facts are facts

I really wish I could come here, and give a positive upbeat message today, but facts are facts- I cannot. I feel like shit, so I will give it just like I feel it. Besides be honest- If I were to come here every day feeling all peppy and shit, you’d know I wasn’t really getting clean wouldn’t you? Let me rephrase that- methadone addicts would know I was full of shit. So this post is for my brothers and sisters in pain.

We have to know this is going to pass. I’ve said it many times, but my wife knew exactly what I needed to hear this morning, when I told her I was in a bad place. She spoke the words, “well, you knew it wasn’t going to be easy”. That’s right my beautiful, I did know it.

But FUCK, why does it have to be?! I’m crying my eyes out right now, but at least I feel it. Mother fuck, at least I feel something. That bullshit kept me feeling nothing for so long, I thought I had no more tears to cry- I literally believed that. I didn’t even cry at my cousins funeral, but I’m crying now Josh. Fuck, I miss you so much now you wouldn’t know.

Hold on tight now you fucking cock sucking, life draining FUCK. You’ve got about 8 weeks left methadone, until I put you to sleep for good.

I have to add something to this post. It is now the morning after I wrote the above. Anyone that thinks the above is some attempt at adding drama has never withdrawn from methadone. It is deadly serious and I found myself wondering why I wasn’t in a hospital detoxing. With the amount of craziness that comes from within, I think we probably at the very least should be under a doctor’s supervision.

Yesterday was a terrible day from the start. I had diarrhea all the day long that pulled me down physically and mentally. I came home to an empty house (wife and kids @ church). I sat at the corner of a dark table, in a dark room, and darkness swarmed me.

It was a swarm of wasps too, not bees. Wasps are meat eaters, bees are not. That’s why wasp stings are so much more painful than bee stings. Wasps inject a toxin into its victim that breaks down tissue. This enables the wasp to slurp away the meat it seeks. Pretty nasty shit huh?

I was being swarmed by wasps that sought to break down my wellness. I felt them probing the files in my brain, and picking out the ones that could break my will the fastest. There were parts of my will that were already liquifying, and the wasps were beginning to slurp it away. It may have eaten all too, had my wife and kids not been so close to home. I very likely would have been on the phone, looking up old dealers for drugs. I didn’t though, and I feel I gained two lessons from the pit of hell.

The first is that I cannot get over confident. If I take my eye off my goal for even a second, there are wasps waiting to swarm over me. It’s as if they sense when weakness is abound, and they are always poised, ready for an assault. In retrospect, maybe that is what the doctor meant when she said to beware of strong negative “emotions”. Whether negative or not, I think it might also apply to over-confidence; that is a powerful emotion in itself.

The second is something I need to impress on methadone addicts. I will say this- you had better have your chickens in line BEFORE attempting detox. What I mean is you better be firmly grounded on a foundation of people that care only for your wellbeing. I don’t care if it’s an AA/NA sponsor(s), a spouse, parent(s) or whomever. You decide who(m) it will be, but the person(s) must be near at all times. Do not look around one night and find all you have are the wasps to talk to. Have you ever tried to talk a wasp out of stinging you? If so, how did that work out for you?

I’ll be true; I completely believe that had I still had any contact whatsoever with dealers and the like, I would have fallen last night. My wife came home, washed the kids, put them to bed, and then climbed into our bed without the slightest knowledge of what I had just been through. Still, having her warm body next to me was calming. I relaxed, let her positive energy envelope me, and went to sleep. It wasn’t easy, and I slept fitfully, but I slept. I’m awake today, stronger, having dealt with a severe attack on my will, by wasps I couldn’t see to swat. Thank heaven my wife was there with bug spray for them shits. 🙂

Sent Box

Something happened a few weeks ago that I feel should be here. The thing mainly has to do with my job, but the bigger picture made me realize it had to be posted. I can’t believe I almost neglected to see it as relevant to my journey.

We are addicts, and have been programed for at least as long as we have been addicted to be submissive. We submit to the drugs foremost, but that’s not all and we know it. At it’s core with addiction, we submit our right to a complete and fulfilling life. We don’t take what we want unless it aids us in acquiring our next high-a better word would be stealing. Fuck that! I have a story now of something that I have taken-I took it in the midst of this withdrawal storm, and I want to share it.

