Hello. I want to start off saying that this is not a negative review of methadone. Most reviews I've seen of people who have taken methadone are non-tolerants who've tried it once and abhor it, and I find that a vast majority of people don't really know anything about it. Most people know something, but its usually not much. I thought that it would be nice to have someone with a bit of experience with methadone. Now it can, just like any other substance, do as much harm as it can good. I've been taking methadone through a local maintenance program for over 2 years now, and I've consumed a varitable mountain of methadone pills. And I'm at the same place I started out. I sit here now sick with anticipation and also drug withdrawl. You see I'm not the ideal maintainance patient, as there are days that I take more than I am supposed to. I am alotted 150 mg every day of the week, and, since I've been going for so long, I go to the clinic once every two weeks, get a dose there, and they bottle up the next 13 days and allow me to take it home. Which for me is a mixed proposition.
Methadone is an opioid (synthetic opiate) first synthesised and manufactured by the German Army in World War II because of their lack of a sufficient supply of opium. Its been used here in state approved and closely watched 'methadone clinics.' It is tyically given to someone coming off heroin or morphine, although it can be used for any opiate addiction, from codiene (weak opiate) to dilaudid (strong opiate). Don't let those labels fool you, the weakest opiate in the world is just as addictive as the strongest. And the clinic is completely volunteer. I have to go in there myself and ask for help, the courts won't tell me that I have to go. Most drug treatment programs actually do not use methadone, some are dry-out places with no drugs, others will provide you with some benzodiazepenes (anti-anxiety drugs).
When I started the methadone program back in november of 2001, I had been using morphine (primarily), heroin, and occasionaly oxycodone when nothing else was available. I would steal my family's prescription painkillers, or anyone else's for that matter; but mostly I just bought drugs from friends. When I admitted myself, I was desperate for any drug at all. The morphine supply just dried up where I was living, and I figured I might as well get the state to sponsor my addiction. Who wouldn't want a legal drug addiction? Like I said, I was desperate for anything that would quell this horror that continued to rise up inside of me when I wasn't on opiates. I started out just taking one or two hydrocodones two summers before, when I was still in high school, and even before that I was drinking bottle after bottle of Robitussin (the first 'drug' I ever did), sitting in my room by myself, listening to music for hours, just enjoying 'the feeling.' I knew as soon as I first tryed opiates, when I was drinking some of my little brother's prescription cough syrup (with hydrocodone), which I thought had the same active ingredient (dextromethorphan, an opiate relative, but completely non-opiate in its actions) as OTC Robitussin.
I knew as soon as the feeling started to hit me, 15 minutes after I downed 2 ounces of 'M-End Solution' (I think that was what it was called), that it was something very different, but so much better, than what I had been taking. I thought 'I don't know what I took, I could die.' but the opiates had already captured my love and affection. I was happy as a clam, but in an extremely subdued fashion, realizing that if I did this every day, my life would be a wonderful journey, without pain or sorrow, where I could be the person I've always hoped I could be.
Looking back, being free from the bonds of pain hasn't been exactly what I thought it would be. I started taking 30mg of methadone my first day at the clinic, and I was in awe of its power. Now, somedays I cut into my doses for the rest of the two weeks and take sometimes up to 400 miligrams, and I still get high. I think that crap about methadone patients not getting high is a total lie. True, I don't get as high as I did when I would put a needle in my arm, but even with my 150mg dose, i feel serene and the world looks beautiful. But the last time I took any methadone was Saturday night, so I'm sitting here sweating and shaking wishing that tomorrow morning was here. My clinic day is Wednesday (tomorrow), and I can go as soon as it opens at 5:30 am. I have some xanax and klonopin on me, just in case things get too hairy before then, I can take one of those and sleep the rest of the night off. And when you're as dope hungry as I am, waiting is almost impossible. Time drags and drags, and I can't find anything to take my mind off my own stupid suffering that refuses to let up.
But even with this pain, which I continue to cause myself week after week by digging into my methadone reserves, I'll concede that it has been great, but it is deffinately bitersweet in many ways. I used to absolutely love music, art, my wife, but being on as much methadone as I am, my emotions are dulled to a point where I finally feel like they can't overwhelm me, but I lose the feelings of happiness and joy. I also lose most of my ability to be empathetic, and I can't understand what others are feeling. These dull brown eyes just look coldly from my face, overrun by that emotional apathy I used to find so appealing. I just don't care anymore, as long as I can get my methadone and no one stands in my way. My wife doesn't even know I'm on methadone, and I continue to keep it from her because I am afraid she will ask me to stop taking it. And I love her so much, but when given the choice, my answer would be obvious. And I don't want to have to choose methadone over her, so I just keep lying. Lying about where I'm going at 5:30 in the morning, lying about where the $77 a week just to pay for the methadone is going, I even lie about why somedays I just keep nodding off, and then somedays, I just lie in bed all day, tossing and turning, my skin crawling off my body, just existing in what I feel like is my punishment for getting to feel so good so much of the time.
And if there is one thing I believe in, it is balance in this world. To get high, you gotta get low, to feel pleasure, you must experience an inverse amount of pain.
I was naive in thinking that I could fight that balance, by feeling good all the time, without even looking down from my tall tower in the clouds to even consider what was happening outside this body. I cannot escape that one truth. I know that now. But now I'm stuck here, almost 2 and a half years on methadone. And I know that I'll be on this for life. For me, there is no other way. I've tasted what life can be like, and how am I supposed to turn back now? I've found a cure for lonliness, for sorrow, for boredom. I can't turn back now. So consider what I've said before you follow the path I've taken, and the path countless others before me have traveled. I have found that there really is no way back.
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