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. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Methadone maintenance, medication assisted treatment, pregnancy on methadone, recovery

     My Article is Being Published Tomorrow!     

I had started this blog out strong to vent all about my life as a mom on methadone and it had really helped me with a lot of unresolved feelings.  For the past month, however, I had barely been able to open my laptop.  I have mentioned before that I am pregnant (18 weeks tomorrow) and I just have had zero motivation and even less going on in my head.  I’ve been taking four hour naps with my toddler in the middle of the day and 10 hour naps when my husband is home.  I’ve finally seemed to snap out of it and have even thought about catching up on the two weeks of homework that I need to do.  I’ve also learned that my very first article is going to be published TOMORROW on  I’m so excited and proud of myself that my thoughts and words and ideas.  I am hoping that one or two people might stumble across this blog as a result and be able to relate in some way.  If one of those people knows a thing or two about website design and wants to be kind enough to help me with this thing I’d love an email!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

My Experience With Suboxone

Why Suboxone Didn’t Work For Me

        I’ve been in various recovery groups and they were all mixed: some of us were on methadone and some were on Suboxone/Subutex/Zubsolv (did I get all of them?).  I have been prescribed both at different times in my life and after three years drug free I can clearly see where I went wrong on Suboxone.
        To understand why it didn’t work for me I need to go back to my first year of hard drug use.  I was using heroin daily and it had become difficult to maintain my habit.  I was still living at home, I still had a car, a job, and trust from my family.  I was waking up sick and it was more inconvenient than anything.  I had heard from some of my friends mine that also used that Suboxone would keep you from getting sick.  This is all that I really cared about.  I found a doctor that would see me and my dad paid $200 for my appointment.  He also paid close to $300 for my prescription for a month.  He didn’t know anything about this medication, just that it would help me with my problems.  My dad really tried to help me in the beginning of my addiction.  He didn’t know anything about why I had become this way, but he meant well.  I saw the doctor, told him that I was a heroin addict, and he wrote me a prescription for 30 strips of suboxone.  I took it to the pharmacy, they filled it, and I was on my way!  I didn’t have to check in with the doctor until the next month, so I would take a strip when I couldn’t get any heroin.  I would also sell a couple to buy the drugs that I wasn’t able to afford otherwise.  This continued for about four months until my dad realized that I was not getting any better.  I was looking worse and I had starting exhibiting behaviors that led him to believe that I was using more.  He had stopped paying for my appointments and I had even been kicked out of his home.  My downward spiral had officially taken shape.
        Over three years later, I was sick and tired of my addiction.  By this time, I had lost my job, crashed two cars, been kicked out of rehab, kicked out of a recovery house, lived in a car, a hotel, and on the street.  I had lost my dignity, sold myself, contracted hepatitis, had overdosed many times, and been arrested.  (Does this cover everything that comes with a heroin addiction?)  My boyfriend at the time was tired of getting sick constantly too so we went to a methadone clinic.  I had learned in rehab that methadone can make you feel better when you are dope sick.  The methadone clinic had very strict rules that I didn’t really want to follow.  I wasn’t ready to quit at this time either, even after going through all of that-I STILL loved getting high too much.  I had to go there every day and take the methadone in front of a nurse.  I was drug tested weekly.  I had to talk to a counselor weekly also.  I was accountable this time, whether I liked it or not.  I continued to get high for five months when I started at the clinic.  It was a difficult time for me but slowly the methadone started to bind to all of my hungry opiate receptors as the doctor increased the amount that I was taking every couple of weeks. 
        Nowadays, methadone clinics will dispense suboxone/Subutex in a more controlled setting to help with this issue.  Physicians with a license to prescribe it will do it out of their office under the right conditions.  The chemicals that make up these medications are different and I might cover that in a different post but they ultimately work to achieve the same goal.  I absolutely do not think that one medication works better than the other and I can’t stress this enough.  Three years ago, I wasn’t beaten up enough.  This mixed with the lack of accountability that the doctor gave me allowed me the freedom to continue with my addiction. 
        While I did have to go to the clinic every day for a large part of the first year of my sobriety, I no longer do.  I go once a month and pick up my bottles of individually dispensed methadone.  I also only see a counselor once a month.  Whatever medication you end up going with, make sure you have some accountability.  It really saved me and gave me the clarity to accomplish so many wonderful things.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Methadone Clinic Etiquette

Methadone Clinic Etiquette

I am not discriminating against anyone in recovery, especially because I am one.  I, however, dread going in there sometimes because someone is usually rude, impatient, or doesn’t respect boundaries.  I put together a short list of things to remember-with some comedy involved.

