Tag Archives: MMT

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!

ismelltherain

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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

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

Functioning addict

I was thinking this morning about how some that read this blog may perceive me. I figured some may picture me as the stereotypical drug addict that is dirty, smelly and unkempt? Maybe to some of you, I have been homeless, in and out of jail with track marks up and down my arms. Fact is, I am none of those things. I take a shower every night, never been homeless, never been in jail (because of drugs) and never shot dope. I am married with kids, have a full time job, a car payment and even a mortgage. I could be anyone you know. Wait, let me rephrase that, I am someone you know; your child’s teacher, your therapist, or your grocery store clerk. The consummate functioning addict that doesn’t function, I am.

Still, I hurt. Yesterday was very hard for me physically. It was probably my worst day so far. I will keep on keepin’ on though. My wife, my beautiful wife, is the pillar on which I stand. Thank you so much dear. You have waited on me, patiently for so very long haven’t you? I’m still in the woods, and the storm is raging now but I am coming. I will be home soon.

ismelltherain

Methadone addiction

I started this blog to help myself as well as others who are trapped.  For those like me, who are locked in a life or death struggle in a methadone clinic, aka methadone death camp. My affair with opiates began when I was about 24 years old. Right around the time that Oxycontin (OC) was hitting the opiate scene. OC eventually led me to methadone maintenance treatment (MTT). Sounds all professionally medical and stuff huh. Yeah well methadone, as it turns out, is actually the hardest of all opiates to kick. Health, relationships, finances, taste and emotions are just a few things that this hideous drug has robbed me of.  About 1 year ago, I decided I wanted my life back.

Right now I am at 40mgs/day. This is down from roughly 160mgs/day when I began my detox just over 1 year ago.  I can tell my sense of taste is coming back because foods are becoming rich again. I am losing my mad craving for sweets, which is very common with methadone use. My emotions are on a roller coaster as I find myself confronting feelings that have been numb to me for 20 years. My body aches as the opiates leave me. If you didn’t already know, the physical aspects of detox are horrendous for methadone addicts. There are times I swear I can almost feel sludge on my skin as this poison slowly seeps from my pores. It’s okay though because I have young children that I mean to see for the first time. They are coming into view now, but still a bit cloudy. Just the other day, as I was contemplating this blog, I was outside and I actually smelled the rain coming in on the wind. I was surprised when I realized it was something I had not smelled in a very long time. Opiates dull everything in your life and this does not exclude sense of smell. That rain smelled glorious by the way.

I would like everyone that reads it, to take this blog for what you will. Some may use it for information and others encouragement. Know this though-my heart and soul will be poured onto these pages so it will be alive. Leave messages of encouragement if you feel the notion, for they will be greatly appreciated. Please pass it on though as I want as many warm bodies behind me as I can get. I figure, a professional fighter does not go into a fight alone. He has a pack of supporters that come to the fight with him, for him. Why wouldn’t I want as many people as possible in my corner when I am in the fight of my life? The answer is that I do. I know I cannot do this alone.  Also, if you know someone struggling with addiction, direct him or her here. Hopefully, we can find peace together.

I think much of the words in the song “Only God Knows Why” by Kid Rock. I have always thought of it as my theme song. The words ring especially true now:
People don’t know about the things I say and do
They don’t understand about the shit that I’ve been through
It’s been so long since I’ve been home
I’ve been gone, I’ve been gone for way too long
Maybe I forgot all things I miss
Oh somehow I know there’s more to life than this
I said it too many times
And I still stand firm
You get what you put in
And people get what they deserve
Still I ain’t seen mine
No I ain’t seen mine
I’ve been giving just ain’t been gettin
I’ve been walking that there line
So I think I’ll keep a walking
WITH MY HEAD HELD HIGH!!

Thank you all immensely for reading,

ismelltherain