I just had a milestone.
21 years drug free. 21 years. It feels weird to say. Or think. Or comprehend. Or actually? To celebrate. I got it into my head that it’s been 21 years so it’s time to “get over” the hoopla and just give a silent nod to the day.
I didn’t tell anyone what the day meant until it had passed. I got a casual “cool” from two people. My middle son talked to me about it and asked me questions and really made me realize every day I’m not using or drug seeking (and I was really good at it) is something to be proud of. Let me tell you something. If you walked up to me right now and handed me a full bottle of painkillers, it would make that addiction part of my brain that remembers the pleasure, itch so badly I can’t promise you’d ever see those pills again.
Here’s the part where God, fate, and the world laughs. I’m a chronic pain sufferer. I have chronic daily headaches, chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, inflammatory autoimmune diseases, and RA. And? I need to avoid prescription pain meds. You tell me that’s not life laughing at me. My only solutions are to be a) checked into the hospital when it is literally unbearable or b) find every alternative pain management trick I can and c) an ER visit and anything meds I receive to take at home go straight to my husband to dole out as needed. “As needed” That is the key. I don’t do “as needed” if my addict brain is in charge. I do when I want, as many as I want, and hope I don’t die.
So, maybe 21 years isn’t the “no big deal” I’ve been blowing it off as this year. Maybe, just maybe, I can step back out of my own way and be proud of myself for fighting so hard for over 2 decades. I did this. I’m doing this. In a damn pandemic. Without my sister’s support. With very sick family members. I’m doing this drug free.
Maybe I can be a badass after all.
21 – Y E A R S