As someone living with 8+ years of sobriety, it is in my best interest to learn more about sobriety. What we understand of sobriety is based on the writings of others that have experienced sobriety. I would even go so far as to say that sobriety is not a priority of doctors of medicine, so we addicts and alcoholics have to figure out these things, unless our addictions are medical emergencies. Everything else is our fault.
I’ve been studying my mind versus my body a lot recently.
Studying my mind and body, through the Zdiscord #Gender-Identity channel and threads, has helped me come to terms with certain aspects of myself. Although I’ve been getting shit for talking about gender because it’s challenging for those who just want to give over their identity to large societal systems, it’s been worthwhile since I’ve come to terms with disparities I’ve had about myself since as far back as I could remember. So, I’ve always felt a disconnect between my mind and my body. I look at these as two different parts of one whole. Up until my disability, I had kind of always wanted my body to be subservient to my mind. This led to me abusing my body in certain ways, whether through rigorous exercise, fasting, or eating too much, which might have rewarded me with short-term trophies but sacrificed my long-term goals.
In gender, there’s an attraction model based on primary and secondary forms.
From the gender perspective, my attractions aren’t often rooted in physical sensations, so, interacting with someone does not evoke attraction for me. I need to get to know the person more, which leans closer to demisexual, but I think I’m closer to asexual because the amount of attraction I have toward potential sexual partners is so minimal that the only real justification I can give for having any attraction at all is that the sensations are rooted in the body. This might explain certain concepts about my gender and sexuality that are irrelevant here, but the point is that the body can have needs like requiring nourishment or passing waste that the mind doesn’t have. The mind has needs like media meandry or reduction of anxiety. Together, the mind and body work as a sort of tandem system that, I imagine, most people experience interchangeably.
My mind and body have always had a bit of a detachment.
When I was a kid, I didn’t feel comfortable in many social situations that I now excel in with digital social situations, and I don’t think it’s all because it’s written versus verbal communication. It has more to do with the idea that my body can sit here in my writing chair or wherever I am and I can think through my thoughts as I want to convey them, and, I can do so at my mind’s pace, rather than when I meet people in-person – we have to go at my body’s pace. If my body needs to pee, or has a spine flare-up, then I have to tend to that before I can communicate with others. Being able to tend to my body’s needs without having to present my body to other people’s bodies has been educational for me, because I’ve realized that my body is merely the host for my mind, and if I could easily transition into another body, I would. No more spine pain! But because I can’t, I’ve been stuck in maintenance mode over the past year-plus in trying to tend to my body’s problems however my mind can, which has meant that my mind has had to be very careful with dealing with situations that might be compromising otherwise.
I believe my addictions are rooted in mind highs.
When I drank, it was to escape from the anxieties of life, and this was an effective seduction without solving the problems that, had I addressed, would have easily reduced those and other anxieties. This is, in other words, emotional immaturity. But because I took it too far for too long, I don’t have a sort of second chance when it comes to this sort of stuff, and, when I had consumed cannabis I experienced borderline schizophrenic psychosis [based on my experiences and what I’ve read, although I haven’t received a formal diagnosis, because why would I even try to talk to a doctor about all of this? So I could be prescribed some cannabis?] so I can’t casually go to any cannabis store to help relieve my pain. I have to, instead, live a humble life where nothing I do flares up my spine more than absolutely necessary.
I have to be very careful with the Oxycodone I still possess.
I have only once received any sort of borderline experience implying addiction from Oxycodone and I’ve been taking it off-and-on for nearly one year, after my surgery on August 31 2020 where they basically gave me Oxycodone and left me to rot, so I’ve had to do much of this sort of mental exploration on my own. I went to a pain management doctor that was so aggressively unwilling to help outside of prescribing more Oxycodone that he wouldn’t even have a conversation with me about addictions. He did the legal minimum by telling me to go to his website and read about addiction. Nothing he wrote was anything new, yet, he wrote in a way that showed me he didn’t understand addiction at all. No one really does, and an essay like this is only meant to scratch the surface and come up with some ideas as to why some chemicals are addictive to some people and not to others.
I took 10 milligrams of Oxycodone about …5 hours ago?
For me, Oxycodone is about the same as taking Diphenhydramine in that both are body depressants that calm my nerves. Diphenhydramine adds in drowsiness and the sedentary feelings come on much more suddenly and last longer, depending on the dose, whereas for Oxycodone, especially in such small doses, the most that happens is that I get further detachment between my body and mind. This doesn’t feel particularly nice because I already feel the detachment, and it doesn’t reduce the pain as much as distract me from it. So I can still feel my tailbone feeling sore right now, but my body feels heavier and it’s a little hard for me to concentrate, which is just enough to moderate things until next week’s spinal injection that might be the fix for my issue.
