Tonight’s post is a bit of tough one.
My aunt and uncle keep one of my medications in their fireproof safe. The medication helps treat the cravings and helps a little with the pain. I think I have a section on it in my info – it is called “subutex”. I’ve been on it for a few months now, and it has really been helping me to not have any drug cravings and to keep my body from having any kind of withdrawl symptoms.
But even though it can’t really give me a “high”, I still asked Richard and Kate to keep it in their safe and to distribute it to me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.
Today, after my aunt grabbed my pill for me from the safe, she set her keys down on the kitchen counter and walked away. I went downstairs, and when I came back up I saw the keys lying there and picked them up, thinking I was going to walk over to her and hand them to her and say, “hey you left these on the counter”.
But somehow I just stood there with the keys in my hand. And when Kate came back into the kitchen, I quickly stuffed the keys into my pocket.
Yeah. I know, right? What the hell was that about?
Now I couldn’t hand them back to her, I had just stuffed them into my pocket as if I had something to hide. So I figured I would just wait until she got up and left the room again, put them back where I found them, and walk away.
So we stood there talking, and I clearly was feeling guilty, because after a little while, Kate said, “hey, when I came back into the room I had this distinct feeling that I had witnessed something you didn’t want me to see, and I saw you put something into your pocket, and I was just wondering what was up?”
Wow. I felt like she could read my mind or something.
At first, I just stood there with what I thought was a blank look on my face but what I am sure was an astonished expression. And unfortunately, the first thing to go through my head was “Deny it, deny it. Nothing happened. You wouldn’t be lying if you said nothing happened. Just give an excuse and walk away.”
Thankfully, that wasn’t what I did. I felt too guilty, and honestly, at that moment I wasn’t sure why I felt that way. After all, I hadn’t actually done anything. I had just idly picked up the keys and then instinctively put them into my pocket right?
So I tell Kate all this. I was talking in a panicky tone of voice, I was almost shaking. My entire body tensed up, and my shoulders were hunched, my arms crossed in front of me. I almost wasn’t breathing.
As I am explaining what happened to Kate, I get to the part where I tell her, “After the keys were in my pocket I thought that I couldn’t just pull them out and hand them to you because that would make me look guilty, so I thought I would just wait till you went to go do something else and I would put the keys back at that point.” Then I said, “I didn’t really have any intention of actually using them to open the safe…”
And Kate stopped me as I mumbled, saying, “I’m not sure if I can believe that, Nathan.”
Boom. It was like a pile of rocks hit me in the stomach. All of a sudden I realized that she was right. It wasn’t a conscious thought, but a part of me had absolutely considered going to the safe and opening it the minute I had picked the keys up.
The worst part wasn’t actually that, though. Because it is no big surprise that sometimes I might have thoughts like that. The hardest part for me was that I wasn’t sure which part of me would have won that argument had Kate not walked into the room and then confronted me the way she did. I don’t know if the rational, “new Nathan” who was saying, “you should go hand the keys to Kate because you don’t want the temptation laying around” or the “old Nathan” who was saying, “No one would know if you just quickly opened the safe and grabbed a couple extra pills”.
It scared me, not just because I wasn’t sure how that would have turned out, and because that whole thought process was happening at such a low level in my mind that I wasn’t actually aware of it at all until I was confronted and had to think it through.
Of course, my first instinct was to feel bad. To feel like I had screwed up. Like even after all my hard work, I was still a failure. In short, the first thing I wanted to do was judge myself. As if I needed to make myself feel any worse than I did. But again, Kate was there to support me. She reminded me that everything happens for a reason, and that this incident had a purpose, and it was up to me to either listen to the universe as it spoke to me, or to ignore it and create my own story about what was happening.
I feel overwhelmingly grateful to Kate for her calm, non-judgmental response to me in this situation. Things could easily escalated and turned very, very negative. Instead, it prompted us to talk about a couple things that I had been almost avoiding because I wasn’t certain yet what I wanted to do.
You see, this medication, the subutex, typically has to be prescribed by a doctor with a special license if it is prescribed for someone for “chemical dependency” (aka addiction). Now these doctors are often very expensive, have no appointments, and don’t take insurance. After leaving the hospital I spent two weeks calling every clinic in town and got no results. Because of that, my lung doctor filled in the gap for me and wrote me the prescription for the last month and a half. But after the last one he wrote, the insurance company told him that they wouldn’t cover it if he kept prescribing it because he doesn’t have this special DEA license.
And I have been searching since he told me that, and still have not found anything.
So I have been considering just going off of it when my current prescription ends. I will have to wean myself off of it for a few days, and I will probably feel pretty crappy for a week or so.
But better to have that experience in this supportive environment with my aunt and uncle here to help me than to try and do it months from now when I might potentially be on my own and by myself with no support. I know what happens when I try to go through even the most mild withdrawl symptoms when I am alone. I stress about how I feel, I make myself feel worse and worse until I am convinced that I would rather die than keep feeling the way I feel. And then in the past I have always gone right back on the drugs rather than deal with the pain and anxiety of withdrawl.
So going through it here, in this place, now that I have a routine that I have established which I can use to support me when I feel crappy….well, it seems like probably the right thing to do.
A big part of me is fighting this idea. That is the part of me that thinks it would be easier for me to just be on the subutex forever so that I don’t have to deal with how things feel without it.
Because to be honest, although it isn’t something I can get high off of, it still is something I am dependent on. And that means it is easier for me to stay on it that to try and get off of it.
But last night I wrote a post about challenging myself and about finding even deeper discipline.
I think that I am capable of handling this.
I am choosing to see this incident as the universe speaking to me, showing me the opportunity to really get all the unhealthy, unnecessary chemicals out of my system forever. To really set my sights on true optimum wellness. Because let’s face it – staying on a drug that is just there to prop you up a bit and alter your brain chemistry just enough to minimize pain and cravings – it has its place, but it was never supposed to continue indefinitely. I knew at some point I would have to deal with this, and I am just glad it happened now so that I can worth through it while I still have the added support that living with my aunt and uncle is providing.
Sometimes things happen, and events all collide, coming down to a single point, and everything hangs in the balance. I think the incident with the keys today was one of those points. There were two really clear choices in the moment when I was being confronted. I could have lied, and if I had, all of my hard work the last couple months could have come crashing down around me. Or I could tell the truth and face what that produced.
I am so grateful that I chose to be honest in this situation. It felt horrible, having to reveal all of this to my aunt. To lay myself out in front of her, not knowing what would happen. But once I had done it, and once she had responded with so much love, support and gentleness, I actually felt like a huge weight was lifted from me. It was like there had been a huge lake of anxiety surrounding my brain because of this issue with my medication, and suddenly it just all drained out.
Don’t get me wrong, my energy was absolutely closed off and blocked when I left that conversation with my aunt. I felt short of breath and shaking and I was trying desperately not to judge myself. But after a bit of deep breathing and after I had focused my attention someplace else, it did indeed feel as if much of that tension melted away and as if my energy began to flow again.
Well, that was tough to write. I wasn’t honestly sure if I could do it, and I am sure that no-one would have blamed me for not writing it. But it would have felt wrong to not address this here with you. I would have felt as if I were hiding it, like I was ashamed. And I refuse to hide and lie and live in shame. That was the “old Nathan”. And if I continue that pattern, just like I talked about the other day, I will soon slip right back into that old reality. And I don’t want to go back there.
My new reality is much better.
I just want to say again how grateful I am to Kate for how she handled this situation. It was really a testament to her love for me, and demonstrated to me once again that she truly desires to be loving and compassionate toward everyone she encounters. I am blessed to have her as my aunt.
I also want to say how grateful I am to Richard. Because he walked in partway through this immensely difficult conversation between Kate and I, and he really didn’t hardly say a word. He didn’t interrupt. He didn’t try to analyze things. He just stood and listened, and at one point asked if he should be getting more involved, and when we said no, he went right back to just being there and listening. Again, a testament to his patience and the peace within him. I am blessed to have him as my uncle.
And I am blessed by you, as you read this. You are supporting me as well. And I thank you.
Goodnight, and Peace to you,