Sunday, April 27, 2014

Methadone & Powerlessness

     Let me help out a bit.

     Just read another blogger who is a staunch supporter of Methadone, as well as Smart Recovery (CBT and no God), which is perhaps useful if you're not an actual alcoholic or drug addict, but if you are, then call me from detox when you relapse.

     As well, it's pretty strange to purposely keep the presence of a Higher Power out of the program given that an attitude of humility is so vital for alcoholics and addicts to achieve long-term sobriety and inner peace. Generally speaking, the arrogance (not to mention the irony) of 'I can do anything, I'm not powerless' when it comes to chronic relapse and drug addiction is, needless to say, quite dangerous. Um, yeah, if you could do anything on your own power than you probably wouldn't be a full blown drug addict now, would you?

     Of course, the notion of powerlessness in recovery is widely misunderstood. Physically, we will always be powerless. Mentally, however, powerlessness is a specific and temporary state that occurs when our willpower has weakened to the point where it is no longer sufficient to keep us sober. Powerlessness is not a way to beat ourselves up and consider ourselves to be fundamentally damaged. It simply refers to our ability to stay sober.

     We humans can become temporarily powerless over any number of things. This is just a way to understand our addiction and have the proper attitude towards drugs and alcohol. Thinking I had power over drugs and alcohol was completely delusional, and it is precisely what kept me ill, relapsing, and absent from my family for 15 years. I liken it to a form of arrogance. Sure I could do tons of other things just fine, but when it came to drugs and alcohol, sorry, but no power. If you think you have power after you've just been admitted to detox for heroin addiction, then I can't help you. Again, you wouldn't be sitting there in detox if you had power now, would you?

     But back to Methadone. The blogger refers to addicts on Methadone as being in "Methadone recovery". Recovery? Ah, no. But fine, so you recovered (not really) from the heroin addiction but, um, now you have to recover from the Methadone addiction. More importantly, you are still powerless, and thus no better at all. Truth be told, all you are doing is coiling a spring that is sooner or later going to explode.

     Methadone is a state-sponsored, synthetic opiate drug. Sorry, but there's no getting around that fact. How does that have anything to do with freedom, life and recovery? Perhaps I'm not on the street buying heroin but I'm still chained to addiction, and by the way, how's my spiritual condition? How's my mental and psychological condition? And how is my body doing? Not too well, I imagine.

     Here's a little excerpt from my story about my very own "Methadone recovery", since negative personal stories regarding Methadone apparently don't count.

     "In an effort to stop sniffing dope, I bought Methadone and was addicted immediately. Methadone, commonly and falsely thought of as an opiate blocker, is actually chemically considered to be a synthetic opioid, thus acting on the same receptors as morphine-based opiates like heroin or OxyContin. Methadone “maintenance” as a form of treatment is used in many state and federally funded programs to treat heroin addicts. It is highly addictive, causing serious and extended side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, tremors, severe joint pain, tachycardia, and psychological agony/cognitive effects including suicidal ideation, severe depression, paranoia, delusion and panic disorder, just to name a few. I loved it. I ate one hundred and sixty to two hundred milligrams (a lot) everyday and turned back into a rail. No one likes to be around that kind of weight loss.
     The wedding was a month away, but my golden rule in life was not to let anyone see me weak, insecure, or vulnerable. Ever. So I detoxed myself off the Methadone at home in bed. Some sound advice to any addicts out there: Don’t ever do Methadone. Worst thing I’ve ever felt.
     Having invested so much already, Future Wife had little choice but to get behind me. We bought ten, forty-milligram Methadone wafers and a bunch of Xanax from a friend who came to the rescue. We broke up the Methadone chips to wean me down by five milligrams a day. Xanax was for easing the withdrawals and getting some limited sleep.
     As the Methadone begins to run out, all there is for relief is the Xanax… then all of those are gone. First, all of my energy is sucked out of me. I’m beyond lethargic. My muscles feel like they weigh a thousand pounds. Moving anywhere becomes a struggle. Indescribable stomach pain begins, accompanied by sweats and chills. It’s the middle of the summer, temperature in the mid-nineties, and I’m freezing. I go around in pants and four shirts on, including a flannel jacket. My clothes hang off me, and if it isn’t clear that I’m a pathetic drug addict, I can easily be mistaken for a male anorexic.
     The pain gets worse and worse and is loyally followed by psychological torture. I feel like I’m going crazy. I become so frustrated, I pull my hair out, punch myself in the head, and bang my head against the wall. I hate myself.
     No appetite either. I mean zero fucking appetite. The thought of food makes me sicker and more depressed, forget about the constant reminder that I’ve been reduced to a Methadone-sick waif, writhing in bed. I try drinking a protein shake one morning. As soon as I gulp the shake, I throw it back up into the glass. I try to swallow it again and throw it up again. I manage to keep some down each time, so I repeat this swallowing and puking process over and over until the chocolate-flavored protein shake is gone. Protein shakes have to do it for a few days because I just can’t swallow food..." -The Privileged Addict, pp. 133-35.

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