Friday, January 1, 2021

The Jerk At The Clinic

 I have been working on taking care of myself and my mental health lately and I happily would like to report that I am much better and have a hopeful outlook on my life and my recovery.

I have been clean now for 4 years (still on methadone) and have transferred clinics.  It was a nerve wracking experience because I was worried that I was going to have to start over.  Having to go into a clinic every day and wait in line after taking your medicine at home is probably the worst fear that I've had in a long time.  In a way it kind of erases all of erases all of the progress that you have made.  I was told by the intake doctor that I was one of the few success stories that he has seen and instead of feeling pride.....I felt sad.  

I sat in an orientation class that was required by my new clinic and there was this guy in there that just kept saying things like "You are all going to be trapped here, methadone is legal heroin" and "Everyone that's on it is nodding out all day".  I wanted to sit there and keep to myself and just get through the next hour but the misinformation that he was giving everyone that was in this class was harmful.  I told him that he was completely wrong and that it's absolutely possible to live a productive life and to accomplish everything that you want.  You don't have to come to the clinic every day once you have a little bit of clean time and you certainly won't be falling asleep all day if you are at a therapeutic dose.  He wanted to argue with me and question why I was still there and I feel like by the end I was able to show him that the information that he was giving everyone was wrong.  

I am sad that so many people still think that people that take methadone are a certain way.  Some people are still getting high and are only taking it to stay out of withdrawal, this is true. (Notice how I said some people?"  That's what I did for five months.  Guess what else is true?

It is completely possible to have a successful life while taking a daily dose of methadone

You can graduate from college (I did!)

You can be a good parent

You can take your methadone at home if you just pass a few drug tests

You won't fall asleep all day.

You can regain the trust of your family that you have destroyed in your addiction

I wanted to write all about how I am overcoming a sugar addiction as well (thanks methadone!) but I guess I'll save that for another post.  I hope that everyone is having a wonderful New Year's Day and that they are getting the support that they need.  If you need additional support, my email is always open.  There is also a reddit group, (just search r/methadone) that has a huge group of people that can answer your questions about starting treatment or helping a loved one that is struggling.  There are also tons of articles about methadone maintenance and support groups on ZOOM now.  I'll link those too!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

I'm the shittiest blogger, and I apologize

 Hey guys,

I always seem to start my posts with a promise that I will update more because I don't want this to become a dead blog and then I fail to do that.  Today I won't make any promises but I will say that I will try to do better.  Let me start with an update yes?

I finished school.  I did it, I am DONE.  I finished a few weeks ago and I am just absolutely underwhelmed by it.  I thought that I would be in a euphoric state to have all of my homework done permanently but it did not happen that way.  I haven't even taken the diploma out of the cardboard mailer.  I think that I am feeling this way because the whole program was a struggle.  I had to do all of my homework at the last minute and send countless apology emails to my professors so I just kind of wish that I had a better experience with school.  

I lost my counselor at the clinic that I loved about two months ago.  She was fired I believe for bending some of the rules for insurance matters to help people out.  I didn't react in a healthy way to her leaving, especially in an abrupt way like that.  She made such a difference in my sobriety and she helped me not feel shame for being on methadone and she gave me the strength to seek psychiatric help too.  I miss her and her replacement is terrible.  I have a counselor at the clinic and a counselor through my psychiatrist's office.  Both of them don't call for scheduled appointments, they forget important information about my treatment plans, and I get the sense that they aren't paying attention to me when we talk.  I guess that I will keep looking for someone to replace her.

I am also switching to a closer methadone clinic at the end of the month and I am not looking forward to it.  I always expect for everything to go wrong.  Imagine that your entire field of stability relies on this entity of people that have to do their jobs properly so that you yourself can function.  If someone forgets to put something in the computer then you could lose privileges which not only impacts your self esteem but your daily routine.  I think that I'm going to make another post about the helplessness of being a methadone patient sometime in the future.  It just sucks.  I am a contributing member of society that is clean but yet I could have my world rocked by someone screwing something up like not faxing paperwork in a timely matter.  

I am going to put my kids to bed but before I go I wanted to ask that the spam bots that keep posting links to "Buy medication Online" please stop.  It's seriously obnoxious and not helping anyone.  UGH.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

An Overdose Story and Some Perspective

    I was scrolling through one of my favorite dark reality-type subs today on Reddit and I came across a picture of Lil Peep after he had overdosed.  I really have always liked reading things revolving around true crime and the untimely deaths of young and beautiful people.  I know that I’m not among the minority (maybe the minority that admits it) of people that are fascinated by tragedy, there are tons of others that look up details to famous murders and tragic overdoses.  It’s not something I’m super proud of but it’s interesting and sad at the same time.  Anyways, I saw this picture of him and read the comments of others that were sharing either their own personal stories of overdosing or someone close to them.  I wanted to share mine.  I’ve never thought about that day from start to finish because there is so much shame associated with it.  I’ve assisted in overdose reversal when I was an EMT and when I was in my addiction.  This is my story….who knows, maybe it’ll be therapeutic for me.

