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    Like so many things in life the hardest part, for me, can be the habit. I’m a creature of habit; I love my habits.

    I wake every morning at 5am. I shower while seated in under the full hot spray, wasting hot water while slowly regaining my mental function. I stumble down the, now dark this time of year, stairs knees and ankles cracking each step of the way. Without so much as a glance, or even a brush against my toe, I deftly avoid the dog gate that’s always left there on the bottom step, an after thought from the night before. I practice the piano a full 30min starting at 5:35 taking breaks every 10min to don a single garment. The shirt goes on at 5:45, pants at 5:55 and socks and shoes at 6:05. I’m out the door at 6:25. I cycle 15 miles to work, stopping for a bagel at the same shop, sitting in the same corner both, each morning as I read a book for 20min. I’m at work by 7:50. I read all the previous day’s email from then until 8:45, I compose all my replies by 9:30. I have a Diet Coke and Nutrigrain bar at 10am, lunch at 12:15pm. Four days a week I go to the gym to lift at 1pm. Another Diet Coke and snack at 3:15. More email and replies between 4 and 5:30pm. I arrive home very close to 6pm.

    I snort 30mg of Oxy at 6:30pm.

    I have one very carefully measured Jack and Coke at 8pm. A second at 9pm.

    I’m in bed by 10pm, asleep no later than 10:30.

    I love structure, and it really, really upsets me to experience variance. I’m open to change, though. As long as it’s structured and planned of course.

    About a decade ago I’d decided I had “a problem” with alcohol. I was regularly drinking six fairly strong drinks a night. I’m a 5’11” and about 220lbs, not remotely fat, just a big solid guy. I work very, very hard at maintaining my less and less cooperative body. So, six drinks wouldn’t leave me drunk…but it was certainly enough to affect me. Strongly.

    I needed to stop, but I couldn’t. Couldn’t make myself quit the ritual. It wasn’t the socializing. Sure, I went to the same seat in the same bar each night, but in three years I’d probably spoken a total of 10min to a total of four people. I don’t really care for people; that is I’m just not interested in “small talk” or “shooting the sh–“. Still I was stuck and I couldn’t get out. My body was being affected, I could see it in the once every 3mo blood tests I was ordering on myself (online). My liver function, while not clinically significant, was clearly headed in the wrong direction. My lipid profile was poor. I needed to stop and couldn’t. I needed to compromise with myself.

    Oddly I learned that I didn’t really care about the alcohol content, or the buzz, or lack thereof, I just needed the nightly habit. I started going to the bar and having my Jack and Coke with, basically, half a shot of alcohol. Since then I’ve created “rules” that I live by. Basically I have two carefully measured drinks each night. A total of 2.5oz of alcohol. Sometimes less, of course, but absolutely never more…and absolutely never in less than 1.5hr.

    Along came Oxy. I’ll spare the details, this is a long enough post already.

    I’ve had 30mg of Oxy every night since August 6th. I have no idea if I’m addicted. I have no idea whether or not I’ll suffer withdrawal if I miss a night’s dose. I feel perfectly fine each morning. I feel fine each day, I don’t count down the hours until I get home to my Oxy, a few times I’ve actually forgotten to take it “on time”. I don’t have any sort of sexual issues, not while high…not a few hours later…not the next day. I don’t ever itch.

    My concentration has always been abysmal.
    I’m clearly a bit obsessive.
    I’ve always struggled with dysthymia with overtones of mania. The sort of manic that never seeks treatment, or arouses suspicion of need, because he’s “up” 65% of the time, while the 35% down time is more the sort of “really, really blah” rather than destructively down.

    I have no idea if I’m physically addicted. I can deal with the physical issues. I have IBS, I enjoy days and days of GI agony for just eating curry. I have no idea if I’m neuro-chemically dependent on Oxy. I have no idea how my carefully tuned 65-35 harmony will be disturbed after a few days with out my nightly fix.

    Mostly, though, I have no friggin idea what I’ll do at 6:30pm each day. Most this last week I’d quietly sigh to myself and say, “Well, I guess it’s time to do this again…”. Almost dreading it each night, don’t get me wrong I still “really enjoy it”, but the real thrill is long gone. I just have no idea what to do at the end of the day. Perhaps, worse, I have no idea how I’ll “relax” after a long day.

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