Hi Dallas Alice:
Well...........here goes.......I have been posting here and there on these boards for a couple months now, and have briefly summarized my own little addiction/recovery story. If you remember, I am the person who hit rock bottom by being arrested (forged prescription) and was looking at going to prison. At that time, I had been using for a long time, about 15 years, and using a lot, up to 50 or more pills a day. Yes, that much. It was mostly Lortabs and Percocet (my personal favorite) with all kinds of "party favors" in between. At the end of my addiction, I was washing the pills down with a nice cocktail, perhaps a gin and tonic or brandy and coke. As much as I HATED my life and myself for what I had turned it into, I could not stop. I tried over and over and over again. I would try to taper, I was never very good at this one, very difficult for me to have the discipline to set aside my pills to take only at a schedule, planned time (yeah, right) If I could that, I wouldn't be at this spot in the first place. My family did an intervention on me, I entered rehab and relapsed shortly after getting back home. Obviously, my heart wasn't ready to give it up, or to work a program. After I relapsed, my life became even more of a big lie, because of course I had to pretend I was still clean and that the rehab had worked. That went on for several years, until my husband started to notice some old behaviors and would "confront" me. I would always assure him..."Oh honey, don't worry. I may take something here and there, but it's nothing like it used to be." Big Fat Lie. Of course, we are master manipulators when we are using. Once again, my addiction had grown into an uncontrollable, all-consuming problem. I can see that this post is already getting lengthy, and I really don't want to bore you, so I'll try to get to my point (yes, I do have one)
After my arrest, I entered another rehab. In addition to battling my addiction, I was also battling depression and shame, and guilt, and humiliation, and feeling like the lowest of the low for what I had done. My self-esteem left much to be desired. After several days in the rehab facility and being detoxed, the physicians and staff were not real happy with how things were going. My vitals were not what they wanted to see, all kinds of weird things happening even with all of the usual detox meds. A doctor talked to me about methadone, I knew absolutely nothing about it. At this point, I felt so horrible, physically and mentally, death would have been my first option. I'll save the dramatics for another time. After talking to my husband, I agreed to give it a try. It has worked so well for me, it's difficult for me to listen to people trash it. It is so incredibly hurtful to hear another addict judge my choice of recovery method, especially when they don't know my whole story. I have never mentioned that I am on methadone on these boards, you are the first person I am telling (and now for all to see). Regardless of other's opinions, this is how I see it. Methadone absolutely without question saved my life. My husband will agree. I was a lifelong user, could not remember life without drugs. I had tried everything else to no avail. In my case, methadone was offered as a last resort. I also have a legal situation hanging over my head. I am on probation (for a long time) and am on weekly drug screenings. If I relapse, at all, take one pill....I am off to prison. I am a wife and a mom to 2 beautiful kids, and the thought of that looming in the distance is downright frightening.
I hear all of your questions, and I will try to answer them the best I can. (I hope I remember them now) As far as going to a "clinic" every day, that is only in the beginning of the treatment. I love it when I hear someone talk about "the inconvenience" of having to do that, yet most addicts would crawl on their knees across a state line to obtain a nice supply of their drug of choice..I know I would have, no questions asked. Anyway, I looked at it as a type of discipline, like having to go to the gym every day, like it or not. Where I go, there are no lines, no embarrassment, no "low-lifes hanging out in the parking lots." The staff is highly professional, the 2 doctors that run it are known for having a very high success rate. Let me assure you that I have seen every kind of person in this clinic, businessmen, a pharmacist, a first grade teacher, a lawyer, a new mom, you name it.) Addicts come in all shapes, sizes, and from all walks of life. I too, must see a counselor as part of the treatment, and although it took me a long time to open up to her (my own personal hang-up) that relationship has proven to be a huge help in my recovery. I think some people feel if you're on methadone, you don't have to "work" on your recovery...just not true. My clinic encourages attending meetings, group therapy, and one on one counseling. The treatment program also requires physical exams, random drug screening (must abstain from any and all illicit drugs) The program has all kinds of requirements that you must follow in order to stay in the program. Lets see...you mentioned something about feeling the methadone at first. In the very beginning, I felt the methadone "kick in" about 1 hour or so after taking it. That feeling wears off with time, just like anything you take, you get used to it. The amount of your dose is monitored by a physician, who is closely monitored by state and federal guidelines. The doctor will adjust your dose according to how you are feeling. Where I go, every few months we are tested for some level (can't remember the name of the test). It's a blood test, and it will show the level of methadone in our system, right before we dose, and again 3 hours after dosing. This will ensure that you are being properly dosed! If the level is too high, you are getting more than you need, and most likely the dose will be adjusted (usually determined by a conversation with you and your doctor). If the level is too low, again, the dose may be adjusted. My clinic is very strict about making sure you are getting the proper dose in order to stay clean, that is all the methadone should do.....it should not be giving you a buzz or getting you high, if it is......most likely, you are getting more than you need. Each clinic handles this issue it's own way.
Your question about taking Lortab with the methadone.....if you take Lortab and you feel it...you are probably not on a high enough dose of methadone. I have had 2 surgeries while on methadone, and because methadone should block your brain's receptors from feeling narcotics, you have to be administered 2-3 times the usual narcotics used in surgery and or a procedure. This is done by the physician who is in charge of your methadone treatment getting in touch with the physician in charge of your surgery. They come up with a dosage plan for the surgery and aftercare, so that you will have proper pain relief after your surgery. I have gone through this a couple times, and have used the pain meds just like I was supposed to, and then I was done, no relapse. The methadone should be dosed at a level that you do NOT feel a narcotic of you take any. Again, another reason for routine blood level tests to ensure your best chance at recovery. By the way, the clinic I go to has an extremely high success rate (about 95 percent). Not too bad.
I know I could go on and on, but my little one "needs me". Look, my feeling is..keep your appt with the clinic you called. Any information you gain cannot be a waste of time. The more you know, the easier your decision may turn out to be. I will be here to answer anything at all. I have been on methadone for a while now, and it has been truly successful for me. It has given me my life back, I feel normal again. I do not feel high every day, just normal. I have no cravings, and if I would, I have a staff at my disposal to help me deal with them. Try to remember to do what is best for YOU. Don't let other's opinions and sometimes ignorance limit your choices. As addicts, we should do nothing but support one another in each other's recovery. We are not keeping score as to who suffered more with withdrawals, who relapsed again, who isn't ready yet,or who is fortunate enough to be off the drugs. We are all in or have been in the same boat, by sharing thoughts and experiences, we gain insight into what can be our own future or destiny. I want to tell you how proud I am that you even made that phone call, really. That is a big step, whether you realize it or not. Just take things a day at a time, and remember to use this board as a resource and hopefully support. Please feel free to ask me anything at all, I offer whatever I can to help you, and will always be honest in doing so. Take Care. Fondly, Jen