(started 3.19.08. still woefully behind.)
i had written down so many things that i wanted to blog about (when i didn’t have a computer at home), and as time went by, i still wanted to talk about a lot of them, but didn’t know how, since a lot of them had lost their timeliness. well, eric of panic blog has given me the best segue a a grrl could ever ask for. and i DO mean that in a really fucking creepy way. he’s posted a copy of the batman ‘dark knight’ promo poster for the movie due out 2008. the one where heath ledger is the joker. the really creepy, dark, joker. that makes it even more creepy now that heath is dead.
now, i never had any connection with heath . i still haven’t even managed to see ‘brokeback mountain’ yet. so, i didn’t have this major connection with him as an actor of my generation or something. but, what i read about him after his death and what i read concerning the circumstances surrounding his death screamed — addict. and a couple weeks after his death, when the full autopsy report came out, i read this article in our trashy/tabloid paper of the tribune’s called the red eye. and it was first talking about how heath’s dad said that it was ‘an unfortunate accident’ and how the coroner ruled his death ‘an accidental overdose.’ when i read the list of the medicines he was said to have ingested, i just sighed. if by ‘accidental overdose’ they meant that he didn’t intentionally mean to kill himself, i guess i get what they are driving at … no suicide note and really bad judgment. not being your own best pharmacist.
however, what struck me was what came next in the tabloid article. advice about just that … how you are the only person who really knows all the meds you’re on and how you have to keep your pharmacist informed, so they can have a better read on what will mix with what. let me tell you this. ‘normal’ people nearly always have all their scripts at one pharmacy/chain. maybe they have different ones if they are trying to get a better price or they did something for convenience one time. but normally, i’d say humans are mega creatures of habit who like to get into routines. for the most part, people who have scripts at different pharmacies/doctors are people who are trying to get pills for the effect. ‘doctor shoppers.’ people who need to get more of one pill than they can get from one doctor, or who have used up all of their monthly allotment before their refill is due and need to get more of their drug/s of choice. as i recall, the drugs they listed for heath were two benzos, a muscle relaxer, and two strong painkillers. any doctor or pharmacist who knew he was on any one of the other of those would never have prescribed the others or told him to take the others. period. for someone to get those kind of scripts, they’d have to be shopping or at the best, getting scripts and hoarding.
that’s the behavior of an addict, people. other people don’t worry about having enough pills or go around trying to get more. they don’t keep their extra prescriptions around “just in case.” or at least not so consciously. lots of people keep old medicines around, but addicts are so much more intense about it. i know this from talking to a lot of my friends, but mostly from the way normal people talk about having to take pain medication. they’re reluctant. they take a few and stop. they have whole bottles lying around after surgery and they don’t think twice about them. they never use their refills. they don’t think about the bottle when they’re not with it or away from it. they look forward to being about to be off the medicine, not to the next time they can take another dose.
my mom had a surgery some time ago and was prescribed oxycontin and told me she wasn’t going to take it because she ‘heard on the news that people die from it.’ clearly, she didn’t pay attention to the kids snorting it up their noses part. and i remember not thinking much about it until i was home and went into their medicine cabinet for something and looked up and saw this HUGE bottle completely filled with oxy. i was stunned. firstly, because who has that kind of bottle of oxy around? who never takes it? and then, because i’m an addict, i just was like … whoa. i never was a real pill popper, because i grew up with the notion that medicines were sacred — something to be respected. i always took medicines as they were prescribed, and only got into popping a few xanax here and there with a boyfriend because that was a drug of choice for him. quite frankly, all they did was make my ass sleepy.
however, now that i *knew* they were something to be desired, i was just mesmerized. even if i didn’t take them, i could sell them! i just shut the cabinet door and walked away, asking god to remove those thoughts. it’s so bizarre. i also remember that when i was first diagnosed manic-depressive, one of the medicines they prescribed for sleep was klonopin. it’s a benzodiazepine, and easily addictive. again, i didn’t know you could get high on it. i always took it as prescribed, and even doing so, eventually built up a tolerance. they raised it for awhile, and eventually had to switch my meds because it no longer did the job sleep wise. however, i still had some when they did that, and i kept them around ‘just in case.’ i think my ‘just in case’ at that time was suicide, although it never was a real option, and i don’t even know that what i had around was enough to do the job (and it never quite occurred to me to add liquor to the mix).
but i was in my first year of sobriety, and someone was dropping me off at my house after a meeting, and we were outside my house at crack central, and somehow it came up that i still had these pills (not to mention the two huge bottles of codeine cough syrup from my terrible bout with bronchitis in nov. of 2001). she was strongly urging me to get rid of these medicines, and i was really scared to do it. i didn’t want to take them, but what if i ended up needing them? i didn’t have money. i didn’t have insurance. what would i do? she assured me if i ended up that sick again, it would work out and i’d be taken care of. i look back now at all my protestations and clearly see an addict trying to hang on to some shit. ‘just in case’ i want to relapse, i guess. or kill myself. again, i think that was the real out.
but, eventually i threw everything out. actually, it was when i was moving from there to preston’s house. the weird part was that i was throwing away the cough syrup and thought i had thrown away the pills quite some time ago. i was cleaning out all the little crap stuff in the bathroom and reorganizing it while i packed (nail polish, etc.) and i came across this medicine bottle that still had some klonopin in it. i was taken aback. wow. i stared at it. there was still a part of me that wanted to keep it. ‘just in case.’ i went and called my friend, kevin, and got his voicemail. i left him a message and then went into the bathroom and flushed the pills. it was enough to at least tell another alcoholic what i had done.
on another semi-related note, i had told myself i wouldn’t watch celebrity rehab when i saw it was going to air. i was sad, because i thought dr. drew was totally selling out, and i was scared that i would come to hate him (because let’s face it, i knew i’d end up watching it), and i’ve always really liked the guy. but i have to say, i really loved the show. i never did treatment in a treatment center, but dr. drew is the real deal. he’s still the old dr. drew that i love. he didn’t bullshit these people at all.
i’d come home and watch it after a meeting, and it was so heartbreaking to see these people in their addiction. these people really weren’t big celebrities in the first place, but even if they had been, any sort of celebrity was completely gone. i just saw them as drunks/addicts. i wanted to be in the meetings with them, sharing my experience, strength and hope. i wanted to sponsor them. it was so hard, watching them struggle with their addiction. i knew that from the traditions, they couldn’t specifically talk about AA on tv, but i was hoping they were talking the steps off camera. they talked about ’12-step programs,’ and ‘getting sponsors,’ but it just was so hard to see them all struggle. i knew their lives didn’t have to be like that anymore.
it was an interesting show and i can only wish the best for them all. so. that was all over the place. recap: heath’s death = bad, but probably the work of addiction, not accident. addiction = sneaky. celebrity rehab = good, but hard to truly convey the disease to a tv audience.