~ Addiction …

And we’re back. If you listened to the first two parts you have heard me speak about marriage and infidelity. Today’s episode is about addiction. If you take the three initials, M for marriage, I for infidelity and A for addiction. You are literally spelling out MIA missing in action. That was me.


Thankfully, today, I am completely present. So let’s roll. My story isn’t unique. In fact, it’s actually pretty common, so common that I fear telling the story about addiction will be so boring, you won’t even listen. What is interesting however, is the image of what an addict looks like in our minds. Maybe my mind. or even in reality. Homeless, sad and hungry, poor. I don’t know. I don’t know how they got there. But I do know how I got where I am. I struggle sometimes to talk about addiction. I’ve seen the eyerolls, the judgment. I’ve even been judged by addicts for sharing my story. And even by someone that is so far removed from addiction, they actually said to me, You sound like you’re glorifying it, ugh glorifying. But it isn’t their story to tell. It’s my story. So here we go.


No one wakes up in the morning and decides to be an addict. No one says yeah, that seems like a good idea. I’ll be an addict, today. They call it a disease. Yes, that’s true.


I think it’s more a blood sucking virus that can’t go away until you fight so hard to obliterate it from your consciousness and your body. You want it gone, but you can’t will it away.


You have to really want sobriety more than you want whatever the drugs do for you, then you’re ready to do the real work to recovery. Some people by nature are predisposed to addictive behaviors, while others are not. My addiction started with one pill, one root canal and one dentist appointment later and that one pill of 30 in the script with three refills, was the bottle that sat in the cabinet until I felt pain, real pain, emotional pain, like I had never experienced. The worst kind of pain imaginable for me, at that time in my life.


I know there is worse pain, but this one was a doozy. So please, no judgement.


I couldn’t make the distinction between physical and emotional pain. My heart was so broken. I was so broken. I was so horrifically sick inside and so alone. I didn’t know how to navigate it. The problems that were emotional, which is that, painful memories, painful emotions. Doctors prescribed other medicines for emotional (pain) or mental illness. They said you’re depressed. You need antidepressant medication. Whatever they prescribed, I took it. But it messed up my brain. The kind of pain I was dealing with. Yeah, there’s no prescription for that. I was grieving. They don’t give you pills for grief. But I’m very resourceful, very resourceful! Self diagnosis. Okay, I’m in pain and those pills in my medicine cabinet, were calling to me to take that emotional pain away. I even remember that day. I took the Vicodin tablet broke it in half and swallowed it with that glass of wine I spoke about in the previous episode. After about 15 minutes I felt the warmth come over my body. Finally, relief. Phew.


I made dinner, put the kids to bed and laid in my own bed and continued to grieve until sleep came over me.


Obviously I’m not going to tell you about every single day that lasted … you ready? Four years — 4, Four years!


I am now in my third home (remembering) reading Glamour magazine. And there was an article about how you could buy Vicodin or Percocet on the internet. I thought what? Let me get this straight. Right then I had already tapped all my local doctors and I was now in real pain, physical pain, meaning withdrawal pain.


So I got on my computer and I did a search where to buy Vicodin on the internet. How to buy Vicodin on the internet. I stumbled upon one doctor; I faxed my medical records along with one phone call. And FedEx or UPS delivered my prescription the very next day. 120 pills in a bottle, three refills. Wow, that should last me several months. And it did…until it didn’t. One pill turned into two pills every four hours, then three, then four, then five, then six. You get the message.


I could swallow seven Vicodin and teach a step class at the gym.


No one knew I was high. Can you imagine? I don’t even think I was high. For some people, they would go to sleep. I didn’t go to sleep. I was fucking Wonder Woman. I could do anything when I was on Vicodin. I could manage the kids I could go to the gym and teach in the morning. And the warmth that came over my body, it didn’t zone me out. Quite the opposite.


As I look back at the four years of my Vicodin pill addiction; 30 plus doctors, nameless doctors, and those who were willing to take my money, prescribed it over the phone on the internet as long as I had a credit card to pay for it. Oh and all the pharmacies that carefully packed it up and put it in the overnight packages. Some days. There were plenty, others – I was in full blown withdrawal. I paced the floors with frequent trips to the bathroom and that horrible shaking, waiting for the delivery by 1pm at the latest. The relief I would feel when … the relief I would feel when that pill did its job. The shaking stopped the sweating. The Chaos inside, gone. I even recall Oprah doing an episode on what we now know to be a serious problem in this country. Buying painkillers the docs, the FBI, the pharma industry. But on Oprah as I watched from the nail salon getting a French manicure, the ladies to my left and right. The ones that talked about the woman on the show, the one that was addicted, I knew secretly the pills in my bag were waiting for me until I got into my car. I was watching myself, a mirror of addiction that nobody knew about. No one could tell – no smell, no weird behaviors just normal. Until yeah, until.


