first drink, drug and any desire to harm myself or others, Amen”.
I came downstairs and picked the mail up off the floor. I knew who it was from even before I opened the envelope. It was from a utility company threatening legal action because I was behind with payments again. The second one was another legal matter to do with my ex. Again no big deal. I’ve become accustomed to these minor annoyances. I’ve learned to deal with them immediately and swiftly. If I don’t I become fearful and find any reason to avoid dealing with such matters.
I started to brew my coffee as I dialed the utility company number into my cell phone. There was a polite greeting on the other end from the customer service person. I gave her my details, promised her a payment by the end of the week, thanked her for her time and hung up. I then dialed my lawyers number, spoke to his secretary briefly, gave her the instructions that the letter requested and hit the end call button.
I stood staring out the window sipping my coffee in the silence and heard my kids stir upstairs. Their doctors appointment was scheduled for later that day. I started fixing them breakfast as they made their way down the stairs. They were a lot more subdued than normal. No fighting or general loudness which is usual in our house in the morning. They appeared in the kitchen looking pale and forlorn. I hate it when they are ill. Nothing distresses me more than when my little ones are experiencing discomfort in anyway.
A text came from a close friend from the fellowship. She was going to come visit at 11am for coffee and a catch up. I was relieved that she was. I needed adult company badly. I did a quick tidy up. Tucked the kids back in bed until it was time to leave for the doctors and awaited my friends arrival while checking emails.
My friend arrived. We had coffee and talked about the happenings of our lives at the moment. We were both in a good place, strong, doing well. When she left I prepared for the kids appointment. Really it was an uneventful pleasant morning. Nothing out of the ordinary. Yes there’s underlying things that are causing me pain but today I felt I was ok. There’s been a lot of change going on for me but I have a solid program and amazing friends in the fellowship. I can get through all this right? Let go and let God; this too shall pass!
So the diagnosis was tonsillitis. The prescription for antibiotics was written and off we went to the pharmacy to fill the script. I went to my purse to take money out to pay for the drugs and noticed I had to dip into this weeks rent money to pay for them. It will be ok. I’ll make it up somehow. What happened next has left me feeling confused and damn vulnerable.
I handed the assistant the prescription and sat on a chair to wait for the medication. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular. I sat, just enjoying being able to catch my breath for 5 minutes and observe the other people around me. I love to watch people. We really are fascinating creatures.
I heard my named called and got up off the chair. The assistant had the kids meds in her hand and asked if I required anything else. Just then, before I could control what was coming out of my mouth, I found myself asking the assistant for a cold and flu remedy. I don’t have a cold or flu at the moment. I further found myself asking her to make sure that there was codine and/or pseudoephedrine in them. At that moment, in that split second, without any considerable thought I had planned to get high. She went to get the pills from behind the counter.
Fear and panic rose up inside me. It seemed to be coming from my deepest, darkest recesses. I started to shake, my head started to spin and the tears welled up in my eyes. I really didn’t know what was happening to me. A wave of emotional pain came over me that I couldn’t cope with. What was it that sent me over the edge? Perhaps the legal issues were bothering me more than I had realized? Maybe the worry of the kids being sick got to me or the underlying personal problems I was experiencing had finally used up the last of my strength. Maybe the combination of all of it had finally weighed me down so much that I was starting to lose my mind!
I paid for my items and watched the shop assistant put them into a paper bag. The kids antibiotics went in, along with some ibuprofen to help with their sore throats. Last were the cold and flu remedies. I took the bag, and began to walk out of the pharmacy. I started to panic even more. I knew if I left the store with those pills there was no going back. I would take them; all of them. And the sole intention of me ingesting them would be to crush the pressure that I now realized had been present in my body for the past few days.
A million thoughts ran through my head as I headed for the door. They spun around inside my skull like a roulette wheel. I thought of the blissful high I could experience, the release from this fucking pain. I thought of the shame I would feel if I went through with it, and how every bit of blood sweat and tears I had gone through for over four years to stay clean would be gone in a split second. All I would have to do is open the pill box and put one of them inside my mouth and it would all be meaningless. Could I live with the shame and guilt I knew I would feel? Was the momentary relief I knew I would feel be worth it because today I wasn’t coping?
Then the roulette stopped spinning, and the ball landed on one particular thought that snapped me back to reality. I focused on the two precious little lives sitting in the car outside, waiting on the person they relied on most in the world, who was inside the pharmacy getting their medication to make them better. I asked God at that moment to please help me. I turned around and headed back towards the assistant and laid the cold and flu remedies on the counter top. I didn’t say anything to the assistant nor waited for a refund.
I sucked back the tears and ran for the door. I got in my car where my kids were waiting, listening to the radio and turned the keys in the ignition. Visibly shook, my son asked me if I was ok. “Just a bit of migraine hon” I replied, “nothing to worry about”. I was barely holding it together when we got home, but I managed to get the kids back in bed and gave them their meds. I came downstairs, turned on the computer and thankfully there was an NA meeting in progress. I had to share what just happened before I could convince myself that I was over reacting. That really it was no big deal. It was only cold and flu pills. But there was no denying what my intentions were at the time and I knew I had to tell someone. So with tears streaming down my face I told on myself.
That right there was the closest I have ever come to using since I came into recovery. Why now? I have no idea. I had NO intention of using today. It wasn’t something that was even in my thought process. Regardless, my disease grabbed me in an instant and had me in the most vulnerable and powerless position I have been in, in a very long time. Right now it’s 9.30pm on Wednesday night. I’m sitting in my living room alone, typing and wondering how the hell I got so close to the edge. I feel cold and empty but beyond grateful to have a Higher Power to drag me out of that most desperate place today. I don’t want to use EVER again, but today I nearly didn’t make it.
Picture courtesy of teens.drugabuse.gov