The question of addiction, and how to beat it

I’ll cover a spectrum of drug experiences over the coming months, but I’d like to start with one that accounts for at least half of all the drug-related emails I receive: the problem of young kids being addicted to Vicoden and other pain-relievers.

I’ve received a lot of what can really be described as “cries for help” from kids who are trapped in a situation where they are addicted to Vicoden or a similar pain-reliever, they feel that they can’t talk to their parents or teachers about it, and they feel that they can’t beat the drug. One of those kids – I’m going to call him “Bobby”, because that’s not his name – contacted me, then worked through an email exchange with me, and finally kicked the habit and got clean.

To make this more personal for any kid out there reading this – or any friend, teacher or parent who is reading it and thinks that someone they know should read it – I’m going to work through some of the stuff that Bobby and I said and wrote. What you’ll read here is the same advice that Bobby used to get himself clean, and maybe it will help you (or someone you know), too.

Three quick things to state from the outset:

First, I’m not a doctor or any other kind of medical practitioner. Any advice I give is based on my own experience of being addicted to drugs, and of now being clean and drug-free for 19 years. It is always better to seek the help of a medical professional, and I don’t want anyone who reads this to think that any advice I give is in any way a substitute for genuine medical knowledge given to you by a certified, medical professional. So, it’s advice – just that – and it should always be seen as a small step toward the real thing, which is professional medical advice.

Second, we’re dealing with addiction to Vicoden here. This advice should in no way be seen as a criticism

of Vicoden, or pain-relievers generally. I’ve been through a lot of pain: I’ve been stabbed several times, blown up and hit with shrapnel, burned by motorcycle exhaust pipes after laying the bike down at 90 miles an hour, thrown off a moving train, tortured by prison guards on two continents, and yadda, yadda, yadda. Suffice it to say that I know a little something about pain. The fact that drugs like Vicoden and other pain-relievers exist is a huge help to those people suffering from period severe pain. There are many people who would suffer terribly if drugs like Vicoden weren’t available. So, I’m not talking against Vicoden or any other pain-relievers. I’m only dealing here with the problem that occurs when people take un-prescribed or not-prescribed amounts of Vicoden, and develop a drug addiction based around the drug.

Third, I’m going to deal now, in this first essay on drugs and addiction, with the specific case of a young person, living in a family situation, who is attending a school, who is addicted to pain-relievers, who wants to beat the habit, and who is feeling desperately unable to beat the habit. This is a specific set of factors, and the advice I might give to someone who is experiencing a different set of factors – someone who has no family, say, or who is living on the street and not going to school, or who is addicted to another type of drug such as heroin or marijuana – might be quite different. This is not one-size-fits-all advice: it is intended for those kids in that set of factors I mentioned. Other advice will follow, in the coming months, for kids and adults who are in different circumstances. Okay? Let’s go…

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The question of addiction, and how to beat it