It was eight years of a daily diet of painkillers, otherwise known as opioids. I had a shoebox full of different size red bottles filled with a variety of potencies. It was my necessary candy drawer. Couldn’t live without it.
My bottles of pills began with the desire to quiet the constant spine pain that also screamed down my left leg. Swallowing my first Vicodin was like finding a miracle solution to not only the physical pain, but also the depression, anxiety, and anger.
I fell in love. Hard.
An affair that held me in its warm embrace till I could no longer breathe. My body was screaming for me to quit. I tried. I failed. In my desperate desire to be free of the painkillers, I got on buprenorphine . Straight. No naloxone. Only to discover I had switched to another opiate.
Without buprenorphine I risked dope sickness. Despite doctors telling to stay on it, I wanted my freedom.
Freedom from drugs!
My journey to healing began with my osteopath. He put me on a high protein diet and introduced me to orthomolecular medicine. I got my hands on Joan Mathews Larson’s book, Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Each page enlightened and made sense.
My previous failed attempts at getting off the opioids had nothing to do with my lack of will power or determination. My body, my biochemistry, needed healing. Getting at the underlying causes of my addiction would be key to my recovery.
Let’s just look at my depression.
Opioids are great at shutting down the colon, thus my intestines were in utter chaos. You might wonder what my intestines have to do with depression. I needed serotonin and the gut was responsible.
The American Psychological Association states the following:
“Gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body's supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity.” https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.
For my mood to improve, I need my GI tract to improve. There is no separation of body and mind. When the body heals the mind follows and vice versa. Same blood flows throughout. Makes sense that correcting biochemistry is key to recovering health and the foundation of Joan’s work at Health Recovery Center.
Healing the Body and the Brain.
To heal my body and brain, I not only ate a high protein, organic diet, I loaded up on the supplements that Joan recommended in her book. I took DLPA to support and nourish the endorphin system, glutamine to help with sugar cravings and repair my intestinal tract, GABA to help calm the anxiety and numerous other supplements to repair and rebuild my biochemistry. I did this while I continued to cut back on the buprenorphine.
A year later I jumped off the buprenorphine. It was not easy but the diet and supplements made all the difference. That was over five years ago. No relapse. No cravings. No 12 steps. I corrected the causes and therefore no longer need opioids to kill the pain.
I continue to support my health through good nutrition and supplements, believing recovery and being healthy and happy is about repairing the brain/body with the biochemical substances they are built with.