Some weeks back a position became available (where I work) that I knew would be better for me and my family. I went to the big boss of our department, and told him I wanted it. I explained how I knew it would be better for me, and he understood; I thought he understood. I also told him that I knew my immediate supervisor would be upset, but that I hoped he (big boss) wouldn’t use that as a reason to keep me out. The big boss assured me that he didn’t think it would be a problem.

I waited, and waited, and guess what happened? Nothing.

My supervisor had a fucking meltdown, and I heard one week later that they had begun outside interviews for the position. Very upset, I went in to see the big boss again. He explained to me that he went home, thought about what I had said all weekend, and decided it would be better if I stayed where I was. This made me angrier, and I let him know how very disappointed I was in his decision. I could not understand how a man with a family could deny another man with a family, the right to better himself.

At first I did what I was programmed to do-I submitted. I went around bitching to anyone that would listen. Then it hit me-what the fuck was I doing? I decided right then that I was going to make a stand. I knew it could cost me my job, but too many years being a submissive is becoming a fire starter now. Fuck you methadone!

My father taught me something years ago that I kept in my mind: Never go over a boss’ head unless you are sure you are right. I kept his advice in mind, and opened up an email to the vice president of the college where I work. Truth is, my father wasn’t sure (after I called him) about what I was about to do, but he couldn’t have known about the shift taking place inside me.  My letter was gracious, considerate, respectful, but firm. I was qualified for it, I had put in the time to get it, I wanted it, so I took it.

Within two hours of the “send” button being pushed, I was in my new position. Can you even imagine the feeling I had when the big boss pulled me back in, and explained that it never would have happened had I not forced his hand? It was almost as good as the feeling I had when he stopped me today for a quick chat. He told me he wanted me to know how much better the campus looked since I took the new position. Before I transferred, I was shipped between three campus’, and my work was rarely noticed.

Are there haters? Of course there are. The haters are also submissives that don’t take what they want in life. They live their lives exactly the way I did on methadone. Is a person truly getting everything out of life if they don’t go after whatever it is they want? I would say no. In landscaping there is a saying we use with old trees, and it applies here I think: It’s either growing or dying.

Why Did I Love Opiates?

I did love you. I loved you with my whole heart. I put every extra minute of my time into acquiring you. I made schedules for you, and planned events around you. I drove thousands of miles, and would have driven to the end of everything for you. I stole from my family, and lied to them too. All I did, I did for you.

You were in my thoughts constantly, and I thought we would be always together. There was a time I was convinced there was no other feeling I wanted than the way you could make me un-feel. You helped me forget about my mom, and my childhood. If only you had not made me forget about my kids too.

Why, after all these years of devotion, do you make me feel so sick to leave you? Are you clenching to my muscles, my stomach, my head because you love me too? I feel your grip, but it’s not as tight as it was yesterday. I’m pulling you off, and it’s about time for me to go.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, I am slipping away from you now. Every time I take less of you, I creep out as you’re sleeping. I walk out the door, and into the sun, but I still think of you. You know I do don’t you? You made me forget my kids.

Rigs and Methadone Clinics

I’m very pissed off this morning. I guess I should say “was” very pissed off this morning. I went to the methadone clinic to get my take-outs, and as you may or may not know, it is the week I’m supposed to go from 25mgs/day to 20mgs. As it turned out, that wasn’t to be this morning. When I stepped to the window, and said I wanted to decrease to 20mgs, the nurse informed me that it wasn’t going to be possible. Immediately, my blood began to boil as he (nurse) tried explaining that there was a new doctor, and they could no longer do anything (increase or decrease) without the doctor’s written authorization. Boy did I give that nurse an ear full.

First I told him that I thought that was a bunch of bullshit! I told him that I had been decreasing every 2 weeks for months now, and someone damn well should have called me to let me know about this new change. If they had, I’d have told them to go ahead and put the order through to have it ready when I picked up this morning.  To his credit, the nurse was very apologetic, and agreed with everything I was saying. I knew it wasn’t his fault, and I did tell him that. After I left the nurse’s station, I saw the clinic director’s door was open so I used the opportunity let him know too, just how unhappy I was.