1.   Don’t smoke in front of the door.  Some of us don’t smoke or have to bring our children in there.  I know that a lot of places have a no smoking rule for a certain distance around the building but I’ve never seen it enforced.  Nothing makes me angrier than getting a big cloud of smoke in my face when I’m carrying my toddler.  JUST STOP.
2.    Don’t ask someone what their dose is.  This is a tricky one.  Some people, especially in social media groups, are very vocal about how much methadone they take.  I have been asked this question a few times and every time I’ve answered I always gotten the same reaction, “That’s way too high, you’re never going to be able to get off of that much!”  (I was asked this question A LOT when I was pregnant the first time)  I am not secretive about it, I’m on 125mgs, but it is an intrusive question.  For some people, this is very personal.  How would you like it if someone asked you how many milligrams of Prozac you take?  How about how much you weigh? 
3.  When in line to dose, quit complaining.  I always make sure that I don’t have anywhere that I have to be immediately after I go to the clinic for this reason.  I understand that people have to work early in the morning, but there is no reason to loudly complain about the person receiving their methadone at the counter.  It’s not as simple as handing you a cup, drinking it, and then saying goodbye.  Some people, myself included, have dozens of bottles that need to be filled up.  When this happens, you open your locked box and the nurse checks ALL of your empty bottles.  She does this to make sure that they are empty, not damaged, and that they belong to you.  (For those of you not familiar with a take-home bottle, a label is printed with your information on it) After she checks these, you have to cross out your name on every bottle.  Then, I help her put the labels on each and every bottle.  Finally, she fills up each bottle and gives me my dose for that day.  It makes it an incredibly terrible experience when someone, who is either dope sick or impatient, is yelling in line that, “This b****h is taking too long!”.  This happens every time I go in.  Sometimes, I have been in there (there is a private room with a locking door for those receiving their dose) and someone has hit or
kicked that door.  This is totally uncalled for and a huge reason why the stigma hasn’t been broken.  I think that there should be two separate lines for those with privileges and those that have to come in every day but I doubt that most clinics would have an extra nurse for this.  Be polite, seriously.  
4.  Don’t pee all over the toilet seats.  Everyone that is a patient at a methadone clinic consents to random drug tests.  Every time I go in to give my sample, there is pee ALL OVER the toilet seat and water on the sink.  I don’t understand, I just don’t.  Stop doing it.  It’s disgusting.
5.  Do NOT touch someone else’s child without asking.  It’s bad enough that my toddler has to come inside with me but DO NOT EVER try to pick him up.  A lot of people, (just being honest), are homeless and hygiene isn’t their #1 priority, especially in this setting.  When I was in my active addiction, I wouldn’t shower for weeks, I was pretty nasty.  Just don’t do it. 
6.  Stop talking about getting high in the lobby.  Some people could be hanging on by a thread guys, trying to do everything that they can to stay clean for just one more day.  Hearing your story about, ‘How my dawg Gucci has some fire s**t right now’ could be the thing that pushes them over the edge.  Be decent and save those conversations for someplace else.  Also, some people are forced to bring their older children inside and they don’t need to hear these things either.
7.  This is NOT the place to find a new boyfriend/girlfriend.  I don’t want to be hit on.  Don’t ask me about myself.  Just don’t.  This doesn’t happen often because my husband comes into the clinic with me in uniform, but it has in the past.  Don’t be that weirdo. 



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Recovery houses, pre methadone, homelessness, tough love, heroin addiction

  A Story About Vulnerability and Resentment    

 Looking back on the things that have happened to me in my active addiction, I sometimes have a raging anger that I feel is inappropriate for someone that has had almost three years clean.  I think about some of the people that have used me and I see red still.  I sometimes wish that something bad would happen to them and I try to calm down.  Sometimes, when I can’t get an unpleasant thought out of my head I focus on a neon green box.  I think about this bright green box with its sharp corners until the bad thought disappears and I am distracted by something else.