This was over five years ago and I had been dating my addict boyfriend for about a week.  I really thought that I liked him.  He was new to heroin addiction and still needed me to shoot him up.  We drove down to the city to pick up our dope and then waited until we were in the safety of his brother’s basement to get high.  This was early in my addiction when I was able to wait for a safe place.  Less than three months after this I would be parking on the next street in front of someone’s home to get high.  I can’t count the number of times that I would look up and see an angry man running up to my car because he didn’t want me shooting up in front of his home.  I was a dirtbag, ick.  My boyfriend and I had each bought two bags.  From previous experience, this dealer had some really great heroin and I was excited to get high that day.  I was always excited to get high but this time everything seemed to go perfectly.  Bags in hand, we flew down the stairs to the basement where euphoria awaited us.  

He had to wait for me to do my shot before I would get around to his.  I set up my things and pulled about 25ml of dark brown liquid out of the piece of cotton and into my syringe.  I barely remember the process because this was all done more quickly than usual.  I scanned my arm and found a big vein in the crook of it.  Less than a month later, these veins were completely unusable, but not that day.  I pushed the plunger down and let the heroin take me over instantly-I had warm pins and needles in my body and everything became hazy.3

.  I knew that I was in trouble and I didn’t care.  I walked over to the coffee table where my boyfriend was waiting for me and I remember saying, “This dope is really good”.  And then I felt myself falling….but I didn’t care.  And then I was gone.

I woke up to the confederate flag looking down at me.  My boyfriend had different terrible and offensive flags across the ceiling and after my brush with death this is this first thing that I saw.  I felt icy.  I felt devoid of something but I didn’t know what.  I had no idea what had happened or why I was looking at this flag.  I didn’t even know what this flag meant.  There were firefighters around me.  There were police there too.  I was attached to a heart monitor and had an IV connected to the vein that I had just used.  My memory of who I was and why I was there was just gone.  Temporary memory loss is something that happens when you overdose even though it doesn’t happen to everyone.  I was scared but I was still high so I didn’t really care that I was confused.  After what felt like an eternity, I was taken out of the basement on a stretcher.  I was gloriously wheeled past what appeared to be the entire police department and a concerned looking guy that I recognized to be my boyfriend.  The whole drive to the hospital I spoke with the EMT about how I was sure that my boyfriend would break up with me.  She didn’t have much sympathy for me.  To rush to the end of the story I was discharged two hours later and my boyfriend didn’t break up with me.  He probably should have but we continued to use together for almost another year.

I know that some overdose stories are more tragic and entertaining but this is a huge event that I keep thinking about lately.  Had my boyfriend at that time not called for help, I would just simply not exist.  Far too often when someone overdoses, the person will just be left or dumped somewhere.  He could have chosen to save me because the junkie life was new to him as well.  Basic human decency still existed apparently.  I look at my 3 year old with his feet under his little butt as he carefully dips his chicken nugget in ketchup and I am just in complete awe….my awful decisions and near death experiences played a part in designing the beautiful life that I have now.  

I look back at some of the decisions that I made and am confused how I made it out of there alive.  I have a gorgeous husband that worships me and is a kind and considerate human, a little boy that just wants to play and eat fruit snacks, and a baby that won’t let anyone else hold him.  I try to think about that stupid racist flag whenever I get annoyed with one of my children for wanting to climb on me or touch me when I’m trying to work on something.  I think about how close I was to not existing anywhere but as a memory. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Quick Update and a Relapse Story

 So, I just realized that it has been three months without an update and I feel really bad about it.  I am going to try to post twice a week for the rest of the month since the number of people reading has increased as well.  

Anyways, I hope that everyone is doing well during the pandemic.  I remember when the news broke about it, methadone message boards were flooded with panicked questions about what we will do when the clinics shut down.  I remembered talking to my husband about sending him to go find me some methadone so that I could function if martial law ever came about and the country went up in flames.  I feel like everyone has had some kind of doomsday conversation with their spouse at some point.  In all reality, I'd probably just be in for a hell of a bad time.  

