Living as an opiate addict is hard on every aspect of your life. The first thought that comes to mind when you wake up in the morning is opiates and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep is the same. You change plans and base many of your actions around the drugs because they effect your financial situation as well as your mood and your ability to perform.
People who have never had an addiction to anything have a very hard time understanding what it is like for an addict. They can read books and go to school for the issue, but in my personal opinion, if you haven't lived it, you will never understand the feelings and thoughts that run through an addict's mind. You will often hear outsiders say, “Why don't you just stop?” or “People with addictions are lazy and weak.” It is easy for people who have never experienced it to place blame and judge those that have or are suffering from an addiction.
After speaking with thousands of people affected by all aspects of addiction, I can say that I have a pretty good grasp on withdrawal and the emotions that go along with it. I myself am clean from opiates for almost 5 years now and I remember vividly the thoughts, emotions and fears about my addiction and especially withdrawal. I went through small withdrawals many times because I would run out of pills and it would take one or two days before I found them again.
When I was ready to get clean I had to face my fears of going through withdrawals as well as being clean of opiates. My thoughts and emotions about facing withdrawal scared me very much. How was I going to handle not only the physical aspects of withdrawal, but the mental aspects? After a few weeks in recovery, I realized that those fears were not as bad as I had imagined. Going through withdrawal and getting clean was the greatest achievement I had ever accomplished. I know that if I did not get clean when I did, I would not be alive today. Just writing that scares me about how powerful opiate addiction can be.
The major fear I hear on a daily basis from addicts is facing withdrawal. Many are terrified of getting no sleep and becoming emotionally drained as well as suffering from extreme depression, anxiety, vomiting and diarrhea. One of the symptoms that is very tough on people going through withdrawal is insomnia. Not being able to sleep can greatly affect your mood and health. I personally did not sleep for 10 days. I did get a few 20 minute naps here and there throughout the night, but not being able to sleep was extremely stressful. Anxiety and irritability from the lack of sleep can keep people from becoming successful through their withdrawal. It is hard to keep going when you are very irritable and worrying so much about withdrawals. What makes it even worse for an addict is knowing that taking a few pills can make the opiate withdrawal symptoms go away.
The fear of withdrawal is strong, but if you have the desire to fight your fears you will be happy with your results. I remember being terrified to face withdrawals, but had my mind made up that it was time to get clean. I realized that it was “now or never,” and having that mentality made me successful. Of course I was extremely uncomfortable but I knew that as bad as I felt, I was not going to die from it. I kept telling myself to “suck it up,” because I was the one who put myself in this position and I knew I was strong enough to get out. Make up your mind, get ready for a fight and take your life back.