       One thing that happened to me that I go back to often is an incident that happened during the winter a few years ago.  I had been kicked out of my recovery house for drinking and their policy was that I had to leave the house for three days for whatever drugs that I had taken to be out of my system.  I hadn’t been caught drinking but there was suspicion and being that I had gotten out of rehab recently, I had been on an honestly streak and “told on myself” to the house manager.  When I look back on it, I could have spared myself some pain and trauma if I had kept it to myself.  Anyways, I was kicked out of the house in the middle of winter with absolutely nowhere to go.  I didn’t even have a cell phone at this point in my life.  My dad, who was the only family that I was in contact with, would not let me stay in his home.  I had finally worn out my welcome a few months prior.  He had always tried to do the tough love thing but since getting remarried over the summer, he was actually enforcing it.  I was angry and at times hateful about this for years after I got clean.  It's only been a few months since I've understood that for the first time in my life he was telling me no.    
       I tend to ramble, I’ll get back to the story.  I had walked through the snow for a few hours until I got to a local recovery hangout.  I had my laptop and they had wifi so I would take the few hours before they closed (and I was back out it the cold) to network and find someone to take me in for the night.  This recovery center had a hall where people would have meetings multiple times a day.  In the front of the hall there was a little café where other addicts in recovery would order drinks or food and play pool.  This particular center was known in the community for people hooking up with others there.  It didn’t have the best reputation, but at that point, I didn’t care.  I was just happy to be indoors for a few hours.
       I wasn’t having any luck finding anyone to let me stay that night on social media.  I tried so hard, but my group of friends wasn’t very great.  Everyone I knew was using heroin at the time and had their own problems.  I already have mentioned that I didn’t have any family that trusted me so that wasn’t an option either.  I was vulnerable.  I didn’t care where I slept as long as it was inside.  Around the time that the center was starting to close, I had started to talk to an older man that had a nickname that I’ll never forget.  He called himself Wombat.  I remember thinking at the time, What kind of man in their early 50’s would walk around with a nickname like that?  He looked like he had been through hell and back.  The kind of addict that had used for 85% of his life.  He had stringy bleached hair, a limp, and a lip ring.  He was also wearing a fitted band t-shirt.  When he talked he had no volume control whatsoever and he sounded like he had been smoking for a century.  He was way too old to be wearing a lip ring I thought.  This man was gross. I told him what had happened at my recovery house and he told me that he lived right across the street and that I was welcome to stay there for as long as I needed.  To any normal person, he would have been someone to avoid, but to me it was an opportunity to stay warm.  I was relieved.  I would make conversation with this guy as much as I had to and get through this until I was allowed back in the house a few days later.  I had put up with worse than a gross old guy before, I would be fine. 
       Wombat and I walked across the street to his run down one bedroom apartment.  It was the smallest living space that I had ever seen before.  There was a living room with a two burner stove in the miniature attached kitchen, a small loveseat, and a bathroom that you could barely turn around in.  The only door there was attached to the even smaller bedroom with an oversized bed in it.  I could see that there was a dresser with a television from 1994 on top of it.  He takes his shoes off and goes into the bedroom and starts to unmake the bed.  I go and sit down on the love seat and start to lean back to let him know that I am tired and would really like to be done talking.  This man, however, would not stop talking the whole time.  He just talked about nothing and I remember how annoyed I was. He had a raspy voice and a demeanor that was similar to if someone just smoked out of a crack pipe.  He was unnaturally wired and hyperactive and did I mention annoying?  He came out of the bedroom and asked if I was ready for bed.  I looked at him and said “Yeah, I’m falling asleep right now”.  He ignored what I said and told me that his side of the bed was by the door and mine would be by the window.  I wanted to scream.  There was no way that I was sleeping in this bed with this crusty old dude.  No freaking way.  But I did.  He was so insistent, so obnoxious, and so loud that I finally gave in and settled on the farthest part of the bed that was away from him.  He turned on a movie and spent the next five hours trying to snuggle up to me.  He tried to play with my hair.  He kept putting his arm around my stomach and bury his head in the back of my neck and nuzzle me.  I wanted to throw up.  I had pretended that I was asleep but that didn’t stop him.  I finally rolled off of the bed and curled up into a ball on the floor.  He said in his raspy voice, “Hey silly, you fell off the bed!  You should come back up here!”  “NO!”  I finally managed to grunt, still pretending that I was mostly asleep.  It was then that I was finally left alone.
       The next morning, we walked across the street to the center to go to an early meeting.  His whole attitude had changed from the night before.  He was mean and wouldn’t look at me.  I just wanted to be away from him.  He was unstable and I knew that I had probably offended him by pushing him away that night.  Instead of sitting in the meeting with him I sat in the café on my laptop trying to find alternate accommodations.  I had left my trash bag full of clothes at Wombat’s house and when I went back to check on them, they were outside.  He came out and told me that I needed to leave and not come back.  He knew that this was a power move because he was aware that I didn’t have anywhere else.  He was actually yelling at me because he didn’t know how to control his voice.  Whatever control he had over the way that he spoke must’ve been damaged during his 45 years of drug abuse.  I was really scared.  I was promised a place to sleep and I really thought that I was going to freeze outside once the center closed. 
       The story has a happy ending in that I was able to stay with a guy that I had been sleeping with occasionally for the next two nights.  The guy also turned out to be a scumbag but I didn’t find that out until months after that.  I know that this isn’t the most graphic or disturbing story about being taken advantage of, but it still bothers me years later.  I was so desperate for a place to sleep after being kicked out of my home for making a mistake, that I was willing to overlook certain huge red flags.  There are other things that happened as my addiction progressed that are far worse but I needed to write about this one.  I write this blog/journal for myself to get out some of the awful thoughts that I have in my recovery and to share some of my happiness.  If for some reason, the parent of a loved one in addiction comes across this, please know that they are in these positions constantly.  I know that tough love is a recommended course of action, but I don’t think it’s necessary in every situation.  I did put myself in that situation with Wombat, but does this mean that I deserved it?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 
       Those in the recovery community aren’t always there with the best intentions either.  Just because someone decided to stop putting a needle in their arm doesn’t mean that they decided to stop their bad behaviors.  Those don’t change overnight.  I don’t know what happened to Wombat, I don’t really care.  I am just glad that I have a warm home now and a husband that loves me more every day.  Whenever I think about wanting to get high (and it’s not often), I think about that dirty old pervert and how I deserve better than to ever be at someone else’s mercy again.      