On another less ominous note, I am weeks away from finishing my medical billing degree!  I never thought that I would be doing something so....boring?  I don't want to offend anyone who does this as a career because I will be too, but I just really can't seem to focus on anything in class.  It might not be as bad for other students but I'm convinced that years and years of IV drug abuse has ruined parts of my brain.  I have had trouble focusing and remembering things that I've read so I've really been struggling during this whole program.  I miss working on an ambulance but that was in another life.  

My one and only relapse took place about four weeks after I had quit using.  I was with my partner at the time (he's now my husband) and we went on an overdose call.  It was for a girl that had gotten high as she was getting ready to take a shower and was found by her mother.  She had gotten a nice hotel for her and her daughter that weekend.  Her mother had no idea that she was an addict.  The mom looked like my mom and the overdose girl looked like me ten years ago.  She even put together two shots for herself.  This was identical to many of my setups back in the day.  I would have two shots ready for myself, one before my bath and one after.  Looking back, it's a wonder that I never drowned in the bathtub.  I would shoot up sitting cross legged on the toilet in my towel and then go and basically take a nap in the tub.  Then, when I got woken up because I had been in there forever, I would do my other one.  

Anyways, we show up to this call and the girl is sitting on the toilet in a towel with the fire department ventilating her so that she can breathe and I'm looking at the loaded syringe on the bathroom counter.  I thought that I had been doing so well in my sobriety but seeing that girl being thrown back to life and then seeing that loaded syringe gave me the deepest sense of longing.  I know that it doesn't compare very well but imagine being on day two of a low carb diet and then having the world's most beautiful cheesecake set in front of you.  This cheesecake has white chocolate shavings and caramel drizzle and there is a huge serving fork waiting for you to dive in.  Now, imagine that feeling and multiply it by a thousand.  That was what caused me to relapse.  I wanted to be that girl feeling so marvelous and warm again, forgetting the years of hell that I just escaped.

So, I relapsed.  I used that very night.  When we left the call (the girl was fine, they gave her narcan and took her to the hospital), that was all that I thought about and my brain wasn't calm until I was sticking a needle in my arm in front of an ex boyfriend.  The joke was definitely on me because I had been on methadone for about five months at that point.  I believe that I was on about 90 milligrams and the opiate receptors in my brain were full from my medication, so when I shot up........I made myself tired.  It was the equivalent of taking a handful of Tylenol PM and taking a shower in the deepest guilt ever manufactured by some guy in Detroit.  It was not worth it.  

That night, I kept it a secret from the man that I loved and went on to marry.  I fell asleep next to him hoping that he didn't notice I was a little off.  I kept my secret for about a year until I broke down and told him.  He was sad and told me that he wished I felt safe enough to tell him back then.  All that I accomplished was self loathing.  That was the last time I used.....and that was four years ago next month.  

So yeah, I will happily take the monotony of medical billing over EMS any day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Just Happy

I just wanted to make a post today describing the enormous amount of gratitude that I have.

Gratitude is something that is always brought up in the recovery circuit.  Make a gratitude list, show some damn gratitude, blah de blah......I get it now.

Today I am grateful for my warm home, my fat baby putting his applesauce hands on everything, my toddler relentlessly asking for more juice, and my handsome husband who made this all possible.

Our priest is coming over in two hours to help us work out a few things so I need to clean up this unholy mess.

I am happy.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Dummy and The Drug Test

Hello Again !

I know that I promised to update more and I haven't because life has really gotten in the way.  Life and Covid-19.  My husband has been working on an ambulance during this and we are all scared that we will get it.  As of right now, however, we are all healthy and getting along pretty well with each other.

During all of this virus stuff, the reality of being dependent on methadone has been tough.  I wrote an article describing the fear that we are all going through and how the federal government is handling it.  What I want to talk about here though isn't about that fear, it's about the fear of failing a drug test.  It is a stable methadone patient's absolute worst case scenario. 

A couple of weeks ago I was having some heartburn so I took a single dose of Zantac.  The next day I went to the clinic to pick up my medicine for the upcoming month and took a drug test.  I take one every month, just like all methadone patients.  I wasn't really concerned with the results as I've been clean for four years.  It's just something that I have to do and it is slightly degrading (to be completely honest)  but it's better than most things that I had to do for drugs back in the day.  I pee in the cup, drop it off at the window, pick up my bottles of methadone and I'm on my way home. 

