March 04, 2017 marks 10 years clean from Oxycontin.  Something that nearly defeated me, but once again I proved that I am a strong Motherfucker and that if I set my mind to something, you better get the hell out of my way.  I am Fucking Spectacular.

This type of addiction is the kind that have taken many, many lives.  Including, Elvis Presley, Prince, Seymour Phillip Hoffman & Heath Ledger.

I was on the verge of admitting myself into rehab but thought I would approach my Doctor first to see if there was something he could do.  We decided to slowly ween me off the Oxy by replacing it with an equal amount of Percocet and over time, slowly take less and less pills until I didn’t need them anymore.  This process took about 4 months.  At the beginning of that 4 months, he also put me on Anti-Depressants to help with the withdrawal symptoms.    Once they kicked in, I was inundated with memories that I had ‘numbed’ out of my brain.  Memories of my Mother’s abuse, her bullying, her homophobia and eventual disowning of me.  Memories of a breakup that left me shattered.

So in an attempt to heal my soul, as well as my body, I decided to  start writing those memories down so I never forget them again.  After all, even though most of these memories are bad, they are the paths that lead me to be the person that I am today.  So why not remember them always and use them as a tool to reflect back on just how horrible things have been….but are no longer.

Below, are two ‘snip-its’ for you.  One from the first day I started to record these memoirs.   And the other that describes the withdrawal.  WARNING:  It gets pretty graphic so ……you have been warned.

Very few people know about these things you are about to read.  I have certainly spoken of the fact that I was fucked up on Oxy at one time, in fact I proudly wear it as a badge of honour that I escaped it.  But I have never revealed this much information with all this detail, like, to anyone.

But on this, the 10 year anniversary of my recovery… the fuck could I not, right?  Even as I re-read and transcribe this for you, it seems completely in-SANE that this even happened to me.  I can’t even fathom, that I used to be this shell of a human being.  Just scraps and remnants of a former self left alone in his junkyard of a home, watching the movie “Running With Scissors” over and over and over again.  To look at that ‘person’ from back then and compare him to who I am today……….My god.

Please note that this is by no means an actual ‘thing’ that I am going to release.  It was meant as a cathartic experience and was an integral piece of what helped me come to terms with “things”.  It’s something I went through and I am pretty fucking proud of myself for getting through to the other side of it.

And here it starts…

Sometime near the end of 2006

As I write this, I am at the beginning stages of a Doctor supervised, rehabilitation from a very large pain killer addiction.  I don’t even have one dollar in my pocket, I am 2 months behind on my rent, 2 or 3 months behind on my phone bill (It’s up to over $800), the hydro is about to be cut off…….again and  I have no work going on except for the frayed and tattered scraps of yet another failed attempt at my own business sewing “Custom Made Soft Furnishings for the Home” by The Sewing Guy “As Seen On TV”.  I am very depressed and extremely, extremely lonely.  So yeah, things aren’t great.

My Doctor is trying to wean me off the pain killers and it does seem to be working.  Then I get really close to being done but when I try to stop taking them for even just one day, the withdrawal settles in.  Then the fear.  I don’t want to feel again, I don’t want to deal with my life and the complete and utter destruction of it that I have caused.  If I stop taking these pills, then reality settles in and I will have to clean the complete fucking mess of my pathetic existence.

I have to take 25 to 30 Percacets a day to equal and maintain the same dosage I was taking in Oxycontin. Then over time I will slowly lower that dosage until I no longer need to take them.  The slower the better is my philosophy.

My doctor also has me on anti-depressants.  I have been talking them for only 2 weeks so far and apparently, they take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before you start to feel a difference.  This is the third attempt at anti depressants.

I prefer the pain killers.  You take them and you instantly feel better and everything is perfect, I love everyone and life is going to be amazing.  Of course, then it wears off and things aren’t as nice.

