Monthly Archives: April 2012

Yeah, so what?

I have wasted years and years of my life being a bitch- yeah I have, so what? I lay down and let my addiction to drugs take vacations from me, presents for my kids, dates from my wife; the list could go on and on. Should I dwell on that now and let it chew the ground out from underneath me? No! Especially now, coming out of the fog, when things are becoming real again, I cannot let it destroy me. It tries though-man, does it try.

Instead I will focus on some of the good things that happened during that time. Sure there were some good things. Shit, I found one of the most beautiful people on this earth, and somehow held things together enough to marry her. We have had three unbelievable kids that have smarts beyond my wildest imagination. My four year old could say octagon, and knew what one was when she was turning two. Even if I didn’t have all this, I could still find positives in helping others with the knowledge I’ve gained about being an opiate addict. My life is mine, and I want to share all that I can about this methadone mother fucker.

Now that I am where I am, I can tell myself that today has been complete shit, and I am still 50 times happier than my best day on 160mgs. I think the reason is because I’m dealing with the problems that have been chucked at me rather than numbing myself to them. See what I mean? I don’t mean to say that I have this thing whipped, but I know I’m on the right track. A completely shit filled day and I can still say I’m a happy sum bitch.

ismelltherain

Jasmine Lives

When I think about how lucky I am to be alive, I think about many things. I know you’ve heard addict’s say many times how lucky they are to be alive with all the crazy things they’ve done. I guess I’m the same way, but that is far from what I am writing about here. I think a lot about how truly lucky I am to be alive. I really do, and especially now that all my senses are again responding to the stimuli of life. I mean think of how remote the possibility is that you became you; all the things that had to happen, or not happen for you, the human being to be breathing air right now.

One of the things I’ve been noticing lately is the jasmine outside my front door. If you’re not familiar with jasmine, it grows as a vine, and in the spring blooms one of the smallest yet fragrant flowers I know of. This jasmine is absolutely gorgeous. The vines are about 3” in width, and start at the base of the huge oak that is feet from my front door. It winds up the tree in a beautiful pattern of vein-like trails. Mostly the vines are bare until they reach the canopy of the tree, where the flowers burst through to absorb the light of the sun. I can see, and smell them from below, and it is stunning. I can’t even imagine what it must look like from above. I have lived in this house for six or so years, and never sensed these flowers like I am right now.

I want to tie this all together with this- Knowing how lucky we are to be alive, I think it is best to try to get the absolute most out of life that we can. There is no way we can do that stuck in a rut at a methadone clinic. Actually, as I was thinking about it, I wished the jasmine flowers could be here year round to remind me. Then I realized there are a million other jasmine’s in the world year round. Furthermore, I realized all it will take for me to notice them is not being medicated. When life is over, I want to know there were many springs that I was able to smell the jasmine.

ismelltherain

Good Doctors and Bad (Methedonely Speaking)

I know methadonely is not a word. It’s my attempt at being witty. Now that my wittiness is out of the way, I’m going to attempt a semi-serious post. I don’t like my clinic; this is no secret. Throughout my detox I have had to be my own counselor, and doctor because they do not offer those things to people that will be leaving. As a result, many times I have been online looking for the best ways I should be doing this. I found this website the other day that was started by Doctor Jana Burson. She works at an addiction treatment facility in NC I think it is.

I won’t lie, my first impression was that of disgust. I was respectful of her as a person, and as a doctor, but I let her know quickly what I think of methadone clinics. Still, the doctor was patient with me, and even gave me some numbers. I am no fool, and I know numbers can be subjective. There are always ways to make numbers appear to favor your point because their possibilities are infinite. However, once we were finished with the back and forth, she helped me greatly. She gave me a bit of a confidence boost, and information on the things I should be doing. Granted, all of it I am for the most part doing, but I still needed to hear (read) it. Still begs the question, why did I have to go in search of this info elsewhere when the fuckin’ clinic I pay should be….. Stop! There I go again.