My family and I live about an hour away from my clinic so we have lots of time to talk and think and it's kind of like our weird little family outing.  Make the best out of a bad situation am I right?  As I'm sitting in the car I realize something devastating:  THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN ZANTAC CAN CAUSE A FALSE POSITIVE FOR AMPHETIMINES.  I belong to a few online communities and I have read countless horror stories about people losing all of their privileges due to false positives from this medication.  I went straight into worst case scenario mode and assumed that it would come back as a dirty drug test and that I would lose ALL of my take home bottle privileges.  I was panicking and had visions of having to drive an hour every day with my poor children all because mom had to take a Zantac.  In my mind it was ALL methadone's fault.  If I wasn't on it in the first place then I could take whatever damn heartburn medication that I wanted....hell, I could even eat poppy seed bagels again!  What kind of life was this?!

To wrap up the story before it gets too long, I called my counselor the following Monday and vented about my fears and worries about my stupidity.  She told me to take a deep breath and to let it out slowly....I think I had rambled on for fifteen minutes at this point.  She told me that if it did come back positive then the laboratory would send down another another bit of the urine that I submitted for a more detailed test.  It's called a GCMS, or Gas Chromatrography Mass Spectometry analysis.  

I felt so much better.  It also opened up my mind to what other people must go through when they fail a drug test, knowing that they didn't do anything wrong.  Some people have more on the line than a few weeks of medicine , like their children or freedom.  Of course you do have the people that lie and say that they produced a false positive when they know damn well that they were shooting up in a gas station bathroom the day before.  (Like me, circa.2015)  I'm just trying to make a point that A LOT relies on the results of these tests being accurate and I am sure that a lot of people have been on the receiving end of it not being so.  

Anyways,  I got a call two days later to let me know....


I felt like an idiot....the kind of idiot that sees their boyfriend out with another girl so you confront him and make a big scene only to find out that it's his sister.  That kind.  Moral of the story:  Be mindful in regards to over the counter medication if you are on methadone (or suboxone)....and don't eat poppy seed bagels.  

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Nurse with the Terrible Advice

I apologize in advance for this formatting, I've been doing a lot of posting from my phone and don't proofread like I should.

I have been thinking about something over the past couple of days and maybe if I write about it I'll be able to get some peace.  

In the fall of 2015 I was at a residential rehab facility for the second time.  I was homeless and that seemed like the best option.  Most residential programs start off with 5-7 days of detox and then they get moved to a different unit for about 20-30 days.  For the detox portion of the stay at this facility, you were made comfortable with suboxone and other medications.  On day 7 you were pretty much thrown into chaos.  You move your belongings into a dorm like situation with about a hundred other people and spend the remaining time there.  You aren't getting any kind or medication unless you came in on it.

When I was waiting to do my detox intake I would see people coming in and out of the adjoining building.  It turns out that the rehab also doubled as a methadone clinic.  I knew nothing about methadone and how it worked at this time but I learned that patients that were at this rehab would be receiving their methadone daily if they wanted to.  

I found it weird that some people would be getting this every day and others wouldn't.  I felt terrible that morning and had already been in detox for a few hours.  I was talking to a nurse that was assessing my withdrawal symptoms and I told her that I wanted to start taking methadone to help in my recovery.  This is how that interaction went

Me: This building dispenses methadone to people correct?  The girl in the next room took hers this morning and I would really like to start that too please.

Nurse (annoyed): Did you come in as a methadone patient?

Me: No, I came in addicted to heroin

Nurse: Well we don't start people on that here.  You would have had to be on it at the time of being admitted.  You don't want to be on that crap anyways.  You will have to take it every day and then you'll be addicted to that too.  

Me: So there's no way to start and become a patient so I can take it throughout my stay here?  I don't mind having to take it every day and I am supposed to meet with the doctor later today.

Nurse: No, that's not going to happen.  You don't want that addiction too.

I stayed in detox for 5 more days and then spent the following three weeks in the residential unit.  Once I left I relapsed and had the worst year of my life.  I was living in a car and getting high every day, slowly deteriorating into a shell of who I used to be.  I did some things that I still have nightmares about and that I can't even talk about in therapy.  

Had I been able to access the maintenance medication that I needed at that time, I could have been spared much of the heartache that I experienced that winter. If the nurse had been encouraging and open minded about an available form of treatment things might have been different for me.  

Is it her fault that I continued to get high once I left? Absolutely not. Those were all my choices.  I made them and I am responsible for the damage that I caused as a result of those choices.  What she did do though, was let her own personal bias get in the way of treating her patients.  How many other people has she steered away from this life saving medication?  Does she realize how much methadone has helped people historically to regain control of their lives?  She didn't give me that option. 

