If you’re battling an addition to pain pills in California, most likely you are also struggling to fit in with your local AA or NA 12-step groups. Most of them stick to their original missions of fellowship among people who want to achieve sobriety, and they do not allow for those who get clean using methadone or buprenorphine as their therapy of choice.
For the most part you can approach those types of meeting with a don’t-ask, don’t-tell attitude about medication-assisted treatment, but it’s more useful to network with people who have a better understanding of your addiction to pain pills in California.
That’s why you should look into Pills Anonymous. If you haven’t done so, you’ll find a 12-step group that invites membership from anyone dealing with sedatives, stimulants, or pain pills. In California, the majority of meetings fall within the Los Angeles area—naturally—with times and places everywhere from Culver City to Victorville.
However, if you live in the Bay area, you’ll find several meetings an hour or less from your location. These are the meeting times and places we found for people with an addiction to pain pills in California, anywhere from Vallejo to Hayward, from Stockton to Fairfield. As of this writing, these are the three meeting locations that are closest to you:
- Concord, on Saturdays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. You can find the location and the current contact name at this link to Pills Anonymous Locations.
- Hayward, on Mondays at 8:15 pm. Again, use this link for contact information.
- Lodi, on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, using the same link and scrolling down to Lodi.
If you are addicted to pain pills in California and you live in Marin County, Solano County, Alameda County, San Joaquin County, or Sacramento County, you’ve got three different Pills Anonymous meetings a week that are an hour or less from your home.
Staying Off Pain Pills in California: What Does PA Offer?
Just like AA or NA, Pills Anonymous identifies itself as a World Service organization that helps people beat addiction to pills, including pain pills. It offers the familiar 12 Steps and 12 Traditions that all 12-step groups have adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the website openly identifies this adaptation and acknowledges Alcoholics Anonymous but decries any affiliation with that group.
One of the most important tools for anyone working on their addiction to pain pills in California is The Book, patterned of course after the AA Big Book. Pills Anonymous recommends purchasing the PA Book from the Amazon website, and so you can buy a new copy at the usual $12 price or, as of this writing, you can find a very good used copy for $6.38, plus the shipping.
You can take a look inside The Book on Amazon, and you’ll find it pretty much starts with the Twenty Questions that help you face the fact of your pill addiction. Some of those questions include:
#2 – Have you ever decided to stop taking pills only to find yourself taking them again contrary to your earlier decision?
#5 – another telltale sign of addiction – Have you established a supply for your purse or pocket or to hide away in case of emergency?
#7 – Have you changed doctors or pharmacies for the purpose of building up your supply?
#11 – Have you taken the same pain pills or sleep medication only to discover that you still have the same symptoms?
There are twenty such questions, and if you answer yes to three of them, then you are in trouble with pain pills. Or, as the PA Book puts it, “you may be one of us.”
Joining a group such as PA allows you to interact with other people who are fighting the same battle as you. It’s one thing to have an addiction to alcohol and go from tavern to state store picking up bottles of a legal substance that your body just can’t handle. It’s quite another thing to maneuver your way through doctor and dentist offices, carefully choosing your pharmacies and doing your best to avoid the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program so that you can amass a quantity of pain pills in California, never mind crossing into Oregon or Nevada to meet your needs.
Treatment, Acceptance, and the Pharmaceutical Industry
Pain pills stimulate the opiate mu receptors in the brain, just like heroin, and because of the persistent withdrawal symptoms and cravings that can last for many months, kicking this kind of addiction generally does not succeed without the use of medication-assisted treatment involving methadone or buprenorphine. Federal agencies such as SAMHSA as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have done a wonderful job of educating people about the science of pain pill addiction, and even at Narcotics Anonymous groups there is an increasing acceptance of people who treat their addiction to pain pills in California with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). (Note: This resource was originally published on the website of Behavioral Health Center, with a website that is currently unavailable.) There’s also the danger that pain pill addiction is just a hop and a jump away from heroin addiction, which is a whole different can of worms—or pills, as you might say.
The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture pain pills, in California or anywhere, are only just beginning to back off from their aggressive marketing campaigns. Their practices included deluging doctors with literature supposedly proving that pain pills were non-addictive as well as creating little pain-scale charts for hospitals to use with their patients who might be feeling pain—which then encouraged practitioners to think about just what pain pills they should, in fact, prescribe.
In more recent years, the pharmaceutical companies have insisted that their newer formulations of pain pills in crush-resistant coatings or with tiny time-released capsules within capsules are less addictive. The word is getting out that this is not true. Finally, as in the past, prescribers are gradually learning that pain pill prescriptions should be limited to management of end-stage terminal disease or life-threatening, horrific traumas.
Finding a treatment center for fighting an addiction to prescription pain pills in California is not difficult. You can visit the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and choose your state. Many medication-assisted treatment facilities offer multiple locations that you can choose from, and if you need to visit relatives in other cities or travel locally for your job, they offer better opportunities for guest dosing.