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Keep asking all the questions you want. I'm really caught up in your excitement of getting clean. I am also positive that the more you know, the less chance there is of a relapse. I did the very minimum when I first tried to get clean 5 years ago and relapsed time and time again and would be willing to do a little more every time I relapsed and learned a little more each time until I became relatively knowledgable about the disease process.

The way you ask questions, you could be one of those fortunate souls who never relapses. There are several of them in my AA home group and I am really envious and think the major difference between them and me is that they were more willing to be what the oldtimers in AA call "teachable", whereas I was more of an arrogant know-it-all (and I also think there is some validity in the theory that some addicts' brains don't produce the natural opiates that a "normal" brain produces -- unfortunately, that topic has taken some unnecessary heat on this board, which could very well be my fault). Oh well, we all have to take our own path.

Anyway, my point in all of this is that you have a heck of a lot of those tendencies of the people who I've observed being "teachable" from the very beginning. Please don't ever lose that aspect of your personality.

I think there are actually 4 options for you and that tapering is the one you didn't list. Tapering is, basically, taking the dosage you take now and, slowly (the slower the better) but steadily, decreasing your intake over time until you are taking such a small dose you can put them down for good. You will still need to be connected to people in recovery (i.e. AA/NA) because you are still going to have the mental obsessions we spoke about previously.

There is some rule out there about not decreasing more than 10% per week (or maybe it's per month). I'm having trouble remembering because I never was very good at the tapering thing. If I could get my hands on the pills they were going down the hatch.

However, you sound like you have the attitude that may be just perfect for tapering. And, in my opinion, I think tapering (if a person can really do it) would be the best and least painful way of detoxing -- you mentioned the word "comfortable" in a couple of the options you listed but I don't think you are ever going to feel "comfortable" while using the other ways of detoxing you listed, but you could very well get thru the tapering process with a minimum amount of discomfort.

There is a fella on here occasionally that goes by the name of "philster" who really knows his stuff about tapering. Do me a favor. If he doesn't write to you within a day or so on this thread, start a new thread with his name in it and ask him about his "plan". He has it down to a science and is always willing to help those that want to go the taper route. If I was ever going to try tapering again, he is the one I would go to for help.

You mentioned going to AA/NA meetings "after" you are detoxed. You can (and if you are able, you should) go to meetings while you are detoxing (some inpatient facilities require it). The old axiom is "90 meetings in 90 days". That means you go to 90 meetings for 90 days in a row starting the first day off the pills.

You will be absolutely amazed at the support you get when you are just starting out. The only thing I would ask you to do is promise me you will speak up at the beginning of every meeting and introduce yourself and just tell the people in the meeting what day you are on and how you are feeling at that time. That was a hard thing for me to do but it is something you really need to do because, as you will see, everyone will want to help you and will be willing to share their own experiences on getting clean. This definitely will make the process much easier psychologically and, as a result, it will seem easier physiologically.

In addition, after a couple of weeks, you will find the meetings that you feel the most comfortable at and they will be something you actually look forward to. I don't want to mislead you here because I absolutely hated going to meetings at first (I think this was largely because of my oversized ego at the time) and there are some meetings that I won't go back to even today. However, there are also some meetings (one in particular) that if I ever miss it, I feel like I've really not had a very productive week (unless, of course, there is a good reason for me not being there -- vacation, program at the kids' school, etc.).

As far as your doctor goes, I really don't know what you might want to say other than to tell him that you have exhaustively researched the detox issue and want to try the taper route and tell him your exact plan and ask him to prescribe the medications to you in such a way to assist you in the process.

I can't imagine any doctor turning you down if you present it in that way. However, I have learned the hard way that the medical profession (especially the ones not in recovery) are really clueless when it comes to addiction and I've seen them do some pretty dumb things.

I think that covers everything but the guardian angel issue. To say that I'm humbled and more than a little prideful of you making that statement would be a huge understatement. However, whatever you do, don't ever make a single human being your "higher power". You can rely on God or, if you have issues with religion, you can use the AA/NA group as your higher power, or you can even use inanimate objects (I even heard someone in AA a while back say they used a doorknob as their "higher power" because they were so disconnected with God -- I don't think that would have worked for me, but to each his own).

The point is that you HAVE a higher power because you can't do this on your own. What usually happens is what happened with me -- I came into recovery as an atheist, after my second relapse I was an agnostic, after my third relapse I was definitely a believer and after my fourth relapse I was a full-blown Jesus freak. I'm exagerrating a little but I think you get my point -- have a higher power but don't rely on any individual person as your higher power. I am not so presumptuous to think you are doing that with me or with anyone else on the board but I was a little concerned (after my head shrunk back down to its normal size) when you made the guardian angel comment.

As far as me being a counselor, again, I'm flattered that you would say that but I'll leave that to the professionals. All I'm doing is passing on what any person who has been serious about recovery for any length of time knows.

Take care, God bless, and keeping asking questions.

p.s. Creeky, My wife and I are taking a day off and taking the kids to an amusement park all day tomorrow/today as an "end of summer" outing so I probably won't be around until tomorrow night but look forward to hearing from you then. (I think I'm looking more forward to going to the park than the kids are). verylucky

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