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Hi DJ,

Hey, you're very welcome...but it's really all about what you said...we are all in this together. When I made my first post here back in June, I had a handful of over 200 pills (hydros and benzos) in one hand, and a gallon of vodka in the other and was once again, for the upteenth time, contemplating suicide and just ending the madness of it all. I am 47, and you are very young still, so if you have a chance to do this--I would say go for it! You don't want to be me and find yourself looking back on a blur of years that could have been spent in such a different way and now they are viewed by me with regret instead of happy memories. I've spent more than half of my life living the life of an addict...lieing, manipulating, using and abusing other people and treating them with a total disregard for their feelings, amassing huge debt, hiding from the world by isolating myself so nobody would know, well...I don't need to tell you, you know what we're doing and how it makes us feel, so if this clinic is affordable and convenient to you...well, what's the worse that can happen if you do try it? Just try to think about what you would do to get the pills if you were running out...if you're like me, you'd spend money you didn't have and travel any distance no matter where or how far just to get them and avoid the w/ds. If you can try to make it a matter of perspective and priorities, then maybe the choice will be easier for you?

About the things you asked, I can only reiterate what the doctor at my clinic told me about the being on my vicodin and then starting the methadone. I was taking anywhere between 10 and 20 of the 10/325s a day (depending on whether I'd just gotten some or if I was coming to the end of my stash.) When I went to the clinic 6 wks. ago, I was just like you...I never slept, never! The side effects of that combined with my addiciton became a problem so large that I was unable to keep a job, never having a day where I felt "good," and everyday I just would think "if I can only get through this day, then maybe I'll get some sleep and things will be better tomorrow," but that never happened, and my inablility to sleep combined with my need for pills to do any kind of pleasureable activity cost me my last relationship...I wouldn't go away for long weekends to resorts because if I couldn't sleep at home in my own bed, I sure as heck wasn't going to be able to sleep in a strange bed in some bed & breakfast! Plus, if I was running low or had an "order" coming in, then I couldn't risk running out while out of town "trying to have a good time" and then risk not being home to sign for them! Geez, when I think of the real fun I could have had then while all the time I thought I was having fun...well, I just hope these opportunities might come around again so this time I can say "sure, let's go!"

About sleeping, I am not messing w/you at all when I say that the very first day I dosed at the clinic (30 mgs.), I slept 6 straight hours that night and I didn't have a drink nor did I take any benzos. I was literally shocked when I woke up and saw the time! I could have cried it felt so good. As the dosing increased, I am now sleeping up to 8 hrs. (and sometimes more) a night! DJ, seriously, I didn't believe the clinic dr. when he told me I'd start sleeping better and I could put my evening cocktail aside (3 benzos, about 6 ozs. of alcohol, & a couple of hydros.) I thought to myself "no way, doc, you don't understand," but he was right, and the sleep came instantly...and this is from a girl who hadn't slept normally for all my adult life. DJ, if nothing else good comes from this, to be able to get a normal night's sleep is a blessing of its own, so if you do this, let me know how that part of it goes for you, ok?

About being in w/ds before starting...when I went in the day of my appt. at 10:00 am, I had already taken about 6 pills since I'd gotten up (and about 12 or so the day before.) He did tell me he'd like me to be in some stage of w/ds--even if it was minor--before starting me on the meth, but I was honest and told him I'd just gotten a refill of 120 (I had about 75 left by the time I went in) & I honestly couldn't bring myself to flush them & I knew I wasn't disciplined enough to just put them away either, so I asked him what should I do? He said, "take what you want today but promise me you won't take any more after midnight tonight, then come back here tomorrow morning and we'll go ahead and start the methadone...can you do that for me, for yourself?" I promised, and that's what I did. So for you, I don't think you have to be in severe w/ds to get started--just some period of time between your last pill and your first dose of the meth (same as the sub I think). I had my last pill at 11:00 pm the night before I went in, and they dosed me at about 9:00 a.m. that day, so I wasn't even feeling that bad as far as w/ds go and had only gone 10 hours w/o any hydros.

I will be honest though & tell you I was scared to death! I was definately at a crossroads--I had a bottle of pills waiting for me at home and a refill to boot, so I could turn and walk out of there and act like none of it had happened--or, I could follow him into his room, get the physical, fill out the paperwork, pay them the money, and say goodbye to my pills and take the leap. I stood there thinking about it all with the dr. and the counselor and then the reassurance in their words & on their faces was enough for me to say "ok, let's do it," and just like that, they dosed me. One thing the doctor told me that helped was that I could go ahead and take a vicodin if I felt I needed one...if I got a headache, if my myofascial pain or my degenerative disk disease flaired up or if I just felt like I had to have one. So by having permission--a window of time where I could still use if I thought I had to made the leap into the program much easier.

Yes, the first week or more, I did get a buzz from the meth (and the first week, I did take about 3 vikes a day when my dose was low...in the 30-50 mg. range) and I was "a-itching and a-chattering" fool those first several days! But I was honest with the dr. about it, and I was feeling like I should be doing better...he said, "Dallas, you are doing better, you are taking 12 less a day than you were, so think of it that way." Once I was at my first 'stable' dose (around 60 mgs.) all that went away, and I even took a couple vikes just to see, and I didn't feel a thing--nothing, and for the first time ever, I no longer thought about those hydros...I actually kept the pills around as a "test" and I never took another one for four weeks. A few days ago--I was stable for 10 days at 100 mgs., and then I began having breakthrough w/ds--mild insomnia (4-5 hrs. instead of the 8 I was now so used to), headaches, appetite changes, and just some minor things that you would recognize, too, since you've done the c/t thing a time or two ;) . So I was honest with him again, told him I'd tried a few pills as I wasn't feeling quite the same, and he upped me 5 mgs. to 105 for 3 days, and immediately I was back to my newfound sleeping and thinking. There are a couple other things that are in the w/d area that I'm feeling that are very mild, so I will probably ask to go up another 5 mgs. and hope that holds me. I will say it's very hard to find "your stable dose," it is different for everyone...so much factors in like your length of use, the way your body metabolizes drugs, your general health, etc. Not the size or weight of a person though, which surprised me!

Like you, I do have a lot of concerns about going off the meth...some people stay on low doses forever, especially those with chronic pain issues. I told the dr. how fearful I am of going off it, and he said that it took me 20 years to get here, and they weren't going to expect me to get off if in a few weeks, months or even years...the whole process of discovering what the right dose is for me, developing coping skills and getting emotionally prepared, and then attempting to taper...well, it will most likely be a long process for me. DJ, all I am doing is trying to not get ahead of myself by beginning the worrying process of getting off of it. I decided to just go with the program and take it as it comes, follow their lead, and when (or if) it's time, start the final stage. If I let my fear of getting off of it begin while I'm barely in the process of getting started, well...I just have to put those fears aside for now, even though they're valid. But I don't have to deal with that now, I just have to deal with getting stable and getting my old self back, becoming a productive member of society again, and taking care of my emotional and physical health. I've put myself in their hands and allowed myself the freedom of not worrying about the end to interfere with my beginning, you know what I mean?

Please stay in touch, and I'll answer anything I can. I am happy for you, and I think you will be pleased with the changes you will hopefully feel as quickly as I did. I wish you the best with your clinic, and here's to a good night's sleep :) !

Take care,

DallasAlice





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