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Hi everybody!

The last 6 weeks have been absolutely both the most real & surreal timeline in my life. I left off here after choosing a path that I decided--after much solitary resolve--would be the best one for me to travel down, & I finally went beyond the first step of recovery (which I now know was posting here that I was an addict--even though you couldn't have convinced me back then that my coming here was really a first step...or anything at all most likely...LOL!), & I continued w/my changes by telling someone in person. Telling a past lover who is a still-very-good friend (as well as someone I still do bookkeeping for) about my addiction in person was a huge, emotional & draining thing to do, but that was my next step. When I spilled my truth to him, I felt very much like I was at the same breaking point that I was when I first joined here--the difference being that the first time I wrote you all, I was thinking death had to be a better thing than this life of addiction I had created; however, when I called my friend, my mindset was different because I had chosen to try living, and I had finally reached the point of realization where I knew I had to change a lot of things. He listened and at the end of it, he simply said "well, what are we going to do about this?" I told him about my failed attempts at c/t & tapering & how I'd found a methadone/suboxone clinic, so by at the end of our talk, I decided get the professionals involved because you guys...I so cannot do this alone.

I made the appt. on a Friday & then went in the following Monday. I had a physical, blood work, etc, & met with a counselor who is an ex addict who asked a lot of intake questions. Then after a meeting with the doctor, the counselor and myself, it was decided that methadone would become my program--I pretty much just put myself in their hands, told them everything I’ve ever told you all, and decided in order for this to work, I would have to trust what the doctor thought was best. The deciding factors were primarily cost ($180/mth. vs. $500/mth. for the sub--I don't know why, but the meth can be done on a sliding scale but the sub can't?); that I'd been on opiates for over 20 years, a biggie is the benzo I've been on for 15 yrs. as I have this issue with the rape, incest & resulting PTSD--can't mix benzos & sub, but can work on getting off them while working on getting off the opiates he said. Then there's the other truth--I was scared & I didn’t want to give up my pills yet! So they didn’t dose me that day, and I went home to digest everything and give it all some more thought, took 8 of my 70 pills I had left, and made the decision to just do it (sorry Nike!) From what I understand, too, the meth is a longer way to detox than via the sub, but since it took me so long to get to this level of addiction combined with my sadness at saying goodbye to it all, the sub (or the quicker "cure") might not have the long-lasting positive effects...I think what I'm trying to say is that a quick goodbye to my best friends might have a lesser chance of long-term results than a slower releasing of my buddies would have. The doctor is very realistic and positive, like when I told him I had this last script & I was scared to flush them, he told me we were just going to go slow & to even go ahead and take one if I thought I needed it in the beginning & especially if the myofascial pain flaired up. Plus he said they didn't want to lose me after I’d finally come in their door.

So I started at 30 mgs. of the meth, then by 6 wks, I was stablized at 100 mgs. After 10 days at that dose, though, some of the old w/d’s kicked in again, so he bumped me up to 105 mgs. today & thru the wknd. There are a lot of pros & cons to this drug, but I can honestly say I went 4 weeks without taking or even thinking about a hydro (surprised the heck out of me!) Then 3 days ago I blew it as I took to a "sick" headache & after having it for 3 days, I got a refill of my primary doc's script of the 5/500s. I learned that I have no coping skills nor any ideas as to how to treat things like a migraine or real pain like I read about you do...like what do you do when you have to have dental work or surgery? I don’t even know how to handle a severe headache, & I am here to tell you that advil, tylenol or even “extra strength” excedrin-whatever doesn’t do a thing for me now!

So the good things that have happened as a trickle down effect of now being on a withdrawal suppressing drug is that I have reduced my monthly bills by almost $300 (I was spending anywhere from $300 to $500/mth. with the onlines & doc shopping--now it's only the $180/mth); my mood is so much better--I guess just because I have a plan and I’m actually doing something about this problem that is stealing my life away; but the very best part is without physical cravings and feelings of withdrawals, I now have ZERO stress about when, where & how the next batch of pills will come...I am so serious! I never thought that could happen, but it’s really true. I never have to think about where I will get my next pill as long as I stay in some kind of a program, & that is so very comforting. I then called my only sister and came clean with her (at least I thought I was--she said she already knew & was just waiting for me to confide in her--here I was thinking I had everyone fooled, including myself, sheesh!). And I finally got a full-time job 3 weeks ago--YAY! Maybe I can keep up with my bills now and someday start making a dent in the drug debt I accumulated over these last few years, we’ll see...sigh.

About the job...you all are going to either roll over laughing or keel over in the irony of it all, as I am now the office manager of..a.....MORTUARY! OMG, you would not believe the things I have seen! Although I run the front office and the phones, the death certificate and cremation paperwork, I am vaguely aware that behind me they are embalming and cremating and preparing people to be said goodbye to. This is not a funeral home, this is the “in between place,” the place where one goes after they die and stay until their funeral or service occurs. Sometimes I have to take a fax to the back or give them a message, so I’ve seen what goes on, and I would say that almost 75 percent of the bodies I’ve seen them working so gently on (painting their nails, doing their hair, dressing them, applying makeup, etc.) are people over the age of 75. On the other hand, in my 3 weeks on the job, they’ve prepared a 20-yr. old who fell rock climbing, a 19-yr. old who fell off a car “car surfing” while partying, a 9-mth. old who died of some sort of disease (that was the hardest so far), a man who had several slabs of concrete fall on him at a job site, and yes...a few days ago we had a suicide, a 68-yr. old man shot himself in his mouth. I have to admit I’ve changed my line of thinking about faith and signs and messages and God, because I don’t think that my getting a job surrounded by death was a “coincidence” given my thoughts of suicide recently.

All of you who replied to me on my suicidal night’s first post, you were so right...I could now never put my children through what these families go through. And now that I’ve seen what happens to a body...I even made myself watch them put a man in a pine box into a crematory yesterday, well I don’t want to go through that...not yet anyway. Yes death is inevitable, but I am now in no hurry to bring it on. I never thought I could or would see people and work and life and my kids and my cat and my computer and my paycheck and my sister and my freedom and even my addiction as just the way LIFE is...not ever. I no longer sweat the small stuff at all, I never let a morning or night come or go without the last thing my kids hear from me be the words “I love you and I am on your side,” nor do I take anything from anyone that is remotely “toxic” or a lack of respect because I have seen the highest form of respect and dignity from the morticians in the things they do--like gently place the bow around the baby’s head, or slip the socks on over the feet of the grandfather, or paint the mother’s nails who died of heart disease...I mean it guys, I’ve never seen anything like this place. I’ve always been on the other side of death, and now I am right in the thick of it, but I am not bothered by it--I have learned an enormous amount about humanity and life and death--and I know now that those things and love are all there is that is truly ours. I read it on a headstone 20 years ago, and now I understand it, “Nothing is our own but our dead.” I hope you don’t find my story about my new job morbid or sad, I am only sharing some of the details because it’s so dang ironic for one, but mostly because of the way it expanded my vision and my thoughts on everything, especially God...

With all my love,
Dallas Alice





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