Alcohol and cannabis are more mind highs.
Alcohol can put me into a weird headspace where reality shifts rapidly. Unlike the drowsiness of Diphenhydramine, Alcohol shifts my mind radically into weird directions, and Cannabis does that even more so. What is currently manageable for me, with the minimal amount of Oxycodone I took, would be substantially exacerbated were to get drunk or high. I might do things that are destructive because my mind would not be moderating things well enough. My body isn’t a chaotic force or anything, but I feel like there are times when my body steers the wheel for good and bad. Today, my body desired more food than what I had, so despite feeling like I couldn’t, I bought groceries and did so at a pace where I could not only bring all the groceries home, but cook them, and not experience any substantial pain compared to the past two days.
I try to keep my mind disciplined regarding Oxycodone consumption, too.
I really only take Oxycodone under two conditions, where either one could be met if extreme, but both must be present:  a substantial feeling of pain that does not go away over the course of multiple days, like the pain is increasing, and  a feeling of hopelessness with my situation. The first is the body expressing pain and the second is my mind’s tolerance waning. When I let the second slip for too long, that was when I experienced the closest to a sobriety problem related to Oxycodone. It would almost seem like an addiction to dip into a chemical before you “need” it, and thus fulfilling the “need” to have it, but this is where the addict brain, working within the addict’s thought patterns, can work toward self-preservation.
As soon as something becomes an addiction, it’s removed from the toolkit.
For something like Oxycodone, it’s a tool that my mind uses as a bandage for the body as the body awaits the doctor’s theory about the problem ailing the body. Once we determine if this is the fix, then there’s no real appeal for Oxycodone. I forget I have it on most days. On those “most days,” I still have pain but it is manageable. [I would say, too, if I’m broadly criticizing doctors for not knowing enough about addiction, I will say the same of pain. Of the four doctors that I met calling themselves pain management doctors, none of their four styles resembled anything that actually treated the pain – #1 shrugged and called it a surgical problem, #2 was the drug dealer, #3 figured that forcing me through physical therapy, aqua-therapy specifically, could fix my issue, and #4 was uneducated in pain management, full-stop.] So I have to be the one to manage my own pain regime, because none of those doctors understood or cared enough to do much more than prescribe medicine or different doctor to treat my pain.
I can only imagine the same for doctors actively dealing with sobriety cases.
The doctors in academia regarding pain or sobriety, maybe in theory and books, might understand more about what other doctors have reported on, but this is where I would say that the problem of these four doctors regarding pain – and as I can extrapolate, sobriety – is that all four lacked the empathy of human beings that had experienced chronic pain. How could they? If they were in chronic pain, they couldn’t retain all of the information required to get the training required to become doctors. If either of them had the basic level of understanding, then they wouldn’t have been shocked by me being able to operate within our reality through chronic pain – “if you’re in pain” as Pain Doctor #1 had the audacity to suggest. They would know that there is no choice but to push on ahead.
Here’s an analogy about how my mind deals with maintaining my body.
Today, I took a bath to partially cool off from a mid-August mild-heatwave, but also to clean up after getting groceries. When I was finished in the bathtub, where I thought I would write this essay but instead I got sidetracked, I tried to get up out of the bathtub. My lower body has significantly weaker muscles than my upper body. It took me 15 minutes to gather the mental and physical strength to push my body up out of the bathtub and clean the body off. The first few times, my mind tried lifting myself up and my mind realized that my body was not able to commit to getting out of the bathtub. I still had to force myself out of the bathtub, though, regardless of how much I couldn’t get out because I needed to get out.
This is the same with addiction as well.
I abstain from anything related to alcohol or cannabis because of the potential for relapse. I don’t know if I have the mental discipline to take one drink and not feel like having twenty after having reacclimatized my body and mind to the taste. Oxycodone, by comparison, is a tool that I haven’t yet abused, so while the abuse potential is there, it’s minimal enough to where I can keep it in check. I am not confident that many doctors have studied addiction outside of “addiction bad, addicts bad, treat addicts or potential addicts badly, and maintain the moral high ground at all times.” Would addicts make better doctors of addiction?
I don’t think first-hand or second-hand experience would hurt most doctors.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Thinking about addiction from the addict’s perspective in ways to maybe figure out why some chemicals are addictive to some people and myself and others are not. Answer: I use the tool properly and keep myself disciplined, but without knowing that discipline, each time I take Oxycodone is gambling with introducing this as an addictive force into my life.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2021 August 12 [10:45pm to 11:43pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 August 12 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|