I feel like I’ve just woken up from a six year dream. I feel like I’ve taken off dark sunglasses and am suddenly looking straight into the sun. It’s bright, it’s harsh, it’s penetrating. I’m so very awake, so alert, and completely alive. This might sound positive but it’s actually quite an uncomfortable feeling. Its been 18 days since the laws changed so that I can’t buy over-the-counter codeine anymore. 18 days since I’ve been forced into an unwanted recovery from codeine addiction.
Its so foreign to wake, and feel awake. I’m sleeping better. I’m not fighting off layers of fog and lethargy every morning. My brain is quicker to fire up. I’ve kept a solid 9.30 am to 5.30 pm work routine for two weeks, something I haven’t done for over two years.
I keep looking around me and it’s like I’m noticing things for the first time, I mean really noticing. I’m present. I notice the warmth of the days, details of the houses and gardens that I’ve passed a thousand times, the sounds of the town. I’m actually experiencing every moment of the day and its unnerving. I am more aware of time passing, of opportunities, of my actions. And I am more aware of those dreaded feelings. I can’t hide, I can’t check out. Life is so real all of a sudden, with no temporary exit, no safe spaces. I have no choice but to sit here, sober, facing my life and my demons.
Life is so real all of a sudden, with no temporary exit, no safe spaces.
When I was on codeine I was dragging myself through my days and I wasn’t completely aware of myself – my internal or external environments. Each morning was a struggle to get alert enough to function and each afternoon was a long journey toward the peace that codeine would bring me that night. That was it.
Logically, I know that this new lease on life should be a good thing, that this is one of the healthiest and most positive changes I could ever make. But emotionally, its hard. I know I’ve said it a hundred times and it just isn’t enough to convey the feeling – I miss codeine so fucking much.
Especially in the evenings as my day winds down and the night stretches out long and dark before me. I miss the ritual. I miss it’s comforting warmth. I miss the soothing peace and pleasure it brought me. I miss the way it lifted my mood and made me content, inducing a beautiful and mild euphoria. I miss the way it created a safe, rosy coloured bubble around me and made me feel safe.
I have relapsed once in the past 18 days. I went to the doctor and got a script, conveniently using the prolapsed disc in my spine as an excuse. Filling that script and being handed my codeine was like receiving gold. Only a week into my sobriety, my body had lost some of its tolerance to the drug and that night, I revelled in a sweet high.
I have thought about getting my fix illegally. Let me state with no ambiguity, that if I could get oxycodone off the street, I would absolutely have it in my possession right now. If someone walked into my house at this moment and offered me heroin, I would take it without a second thought. Some people may read this and judge me and that’s ok. I don’t expect people to understand, really understand. Addiction will shackle your heart, body, mind and soul. Addiction will make you do things that defy your values and hurt people you love. It is an omnibus and all-powerful master. It will haunt me forever and hunt me down until my last days.
If someone walked into my house at this moment and offered me heroin, I would take it without a second thought.
I have to be honest – I might be sitting here dead sober, painfully sober, and feeling incredibly alert and alive. But let me assure you that I am counting down the days until I can get another script and get more gold. Until I can bask in my safe, rosy coloured bubble and let life fade away into the background.
Image by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash
Follow my journey so far: