Last evening my husband threw his back out. Actually, it's a back spasm - he wasn't lifting anything heavy, just using a light sprayer-thingy to coat our porch with some kind of sealer. He cried out in pain, gripped his back and sank to the floor.
Steve hesitated - he has heard enough horror stories about the addictive nature of Vicodin to be wary - so the doctor continued, with a wink, "It won't do anything to cure the back spasm, but it will trick your brain into thinking you're not in much pain."
This isn't a post about how pain meds are over-prescribed - that's a rant for another time.
It has been a stressful couple of days. I'm preparing to leave on Thursday for California, to go to the Creative Alliance blogging conference. I had the past few days mapped out - everything I had to get done to be ready to leave - and life hasn't cooperated with my planning. I have many jewelry orders to fill, grocery shopping and house cleaning to do, presents to buy for friends' birthday parties that are happening while I'm gone, and tons of scheduling for the kids' activities to figure out.
Today fell apart completely. I couldn't get to anything on my list, and by 1pm I was a nervous wreck.
So, needless to say, a muscle relaxant or a Vicodin or two sounded downright necessary to this addict's brain.
I know the addict voice well; she calls to me when life feels like death by a thousand paper cuts, when the stress of day-to-day life feels unmanageable: you can't get to everything you need to do, so do the next best thing - ESCAPE.
An interesting thing happened, though. I danced with the idea of taking a pill (or two, or seven) - I let myself really see it. I pictured washing down a muscle relaxant and then floating on the couch in a sea of calm. I closed my eyes and envisioned how good it would feel as the tension left my body, my shoulders unknotted and my screaming thoughts faded away.
I thought of the doctor's words to Steve, about how Vicodin tricks your brain into thinking it isn't in much pain.
I realized that I can do that trick now without medication. My drug of choice is acceptance.
My day wasn't going as planned, not even close, but it was going just fine. I will get on a plane on Thursday and go to California, whether or not the house is spotless or all the laundry is done. The kids will make it to their activities - I'll figure it out, I know I will - and if they miss one or two will the world stop revolving? I have tomorrow to finish up the jewelry orders. Or tonight. There is plenty of time, it's just that my brain likes to think everything is a crisis - especially if things don't go as planned.
I don't need a pill to trick my brain into thinking everything is okay; everything IS okay.
These infuriating little details were the sort of thing that used to crush me, make me feel worthless, pitiful, less-than. Other mothers can handle it all, what's wrong with me? was my dark angel's battle cry. My addictive voice would bang that drum until I gave in.
But she is a whiny, puny, outraged toddler, and I am a sober woman of dignity and honor.
She is no match for me.