Can you imagine that it took $80,000 in spending money on Vicodin. Tons of doctors,  psychiatric treatments that never knew about my Vicodin addiction. Daily deliveries and not one person in my family, including my husband knew about my addiction – for four years. That’s a really long time and a whole lot of money. No one knew – they knew something was wrong but never suspected that it may be pain medication. They just felt the doctors I was seeing were not doing their jobs. I remember around year three looking in that mirror saying you’re going to rehab Mallory, you just don’t know when or where but you’re going… Swish swish swish, swallow, swallow, swallow. I wasn’t ready until I was ready.


As I look back on those days now I’m actually amazed I not only survived it and lived to tell about it, but I was still loved by my parents. Not so much by my husband though barely connected to my kids. I was so fucked up. I finally caved. They said Mallory, you need help. I said yes. Yes, I do. But you don’t know why. I finally confessed. I’m addicted to painkillers. Vicodin to be exact. My finances were a mess. And unfortunately, my tolerance to the now 50 yes, 50 pills a day no longer worked. I couldn’t get there. That place that warmth. The withdrawal was so awful. And the 50 pills didn’t take care of it. I needed more. But there was no way that I was turning to Heroin. So I gave up the fight. I called my psychiatrist, admitted my guilt, gave up to the powers that be and was on a flight the next day to Tucson, Arizona. With 60 pills prescribed by that very same psychiatrist, because she knew I likely wouldn’t survive the trip out west. Wine on the plane pills in my bag. And yes, I made it there. I was concerned about one thing. How was I going to get through the withdrawal? Oh we have medication for that they said. You do the work and we’ll keep you from withdrawal. They lied. There I was 30 days in Tucson, Arizona.


Yep, with all the celebrities, the Country Club of rehabs, Sierra Tucson. But you know what? It’s still rehab just wrapped up with a pretty bow. The reality? No one goes to rehab with a fucking smile on their face, even though I signed up for it, no intervention, no kicking and screaming. But honestly, it’s still rehab. You can dress it up any way you want. It may be more comfortable than some of the other places I’ve read about. And that later, you’ll learn about. I still couldn’t leave early. Meaning I had a ticket home in 30 days. And around week three, the family came, my parents and my sister.


My husband and I spoke while on day three. He asked me one question. Did the affair continue? I said yes. I felt awful. At that very moment. Finally, he said he wanted a divorce. He asked for a divorce. I replied, okay. You know, this is gonna sound really strange, but I was so proud of him for drawing his line defining those boundaries. Relief flooded over me. We said our goodbyes over the phone. And so began the long, hard, challenging, gut-wrenching climb back to balance. And guess how long that took?


Well, I left rehab in full blown withdrawal…again, found a specialist that put me on Suboxone, which I stayed on for 10 full years. Addiction counseling, I did all the work. I continued to do the work. But I never gave up the wine. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? It was, that comes later. Much, much later. I found my balance when I finally realized that life alone was better for me than living and caring for others. I found my balance when I finally gave up the wine. I couldn’t care for myself. So I was deflecting to the others that followed in my husband’s footsteps.


One friend said (to me,) Mallory, you have a need to be needed? You know, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Actually. No, I don’t. I need to be left alone. I need boundaries. I needed boundaries. I didn’t realize that until recently. Saying no, rather than saying yes is so much harder. That’s when I found my balance. No more pills. No more romantic relationships. No more married men. No more eyes or offers from married men. Hey, you have a wife. Look at her Stop looking at me. Finally, no more wine. It took 15 years. 15 years! That’s when I said I’ve had enough. I think we’re done here. No more.


Allow me to introduce myself as Mallory Durrick I am my best self. My healthiest, best self. Clean, sober, smart, kind, considerate, caring, loving of myself happy, peaceful, alone, but not Lonely. Because after all that, so much time, I have learned what truth means – no more lying. No more cheating. No more careless behavior. Just balance.


This is the third and final part of Don’t Lose Your Balance with Mallory Durrick. But don’t worry, we’re not done yet. We’re just beginning. See you next week. And hey, you over there. Yeah, don’t lose your balance. I’ll be here to help you along the way. I hope. I promise. {closing music}

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

About The Author

Mallory Durrick

Mallory Durrick

Hi, I am Mallory Durrick. I am a creative. A Marketing Strategist and Web Designer with a small and modest boutique Marketing Agency living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I am the creator and narrator of this podcast, Don’t Lose Your Balance. This is a culmination of decades of self-help books, countless doctors, numerous hospitals, including rehabs. Once a wife, now divorced, a mother, a grandmother and an addict in recovery. These are things that I am and have experienced.

I’m sharing it all. Baring it all. Hoping to help others; not lose their balance.