My Name is Becky, and I am an Addict

This is a very serious blog post.  It's something I don't willingly admit or talk about openly.  But I am an addict.  I don't mean to be, I have tried to quit many times, but it keeps coming back.  It starts most evenings before bed. I wash my face, brush my teeth and then I am powerless to withstand the temptation. Just a little bit won't hurt right? I just need two tiny hits.  Two little hits will help me sleep.  Two little hits won't hurt right?

I never intended this to happen. I don't see myself as having an addictive personality.  But a few times a year it happens.  Just when I think I have kicked this nasty habit it rears its ugly head. I have to have it. I have to.  I absolutely need it, this vice of all vices.

Yes ladies and gentleman, my name is Becky and I am addicted to nose spray.  Afrin.  The devil spray that clears up even the nastiest of stuffy noses.  I love it.  And I hate it.  I love that I can be horribly sick and it will always clear up the worst congestion. Within minutes I am breathing like a champion and can sleep.  Yet, for those of you who don't know, it worsens said congestion if you use it for more than 3 days.

3 days?  Try using it for 30, 40 days in a row.  Yep.  That's me.  I have struggled with this for years.  I am convinced that it is an inherited fault.  My dad has used nose spray his entire life. He uses it every single night.  He even had surgery 30 years ago to clear out the problems it caused.  And he was right back to using it.  I have been off and on it since I was a teenager. I get addicted and then I have to wean myself off. It makes for a few bad nights in a row.  Not quite the shakes, but certainly it's a struggle. I use Sudafed, saline spray, prop my head up, humidifiers, etc.  My doctor has often prescribed me Flonase to wean me off.  It's the only thing that really works for me.

Every time I get addicted I tell myself this is the last time.  I won't use it ever again! It's not worth the pain.  But then a cold/flu rolls around and among all of the symptoms I can't control - I know I can control the stuffy nose and I give in.

I grew up in a family that if you had a really stuffy nose we were given nose spray. I never really learned how to breathe through my mouth at night.  This last month I was really sick. I struggled with a bad case of allergies and then a terrible cold. One of the worst colds of my life. I felt awful and I couldn't breathe at all.  Of course, night would roll around and I couldn't wait. I couldn't wait to have some relief that that only that small, beautiful, white bottle can bring. I started using it.  And I couldn't stop.

Being married to a Physician Assistant has its perks. It also has it's struggles.  I sheepishly admitted to Seth last month that I had been using nose spray.  For a good month straight.  This was not good news for him. He was very stern with me and told me I had to stop.  It was making my cold worse!  My congestion was awful because of it.  In fact, this whole "cold" was probably not a cold at all, but really just a symptom of my horrible, terrible addiction.  He got after me at 5:45am one morning.  I was in bed, feeling miserable and being lectured for my nose spray addiction.  He left for work and quickly removed all Afrin from the home.  I survived the day, I only use it at night.  That night after he got home from work, he felt guilty for getting after me and brought back the spray.  He pleaded with me to not use it.  I told him I wouldn't.

And I tried. I swear I tried.

I took extra-strength Sudafed. I used my Flonase. I put Vicks on my chest and started the humidifier.  And then I tried to go to sleep. I couldn't breath at all.  "Breathe through your mouth Becky!  That's what other humans do! It's not that hard."  I tried. I swear I did! I tried for nearly 2 hours to fall asleep and I just couldn't.

So I did an awful thing. I snuck out of bed and found the bottle and took a quick sniff in each nostril. I couldn't help it.  As sick as I was, I needed sleep more than anything right? So I used it and slept like a champ.

The next morning Seth was very proud of me.  "See honey! You did it! You didn't use the spray!" And I totally lied.  I lied through my teeth. I told him I didn't use it.  Honestly Seth doesn't understand the power of the spray.  I continued to use it for the next 4-5 nights.  And eventually, like always, I was able to wean myself off of it.

My name is Becky and I am addicted to nose spray.  The last time I used was 15 days ago.

I swear I'm gonna stay off of it this time.  I even went to throw it away, determined that I would never fall prey to its addictive powers.  But I couldn't do it.  We have a love/hate relationship me and Afrin.  I know it's bad for me, but it's just so good to me too.

This post is for all of you spray addicts.  You know who you are.  This is a safe place to talk about your addiction. I understand your pain.  Lets form a group - the NSAA (Nose Spray Addicts Anonymous).  What do you say?