My Addiction

Hi, my name is Gwen and I’m addicted to Lunesta and Ambien.  I have been taking a sleeping pill for the last two and half years.  I started having sleeping problems during my husband’s third deployment.  I’m not sure what happened or why my body decided to stop sleeping, but it did.  My doctor at that time prescribed Ambien and for a year I slept at night.  Sometimes I would sleep walk, sleep eat, do other things in my sleep, but I felt rested in the morning so I continued to take it.

When I switched doctors she was quite surprised that I had been on Ambien that long.  Another surprise was that while I didn’t wake up for many things, I ALWAYS woke up when I heard my kids.  To me, that was a good thing, my mothering instincts rose above the pills.  This doctor wanted me to try Lunesta, my trainer suggested Ambien, my friend suggested valerien tea or pills.  I tried all of them and only the Lunesta and Ambien knocked me out when I needed to sleep and didn’t leave me feeling shaky in the morning.  When I moved from CO to GA the doctor there gave me my six months of Ambien at a time and I went on in my normal.

Then when I moved back to CO from GA the new doctor disrupted my status quo sleeping habits.  He is a wonderful doctor and seems to know his stuff and really care about his patients.  He is however and evil minion and wouldn’t give me anymore Ambien.  He was surprised I’d been on it so long and told me how it wasn’t good for me and gave me Lunesta.  It worked, but he only gave me one month worth.  He wants me to work on getting my body into a nighttime routine that encourages me to sleep normally and without additives.  I wanted to slap him and tell him that my sleep habits are never routine.  My husband comes and goes and with him his night time movie watching.

When I’m alone, I go to bed, all is quiet, I can sip tea and read in peace.  When husband is home, he has to watch a movie or show or something so he brings his laptop into the bed and I either watch with him or listen to it.  I have successfully kept the television out of my room, but it’s a no go because he has a million of his favorite shows and movies on the laptop.  On a side note, I talked to one of his buddies who shared a room with him for a while on the last deployment.  He said that he had a time getting used to hearing husband’s movies and learned to live with it.  Not so for me though, nine plus years later and it still drives me crazy.  I end up shutting off the computer when I hear him snoring.

Here I am on day two with no pills.  I have been trying melatonin with valerian tea and a great oil from doTerra called Serenity. It is suppose to calm you and relieve anxiety.  It works well for relaxing me and encourages me to rest.  I slept horribly last night.  I realize that at 31 I need to have a sleep pattern that is healthy and chemical free.  However, I just want to go to sleep and get a good night’s rest because my days are so crazy!  I’m going to try and stop my dependence, but I can already tell it is going to be tough.

I have been married to the Army and been through more deployments, TDYs than I can count, for the last nine years.  I need to take control, stop blaming my crazy life as an Army spouse and learn to lay down and go to sleep.  It sounds so easy and yet it is my constant battle.


6 thoughts on “My Addiction

  1. You can do it, Gwen! Just do what we did with our kids, bath at 7pm, jammies and a book at 7:30, lights off at 8pm. If it has been a rough day maybe a little massage with lavendar oil is in order. 🙂
    I get it though, sleep is tough and precious and earned. Sometimes sleep is fleeting, sometimes deep and rejuvenating, but ultimately your body will rest when it needs to. It is all a cycle…welcome to the world of those of us who don’t have perscriptions for sleep. Oh, any switch to stronger coffee! 🙂

  2. I have so much to respond to this I might just cry. Hi, my name is Katie and I was addicted from everything to xanex, working out obsessively, popping anything and smoking anything that would help me attempt to sleep, to become hopeful to not waking up angry, depressed, and feeling like a shitty person, a shitty mother. But, mostly, I was addicted to punishing myself. IT took many sleepless nights to realize this. Solitude is a bitch.
    Yes, you can do it and you will. Don’t do it for your husband’s tv routines, for your children, for your doctor. Don’t do it because you feel like it because you may never feel like it. Do it until you know why and forgive yourself when you fall down, and when all else fails, don’t forget to ask for help. Through your vulnerability is your invincibility.
    I am never going to be a sugar coated friend. You know this. Lavender oil and a massage is a bunch of bullshit. I had to go in baby steps to sleep through the night and the noise in my life got so loud, deafening loud.
    Why can’t you sleep? What shadows have you pushed away? What have you not forgiven? What do you hate about yourself? What in your life hurts so much the thought of hitting a pillow and sleeping on it makes you feel anxious and sick?
    I have come to believe that reality is so much kinder than the story we tell about it. The reality of your sleep is your story to tell. I believe you are whole, real, brave, kind, a good mother, fearless, and ready to face yourself. In the wee hours of the night, there is no one else but ourselves to face. And well, for the people who hit the pillow and sleep calmly throughout the night, good for them. They are living life, not running from it. I don’t know how long I will run, how hard I have to fall. Sometimes I believe I have had enough and sometimes I believe I am enough. Those days are incredible, worth all the steps I have climbed, all the failures to get me there. Other days, I just don’t know. And I have come to believe that is just okay too. I love you Gwen. I believe in you the way I believe in myself. It is a cycle. Welcome to the world of those who see the clock hit 12 and feel the anxious inner clock of sweat blood and tears to find a night of peace, if that. It makes you real, inspirational, flawed, and lovely. I couldn’t be more proud of your courage and your spirit.
    Oh, and one last ouch. The coffee does make it that much harder and I know Starbucks is your bloodtype just like mine. Just sayin from one addict to another. Call me when you want to grouch it out. 🙂

  3. No coffee after 12…my new mantra…so hard to do…

    Katie, thank you, thank you, thank you…I’ve been thinking and wondering what it is that keeps me awake. I have no idea and it blows me away. I believe it is a cycle and it has come time to face the demons and clean myself up. This is the starting point for me. I have many other things to deal with, but this is the place I decided to start.

    I love you, my friends!

  4. Ask your husband to wear headphones so the sound won’t disturb you …I take an herbal sleep aid called SleepMax PM that I purchase at Walgreens. Even if I wake up I can usually fall back to sleep… it keeps my mind from going in a gazillion different directions. God bless you and your family for your service and sacrifice. ( I’m an Army mom)

  5. Thanks, Kelley! I’ll try it. My husband agreed he is going to turn off the movies and we are setting a cutoff time at midnight. I’m sure that will help and his support is going to help.

  6. My house mate watches all of his shows on his laptop ~ and uses his headphones so that it doesn’t disturb me while I sit and read or write. Perhaps it will also work for you and your husband.

    Change is hard! Breaking any habit or addiction is even harder!! Best of luck!!!

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