 There are so many others out there that think like that too.  Methadone clinics are sometimes referred to as "legal dope houses".  This makes us all look bad.  The people with these opinions don't see the mother drinking her coffee, nursing her baby, and paying her electric bill.  They see the underweight addict rocking back and forth in line outside of the clinic.  I am/was both of those people at one time in my life.  There needs to be a change in the perception of people on MMT and it needs to start with our healthcare providers.  There is no room for bias and judgements for people that are just trying to survive and regain control of their lives.

I'm sure glad that I never took her advice.  

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Unpleasant Things.....

My husband and I discuss quite often the life that we will have when I am off of methadone.  Don't get me wrong, it's not like it is something that affects my daily life.  He takes me to the clinic once every two weeks and I pick up my medicine.  But sometimes ....I notice that I've been medicated for almost four years.
People that advocate for access, like myself, don't like to talk about the "bad parts".  They aren't really disclosed because: 

1. Addicts that walk into a methadone clinic most of the time don't care about most side effects, they are just happy to not chase a dealer around and to not be sick.

2.  The people writing out the side effects aren't patients.  They haven't experienced forgetting things and needing a nap for no reason....little things like that.

I wanted to make a list of all of the not-so-savory parts of being on maintenance medication, because's good for someone to say "I'm going through this too" right?

1.  First there is clinic life....sounds lovely right?  When I first got clean I had to go to this place, wait in line, and follow all of these rules.  I understand why these rules are in place, to teach accountability and whatnot, but when you've had almost 4 years clean....having to pee in front of someone for a monthly drug test is pretty grounding.  

2.  Being tired.  I have a lot going on in my life so this one is a little biased, but I know that I would definitely be less tired off of methadone.  Given, I would also be less tired if I didn't have a 2 month old baby, were breastfeeding, and if I slept through the night.  Also, my dose is too high and I'm waiting for the clinic to catch up with weight loss and metabolism changes.

3.  Sex drive.   Or lack thereof.   What is a sex drive?  I don't know, I forgot. I hate this side effect the most.

4.  Memory loss.  I have experienced so much of this and is secretly my main reason for wanting to be off.  My husband will want stories from my childhood and I can't give him any.  I forget about things that we've discussed the week prior. Things from before my methadone use are just hazy.   It doesn't affect my daily life like, "where did I leave my child?" But little details are just.....gone.

Will they come back? I hope so

5. Apathy.  A lot of people don't realize that they've become apathetic until some awful tragedy strikes and they're just sitting there, not crying or even really upset and they wonder what's wrong with them.  Nothing is wrong my friend, you are just simply medicated. 


6. Fear.  This is something that EVERYONE deals with at the clinic.  Will my insurance be cut off today?  Will I make it there on time?  Will I be flagged for some reason and my dose withheld?  Will that poppyseed bagel that I enjoyed at brunch last weekend cause me to fail a drug test?  The complete powerlessness that I've felt at times is unreal.  You can do everything right, pass every drug test, go to counseling, and be on good terms with the staff.......but if your insurance gets cut off and you don't have cash that day-I'm sorry, you're sick. Thank you come again. 
 I actually had the door shut in my face once when I was 8 months pregnant at 9:59.  I had raced to get there in a snowstorm and I ran up to the door and the receptionist closed it, clicked the lock, and smiled.  This was someone that I had said hello to every morning and genuinely asked about her life on a regular basis.  I was broken, shattered, faith in humanity=gone.  There were even people still in line on the other side of the door that were pointing and laughing at me.  I remember that event very well because the fear that I had from not being able to get my medicine that day smacked me in the face.  My boyfriend at the time had to witness a full on tantrum complete with tears and a whole lot of swearing.  Thankfully he was understanding and married me despite my episode.

I know that I've listed a lot of negative things here about methadone maintenance but in reality, I would not have gotten clean if this treatment option was not available to me.  I would not be a mother, a wife, and a productive member of society.  I'm not the only one either.  I have read countless stories of people that have gone from homeless to homeowner with friends and the trust of their family back.  You have to take the bad with the good I guess.  

I also wanted to add that I might have left off a few side effects and I might have included some that you don't experience at all.  I was simply just including the things that have affected me.  
Let me know if I've left anything out.

Until next time ❤

Friday, January 3, 2020

A Super Long Overdue Update

I am attempting to do an entry on my phone but it's proving to be quite difficult for someone who's not so technically versed.
Hell, I can't even get my comments to work. 

Anyways, some pretty amazing things have happened.  For one, I had my baby!  I really thought that I could never ever love anyone like I love my toddler but I am completely captivated by this 10lb fat potato man.  Babies are so weird.  They are so fat and squishy and happy and you just want to do everything you can to protect them.  It's a COMPLETELY different kind of love.

