PHIL ANSELMO On Fighting Opioid Addiction - "Painkillers Lie To You; It's A Mind Fuck"
May 18, 2018, 3 months ago
Andivero Magazine recently caught up with vocalist Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Superjoint, Down, Phil And The Illegals), who discussed living in New Orleans, going sober, his surgery for sciatic nerve pain, and coming back from the dead, An excerpt is available below.
Q: How is your back feeling? You just finished surgery for your sciatic nerve pain, right?
Phil: "Yeah man. I’m at the point where it’s good days, bad days. I guess I’m at the period right now of transition. I’m trying to feel new things whilst healing from the obvious invasiveness that is back surgery. It’s like a battle of feelings right now. Good days, bad days. But when I do have the good days, if those are any indicators of better days to come, then I’ll take them. And yeah man, it’s tough for me to gauge right now but I shall. I’ll be alright. Thank you for asking."
Q: You started with opioids due to your back problems predominantly, right?
Phil: "Absolutely, yeah."
Q: What (new) skills do you have now that allow you to maintain the schedule you do? You go like a man possessed.
Phil: "When I’m going I absolutely do, but like times right now when I’m on the mend? Even when I was a kid I loved my alone time. Although, right now I’m tinged with a little bit of cabin fever, but I do work assiduously writing all kinds of different stuff so I can get by that way. To your point of my attitude towards opioids. When you feel this type of pain or really, any type of nagging pain that absolutely upsets your day of scheduled activities, when it’s fucking a deal breaker. When it’s an employment jeopardizer. That’s when panic originally happens. Your initial reaction to that is 'give me any-fucking-thing you got. I need to keep working.' That in itself, that’s a very tough spot to put your average person in. I made every mistake in the fucking book, you know that, and that’s well documented.
Mine should be a cautionary tale. What I did come out of that with I can share and maybe plant a seed if someone is hurting out there and how to deal with opioids would be to number one: resent your fucking condition. Resent the injury, resent it enough to where you know you need to get better. You have to get better. Number two: resent the drugs. Resent the fact that you have to take one. Resent the motherfuckers. The doctors prescribe you the pills and hand you a piece of paper and push you out the door. It should come down to the doctors explaining to people 'I am writing you a pill. This pill has a preparation in the middle of it for a reason. It is a strong narcotic. I suggest taking a half a pill and seeing how it affects you.' Not one doctor has ever said that to me ever, and right then and there I could say that is a fucking problem, man. No one has explained that less is better.
Another thing that I’ve had to learn the hard way: pain-killers lie to you. Once you’re on them for an extended period of time and you attempt to come off them, your body will produce a new and brilliant pain because it is detoxing. It wants the fucking pills. So, are you seeing the vicious cycle here? It’s a mind fuck. It’s why I say resent the motherfuckers. Get educated on the fucking doses you’re taking and god damn, why am I the dude fucking saying all this shit? Fuck! This is minimal information that deserves a much more thorough and complex going over."
Read the complete interview here.