Breaking free of 12-Step Dogma re Opiates and other Addictions


Was a professional beach volleyball player, very very active exercise bulimic, exercise addiction have had 4 foot surgeries, and big ones, 2 knee surgeries, and am now 56, 2 days away from 57. On and off opiates for 25 years, post operatively and when surgeries went south due to doctor malpractice.

Been thinking about opiate epidemic alot and the thread that runs through depression, despair and addiction, because I fell in that trap. I ended up taking an unusual way out, not the traditional dogma and so forth. I’ve been to so many different programs OA, AA, group therapy and hospitalization for same, surgeries from overexercise, and being that as an actor, thin was in..1970’s, Post Twiggy Lauren Hutton Culture, the opiates…well they snuck through the side door when cocaine was the main attraction. It follows, in this case, I needed an alternate egress of escape.

Same with my Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) I got from my atypical antipsychotic, one that they don’t prescribe much anymore it’s so neurologically aggravating, according to comparative studies of these products. I have these uncontrollable movements, also bad for pain, especially if you have it.

This conditions are one big knot of iatrogenic (Caused by drugs, medical treatment or medicine itself) disorders, particularly psych drugs. The fallout of all of it, especially the side effects of widely popular, highly profitable medication is the big elephant in the room. I hate to use this overused catchphrase, but it’s stigma. Even though the drugs caused these problems, I always felt I was the disease.

Just like with the opiate epidemic. Who wants to stand up and say that they never want to get high again but at the same time can’t imagine a life without  Even thinking about it is abysmal. Who wants to commit to quitting, something they can’t commit to? Plus, people are in legitimate pain, at least, I was.

There’s a whole new way of looking at Addiction and some of the limitations of the traditional, one size fits all, punitive ‘the program.’ Don’t get me wrong. If it weren’t for AA I might not be alive, but there are some things about it I’m glad I left behind.

Black and white thinking, for one. Paternalism, for two. Little digs at the soul such as “Once an Addict Always an Addict” not helpful to me.

On the other hand, the big book of AA is one of the most inspired texts on the planet. I believe it was a divine act, or Bill and Bob were savants of one sort or another. As Bobby Womack sort of sang in “Across 110th Street”  ( Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown,”) You never know what you’ll do until your back is…I’m going to go look that lyric up right about now. Music is Medicine to me.

Allison Strong

Opiod Epidemic-It’s not just about the Drugs

I have chronic pain and am no longer on opiods. (Safer, off-label, organic alternatives abound). I was on them off and on for years as a result of sports injuries from exercise bulimia. I loved high impact sports like running, tennis and professional beach volleyball.

I paid for my excesses. With interest.

In terms of the opiod epidemic, why not me? I have bipolar disorder and am the most addictive person I know. Somehow, I didn’t fall down the rabbit hole.

For me, Opiates were simply a means to a pain free life.

The side effects eventually made me uncomfortable enough to quit, which I did  alone in my home; assisted by a muscle relaxer.

Today I put up with more pain, but that’s ok with me.

I just worry about other people who are in even more pain than I am whose access will be cut due to this ‘epidemic’ fueled by criminals and addicts looking for a high.

When I say it’s not just about the drugs, I mean this: In the United States, a semi-synthetic opiate is being developed for use as an antidepressant.

What we need is a non addictive pain medicine for those of us who are legitimate pain patients. Why isn’t there one?

2 trusted shrink/internist of 17 years re chronic pain, bipolar, side effects, Stanford Tardive & Ali



Thanks to former BFF outta cash and cut outta the will. Dad can’t understand stuff like how  25 years psych meds and side effects, meds for the side effects for the side effects etc. It really DOES happen and according to him, it’s all my fault.  She didn’t understand either, thought the salads for the prediabetic condition side effect and my compulsive carrying of back issues of the new York times to read in waiting rooms was ‘crazy.’ as she built her case about me in silence, totally two faced, she caused more harm than she’ll ever know. She relayed she thought her friendship was a ‘gift’ to me. It was. It keeps on giving, too. I’m still picking up the pieces!!!!!!!!

w/Stanford Volleyball and exercise bulimia the combination of tardive dyskinesia and my annular tear, three herniated discs, spinal stenosis and psoriatic arthritis…well most people would have offed themselves by now.

Dear Reader. If you’re still here the following is actually interesting reading.

And if I may say so myself, I’m published in the local tribune outlet, Meloday maker UK, Hits mag, The Album Network, Arizona Republic, Bipolar Magazine, NAMI and International Bipolar Disorder Foundation (IBPF) in San Diego, the city I grew up in. I am working on a piece on tardive dyskinesia, also called “Extrapyramidal symptoms” for Neurology today for their next issue. My current publisher reached our with both hands; requesting a movement disorder piece when their sole source of income is from a drug company. Tardive is rarer than ever but still, mighty white of them.

This is pursuant to the crisis caused by former bff  projecting her 3 attempts going on a fourth suicidality on me, calling the cops and my father about my deteriorating state. He’s tried his best to help me financially in every way possible but….not have anything to do with the family. He just can’t figure out, understand how someone can possibly have so many problems. But then he’s never been on an MAOI or Clozaril or an antipsychotic causing tardive dyskinesia and a spiral of unending spasms and pain.

First order of business to take care of myself. Because of certain choices, side xfx,  not all my fault. I’m not a bad person. Dad thinks so. I can’t afford to think that way. I make bad choices and things get worse! Physical, ongoing mental health still paramount. Pain, bowel still problematic. Still needing 290 mg (top) Linzess and once weekly emergency injections of Relistor, an 80.00 copayment even within catastrophic period. I’m still looking for a healthier way. 16.00 copay to see original pain specialist of three years, still picking people’s brains. Followed through w/appt.  Saw a new, likely temporary pain doc (anti narc) studying to be an All Cash “Functional” (read: Holistic)  Medicine”specialist. For a less toxic, least constipating solution, she wrote 7.5 Microgram Butrans patch, still a narc. She gets it. Copy Enclosed.  Of course I didn’t fill it. I was just picking her brain for free, like I did when I first got Tardive Dyskinesia and  saw 15 doctors who weren’t able to treat me and couldn’t admit it. They said ‘psychsomatic’ (Cleveland clinic female doc) were sexist, stigmatizing and didn’t want anything to do with me.. afraid I’d sue them which I never would. I just want to get well.

Still journaling the box, diet and exercise changes, trying to make it work. I’m in more pain but that’s not THE most pressing I hurt too much to exercise the way I used to– partially a good thing. Spine mindfulness, so to speak.  Gentle walks, stretching and at home mat pilates swimming for now. Discontinuing Y membership and beloved NYT. 100.00 Savings. First Haircut in a year. Thanks, Clair. I don’t think you meant well. I think you need help for your brain tumor, beneign as it may be, it’s interfering with your decision making process. I feel for ya. I don’t feel so well myself. But we’re not good for each other and never will be.