Why Methadone Was Not An Option… For Me

Turkey
Turkey (Photo credit: wattpublishing)

I started drinking at an early age.  It became a way for me to stomach myself each time I looked in the mirror or engaged with other humans.  I never thought it would come full circle and the thing that gave me ‘people power’ would take that power away along with any perceived power over every other person, place or thing in my life.

Getting clean and sober was not an easy task for me by any stretch of the imagination (is it easy for any of us?).  I made a decision to go cold turkey.  I locked myself in my basement apartment for roughly a week only going outside to walk down to the Walgreen’s to get cigarettes (I also drank gallons of water).  I was dizzy, sweating, cold, hot, felt nauseous, had wicked stomach knots and the shakes just to name a few symptoms of opiate withdrawal.  I became a skeletal recluse for those seven or so days and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.

Now, I’m not saying going ‘cold turkey’ is the best way – and I didn’t go cold turkey – but for some, it is the best way.  I weaned myself until there was nothing left but me, my coffee cup and lots of cigarette butts.  I pretty much glued my ass to this chair in said basement and just eked it out.  It was fucking hell, lemme tell ya.  I mean, at the height of my addiction, I was consuming about 1000 mg of Percocet a day along with one or two Fentanyl pops and not to mention all the 80 mg Oxy’s I was crushing and snorting.  Yeah, I probably should have been dead a few times.

I read so many horror stories about people who use methadone or Suboxone to wean off opiates.  It makes no sense to me as an addict.  Seriously.  Why would I want to stop using one drug only to become addicted to another?  It made zero sense to me.  I did go to an outpatient center, they asked me how long I was off pills and I told them.  Now, I was off for about a week or so when I called this place.  They actually suggested these two drugs to me.  I was like, “NO EFFING WAY.” I didn’t go through hell in my basement for that time only to revisit a different level of hell.  Thanks, but no thanks.

I belong to a few groups on Facebook centered around recovery and hope.  This is where social media is truly awesome.  We get to share ideas, thoughts and a lot of memes.  I have been reading about methadone and Suboxone use in opiate withdrawal.  It seems like a double-edged sword.  On one hand, an addict is getting off the hard shit or fist fulls of pills.  On the other hand, they are creating a brand new addiction that is equally gruesome.

I read a lot of statements that go something like, “I have been clean for three months, well, really two days because I was on Suboxone all that time.  I feel like crap and I want to use.” Seriously?!

Please understand… I judge no one.  I am no better than anyone, period.  I just don’t understand.  So I guess in a sense, I am asking: if anyone using either of these for opiate withdrawal or using something else for opiate withdrawal could explain to me why this is a choice, that would be great.

Yes, the basement was hell.  I may even write about it one day in a memoir because I feel like people should know how fucking awful opiate withdrawal really is.

Looking back, I am glad I did it that way.  I may not have survived if I became addicted to something else.

Things That Are Fun (While Sober)!

Picnic
Picnic (Photo credit: Carlos López Molina)

When I first got sober it was in late May of 2006.  I immediately found some meetings to go to and when a person goes to meetings, they find out about picnics.  My first thought was, “How the hell does a person go to a picnic and not drink?”

Turns out, there are a lot of ways to have fun that do not involve drinking or drugs. Here are some of the ways I have had tons of fun all while being sober:

  • going to a meeting
  • walking in the woods
  • walking on a main strip in a small town
  • going for a long drive (like… really long)
  • drawing
  • writing
  • listening to music
  • shooting pool at a pool hall (not a bar!)
  • cooking
  • exercising
  • making a craft
  • cleaning
  • napping
  • going to a book store
  • going to the library
  • going down to the river
  • antique shopping (or browsing)
  • going to lunch with a friend
  • going to lunch alone
  • starting a scrap-book
  • journaling (I wish I would have documented my first year of sobriety)
  • and yes…. sober picnics!

These are just a few of the things that I had (and still have) a ton of fun doing while trekking through sobriety.  Do you have any to add?  Please share!