Painkiller Dependency Shame
Painkiller dependency can be a touchy subject—but it is a BIG topic for chronic pain sufferers!
There is probably a good chunk of you out there, who are reading this right now, who are entirely dependent on painkillers. Absolutely no judgment if you are because I’ve been there. There was a very big portion of my life that I couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning without taking painkillers.
I went through all kinds of things. I got prescribed Vicodin from a ridiculously young age; because I was a little kid when my chronic pain issues started and it was terrible. So I understand—I have been taking heavy amounts of painkillers my entire life. It was never for any kind of addiction reasons. Or because I wanted to get high off of them.
It was because I was in freaking pain and it was the only way that I could actually function on a human level!
Pills Only Help Until They Hurt
But the problem was eventually the painkillers started making me NOT feel good anymore. They started giving me brain fog and dizziness and I just wasn’t myself anymore. But I was in so much pain if I didn’t take them, I thought that was my only choice.
So eventually, I decided that this was too much for me and I switched over to just ibuprofen. And if you know anything about ibuprofen (or honestly any other painkiller) and what it does to your stomach, you can just imagine what this has probably done to me over the years.
I was taking copious amounts because I was in pain all the time. I won’t go into all of my issues—but between migraines and fibromyalgia and sciatica and all this other crap—it was bad and I just wanted to be normal!
Wanting to be normal is the main reason for painkiller dependency with chronic pain sufferers.
Just think, at this point, I was still a kid and then I was going into my teenage years! You know those “bomb-proof Wonder Years” that American teenagers just feel like they’re so entitled to?
Yeah… I never got that.
Quitting “Cold Turkey”
So it wasn’t until my adulthood that I started having really severe problems with my digestive tract. And I knew this was because of all the painkillers I was taking. So I started weaning myself off of them at one point. I decided they were so bad for me I would go cold turkey!
That was the worst idea ever! So if you’re thinking about just ending your painkiller usage abruptly, I really don’t recommend that because I went into horrible withdrawals! And honestly, my body went into shock, so I really don’t recommend that for anyone. It is true that everyone is different, but why take the chance?
The best thing we can start to do is to neutralize the effect that the painkillers have on our bodies—especially our stomach, liver, and kidneys (because you probably know all of the things that this does to our digestive tract, if not, read about it HERE, but there are people that have had to have parts of their stomach removed), are little physical things we can do, like just to take food with your painkillers. Don’t take the stuff on an empty stomach because you really need to have something protective in your stomach to actually combat the effects the pills have.
Then the biggest thing you could do is take a tablespoon of coconut oil every time you take a painkiller. This is going to help to coat your entire digestive tract and neutralize the effects the pain pills have on you.
Another thing I HIGHLY recommend—and this is definitely a little more esoteric—is pay attention to your mindset. When you take that pill, give thanks for what it’s doing to actually help your body. Tell yourself that you’re healing.
This isn’t hurting your body! Say, “this is good for me and it’s only going to do good for me.”
So In With the Good, Out With the Bad!
Just visualize that your body is processing only the parts of that pill that are going to help it not have pain and it’s going to expel all the toxins and any sort of negative effects that it could have on the rest of the body. Just keep telling yourself that—really visualize it, and you have to really believe it. When you do this, it really does make a big difference over the long run.
And eventually, little by little, as we go through these steps…you do actually start to not need the painkillers as much.
The people in my program going through the cleanses and the Mindful Movement Techniques are jumpstarting their metabolisms and their bodies’ abilities to overcome pain. Once we start to get through these steps we can heal from the inside out.
As the Body Gets Cleaner, It Processes Things Better
It expels all the bad stuff more efficiently. We actually start to feel less pain. Then we don’t need the painkillers as often. Slowly but surely.
For me, it took about 15 years of slowly weaning myself off of the pain pills before I didn’t need them anymore. A lot of my clients are having way faster results—and good for them! But for me, it was a long process. Though I can’t even begin to describe to you how much better I feel now that I don’t need them as often!
Overcoming painkiller dependency doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to be off painkillers for the rest of our lives (although some really are!). Every once in awhile, some of us might still need to reach for that little orange bottle from time to time—even if it’s just a Tylenol or something—but just know that if you do, it’s okay.
Don’t Let Yourself Feel Guilty
There is no need to feel guilty about doing something for your body that’s going to help remove pain. Especially if you have your priorities straight! Say you have your daughter’s ballet recital you want to go to, but you’ve been missing them because you’ve been in too much pain to go out. You feel so guilty about taking a painkiller, so you don’t take it and then you miss your daughter’s recital anyway. And you are still just home suffering.
So maybe at that point, your priority should be to make the pain go away long enough to go and be there for your daughter!
My Dad’s Priorities With Pain While He Died
I just sat with my dad while he passed away. It was interesting to watch his priorities shift because he was a tough man and I watched him avoid painkillers his whole life because he was “above that.” And he didn’t want to deal with that. He would rather deal with the pain and he had his strong mental state to get over it.
But when it came to the end of his life—where do you think his priorities were? He was taking the painkillers! It took him a little while though because he wanted to keep his mental faculties about him. But toward the end… you get your priorities sorted out.
His priorities shifted. Click HERE to watch the video I did about this, while I took care of my dad during his transition.
Letting Go of Guilt
So you know sometimes it is okay. The main thing is just not having guilt. Because there’s even a new disorder that they’ve named recently, called Orthorexia Nervosa. It’s been coming about—especially in modern days, with all these fad diets out there—it’s basically a disorder that we are giving ourselves!
Another simple term for this is Food Guilt—this is a very real condition and it is running rampant in many cultures (especially the West). Because there are so many people feeling so much guilt for eating things that they know are bad for them, that it’s actually causing even more distress and digestive problems in their body. And not just physical but there are other mental issues with these types of things as well.
So that’s definitely something to think about if you are on a vegan diet but you spend all of your time dreaming about cheeseburgers. Then you go out and eat a cheeseburger and you feel so guilty about it, it is going to do a lot worse damage to your body than it would have if you hadn’t had that guilt in the first place!
The same thing goes with painkillers. If you’re taking a painkiller, and the whole time it’s going down through your system, you’re thinking this is so bad for me. I shouldn’t have done this. I’m such a failure. I’m weak… it’s going to have a lot worse effects on your body.
Just Give Thanks
So just remember to take it with gratitude and just be gentle on yourself. You are strong! You are a warrior! Overcoming painkiller dependency takes time. The fact that you’re reading this means you’ve taken a step to actually overcome this pain! And that’s a huge deal! So you are amazing. Give yourself a pat on the back. You know you are awesome. And so do I.
I really can’t express to you enough how big of a deal it is! Think about it. Sit with this concept. You are taking steps to overcome chronic pain naturally. I am just awed by the students in my program right now. I am touched by their support for each other and the way that they are taking all of this on. They are making transformations and it’s amazing to watch people do this. I’m in a major place of gratitude right now so I wanted to share that with you…
Just remember no guilt no guilt NO GUILT! You are perfect the way you are!
Even if you do not always feel that way.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the motivation to heal. But you also need to accept where you are so that you can move forward.