Saturday, May 2, 2015

Addict To Addict Prejudices

I had a friend ran methadone clinics for years. She used to say that her clients were the "lepers of the Recovery Movement." At the time I thought she was being a little dramatic, but now, I'm not so sure.
Of all the things I write or speak about related to addiction and recovery, the use of medications as recovery aids is the most controversial. No contest.
Despite reams of research and thousands of case histories to the contrary, the responses I get to the most mild of posts about Suboxone or methadone or any of the other meds currently in use, are that these are clearly bad medicines.
They kill addicts, protract withdrawal,  cheat people of the opportunity for "real" recovery, and inevitably lead to relapse.
Ironically, most of these responders identify themselves as recovering addicts.
Yeah, that was a tough one to swallow.
Common sense would suggest that someone who had managed to put their addiction behind them would be the most open to the experiences of others.
Not so.
Users of Suboxone are welcome to attend 12 Step meetings, but not to share, lest someone get the "wrong" idea about recovery. Of course you can keep your mouth shut about your meds and engage in a "don't ask, don't tell" closeted recovery. As if addiction wasn't demeaning enough, it's pretty rough when the place that proselytizes "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using" treats you like a 2nd class, well, addict.
An estimated 31 million Americans identify as being in recovery from addictions, and the means by which they have recovered are many and varied. We need a much broader definition of recovery that encompasses and respects all.
Enough of this silly and divisive nonsense about who is and who is not in recovery.


  1. Good discussion. I will weigh in even though I'm supposed to be getting some chores done around here (that's another story). I'm 57 and was an alcoholic, then was freed from the obsession to drink. Then my back developed problems and, long story short, I was on a combination of Methadone, Oxycontin, and Hydrocodone. All for "pain management". This went on for 3 years. Then God allowed everything to change and I found myself living in Maine. Maine has strict rules against prescribing pain meds and/or Methadone. Within 6 months I was desperately trying to find someone, ANYONE to refill my prescriptions. Nothing happened. So, not knowing what I was doing, I just quit. "Fuck it, I'll just quit" I told myself.

    8 Days of no-sleep, sweating, mind racing, diarrhea and terrible pain later, I was free. I went to two different ER rooms to get help with my symptoms. Nothing. Then I found a kind Nurse Practioner who understood PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and who also practiced Healing Touch therapy on me. She prescribed Tramadol for my pain issues, telling me it was safe and wonderful. Two years of that, personality changes, etc and guess what: now Tramadol is no longer prescribed. So I did my usual self-withdrawal again. It was almost as bad as getting off the Opioids. Terrible insomnia, racing thoughts. What a nightmare.

    I share this because I now know that Methadone is as evil as the heroin and opiates it's supposed to deliver you from. And so is Tramadol. I wish I could have those years back. That I didn't have to endure all the insanity it caused me.

    I'm fairly normal acting now. I manage pain using over the counter stuff, plus a portable TENS unit I found at Wal-Mart. I met and married a wonderful man with whom I share my life. I'm alive again. I feel things. And it's good. I'll never go back.

    Thankyou for letting me share.