Earlier this evening I was casually flicking through the internet looking at recovery sites and general news pages. Within the space of a minute I found two shocking statistics which brought home how close I came.
And when I say how close I think you know to what. To the big D, or in my case, the big OD.
According to Solutions Recovery someone dies in the US every 19 minutes from prescription drug abuse. One person every 19 minutes.
Then I read that in the UK, more than 80% of GPs are prescribing to someone they know is addicted to that prescription. That’s most doctors’ surgeries up and down the country.
I was one of those people, and every time I collected a new scrip for my painkillers, fentanyl lozenges, was a day closer to that other, grimmer statistic.
My GP prescribed to me knowing I was addicted to the strong opiate. Neither of us knew what the hell to do about it, how to get me off or where to go. That in itself is a travesty. The amount I was taking could have killed me at any point.
Yet I am one of the lucky ones. When I finally got thrown into rehab, kicking and screaming, I was told I had three months left to live. That’s how close I got to the edge – and it is a frightening place.
So I guess what I’m saying is that there is a place where the point of no return exists and we had better make damn sure we don’t tread our dangerous path too close to it. For the line that separates the living and the dead, the abusing and the overdosing is as thin as gossamer thread and we go near it at our peril.
Coming into recovery is a slow turning from that point. That sharp, bitter, cold place. It is a softening into the shelter of our fellows in recovery and back into life with all its bewildering turbulence and joy.
Keep away from the edge.