My point on all this is that the internet is a beautiful thing. I mean at what other time in history were we as humans so powerful? We have the resources of every library, of every town all across this nation, and even the world right at our fingertips. I had the ability to find Dr. Burson, to get the information and reassurance I needed to continue on my path; free of charge. I know this doesn’t make what my clinic is doing right, but it sure does make me feel better. If you are reading this and you are an addict, you too can make the internet work for your recovery like generations before us never had the opportunity. How awesome is this?!

Last, I would like to thank Dr. Burson for weathering my storm, and showing me that there are still Dr’s truly doing their profession for what it was meant to be. There is no doubt this Dr. cares about helping people, and that I can respect. I will post her reply now because I think it is valuable info. Also, the fact that it came from a Dr that is an addiction medicine specialist makes it that much more relevant. Here is Dr. Burson’s reply to one of my posts asking for advice on how to get through these last weeks of detox:

You do not have to prove your clinic is doing a poor job. I know there are clinics out there like that, and I don’t defend them.
They give the other, better-run clinics a bad name and bad reputation. I wish that weren’t true. It sounds like you live in a place with only one clinic around, if you’re driving and hour to get there.

It’s not good medical practice to treat people without face to face contact, so I can’t give you any advice for you personally. However, I can tell you what I tell other patients – listen to your body, and remember that the dose change you make today may not affect you for about five days, due to the long action of methadone. Also remember that when you get to doses less than 40mg, each milligram is a bigger percent of the whole, so most people slow to 2mg per week or so. Some texts say the taper, or detox as you call it, should be no faster than 10% per week, but people are so different in the way they tolerate withdrawal. I also recommend:
-plenty of fluids
-ibuprofen for body aches
-hot baths do help with muscle and joint aches, but not for long
-aerobic exercise each day, but don’t overdo it. Pick something you enjoy doing if possible
-eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and if you don’t, consider starting a once-daily multi-vitamin. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive; brands like One A Day or Centrum are fine. Men should take those without iron.
-as you get to doses less than 20mg, ask your clinic doctor to give you a prescription for clonidine, a blood pressure medication that blocks many of the nervous system withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, sweating & chills, diarrhea, tremor, and nausea. It’s mildly to moderately helpful.
-don’t neglect your spiritual health. I define spiritual as anything that helps you improve relationships with yourself, with other people, and a Higher Power. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. It should go without saying that you can’t be around people who are using drugs. Consider going to 12-step meetings. If you have something that nurtures your spiritual self, indulge in that. It could be meetings or church or volunteering to help someone else…actually your blog may be a great way to help others and connect with them
-avoid relapse triggers when possible. The big 3 are strong negative emotion, being around people who have drugs, and medical situations. Some of those things you have some control over, and some you don’t. Have a plan for how you’d handle medical situtations before they ever happen.

I have seen many people taper off methadone and be successful. It isn’t easy, but it is do-able. The biggest mistake I see my patients make are that they get down to 15mg or so, get impatient and just stop dosing. Most people will do better if they come all the way down to 0mg. Look at it like this…you’ve come so far, you do not want to fumble at the one-yard line. You are almost there. Getting down to 25mg is wonderful. But if you don’t feel great, there’s nothing wrong with staying at that dose until you become more accustomed to it. Unless you have a certain deadline that you have to meet for some reason.

ismelltherain

Dear Mamma

If there is one thing on this earth that can anger me the way the methadone clinic does, it would have to be my mother. My mom was once the light of everything in my life. No one could have told me any different either. I forgave many times when I was younger for the things she did-things that very likely set me on the path towards drug addiction. Things that I am about to write about now.

The first thing I remember forgiving her for was leaving me when I was in the fourth grade to move to Louisiana. She had just found a new boyfriend, and was head over heels in love. I was hurt-I was hurt badly, but she was my almighty. Once she left, I always eagerly anticipated the holidays. Christmas’ would come; she would travel home, and cut me open wide when she would leave again. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was those cuts and many more that would eventually bleed me dry of the unconditional love, and devotion I once reserved for only her.

