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SECRET #3

MARCH 12, 2016

200mg Diphenhydramine, add 20ml Robitussin DM. What used to be a shot of vodka has turned into my new nightly cocktail.

When I first went sober, from alcohol, I started taking sleeping pills to help with the insomnia of quitting cold turkey. I had taken sleeping pills randomly through the years, solely for the purpose of getting a good nights rest. I even went to them one time during a failed suicide attempt when I was in a very dark spot. But it was never a point to be addicted at the time. I also never really paid attention to any side effects they had besides drowsiness.

When I went sober, I made the choice to seek the help of OTC sleep meds. The very first time I took them after I went sober I doubled the dose just to make sure I slept. I noticed something about the feeling that came over me. I was nervous, but curious about it. Fast forward 3.5 years later, I have rarely gone a night without taking sleeping meds. I can’t even remember the last time I didn’t take them. It has become habit.

The feeling I first experienced by doubling up wasn’t one of pure exhilaration, but it peaked my interest. I did it again the next night, and the next, and so on. I gradually increased the dosage as I went forward. As I was taking them, I started to pick up on things I was feeling  a little better. I felt almost euphoric. I enjoyed music more, I felt more creative, and I was also getting decent nights rest.

I started taking it earlier in the evening, and looked forward to the feeling each night. I would prepare for it. I would get all comfy and have my food and music ready for the feeling to slowly creep in. I realized early on it probably wasn’t a good idea, but left it at that and didn’t think about it as a problem. I had just quit drinking, I was proud of myself for doing that. It’s also what probably made the transition to another addiction so easy. It helped me feel something… anything.

As time progressed I upped the dosage, now at 200mg a night. And that is if I don’t have the other OTC medicine I have started using in addition to the Diphenhydramine. Robitussin. If I have Robitussin I take 20ml of that and 150mg of the Diphenhydramine. It seems to enhance the feelings that come from the Diphenhydramine. The normal recommended dosage for the pills is 50mg every 4-6 hours as needed and for no longer than two weeks. For the cough syrup it is recommended to take 10ml and only for a couple of weeks as well. Obviously 3 years is more than two weeks.

The problem with those meds is that they aren’t physically addictive, but psychologically. Harder to break away from since you have to combat your own mind.

It’s scary to me to think I transitioned so easily to come thing else. I have spent the last 3.5 years being super proud of myself for staying sober after all that I done. I’m not saying I’m no proud of staying sober from alcohol this long, but it feels as though I didn’t accomplish being sober from everything. It feels like the last 1288 days didn’t really count and that I am afraid that I will have to restart that clock.

I’m mad at myself for focusing purely on staying away from alcohol that I didn’t seem to care to much about any other substance that may enter my body. I don’t want to restart that counter.I feel like if I do than everything I have talked about, the people I have mentored, the blogs I’ve written about being sober and how I did it and continue to do it is all pointless, hypocritical, a sham, and misleading to those who I have tried to help and to all who have read my posts.

I am choosing not to restart that clock because I have busted my butt to keep sober from alcohol, but I will start another clock that counts my days sober from sleeping meds. Unfortunately that isn’t possible tonight, since I have already taken them while I wrote this blog post.

I know this post may seem like a long rambling mess, it’s because it is. I am disappointed in myself for not being able to stay away from everything. I just hope that people still see me for what I’ve put into my sobriety. I also hope that one day I can be proud of myself again.

  • Brittany Shelton

    Okay so this one hits home for me for sure!!! I just RECENTLY quit my pm medication. (It’s been 12ish weeks) I cannot tell you that I am excited about it. Hence, why I am awake stalking your blog at 1 am. 🙂

    I began using them in early recovery because getting to sleep was a major issue for me, and over time, I relied on them to fall asleep every day.
    I looked forward to that warm feeling, and the relaxed state, and even the point that I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

    I stopped because I just got to a point where it was effecting my moods, and I felt like it effected my patience level and caused me to feel agitated and frustrated quickly throughout my day.

    After taking it every single day for a decade, it hasn’t been easy to embrace this natural sleepy thing, but I am trying nonetheless.

    You are *brave brave brave for sharing your secrets and struggles with us.

    Don’t ever be ashamed for making progress and living authentically.

    You are doing a really good job and it sounds like you are going at the pace that is best for you.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Thank you for your kind words! I let it slip my mind that my addiction could easily be translated over to something else. Unfortunately I still deal with this particular issue. I have begun to cut down on the amount though.