I’m the daughter of an alcoholic. I also have a neurological disease that requires me to use daily pain medication to have any quality of life. Those two things are incompatible. I’ve talked about the side effects of Complex Regional Pain syndrome ad nauseum. But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about those two statements together and how much they can screw up my brain and derail me.
Since the 1980s, I’ve been aware that addiction is a disease and is hereditary. The rest of the world obviously has some catching up to do, because it wasn’t until 2019 (maybe 2018, I don’t remember exactly) that addiction was officially classified as a disease (no different than diabetes) and announced to be hereditary.
My father is nearing 40 years of sobriety. Alcoholism nearly put him in a very early grave and it wasn’t just the booze. I did not develop a taste for alcohol. I’ll have a drink once in a while, but I can count the number of times I’ve been drunk in my life. And my father’s sobriety kept me from experimenting with drugs when I was a teen. I didn’t want to be addicted to a substance like MDMA or cocaine or oxycodone. And I knew I was at risk, because my father is an addict.
As a result of the two statements that opened this blog post, about every 6 months, I go through an existential crisis. Sometimes, it lasts a few days, sometimes a few weeks. During them, I question everything I do, everything I feel, and everything I think. It’s hard to stop that spiral of questioning and it sends me into a funk.
Outside reassurances that I don’t behave like an addict don’t help end it. It’s something I have to prove to myself. Proving to yourself that your dependency on pain medication is for quality of life is a bit difficult. But it’s the only way for me to get past it.