The summer before I was to start my sixth grade year, I got the best news I could ever have imagined. All my tears had finally paid off when my brother and I were turned loose by my father. He loosed us into two years of misery and fear with a woman that had no business raising kids. Many more cuts would come during those two years, and they were the deepest of all, but I forgave. I forgave her for the great “Morgan City” lie she used to tell. I don’t know if she realized it then, but that was always the puke that came from her mouth when she was going to stay out drinking. “I have to go to Morgan City for work today”, is all we needed to here. I was in the sixth grade, and knew on those days that I would be responsible for getting my own dinner cause mamma wasn’t coming home.

I also forgave her for the wait. That terrifying time when I lay wide awake in a pitch black room, listening for car doors and praying, “Please God see my mamma comes home safe”. I don’t know if God ever heard me, but she always came home-eventually. When she did, I forgave her for the fights that came after. I would stand at my bedroom door waiting for the shouts to begin. Then I would run in, and throw my small body in between her and the boyfriend. All I cared about was protecting mamma. I didn’t give a shit about my own safety; I just didn’t want to see her hurt. It didn’t do any good as several times she was left with bruises and bald spots on her head. I remember once as I begged the boyfriend to stop, him saying, “Get out of here A-you don’t want to see your mom bleed”. What the fuck kind of mother…?

By that time, I had just about had enough of mamma, but she still had a few cuts to make. Just before moving back to Florida, she finally wrecked the car on one of the “Morgan City” nights, and got a DUI. She came home the next morning with bumps and bruises, and promised it was all over. No more drinking she said, and I believed her. Once the two year Louisiana horror story was over, me and my brother moved back home with dad. We didn’t talk much about all we had lived through out there. My dad wasn’t the easiest to talk to anyway. Mom and boyfriend married, and then moved to an apartment about an hour away from my dad’s. It was easy for her to hide the drinking she never quit with me and my brother only visiting every other weekend.

Still, I forgave. I forgave her for never having the guts to tell me that my father wasn’t really my father. I even forgave her when my heart was crushed the day I found out from my step-brother that she never quit drinking after the DUI. I forgave, but I wasn’t going to forget-that was the final cut.

Later in life I didn’t forgive, when the woman I once called mamma, took my brother to a bar. This was at a time when he was in the throes of a crack addiction fueled by low inhibitions when he drank alcohol. She said later that she knew he was going to drink so she wanted to be able to keep an eye on him. He stole her car that night, and traded it to a dealer for a few hits of crack. I could be wrong on this, but I’m fairly certain she called the police. What kind of person does such things to her children? Either way, she by her own choice has been doomed to a life of turmoil and misery. What comes around, I guess.

I said before that my journey into drugs is very likely the result of the things my mom did. The other day I was speaking to my brother about this. He has been to many rehabs and programs and had this to say- All of the bullshit we went through in Louisiana was at a time in our lives when we should have been receiving love and encouragement. It was a time when we should have been getting the positive reinforcement that we could accomplish whatever we dreamed.  Instead, we got what we got, and were taught to find things to help us escape reality. While I do realize there comes a time in everyone’s life when they must own what they’ve become, this seems plausible to me. We never truly grew up. At least not in the way that we were supposed to.

In the last year, my mom has begun drinking heavily. Even when we were in Louisiana, she wasn’t like she is now. Her life is a mess, and she will likely lose her job soon because she drinks at work. She will also probably lose her life because unlike in Louisiana, she no longer has youth on her side. I tried, albeit not with much enthusiasm, to talk some sense into her a couple months ago. When it didn’t work, I finally went to her, with all the “why’s” of when we were young. I’m in a fight of my own see, and I finally needed to get some answers. I wasn’t worried about protecting her feelings anymore; I just wanted to know how she could do what she did. I actually thought it may break her when she heard what I had to say, but I had to say it.  To this day, I feel one of two things is true. Either she truly doesn’t realize what she meant to me, or she doesn’t care. I can’t answer that, but I know what I saw, or better yet, what I didn’t see in those tired, defeated eyes when we had our talk. We are currently not on speaking terms. If somehow she ever reads this (which I don’t imagine she will), I have two questions for her…
Do you really not realize what you once meant to me, or do you just not give a fuck? Are you going to kill yourself with your drinking, and die letting me continue to believe the latter?