Monday, April 15, 2019

6 Things I’ve Learned About Intimacy in Recovery

Intimacy to me is simply the ability to be close emotionally and/or physically with someone.  It’s really hard to be able to trust anyone when you’ve decided to stop using illicit drugs.  You’ve been living a life where you’ve used people for money or other things or you’ve been repeatedly used yourself.  These things are very hard to get over but you can start the healing process immediately once you’ve decided to stop using.  I’ve compiled a short list of things that I’ve learned that have helped me get close to another person and that have also helped me develop trust.

1.    It’s okay to be alone.  When you stop using, you probably have a collection of people that you got high with.  You might be in a relationship with someone that is still using or you might even have a child with this person.  YOUR SOBRIETY COMES FIRST.  These people have to go and it’s okay to be your own best friend for awhile.  Throw yourself into work, go feet first into a hobby, get involved in church.  If you are a parent, you already have someone to love you unconditionally and they should come first anyways. 
2.   Not everyone you meet in recovery is going to be good for yours.  When I first got clean, I flocked towards support groups with women that had similar experiences to myself.  I became really close with someone and I told her all of my secrets, worries, and fears.  We were as platonically close as people not having sex could be.  I ignored all of the red flags: my husband telling me she was untrustworthy, her getting upset if I talked to anyone else, needing to be in contact 24/7.  I later found out she had turned my secrets into gossip with other group members and I was the subject of lots of jokes.  She hadn’t gotten rid of her addict behaviors, a lot of us don’t because we don’t see them as problems.  When we meet others in recovery, all we might have in common with someone else is the history of using drugs.  You might not mesh with someone else’s morals or values and that’s okay.  We need to make sure that we are healed before we are good for someone else.
3.   Don’t change yourself for someone you like.  You might have met the most wonderful guy or girl.  They’re smart, kind, have a job----this is amazing right?  The only issue is that they really look down on people that use drugs or have a history like yours.  This happens a lot. People can be jaded by a bad experience with a drug addict.  Maybe they have a sibling that struggled or a friend that stole from them.  Realize that if this person is your soulmate, they will accept everything about you and love you for this.  If they demand that you get off of methadone or whatever maintenance drug you are on, that is an IMMEDIATE sign that they are not for you.  I might do a post like this addressing mixed relationships in the future but for now, just know that all of your experiences, rehab stays, bad decisions that you’ve made, and MAT meds are non-negotiables.  This brings me to number 4.
4.   Be honest about maintenance meds.  When I first met my now husband, he had to take me to the methadone clinic every day.  It was embarrassing and I was deeply ashamed at the time.  Maybe not on the first date, or even second, but by the time you are in an exclusive relationship, your significant other should know that you are on maintenance medication.  This is important because every successful relationship is built on honesty.  They don’t need to know how many milligrams you are on or how your drug test at the clinic went, but if they truly care about you, knowing that you take medication to keep you well is something that they will support.  If they simply can’t accept it or demand that you are off of it within a certain timeframe, then BYE.    
5.   Maintenance meds can KILL your sex drive and it’s okay.  Your significant other needs to know that one of the big side effects of MAT medications can be an extremely low sex drive.  Explain this to them and be patient with them when they get frustrated.  It’s easy to say, “They need to accept that I am on medication and I just have NO desire”.  While this is true, you also need to accept that your partner might have a normal sex drive.  Be creative if possible and make this person feel wanted in other ways.  Intimacy is created by closeness.  Hold hands, make their favorite dinner, find something crazy creative to make for them on Pinterest.  You should never do something physically that you don’t want to do.  This will create tons of resentment and can bring back memories of past trauma.  If your partner is on MAT medication, you both might be struggling to find physical intimacy.  Tell each other how much they are appreciated, find some alone time as often as you can, write a romantic text to them when they least expect it.  Everyone likes to feel wanted, even if you aren’t wanting to have sex.
6.   If you are both in recovery, find new hobbies together.  A lot of couples that used together and found recovery together get bored easily.  Nothing compares to the excitement of avoiding the police and going to go get your drugs with someone that you are in a relationship with.  When first getting clean, you might just look at the other person and have no idea what you had in common.  You might not have anything in common now and that’s something that you will have to decide based on your individual relationship.  If you do decide to stay together, you need to change the people you hang out with, the places you go to, and the habits you developed in your addiction.  Knowing that you stayed clean with the person you love at the end of the night and snuggling together can be the best thing in the world if you let it.  Find the little joys in life and share them together.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The day my addiction died.

