Monday, September 20, 2010


Where has the time gone? Seriously!!! Nothing like the mundane of everyday life getting in one's way, successfully obscuring what is actually going on right in front of them, never mind all around them, that's for bloody sure. Combine this with "if it ain't broke..." it is fairly easy to see how we are able to become pretty complacent, soldiering on without giving too much thought to our actions.or ultimate destination. It's certainly pretty, darn easy, of course, when one is on auto pilot. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't help notice that this was exactly what I have been guilty of doing these past months regarding my recovery et al.

In less than a flash of an eye, I find myself rapidly approaching the five year mark since I started MMT - Methadone Maintenance Treatment. When I initially started I had no idea nor intention of being on it anywhere near as long as I find myself today. My original goal had been to get to an adequate enough dose so that I felt comfortably stabilized. For any laymen out there reading this, this is the magical dose/amount of methadone that an addict requires so that all of those unpleasant feelings of withdrawal disappear, as well as any and all cravings to use opiates manage to vanish. This dose will be different for every single addict. This is not where one size fits all will even begin to succeed. Obviously, there are all sorts of factors that ultimately end up determining what final dose a recovering opiate addict will end up needing in order to be successful.

How many years of active addiction? How much? How often? How old? How healthy? How tall? How heavy? How many other drugs involved? How much drink? I could continue...but the combination and permutations are literally endless. For me personally, I required a dose of 90mg of methadone daily before I really and truly felt stabilized. There were lower doses that took away my cravings. There were even lower doses that eliminated those unpleasant side effects of withdrawal. Lower doses even still that flooded those pesky opiate receptors in my mind so that even attempting to continue to use opiates had no noticeable effect whatsoever. There was adequate methadone in my system that I was no longer capable of even getting a bit of a high from using that to try to continue was utterly and completely pointless, not to mention, a complete waste of money.

All fine and well indeed, but at any dose lower than the 90mg, there were more days than not where I couldn't escape the feeling that something just wasn't quite right. Was I restless? Was I ill? Was I manic? Was I apathetic? What? I never really could pinpoint exactly what wasn't quite right with me, until it was no longer there. Even then, it took me a couple of days before I seemed to notice that something was different, something had changed. The methadone was working. Unless I was consciously thinking about my addiction and recovery, I had seemingly started to forgot about heroin and dilaudid and morphine. No longer did they rudely force their way into my every waking thought.It was near nirvana.

A number of factors kept me at this fairly high dose of methadone longer than I would have liked. Fear of failure was the big one obviously. Security blanket of methadone still a way better option than the alternative that's for sure!!! Getting hit by a moped a year and a half into treatment and breaking my arm severely certainly didn't help either. Even after two major reconstructive arm surgeries and four attempts at resetting my arm's bones, I only used my methadone dose to manage my pain. For a brief time, my dose did increase to 105mg daily but the doctor allowed me to divide this dose in two so that it was more effective in relieving my pain so the higher dose was very much required. The whole time I didn't take anything stronger than two 200mg ibprophens when it hurt - not even a Tylenol 3, thank you very much. You know what? I managed to somehow survive this ordeal opiate free. Who knew?

Just when I thought it was safe to...Jim and I get attacked and he gets stabbed more times than I care to count, and again, our timing sucks a bit! With all of this added stress, it just didn't seem like a good time to try to start tapering down our methadone dose - yet, anyway. But, this was now over two years ago, and both of us are well on our way to recovering from this violent and savage attack on our lives and sensibilities. Still getting treated for PTSD, and probably will continue for some time yet.

Now, about six months ago though, I started to notice or feel kind of out of sorts. That restless of old seemed to be rearing its ugly head once again. This time it was different. It wasn't a restlessness born out of any desire to use again. No, not at all. I felt like I was starting to experience diminishing returns from my MMT, or at the very least, my current dose. So, I decided I would try reducing my dose by 5mg to a dose of 85mg daily. After a few weeks, I reduced this dose again by another 5mg. And so on and so on I am at a current dose of 30mg, and in all honesty, I feel no better nor worse for wear than I did when I was at 90mg. In fact, I feel pretty darn good.

No overwhelming cravings or uncomfortable feelings of withdrawal currently, nor have I experienced either one through this entire tapering down process. Now, that I am starting to feel truly confident I can succeed once my security blanket disappears once and for all, I am actively working towards reducing my dose to zero so that I will no longer be receiving MMT. That's not to suggest that I'm now going to blindly reduce my dose recklessly with no thoughts of potential consequences. Perish the thought. I do, however, now have a goal and a date by which I'd like to reach this goal.

No later than early spring of 2011 is now my ZERO methadone goal! I think that I will be able to comfortably reach this goal, and who knows, I may even be able to beat it!!! It's now time. In the next year and a half, Jim and I have family obligations that will not be remotely conducive to MMT. For one, we've got to go to the Philippines - his Mother's birthplace - for at least six to eight weeks with both his folks and sister and her soon to be husband. No choice either as his folks will be picking up this entire bill so that we'll all be able to celebrate in style and together their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Won't hear any complaints from me either, as this will no doubt be a trip of my lifetime!

peace, love and happiness...

1 comment:

Scott said...

Make your own luck!! Way to go!