ismelltherain

come harder (methadone addiction)

How I’m feeling today is….uhhhh, well let me just say this. If I had the song “Eye of the Tiger” downloaded, I’d have my ear buds jumpin. I don’t though so “Sail” by Awolnation and “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem are some of the songs that have been doing just fine. I’ve been feeling amazing the last few days in my methadone addiction detox. Either those Centrum are doing some extraordinary things or I’m just now hitting my stride on this detox train. I cannot discount what a better, more complete diet has probably been doing for me as well. Oh, and let me not forget about the way I have been pushing myself physically at work.

I wonder what people think I mean when I write “push myself physically” at work? I mostly use the phrase on my “daily symptoms log”. I know what I would be thinking. I’d probably be thinking “this guy is just making a few more trips to the water cooler” or, “he’s probably just picking up a few extra boxes of paper to be shredded”. That’s not the case. When I say pushing myself physically at work, I mean just that. I could just sit around dippin’ and dodgin’, writing posts all day if I wanted, but luckily I also have the opportunity to pick up tools to weed-eat, hedge and even mow. If you’re wondering what kind of guy I am to have such a job, I have just two words-state worker. Also, if I hadn’t already mentioned it, I live in “The Sunshine State”, and the sun’s been reading “hot” all damn winter long. So there, I do get physical. In fact I’ve got little bits of grass falling out of my hair on the keyboard now.

As I was saying though, I feel amazing. My habitual way of thinking is also changing. Yesterday, when we were heading to work, my wife asked me, “Don’t you miss the way you used to feel?” Immediately I said “no!”. What she meant was, didn’t I miss the “high”. I wasn’t even thinking of that. Being on such a low dose comparatively, I no longer sweat like the fat pig I was. This is a huge deal if you’ve never experienced it. Just imagine sweating profusely while standing in a room full of people. How do you explain that you’re really not having a panic attack, and that bad body chemistry is the reason you’re drenched in sweat in the middle of winter? It’s crazy. Fucking nuts the way we allow ourselves to live.

My thoughts are also crystal right now. My conversations-every day conversations are full of life and color. If you wouldn’t waste half your life and possibly kill yourself, I would tell you to get hooked on methadone so you can wake yourself up one day to feel the rebirth that I am feeling right now. Other people notice it too. I’ve had people that know nothing of my situation tell me there is something different about me. I think it’s because we that have truly had enough, are being born again. There is a light about us that only knows bright and there is no way to hide it. Still, I must keep my guard up because there are definitely times I’m not at my best.

This Friday will be another one when I give another “fuck you” to the methadone shit hole. I’ll be decreasing to 25mgs/day. I’ll probably be back to writing sad posts, and listening to “Rocket Man” on my MP3 player for a few days. I’m giving fair warning here. My emotions for a few days are generally a mess. I do have one message to “methadone” the medicine though: Is this all you got? I haven’t even missed a day of work because of your dopey ass yet. You’re gonna have to come harder than this-much harder, if you plan on makin’ a run at breaking me. Bitch!

Yeah, I’m a little on the nuts side. But I’m a good feeling nut.

ismelltherain

St. Jude, my path is now found

Call me nuts, but I have an admission to make. AA/NA is not for me! There, I said it. It’s in bold letters for everyone to see. If you find this hard to understand, I’ll say it again; AA/NA is not for me! When I first came to this conclusion I thought,  shit, now I have to go back and change some of my previous posts such as “Tools”. However, I now realize that I cannot and will not do that. This is a growing process for me. A process of trial and error, and in order for it to be accurate and honest, I must leave everything as is. That is, unless my grammar coach reads something, and says I need to go back and revise. But anyway, let’s get to the reason for my post.