I wrote about my "Methadone Pregnancy" on The Fix with my first child but decided to keep this one a little more private.  It's not easy going into an OBGYN's office and talking to them about the addictive medication that you are STILL taking and that you decided to stay on it and have another child.  There's tons of judgement....TONS.  

Nobody was outwardly rude or anything to me except for one occasion and I can't get it out of my head.  Picture this:

I am on the hospital bed in the delivery room with my husband at my side and I'm scared because I'm not really sure when to push.  There are a million people in the room because I chose to give birth at a teaching hospital.  Three big pushes and a sweet messy baby is placed on my chest.  I am in the most euphoric state looking down at this perfect human that we made.  The moment is perfect. A resident doctor comes up to me, leans over me holding little human and says, "What are you doing for birth control??"  Seriously.....moments after I had a baby.  The last thing on my mind was what manner of contraception I was planning to use.

Now, I'm not sure if she had one job and was super excited to execute it.  I'm not sure if she wanted to make sure that this former drug addict on methadone didn't have any more babies.  I'm not sure if she was just completely tactless but with a good heart.  I do know that this moment has stuck with me.  Now there is this sadness associated with his delivery.
Maybe I am overreacting but I really dont think so....especially because she came back and asked me again once we were settled.  D'oh.  Nice work lady.

I will say though that Baby Boy got and I got to go home two days after he arrived and he didn't have any withdrawal symptoms.  He did not have any need for medication and didn't spend any time in the NICU either.  I braced for the worst, I really did.  I had to stay an extra day though because I wouldnt stop bleeding and needed a transfusion.  I'll write all about that in my next post though because I'm starting to ramble.  

As an obligatory note,  I will say that I had no issues whatsoever receiving my methadone in the hospital.  The doctor looked at one of my bottles and put in the order, that was it really.  I also recieved buttloads of fentanyl through my epidural for my procedure after delivery which did not change my status at the clinic.  I just brought my paperwork stating that I had been given narcotics with me to nullify a failed drug test.

If there are any questions regarding my delivery or if you are looking for resources please email me.  I know that this blog is getting more views so I should really figure out how to fix my comments.

Until next time ❤❤❤

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Girl At The Methadone Clinic....I See You Struggling

To the Girl at The Methadone Clinic that I know is Struggling….

I go to a methadone clinic that is five minutes away from my apartment, which is AWESOME.  That wasn’t always the case.  I used to drive 45 minutes to an hour Every.Single.Day.  It was really rough and the few times that I didn’t make it on time I had the door locked in my face.  Maybe they did it to teach me about punctuality and personal accountability, but it just made me mad at the time.  How am I off topic already?  Ha. Pregnancy brain has me unfocused and it’s obnoxious.
I really just wanted to tell a short story.  So, there’s this girl that I see every time I go into the clinic to pick up my medication.  I go every two weeks and I think that she is there almost every day because I never see her with a box.  (A lockbox is required if you take medication home with you).  Basically, if you don’t see someone with a box, then they are probably newly sober or getting over a relapse.  This isn’t always the case but for the majority it is.  Most of the time, my husband comes into the clinic with me and he’ll play with our toddler in the lobby while I meet with my counselor and wait in line to get my medication.  He got into a conversation with a girl that had been going to school where he attended and now every time we see her we say hello. 
        There is something about addicts that never goes away:  We can spot our own and we know when someone is high.  I guess it’s due to having to be so self-aware in our addictions?  I’m not sure what the reason is for it, but we can tell if someone is sober.  It’s like, the lamest superpower ever.  Anyways, for the past few months I would see her bouncing around the lobby friendly and awake.  She would have her hair done and clean clothes and most importantly:  she was awake.  I always liked talking to her, but we never exchanged information or tried to hang out.  It might sound hypocritical, but I can’t spend time with other addicts.  I just can’t.  I know myself and I don’t want to romanticize the “good parts” of my past with someone else like me.  I know that my husband appreciates it and it’s what has kept me clean for three years.  I see this girl in the line to get dosed about a month ago and she looks rough.  She was barely awake, in sweatpants that were half on her body, shuffling against the wall and she had no idea where she was.  It hurt my heart.  I waved to her and she looked right at me and had no idea who I was.  I left and saw her again two weeks later when it was time for me to pick up my meds again.  This time, she was holding her infant daughter and zipping around the room.  I didn’t know what to say so I just kind of watched what was happening.  It was like she was present but not there mentally.  She took her daughter into the room to get her medicine (it’s done privately behind a door) and the nurse must’ve told her that she couldn’t have her daughter there because she walked out one second later.  She gave her daughter to another patient who looked confused but took the child while she disappeared into the room again.  He looked really confused and I heard him say, “I don’t know who she is”. 
I would’ve happily held her daughter if I had known that she was going to hand her to someone she didn’t know…...but she didn’t recognize me that day either.  The little girl looked a little freaked out too.  When she was done in the room, she flew out, grabbed the child and walked past the other people waiting as she asked for a cigarette from each one.  I saw her hop into a car with a few other people and I haven’t seen her since.  I don’t really know how I feel about it to be honest.  I purposely kept my distance from the beginning and now that she is struggling, I feel bad.  I’m not sure what happened in her life that led her back to using but I hope that she finds her way again.  I am fortunate enough to have overcome my addiction before I became a mom, but I know that it isn’t like that for everyone.  When I was in rehab years ago, I knew a lot of women that had children.  They would always talk about wanting to get clean for them and I understand it now.  I couldn’t before and I honestly didn’t care.  I do now.  I get to be a mom.  I get to be the most trusted and loved person in this tiny human’s life.  I get tiny kisses and dirty diapers because I stay clean.  It’s the greatest thing in the world to be a mom, it really is.  I don’t care if that sounds self righteous but it’s my reality…..better than a free bag, better than waking up from an overdose, better than all of those stupid things that I used to kill myself over.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Methadone maintenance, Medication assisted treatment

