The daily schedule for a drug addict often is focused solely on chasing a high:
1. Wake up groggy from too many sleeping pills because your sleep schedule is completely trashed from long-term opiate use. Check for any pills under the bed. Check all hiding spots you might have forgotten.
2. Knowing your cupboard was empty, you check again anyway. Finding nothing, you panic.
3. Suddenly, you notice a number of phantom symptoms such as restless leg syndrome, migraine headache, back pain and a strange numbness in your fingertips. You also feel like you might have the flu.
4. Believe all symptoms.
5. Check under the bed for pills again because you forgot you already did that.
6. Rummage through drawers or on the floor to find any open prescriptions for anything.
7. Notice you’re having a panic attack and call your psychiatrist at 6 a.m. for an emergency appointment. Call again at 7:30 and 8. Insult the receptionist when she returns your call at 9. Demand a refill on your anxiety medication.
8. Call one of your pharmacies to tell them you “lost” your prescription for pain medication, but you forgot you already tried that two days ago. They threaten to call the police.
9. Call your friend with whom you trade pain meds to see if he has any extra after all you’ve done for him.
10. Call your parents to tell them you’re job hunting today and could they possibly loan you $50 to fill your tank. After all, how can you be expected to get a job if you can’t get there?
11. Drive to parent’s house and collect money.
12. Steal your mom’s sleeping pills, raid the refrigerator and grab your sister’s laptop to trade for pills later.
13. Leave immediately for friend’s house to get pills.
14. Score drugs and get high, or at least get some relief from the withdrawal symptoms.
15. Drink a few of your friend’s beers, smoke some of his weed, play video games and consider stealing his TV when he’s not home.
16. Drive home, get high.
17. Take your Mom’s sleeping pills and fall asleep.
18. Wake up the next day feeling groggy, anxious and hopeless. Try desperately to remember all the lies you told yesterday so you don’t get caught.
19. Repeat steps 1 through 17.
• Rick Atwater is a licensed clinical professional counselor.