I could go on and on about why I feel AA/NA is wrong for me, but that is not why I am writing this. I will simply say this, any message that tells me that I am powerless to do something on my own, is not a message for me. It is not something I can identify with. I know that I walked me into this mess, and I must walk me back out. Maybe the AA/NA message is for you-I don’t know. If it is, that’s not wrong either.  If there is something I wish to be gleaned from this, it would have to be that you (the addict) must find what way works best for you. Because “you” are all that matters. As for me though, I found my message while browsing the net last Wednesday.

All of the feelings I had been having were galvanized when I stumbled across a place called St. Jude. St. Jude has been in the addiction business for a very long time. They have done multiple studies, and in turn have helped many people. All it took was for me to read the first few sentences of their page, for me to know I was home. The people at St. Jude speak my language-they speak it loud, and they speak it clear.

It felt good to read about the studies they had done. Studies that led to their belief that addiction should not be viewed as a disease, but that of habitual and perpetual bad choices. Habits formed by us, the addicts making personal choices to keep doing drugs. Their focus seems to be that of awareness, personal accountability, and the most important-believing in ourselves. I can most certainly dig that shit. I like it-it gives me goose bumps. And when a message gives me goosebumps, that is a message I can live with. There are other things too.

One other thing is believing that we have the power to change, without having to sit in meeting after meeting, year after year. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a person that wants to eventually counsel using addicts, meetings are a good way of reaching them-initially. However, St. Jude believes that the continual admission that we are addicts can keep a person chained to their past. Not to mention the fact that I have kids to raise, a blog to write, video games to play and rain to smell. I cannot do these things sitting in a room somewhere rehashing my past over and over. It’s just not how I want to live. All these messages just fit me you understand? They don’t claim to be right for everyone, but you can’t argue their studies, and success records.

Their studies are complete, and their verifiable success records are second to none-literally. The studies they have done over many years of attending AA/NA meetings cannot be ignored. I believe St. Jude’s methods are tried and true and they will work for anyone that wants them to work. Which is in an of itself what I believe is the key. Do you want to change your life yet, or are you still comfortable in the misery in which you live? I think it’s as simple as that. Weird, considering all the time I’ve spent trying to dissect addiction, the disease. I have one other thing to touch on before I close and it’s off topic, but not really.

This writing thing ain’t easy. I’m not kidding you all, it really isn’t. It’s super easy to write a few good posts. However, doing it day in and day out is I think, what separates the good from the great writers. I don’t claim to be one (great writer) either. It’s obviously something I have done well enough to this point, but we will see if I can continue. I almost had a miserable fail last week though.

I actually had some down time at work on Fri and spent 4.5 hours on a new post. I posted it, rode home, logged back on, and took that gobbledy-gook down quickly. If you don’t know what gobbledy-gook is, picture about three pages of regurgitated shit. Thing is, I caught that one, but I may not catch them all. What I’m trying to say is that there will be good posts and bad-I know this. However, please know that my heart is in every one. If something matters to me, I will write about it. And while I am now doing this blog for me, I want it to eventually be a gift to you. You, are all those struggling with addiction to opiates or whatever else. Hope you enjoyed the post.

ismelltherain

Poll

I want some help with something. I have been asking my wife for several years now to ok me expanding the tattoo on my back (right bellow neck). She has always declined. I told her recently that I wanted to design the tattoo, and have it done to symbolize a new beginning after I am clean of methadone. She immediately said “fine with me”, as long as I’m detoxed. That may be viewed as  manipulative on my part, but it is nonetheless true. Problem is, I honestly don’t know how I want to design it. I saw the poll thing here and thought, why not? I’ll create a poll, and let it run until the day I take my last dose of methadone. Then I will use the results to pick what I’ll do. Of course I’ll post a pic when I have it designed, and then again when I have it done.