My Comments Don’t Work!

        I’ve recently found out that my comments don’t work on this blog.  I am sure that I could look online and find a fix for it (I plan to eventually) but until then, if you want to reach out or find out more about methadone maintenance….then email me!  I do my best to reply to my emails quickly so don’t be afraid to send me one.  It’s

I look forward to hearing from you :)

Methadone side effects, pregnancy, methadone taper, methadone maintenance treatment, substance abuse, recovery

Methadone Maintenance and Apathy

       It has been a long time since I’ve updated this and I wanted to check in, especially because I just had a new article published on  Things have been going really well to be completely honest.  This baby is growing so fast and I am much bigger now than I ever was with my first tiny human.  I feel bad complaining about my big healthy baby that squirms around constantly so I’m going to stop now. 
        This pregnancy has made me realize one really important thing:  Once he is here, I am ready to begin the journey to get off of methadone.  Two years ago if asked, I would’ve said that I wanted to be on it for life.  Some people are and that is totally okay.  They found something that works incredibly well for them and they are smart enough to not mess with success.  I will be starting my taper once I am completely stable after the birth of the baby.  It takes awhile for hormones to even out and I need to make sure that I am in a good place mentally.  It might take a year, it might take a few….I just don’t know.  I wanted to mention why I think I’m ready for this process:  I am experiencing some apathy and I miss my sex drive. 
        Lack of a sex drive is something that almost every methadone patient complains about.  I am not really going to go into detail about how it’s diminished compared to when I first met my husband out of respect for the privacy we value in our marriage so I’m going to be vague.  It sucks.  I feel like I’m missing out on all of the wonderful things that we got to experience together during the first year of our relationship.  He’s been more than patient with me but something has to change. 
        The apathy is something that has been bothering me recently too.  It’s something that I’ve kind of pushed down for awhile but it’s definitely there.  With any drug that you take, prescription or not, you are emotionally numb in a way.  I’m not talking full blown sociopath or anything comparable but the listless energy that you feel while medicated gets kind of old after awhile.  I was grateful for it in the beginning because, like a lot of addicts, I was emotionally impulsive.  I would make bad decisions out of sentiment and want to recreate the way I felt years ago.  I am also not implying that everyone on MMT experiences this.  Your loved one is still your loved one, they aren’t a shell of a person and there is nothing wrong with experiencing this.  This is just a side effect and one that I was grateful for in the beginning.  I also need to stress that I am considered a long-term patient and this is a cumulative side effect that I’m experiencing.  I needed to be leveled out and put into a place where I could slow myself down slightly.  My situations have changed since my addiction too and I am looking forward to being able to be a little more impulsive in a good way.  (There is such a thing as good impulsive right?)  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not an apathetic robot.  I cried uncontrollably when my son was born and even looking at him now makes my heart smile.  I just want to be able to enjoy the human experience a little bit more and in an unmedicated responsible way. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

When Do You Need To Increase Your Methadone Dose?

When Do you TRULY Need A Methadone Increase?