The first thing I said was that I thought it was really shitty of that clinic, that is supposedly there to help us, to “interrupt” my decreasing in that way. I explained that this was probably the most important moment in my life, and for them to have a change like that, and not inform me, really showed what they were about.

He then tried excusing the circumstances by pointing out that the clinic serves about 1600 (I thought 2000), and that it would be impossible for them to call everyone to let them know of the change. However, I blew that shit up by asking him just how many of that 1600 were decreasing. After that, he was stumped because he knew that I was correct. They absolutely should have had the decency to call me and let me know of this change, and he knew it. If I was a person teetering on the edge, this kind of thing may have been just the kind of thing to stop my decreasing; instead, it actually had the opposite effect. If anything, this experienced served more in re-galvanizing my will to get up out of there than it anything else.

There was much more that I said to the director, but know this: White hot fire was coming from my mouth, and I wasn’t on 160mgs of methadone to tie my tongue. My words came out clear, concise, and there was nothing anyone at that clinic could say that would make the situation right. It’s a good thing that the director backed down too because this comes down to me getting my life back, and nothing is getting in my way. My rig is big right now, and I’m going to run you the fuck over if you are standing in my way.

The last thing he said to me as I walked out his door was to come see him again when I was at 0mgs. I felt nothing for him as I turned around and said, “you’ll see me again”. My heart tells me this is true, but not in the way he wants to see me. The next time he sees me, I may just have his neck in a dog collar instead of the other way around. What comes around huh? Maybe not, but I do feel there is a story about these places that needs to be told; no matter how comfortable I am in accepting consequences of my own actions.

About my dose: I ended up dosing, but didn’t use water to wash the bottom of the bottle out. Hopefully that was around 5mgs, but I really can’t be sure. I also only took three take-outs so I will be going back on Tues. to get the correct dose amount. I was going to do change my pick-up day anyway because we (the family) are going to be doing some vacationing next month and pick-ups on Friday won’t be possible. What I will do until Tuesday is just use the baby syringe to withdraw 5mgs/day. Fuck ’em!


Better Than I Used To Be

Things happen sometimes in the weirdest ways. This morning on the way to work my wife said she heard a song that really sounded like me. All she remembered was that it had the words, “I’ve got a few more dances with the devil”, and that it was sung by Tim McGraw. I came in to work and punched it in to Google and the song, “Better Than I Used To Be” popped up. I kid no one when I say I had never heard this song before. Definitely another “Rocket Man” moment. It matches so closely to where I am, at this moment-I just had to post it here. Have I ever said that I love music?

Thx wifey, you’re the best! Almost made me cry.


How I’m feelin’-22.5

Want to know how I’m feeling on 22.5mgs? Sit down and I’ll tell you. It’s quite a thing.

I look people in their eyes again-when I’m speaking or walking past. When I talk, people are listening.

People are looking at me again-something is different, but they don’t know what. They’ve told me how good I look. I know. I’m exuding man again, and I can feel others feeling it. Not conceit-truth is coming off these pages.

I’m taking back my life that’s mine, and holding on with everything. I’m passionate about living again because life is a gift. And that is a gift horse I never want to look in the face again.

I’ve never been a person that digs weather talking, or idle conversation. I talk about the weather now because I work outside, and it interests me. When I speak people are listening because it’s passion.

I’m about to whip a mean mother fucker, and I won’t be held back-at anything! I’m pinning this methadone fucker to the ground, and I’m not even using two hands yet.

My green eyes are on bright, and I don’t wear sunglasses  anymore. I take’em off because I want the sun in my eyes, shit. I’ve spent too many years behind doors when my soul is open.

I might even move the bed to the back yard so I can sleep in the open air. On second thought probably not-my wife doesn’t like bugs.

I’ll just stay inside at night and finally sleep good until morning. Mornings are where it’s at because mornings are fresh and new, and fresh is pouring over me now.

Want what I got now? Come get some!


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.


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.


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.


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?