Monday, October 11, 2010

Spare Tire to Spare

One of the few complaints I've got regarding MMTMethadone Maintenance Therapy – is the disgraceful amount of weight one almost always seems to gain while on it. Sure, there are a few lucky ones that seem to escape this horrible fate, but from where I'm sitting they are most definitely few and far between! I've gone from a fairly svelte size eight/ten to a seemingly, no, actually, lumpy size fourteen on a good day! Most days I am barely bothered, but on those rare days when I am carefully dressing for a particular event where I know that I shall most definitely encounter particular individuals, this fact never seems quite so galling, never mind appalling. The proverbial albatross around one's neck to be sure. Might as well weigh three hundred pounds it seems by the time you've somehow managed to settle on an outfit. No amount of black can be that slimming, nor can any amount of strategic dressing be that flattering. Don't believe everything that you read!

For better or worse though, it seems that once on MMT as a female the sooner you accept the inevitable, the better! Don't get me wrong. I'm not at all suggesting that you use this side effect as a license to eat either, as I know many do. If you gain close to 100 pounds while on MMT, then you were severely underweight when you started or there are whole boatloads of other issues you need to deal with as well. Most seem to be decidedly underweight by the time they start treatment, so it makes sense that this weight should be welcomed. It's all of that extra stuff that tags along for the ride I end up resenting. Keep in mind that I am not at all suggesting that methadone per se is the cause of the weight gain, as I don't believe that weight gain is a recognized side effect of methadone as constipation would be.

I believe this weight gain occurs while on MMT because of the overall, generally positive lifestyle changes that an addict undergoes while on MMT. Just as no two addicts are alike, no two stable doses of methadone will be alike, but once that dose has been found, all sorts of possibilities start opening up for the opiate addict. Until this magical amount has been reached, the addict is still susceptible to old behaviour or habits. On a stable dose, all of those brutal and unpleasant withdrawal side effects will have completely disappeared. Also, the opiate receptors of the mind are so flooded that any attempt to use any other sort of opiate will be a waste of both money and time. The addict will feel absolutely nothing. Now up until a stable dose has been reached addicts will try anything and everything in their power to try to find a way around the methadone in their system. Generally, they've also got to discover this on their own regardless of how many have gone before them. Doesn't matter. Until it happens to them, it's not true.

Until this stage, even though the addict is on MMT and may be on it for months at this stage, old addict behaviours and lifestyles will still figure fairly prominently in their lives. If you're still trying to use while on MMT then nothing has really changed at this point. Things really don't start to change noticeably until the addict is at a stable dose. Once all of the side effects from withdrawal have disappeared, their overall body will start to feel better. With each passing day, the muscles and bones start to ache and throb less and less until one day when you wake up and get out of bed; it no longer feels like a chore. It becomes second nature. When in active addiction, our stomachs tend to be in turmoil because of dope sickness or cause we're too messed up. Either state tends not to be conducive to eating three square meals on a daily basis! Addicts graze at best.

Whatever your drug of choice, whether pills, smack et al, generally there tends not to be some bottomless well providing our vice to us no questions asked. No, that would be far too easy. One of the crosses you have to bear as an addict is the huge amount of time and energy one must invest in the search for their big, ultimate payoff. I am now, depends on my mood though, either the most saintly patient person ever, or I've got the attention span of a newborn kitten. Varies by the day and circumstance, though, I figure for every hour I've invested in travelling to score, scoring, making it back home again and then actually using, there are probably nine more hours where nothing whatsoever happened except for the waiting, and then some more waiting and some more. On the infrequent day where there is a line at my clinic, I can't help but chuckle to myself each and every time someone in line complains about how long of a wait they've got or how they've never, ever been here when there has been such a long line. On days when I can't take it, I chide them and ask if they've never had to wait for a delivery that never seems to arrive! I mean seriously, the absolute longest amount of time I've had to wait in line at the clinic in nearly five years has been twenty minutes. I would never have started MMT in the first place If only the dope fairy had bothered to show up in such a timely manner previously.

OK, now that this weight gain is here and there is nothing I can do to fight it in the short run, I do the best I can with what I've got for the time being. One of the things that I did learn to do the first time I was in MMT over a decade ago was to learn to sew. Now initially, I was crap but I persevered for a couple of reasons. Specifically, the whole idle hands theory was a huge factor, but mostly because I discovered a love, as well as appreciation, of fabric. I couldn't stay away from fabric stores and after each visit, I'd arrive home with more and more fabric, all of which I made sure I purchased at ridiculously low prices. So of course, I just kept sewing and sewing until one day I noticed I was actually getting pretty good at it. Well, actually, it was more my daughters could no longer tell if what I wore was store bought or homemade. Once these lines blurred, I knew I had made it. Confirmation on this followed my daughter's first request for my services.

So over the course of this summer, I've been playing with a top design for myself. It's my very own design and after each attempt a dramatic improvement has occurred. I've been tweaking and ripping and tearing and sewing and testing for the past couple of months until finally, now, I've created a top that flatters and camouflages all of my current imperfections, and for the time being offers me a certain amount of self-confidence that I've been lacking. If I could find my digital camera, and if I knew how to use it, I'd definitely upload some photos. I definitely will get some online very shortly.

peace, love and happiness…


Anonymous said...

Hey.. I was reading your blog and it reminds me of the struggles that someone I know is going through. He has a blog too ( and I think you guys could support each other if you want to check it out. I would love for him just to see he isn't the only one publically talking about the ups and downs of taking methadone. Keep on with the blogging!

Gledwood said...

If I need to up my dose to an opiate-blocking level, I think we're talking 160, 180mg here! No no no!!! How will I ever get off?!

I only know that dose because of a day when bad weather forced the clinic to dish out juice themselves, rather than my pharmacy. I had drunk the dose I needed maybe 2 hours earlier and was expecting to take the next one home. No. Had to be drunk on site. I didn't mind that much. And finally realized on 160 or 180mg (I can't remember precisely because my doses have changed up and down over time) that I had hit the magic mark where using on top was like shooting bulletproof glass. It just didn't get through.
But I don't want 160mg. 180mg even less! This is going to prison in order to be more free. Ukh.
I am sure I am wrong. I am the addict. You are the addict who doesn't use.
I don't actually use any more, because there is no gear to actually use. At least it is about 1% purity now so not worth bothering with.
People are going crazy
Take care of yourself :-)