I look back a lot on how I got to where I am.  I know that a series of decisions and events led me to this apartment that I share with my husband and little boy.  He is asleep in his own room and I am enjoying the small amount of time that I have to myself.  It’s really nice to feel secure and loved and to find enjoyment in things.  In my active addiction I couldn’t find joy in anything-not like I even tried.  I remember an intake counselor that I had at a rehab I went to asked me what I like to do for fun.  I really tried to think and ended up telling her that I don’t like to do anything, all I like to do is get high, that’s the only thing that brings me joy.  I didn’t have any hobbies or goals or anything that I could answer these questions with.  Today I have been on methadone for three years next month.  I often think that if I had started taking it sooner, like years before, I would have been saved from a mountain of heartache and damage to my body.  Had this been something that was encouraged in rehab and in the media, I might have not done some of the things to get my drugs that I have nightmares about.  I’m always in shock when I hear that taking this life saving medication is discouraged and not even offered in a lot of rehab facilities.  I had once asked a nurse while I was going through detox if there was an option to be started on methadone while I was in here. (There was a clinic attached to the rehab and some of the patients in the rehab program with me were also on methadone, some were not)  She looked at me, almost disgusted and said, “You can’t be started on that unless you came in here with a prescription for it.  And trust me, you DO NOT want to have to take that every day.  You’ll be stuck on it and never get off.”  This is the kind of wonderful healthcare advice that I got when I was in my second rehab facility.  I wasn’t ready to quit using even, I just needed a place to sleep for 30 days. 

***The next part of this post goes into detail about me using and the descriptions that I use can be very triggering to someone in recovery.***

