Post by gwampa69 on Apr 30, 2016 9:06:03 GMT -5
I'm ready to talk about this. For a while I wasn't sure what was happening. For a while I thought it meant nothing. For a while I was sliding down a slippery slope and for a while I thought it wasn't the same as drinking. I was wrong.
I had been having some trouble sleeping. It was stress based due to several factors. I won't get into all the particulars right now. Suffice it to say it was mostly just life stuff with a couple other "me specific" topics. If you are familiar with "non-habit forming" over the counter medicines for sleep, you will know what I'm talking about. One is basically liquid Benadryl that is sold in a bottle that looks exactly like liquid cold medicine. Same size, same color, same packaging. I am familiar with using benadryl type products for allergy symptoms including itching which I have a lot of due to a skin condition. One side effect of Benadryl type products is drowsiness. For me that was a nice side effect because while it calmed the itch, it also allowed me to sleep. If that sounds a bit risky for an alcoholic to be using a "non-habit forming" substance regularly, you would be correct. "Non-habit forming" is a marketing ploy. Especially for addicts. Did I ignore the warning signs. Yep.
So here I am cruising along with my secret weapon sleep aid. On a shopping trip to the grocery store, I grabbed my usual bottle of (let's call it "Easy Sleep") itch/help me sleep medicine. As I was moving down the aisle, I saw the cold medicines (I also had a head cold at this particular time) and picked up a bottle of Nyquil nighttime cold relief. This is where the slick marketing part comes in. Its also the part where my old friend the Dark Passenger (DP) (trademark to the Dexter show) woke up and started climbing into the front seat.
I'm looking at the bottle (let's call it Easy Sleep 2.0) and I began rationalizing the purchase. This product would take care of the cold symptoms, help me sleep, and in helping me sleep, the itching wouldn't matter because I would be asleep. I was acutely aware of the 10% alcohol note on the label. Either my ego or the DP (same thing?) convinced me I could handle it. I would use it sparingly and only until the cold was gone. Then switch back to the Easy Sleep. Yeah right.
So a couple months later, my kitchen drawer was getting more and more full of those little plastic cups that come with Easy Sleep 2.0. I began to avoid looking at them. That was a familiar feeling. Kinda like how the pile of whiskey bottles in my office closet used to make me feel. The only consolation to my reeling mind was that I still hadn't "drank alcohol". I was only using medicine that contained alcohol so that's not really the same thing, right? Of course not. Its the exact same process. The same process being I was abusing alcohol only in a slightly different format. Easy Sleep 2.0 was getting it's hooks into me. I knew all along what was happening but I avoided looking at the situation from the correct perspective. My life wasn't spiraling out of control due to the abuse. Then it occurred to me that eventually it most certainly would. So I said enough of this.
I began avoiding the medicine aisle like I used to avoid the beer and wine aisle during early abstinence. I went back to my learned coping skills with regard to stress. Walk away for a bit if I can. Breathe. Compartmentalize my problems so that I can prioritize them and deal with each one individually rather than all at once. I shouldn't need sleep aids if I am managing my life and stress.
Alcoholism and addiction are sneaky. Don't ever forget that. I did and it almost cost me.