Friday, July 10, 2009

Addictions

I did not want to add my tiny, minute voice to the multitude of communications regarding Michael Jackson. However, with the recent news, I felt compelled to speak out. The recent news? Michael Jackson had been taking between 10 to 40 Xanax a night, that hits close to home.

So, in this post I am going to discuss my addictions.


Steve’s Current Addictions

1) Coffee – I know I have a problem with this…I will need to taper off at some point…but probably not any time soon. :)

2) Exercising – seriously, even on my rest days…I feel like I need to do something.


Steve’s Past Addictions

1) Tobacco – I have been “clean” since Feb’09. I had tried to quit off and on for 20 years so this is “no small feat” for me. The addiction is still there, I still think about it several times a week but I have it under control and the “pull” is weaker every week.

2) Simple Carbohydrates - this includes sugar, starches and of course…anything batter fried.

I feel that I have beaten the sugar addiction…no ice cream, no candy bars – I can’t recall eating anything that had a lot of “sugar” but I do have type2 so I have more of a reason than most to keep my guard up.

I’ve tasted some fries, mashed potatoes etc but you can list them all on one hand. I no longer crave simple carbohydrates. I do have thin crust pizza a couple times a month.

3) Xanax – yes this was tough to admit but this blog is about my health and fitness experiences so I wanted to talk about this. If it helps one person…it will be worth it.


In the mid-1990’s, I had two “panic attacks”. These were not minor episodes. In the first instance, I imagined that I looked like Linda Blair in the Exorcist…I was in a cold sweat and shaking uncontrollably…and all of my extremities were numb. I just KNEW I was having a heart attack.

Tammy called the EMT’s, they arrived and started hooking up equipment to me. I swear…within minutes of them saying “Mr. Cooksey, I don’t know what your problem is…but you are NOT having a heart attack”, within minutes of hearing this…I was shaking their hands, thanking them for coming and walking them to door…as if nothing had happened. The power of suggestion on the human mind is a powerful thing.

Well, I had another episode and with that, old Steve went to the doctor. The doc hooked me up with some Xanax and guess what…they worked…for awhile. Dosage is everything with drugs, I started taking one .25 pills a day…that lead to two .25 pills and later to three pills a day. I knew folks who were taking 2 – 3 .50 pills so I knew I had nothing to worry about.

By this time is was late 1990’s, I was in my late 30’s and we had moved from W-S to Huntersville, NC. Steve was out of his Xanex pills and went to the doctor’s office for what I thought would be just a formality to getting a refill.

To be honest, I really didn’t think I was addicted until I visited my new doctor. To this day, I still remember exactly what he said…word for word. He said, “Steve, I’m not going to refill your prescription. If you were 70 or 80 years old I might but you are too young, you just need to get some exercise.”

“WHAT! Doctor…wait! You don’t understand! I NEED THESE PILLS, I NEED THESE PILLS TO SLEEP! I NEED THESE PILLS TO HELP ME ….TAKE THE EDGE OFF!”

I said all this to myself….So, I told the doctor, “oh, ok, no big deal. I’ll start jogging.”

To be honest, the first couple of days, I drank a couple of beers (or more) before bed. BUT I didn’t want to go down that road so I did start jogging and working out. That helped but what helped me more than anything was just learning how to control my stress when I could feel my stress levels increasing. In other words, I learned how to “deal with it”.


Bottom Line: With just my tobacco and Xanax addictions….I KNOW what it’s like to have an addiction that harms your health and wellness.

Yes, my Xanax dosage was low .75 per day…but regardless I was addicted to Xanax. The doctor in W-S who prescribed this to me originally…should not have. He was prescribing a drug FIRST instead of telling me to exercise and lose weight.

If I’d stayed in W-S…who knows my addiction may have gotten worse, to the point of Michael Jackson’s. I have heard stories where people started out on Xanax and went to other drugs…it is not a pretty story.

It could have happened to me had my Huntersville doctor not stood his ground and made the proper decision.

Saying “NO!” to drugs, MUST apply to prescription drugs TOO! unless there is no other option.



Take care,

Steve

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