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Jokingly, I am known as ‘Sickboy’ to my friends – the one who can do all the drugs and not become hooked (it’s a Trainspotting (aka the Irvine Welsh novel) reference) but then I had a case of viral gastroenteritis (what ignorant/stupid people call ‘the flu’ or ‘the stomach flu’ – when really, it is not a case of influenza at all) and during the first day I threw up 11 times in 7 hours. Pure bile. I passed out. By all rights I should have been in the hospital on saline for dehydration and zofran for the nausea. Instead, I took gravol (dimenhydrinate). It worked thankfully and the next fourteen days were me in bed, too weak to do much of anything.

However, I have a phobia of vomiting (as well as bodily fluids), and so this was extremely traumatic to me. I began taking gravol anytime I thought I might be nauseated. I would wake up in the morning and then take gravol with my morning pills. 6-8 hours later I would take gravol again. Finally, the anxiety of ‘what if I throw up today’ led to me taking 20 dimenhydrinate a day – at 100mg a tablet, I was on 2000mg a day, and that was when it was most definitely a habit. I had routine blood work and the levels of dimenhydrinate were so high that the blood lab flagged it and my doctor caught me.

Narcotics Anonymous was an option but since I have three anxiety disorders and that leads to not being able to bus anywhere (cabs and cars are okay, but busing freaks me the fuck out to the point where I both puke and pass out before I even board). Since there were no local chapters except downtown I had to wean myself. It was embarrassing, to go into CBT and get therapy for gravol addiction.

I mean really, who the fuck gets addicted to gravol? Elizabeth Wurtzel (my writing idol) wrote about being addicted to ritalin and her views on how she wasn’t addicted and how it wasn’t even a drug you could be addicted to was exactly me. I felt the same. Who could really get addicted to gravol? I was embarrassed so badly that eventually I just stopped taking it and now I only use it to get through my periods of gastroparesis since I now have the lovely seroquel/zopiclone mixture to sleep.

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