I talked a little bit about my recent experience with a prescription cough medicine. And while on the surface I’ll say that typically I’m leery of that kind of medicine and, frankly, it tends to make me sick, I’m very glad I had it this time around. It was helpful and practically stopped my cough in its tracks.
You need to understand that when I say “that kind of medicine” I mean a low-level narcotic medication or prescription narcotics in general. It was a hydrocodone combo with an allergy medicine. And, though I was instructed to, in no uncertain terms, take only the teaspoon prescribed to me, what the doctor didn't know – couldn't know – is that I wouldn't have taken it at all had I realized what it was. It never occurred to me. I just knew it was medicine to help with my cough. I knew what it was, but didn't realize what it was…if that makes any sense.
When I took my little teaspoon of the stuff before bed, I knew it would put me out – the doctor told me it would – but didn't realize that it would be like a slow, warm, ooze into dreamland. Syrupy and sweet and comfortable. And while I was drifting contentedly toward the general direction of sleep, I remember distinctly thinking to myself, “A teaspoon wasn't enough. Maybe you need more? More… More… more… more…” And as soon as that thought ran through my mind I bolted back out of the drift and thought – lucidly – “NO! Stick with the instructions the doctor gave you, no matter what!” And was, quite honestly, a little surprised that the thought had crossed my mind to begin with.
Then, as I lay there recovering from my start, I thought, “What devil or whatever put that thought into my head? ‘Cause it certainly wasn't me!” And I wonder now, in daylight, in complete lucidity, if those kind of thoughts are what plague an addict? “Must eat/drink/take more, more, more…!” Whatever the situation is; whatever the chosen addiction may be. Does more, more, more pervade every waking – and sometimes sleeping – thought? And later I wondered if that's also the kind of thinking that causes people to fail in things like diets, for example (which I know isn't the same thing). I don’t know, but it's something to think about.
I'm not an addict. I used to be addicted to cigarettes, but now I'm not – and that road was tough! But that's honestly as close as I can come to understanding the true addict's mentality. Which is a fancy way of saying I can't understand. Unless you count that screwy errant thought which ran through my head the other night as I was heading off to La-La-Land. And that, frankly, scares the hell out of me; that maybe I could be easily swayed by the lure of those kinds of medications. I now can no longer think, when I hear of others who became addicted to pain meds or whatever else, that it couldn't and/or wouldn't happen to me. I don’t think any of us is immune. What I DO think, though, is that it’s another notch in the plus column for a little something called Will Power, which is not the same thing as Free Will.