Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Five Years and the Spiders From Mars

I can't believe that I almost let January go without so much as a backward glance, a good sign that I am finding it easier to look forward rather than backward. Progress. Two days ago was the fifth anniversary of starting Methadone Maintenance Treatment - MMT from this point. I am now also at a lower dose than the initial dose they started me on - 18mg instead of 20mg. I've been finding it frighteningly easy adjusting to each dosage decrease which has been a huge change from earlier efforts. The moment I managed to break through the 30mg barrier seemed to be when everything started to change for the better. I had begun to feel pretty beaten and battered and discouraged before this time as I struggled for months bouncing back and forth between 30 and 40mg fearful that I might have ended up stuck there indefinitely! I remember mentally preparing myself for the long haul just in case... Of the last 12 months, a good nine of them were spent stuck at the higher dose, while in less than three I have managed to decrease my dose successfully from 30 to18mg!

Five years - half a decade - is a pretty significant amount of time so I suppose I should really take a moment. I remember that first day so very vividly especially seeing how it just happened to coincide with my first day in my new position at work! Not only was I returning, literally, to the land of the living after having spent near three years in semi seclusion working in the office from 7pm until 2am, but I was going to have to leave less than an hour after having arrived to make it to my first doctor's appointment. At least I had more than enough time to prepare my superiors of this as I had been put on a wait list for MMT, and this wait was going to be just over five weeks!

Actually, was a damn near miracle that I even ended up showing considering the lengthy wait to start treatment. Its a wonder any addicts manage to start treatment at all sometimes. The way that this particular aspect of addiction treatment is handled has always been one of my complaints with the system. I find that as it has been my experience that once an addict decides to seek any form of treatment, having to turn them away to start at a later date generally ensures nothing but failure. Normally by their start date, something else has usually distracted the addict and they are nowhere to be found.

Ironically, when I had gone to my initial appointment, I wasn't really planning on starting any sort of treatment. A friend wanted me to accompany her to her appointment and while I was there with her, the attending nurse convinced me to have my blood work and physical done just in case. Obviously in hindsight, I am glad that I did go through the motions. Starting MMT was exactly what I desperately needed in the end and through a series of related plus unrelated events over this five week wait, I did manage to show up that Monday morning at the clinic bright and early, hoping and praying for change.