 I’m 11 weeks pregnant with my second child and still on methadone.  I know that methadone has absolutely saved my life and I know that I would not have the stability that I do now if it weren’t for this medication.  I might need to give a little bit of a backstory.  After two years of living in a car, homeless, living in rehab, getting kicked out of my ¾ house, homeless again, motel, I decided to get into a methadone clinic.  This was May of 2016.  I continued to use and live in motels until the boyfriend that I had at the time convinced his parents to let us live in their basement.  I still had my EMT license and was able to start working at a local ambulance company.  My using was at its worst when I first started at this company.  I was lucky enough to have a partner that didn’t really know what was going on.  One day I had left my drugs at home and I had my partner drive us to my house after we dropped off a patient. I ran inside, locked myself in the bathroom, and tried to hit a vein for almost 20 minutes before I had success.  I had been on a lower dose of methadone for a few months and when I finished my shot, I didn’t feel any kind of high.  Little did I know that the methadone had built up enough in my system that all of my opiate receptors were full.  I had a moment of lucidity and looked around at my life and how tired I was of always having to get high.  I was spending ALL of my money on heroin, I was sick, untrustworthy, and a miserable person.  I decided then that I was done.  Well, kinda….I would finish my dope once I got off of my shift and then I wouldn’t get anymore.  This life had to be better.  I needed to care about something. 
That night, I finished my drugs off, didn’t get high and took this as another sign that I was done.  I also wasn’t going to run myself ragged, risk everything (even though I didn’t have much) for drugs that didn’t even work.  The next morning, my boyfriend drove us to the clinic and I took my methadone.  I was even able to see the doctor and ask for an increase.  For those of you that don’t know, to get more methadone you have to see the doctor and then the nurse is authorized to dispense more.  I think at this point I had raised my dose to 80mgs.  That day, I went to work and had a good day.  I didn’t have to run to the bathroom to shoot up for every hospital that we went to.  I found the tiniest amount of pride in this.  It had been years since I was proud of myself for anything.  This was the start of my new life.  Hours, days, and before I knew it I hadn’t stuck a needle in my arm in 2 weeks.  My boyfriend at the time had no intention of quitting.  When we had met he hadn’t even shot himself up on his own.  He hadn’t been in the lifestyle long enough to be completely ragged and sick of it.  He didn’t have to live in a car because he had burnt every single bridge in his family like I had.
 This relationship had a very short expiration date.  He still continued to get high and I had been working every shift that was available to be away from him.  I was still in a very fragile place and I was riding the “pink cloud” of my new decision so I didn’t want to be around him at all.  I knew that I didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore but I had lost my car, my home, anything that gave me independence.  It was going to take time for me to get these things back before I could leave.  I knew that I was going to be back to where I was a month ago if I didn’t make it to the methadone clinic every day too.  I did use him and I’m not proud of it.  His parents wanted us out of the basement and we ended up signing a lease for a condo down the street from them.  It was not the greatest neighborhood in the least, but I finally had a place of my own to live.  I was barely there because I worked 12-24 hour shifts at a time.  That was really good for me at this time in my life because every night when I came home there was a syringe cap laying around or some other triggering piece of paraphernalia.
 I had been saving up money, visiting car dealerships, and getting myself independence little by little.  About three weeks into my sobriety and about two weeks into living in the condo, my regular partner called in sick and this really attractive man with a beautiful smile filled in for her that day.  This is where I am going to end this story.  The end of this story is also the beginning of my beautiful life with my husband now. 
Being on methadone and being pregnant is definitely not an ideal situation.  I have guilt and some sadness because the side effects have impacted my life quite a bit.  (I will be discussing these in an upcoming post)  I also used to have A LOT of shame.  I don’t anymore though.  I needed to forgive myself and the things that I’ve done in the past to be able to be a good mother and a loving wife.  I will say though, that I now have a lot of hobbies, things that make me happy, and even a few goals.  I don’t have to go to the clinic every day now either.  I go every two weeks to the clinic to pick up my bottles, take my medicine every morning, and go about my day.  I must be doing something right*

Sugar Cravings!

I know that everyone reports massive sugar cravings while on maintenance medications (especially methadone) but I've always had a soft spot for marzipan.  My stepmom ordered me some of the best marzipan that I've ever had.  I tried to get a good picture....key word is tried...

Saturday, April 6, 2019

New Baby!

In February, I found out that I was pregnant with baby number 2!  I am so excited and scared at the same time.  I am still on methadone and am going to be through the pregnancy.  In February, I was on 115mgs and have had to increase to 125mgs so far.  I am also on a split dose so I hope that this will prevent the new babe from going through NAS.  I split through the last pregnancy but only through the last 2 months.  We'll see.  I've also switched hospitals and I have an OBGYN that came highly recommended from a local mom group.  I have had only a little bit of nausea and no vomiting....just A LOT of feeling fat.  I'll update often :)

Stumbling through

I'm trying to put something together detailing my journey on MAT medication, specifically on methadone.  I don't know everything, I haven't won this journey BUT I have stayed clean from heroin for almost three years.  I have done the social network thing, but I have recently left due to issues that I might choose to discuss later.  I honestly have no idea if anyone will choose to read this blog or not.  If so, awesome!  If not, it will be cathartic to me to be able to share my experiences and give hope to the blank void that is the internet.