This is something that I personally struggled with at the beginning of my journey and I know that a lot of newer people to MMT might have an issue with knowing these things too.  Before I got pregnant in February, I had started the process of decreasing my dose.  I know that some people choose to be on methadone for life and as of right now….that’s not my plan.  I might be done next year, in three years, in 10 years.  My parents both ask me, “When are you going to be off of that medication?”  like it’s something that I can definitively know.  Anyways, to get back on track, I was talking about increasing your dose right?  I’ve put together a short list of things to remember and consider while in treatment if you were thinking that you might need to take more methadone.  I also need to stress, I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.  ALWAYS SPEAK TO THE DOCTOR AT YOUR CLINIC BEFORE STARTING OR INCREASING METHADONE.

When you start going to a clinic, don’t be afraid to meet with the doctor as often as you need to.  Most clinics will start a patient off at 30mgs of methadone daily.  They ask you how you are feeling and, if you are still wanting to use and having cravings, (which most of us do the first few days) they will increase that amount.  At my clinic, they increase you 10mgs every time you meet with the doctor.  This was usually a weekly or bi-weekly thing for me in the beginning.  You are making a huge change in your life, don’t be afraid to tell the doctor…I STILL WANT TO GET HIGH.  Your opiate receptors aren’t full yet if you are feeling this way.  Be honest with them.  I didn’t stop using heroin until I was on methadone for 5 months.  Everyone is different.

If you are having thoughts of getting high after a period of stability.  You might be on a stable dose for six months and then BAM-you have thoughts of getting high.  It sucks and they come out of nowhere.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need an increase, but if these thoughts are persistent and starting to scare you it might not be a bad idea.  The amount of methadone that you are prescribed is seriously just a number.  The higher the number doesn’t mean you are a bigger addict either.  The most important things are that you aren’t using and that you aren’t physically ill.

If you are still feeling “sick”.  Every opiate user knows what sick feels like.  It’s the worst.  It’s our whole reason for putting ourselves in the bad situations to begin with right?  To non users, being “sick”  feels like the worst nausea mixed with crippling body aches topped with unrelenting sweat and diarrhea.  It doesn’t stop until you get some kind of opiate in your body or if you are lucky enough to get some sleep.  It’s awful and these are just the physical symptoms.  Literally nothing else matters but feeling better.  Sometimes if you aren’t getting enough methadone or if you are metabolizing it fast, some of these familiar symptoms creep back in.  Stability means that you aren’t feeling like this….so if you are then talk to the doctor at your clinic.  When you make the decision to start decreasing and to make the transition off, these uncomfortable feelings might come back occasionally but that is something you have worked to prepare for.  Also, people get sick naturally too, can you believe it!  Make sure to listen to your body, TALK TO THE DOCTOR AT THE CLINIC and don’t stress about the number of milligrams.  People don’t stress about how much blood pressure medication the take do they? 

Don’t pay attention to the “methadone glow”.  This is a controversial thing about taking methadone that people don’t like to admit or talk about.  It’s real though and needs to be mentioned.  When you increase your dose, sometimes you feel a small amount of euphoria or a rush.  It doesn’t last very long and your body adapts to it after about a week.  Some people don’t experience this while others do.  Because we think differently as addicts, we like to chase a high.  I used to think that when this little rush went away that meant that I needed more methadone.  That was just the addict in me wanting to feel good.  As a result, I ended up taking more than I actually needed to.  The whole goal of MMT is to stop using and to lead a normal and productive life.  Sometimes foods that you eat can increase the bioavailability of the methadone and you’ll “feel it” too.  While I am not a medical professional, I can say that asking for more medication because it stopped making you feel good isn’t being really being clean.

If you are pregnant, you’ll most likely need to increase your dose.  You are making a human and your blood volume is increasing during pregnancy so it’s pretty common for you to need an increase during this time.  There is a big misconception out there that the more methadone you take, the higher the chance of your baby going through withdrawal is going to be.  I won’t go into what can help prevent NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) just yet because I want to stay on topic, but making yourself miserable during pregnancy is not going to help anyone.  Some women only go up 5mgs and others can go up 100mgs.  The best advice that I can give as someone that has gone through a pregnancy on methadone is to communicate with your doctors and to listen to your body.  If you feel yourself going through withdrawal because you aren’t taking enough methadone, your baby is feeling it too.  There’s a reason why women in jail that are pregnant get to take their methadone daily.  It is extremely dangerous to stop taking it because the little one inside you isn’t strong enough to handle withdrawal.  There is no shame in taking medication that your body needs to stay well.  You are doing the best possible thing for your child by staying in treatment.