This went on for three years, until I left the bank to become a writer.Since I no longer had to get up early, I simply indulged my body’s natural rhythm, staying up most of the night and sleeping until noon.Already deep in denial, I didn’t think “doctor shopping” was illegal (it is) or even a bad idea; I simply thought of myself as stockpiling much-needed supplies.
I’d quit at some point in the future: when I didn’t need to get up early for work, when my life became more serene, when I had a husband and kids to take care of.
But those things never materialized, and I never stopped.
Once I met a doctor at a party and said, “I think I’m addicted to Ambien.” He laughed and said, “Are you sleeping well? Just try telling an insomniac to resist a commercial that promises to deliver the Holy Grail: sleep.
One potential side effect of Ambien is “sleep eating” — the odd practice of preparing and eating food while asleep. I’d wake up to find in my bed cheese and crackers and a sharp knife on a plate (hey, at least I was classy).
And I started abusing it almost immediately: I ignored the prolific warnings on the package, called multiple doctors to get it, mixed it with alcohol and took more than the prescribed amount.