At first the withdrawal is not ‘terrible’, but now, there is a little “Edge” to everything and everyone. So, you take more and in a few minutes, everything is wonderful again.

The problem with this is that your body builds up an immunity to the Oxy.  So, in the morning when I stagger and sprint to the pill bottle to quickly feel better, one isn’t enough anymore so I try one and a half.  Then eventually, I need two each dosage.  At this point there are at least 2 or three dosages a day.

I don’t realize it yet, but I am simply numbing myself and not dealing with my depression.  I am not getting over a breakup.  I cannot seem to move on and my heart still aches for him.  But the pills cover this up and actually I am fine with it.  No problem.  I am doing great and loving life and everyone around me.  Then they wear off and everything falls back to shit.  So, I take more pills and up we go again.

Rinse and repeat.

The Withdrawal

How does it feel when going through the withdrawal from Oxycontin?

It’s called being ‘Dope Sick’.   There is constant diarrhea, tremors, shivers, tons and tons of goose bumps. The goosebumps are insane and non-stop.  My skin always looks like de-feathered chicken skin.  All my joints throb & ache and I have to keep making fists to try and stop the pain.  It takes everything I have to carry my cup of water without dropping it.   I am freezing cold yet full of sweat.  Involuntary leg spasms, like a horse bucking its hind legs.  I can’t stay awake for more than 30 minutes at a time, but sleep is impossible. I lie around so much that my back is throbbing in pain, but I can’t lift myself into a vertical position because it hurts to be upright.  I can’t lay down because it hurts. I can’t stand up because it hurts.  Just going from the couch to the bathroom is exhausting and excruciating, but I have so much diarrhea that I HAVE to go to the bathroom constantly…. well, except for those few times I woke up and had completely shit myself and the couch.  And we are not talking nice solid shits here.  We are talking full on Butterscotch pudding.  Where does it all come from.  I haven’t eaten.  I can’t eat.  I’m not hungry.

One time I shit myself while riding the motorcycle on my way to get more pills but kept going.  I quickly grabbed the pills and took off back home on the bike.  I am sure he smelt me.  To this day, it STILL makes me feel ashamed and humiliated just thinking about that time.

I go days and days without showering hold up in the filth I call my apartment.  Ugh, my apartment.  A FUCKING MESS.  I am so embarrassed to have anyone even come close to it.  I meet people outside so they can’t come in and see the disaster in here.  Cockroaches EVERYWHERE!!!!  In every drawer in the kitchen crawling all over everything.  They crawl on my legs and feet sometimes as I lie here in tears and pain.

Because I work at home, there is fabric on every surface in all the nooks and crannies.  Draped over furniture and stacked on top of cabinets and tables and chairs.  Ever seen the show ‘Hoarders’?  well picture that.  Absolute squalor.

There are no words to describe the pain. It’s visceral. It’s embedded way deep down in the bones, it’s in the muscles, it’s in the joints.  I feel so fragile. It’s like I am made of glass but all the glass is shattered and just one more step will bring my whole structure crumbling down.   Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, maybe that would end all of this.  God, I wish it would end.

Then the phone rings.  It’s Vic.  He found some Oxy.  I haven’t paid my rent, hydro or phone bill in months, but I can scrape together enough money to get me a least a couple pills so I can escape the nightmare I am cycling through over and over and over.  Maybe this time I will make myself feel better enough to limp and hobble my ass out of this apartment and find some help.  Yeah, maybe I will try that tomorrow.  For now, I just need to relieve all this pain…to not feel so debilitated.  To not feel so annihilated.  To not…feel.

Terry Edward Briceland

The Co-Founder & Creative Dictator of teb Interiors.  Terry is best known from his many appearances on HGTV and W Network television programs.  teb Interiors offers complete Interior Design services plus they specialize in custom sewing and upholstery, servicing throughout the GTA.   The firm is known for its edgy, controversial designs and for creating truly one of a kind show pieces that are guaranteed to get the conversation going.

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