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Life: Addiction Will Wreck Your World

by | Apr 6, 2016 | Life's Lessons | 2 comments

Life’s Lessons: Addiction Is Ugly ON Any Level

I’m sure by now you are wondering, “what addiction?”.  I like to shake things up occasionally. The way to do that is by sharing  little known facts about me that you had no idea about.

That word “addiction” does give off somewhat of a shocking vibe. The fact that I’m putting fingers to keys is a sign that I made it through. In fact, you might say that I didn’t really suffer with an addiction at all. Or you might categorize such a disease in small, medium or large packages. The truth is that there is no such thing as a minor bout with addiction just like no surgery is minor.

Nasal Sprays Are The Devil

That’s correct, I was addicted to nasal spray. I’m certain that you have read on a bottle of Afrin or Duration warnings about the fact that they can be addicting and if symptoms persist, see a doctor. It’s just another over-the-counter allergy reliever, right? But then so are products with pseudoephedrine but they are the go-to to manufacture meth. In fact, you can’t buy medicines with this substance without showing ID and purchasing via the pharmacy counter.

Reflecting Back To The Beginning

Living in Georgia, allergies are a common thing for most of us. As a teenager, I suffered horribly. Places like the Atlanta Allergy Clinic weren’t common so we headed to the drug store and purchased whatever would unclog our nasal passages for instant relief. For me, that happened to be nasal spray.

My mother administered the spray to me the first time around middle school. The feeling of breathing perfectly was glorious. Subsequently, squirting nasal spray daily became an unconscious habit. As I approached my senior year in high school with a job, I could buy the stuff myself. And I did.

Suffocating

Your turbinates are those structures in the nose that humidify and warm the airflow coming into the nostrils. Sort of a protector or your airways. If the turbinates become swollen due to colds or allergies, they have a tendency to swell and block the air passageway. Nasal sprays temporarily reduces the the swelling; however, if a person suffers from allergies year around, then that swelling becomes a permanent issue.

In my case, I used the sprays so long until my turbinates enlarged almost triple the normal size permanently.  A few hours after a dose of nasal spray, the swelling would return.  I would get the feeling that I was suffocating; thus, the sprays would start over again. Mentally, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t handle that “suffocating” feeling. That’s what nasal sprays will do after prolonged use.

The Peak

As I carried my addiction into adulthood, it was also baggage that I brought into my relationship. By the time I was twenty, I had resorted to tilting my head back and pouring the solution in. No longer would I be patient enough to simply squeeze for a spray or two. Days that money was an issue, I counted pennies to make my purchases. This wasn’t a particularly expensive addiction but an addiction nonetheless and the pennies added up. It was the volume that hurt my pocketbook and my health.

Hitting Bottom

At some point all addicts hit rock bottom and sometimes they die. In my case, when I finally secured a permanent job with benefits, I visited an ENT specialist. The very first thing he said was that I was going to need to go cold turkey and ditch the sprays. However difficult it was, I did that. During my cold turkey, there were no sweats, I didn’t suffocate but I did have to succumb to receiving cortisone shots dead into the center of the turbinates to reduce the swelling enough for surgery. That was bloody and painful but was a necessary substitute for the sprays until surgery.

Today

I still have sinus issues year around; however, they are managed with “non-addicting” steroidal sprays and I am happy to report that I’ve not purchased my spray of choice which was Duration since all those years ago.

While I did not have an addiction equivalent to that of crack cocaine and other hard drugs, I have not lost sight of the fact that I became addicted to something unfavorable. Additionally my husband suffered alongside of me. To date, he still cringes when I spray those non-addicting solutions and holds firm to the fact that should I head back down the road of addiction, I’ll have to go it alone.

Have you overcome an addiction?

photo credit: Live Long and Prosper by svklimkin via Morgue File