In this blog journalist Mick Boskamp, 9 years clean & sober and former client of Castle Craig, explains why physical pain is an enemy of recovery.
When the injury in (or around) the hamstring in my left leg started, I don't remember. But I feel like it's been months. How the injury got there is a mystery, even for my physio, who doesn't understand it at all. That's why I only got exercises. Which do not help and only increase the discomfort.
This week I was in so much pain that I had a very frightening thought. In that thought, I would do anything to not feel pain for a while. Suppose I took a pinch of Oxycodone? That wouldn't be harmful, would it?
And at that moment my breath caught in my throat. It's been a long time since I thought something so stupid. That must have been ten years ago, my last year of being an active addict and wanting to believe all the nonsense about the benefit of drug use.
Since 1999, half a million Americans are said to have died from their addiction to the painkiller (and powerful opiate) Oxycontin. And as an addict with 10 years of sobriety in sight, I wonder whether a pinch of Oxycodone (= Oxycontin) is harmful or not.
I was reminded of Aerosmith's lead singer, Steven Tyler, who can also be called the American Mick Jagger, but then – very American – with an even bigger mouth. Recently, a series of Aerosmith performances in Las Vegas had to be canceled because - according to the press release - the singer had been admitted for an addiction to painkillers. Which he had first taken after an operation on his foot, after which the pain became almost unbearable.
You'd think someone like Tyler who's spent long periods of recovery alternating with relapses in his life should know better. And he probably knew that too, and he chose the escape in fear and panic from so much pain.
I also thought of Prince and I almost felt sick to think that the brilliant singer – when I was a pop journalist – confided to me in 1986 in a limousine on the way to Leidsplein: 'I hate drugs. Boring? Gladly. Better boring than dead.' And what did he die of? An overdose of Fentanyl, a painkiller many times stronger than heroin, which Prince took because he had excruciating pain in one hip. As a result, as if the maddening pain wasn't bad enough, he had to cancel performances. With Fentanyl he was able to stand on stage and that and not feeling the pain anymore made him keep using it. And what was at first a necessary evil, resulted in an unquenchable hunger for more painkillers, with all the terrible consequences that entails, certainly also for the music-loving part of the world.
After ten years of being sober, it remains essential to be on your guard. As long as you also have fun in your life.