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Hi,

First I'd like to say how sorry I am for your family, and then I'd like to say how very fortunate your brother is to have you in his life...really, as an addict, there is so much more of a chance if there is one person in this world that you can tell [I]anything and everything[/I] to without fear of reprisal, then chances of success are higher. Of course, he has to do his part, so if he's willing and you can allow yourself to be there for him unconditionally, he might make it.

I am probably not the one, though, to be responding to your post. Yes, I am on a methadone maintenance therapy program, but it is long-term, not short-term as you've described. Next, I'm on it to help me get off my 20+ year addiction to opiate pain pills (vicodin, perocet, percodan, demerol, etc.) I've never done H, but there are many posters here who have and have posted their success stories with it and how they were able to get off it. I will say, though, that if I'd ever done heroin, I am sure I would have loved it and it would be amongst my list of drugs of choice.

Your brother's program sounds like a quick way to help him get off the heroin without having to experience the pains of withdrawal. How he will deal with not relapsing as well as all the issues that led him to be an addict in the first place will be his work to do, and that's where the meetings come in. I think they are vital to success...especially since he's only got 3 wks. to do this. He will really, really need after-care support, and it's great to be amongst people who truly understand what a person is going through. I'm sure there are "sources" at some meetings and he does need to stay away from his "old crowd;" however, I'm sure he could find a meeting somewhere that might be free from his faces of the past? As for the meetings depressing him, I can only say that I always feel really good after a meeting...and we sometimes get chastised for carrying them on in the parking lot. It's as if we don't want to stop talking about the issues that are brought up in the meetings because we can all so relate to them. I have no doubt that he's been to meetings where he hears story after story of the drug winning and destroying life after life, but there are also the success stories he can listen to and if he were to get as far as to be able to speak at a meeting, he might find so much relief in not only being able to tell his story, but to hear responses that convey thoughts like "hey, I know what you mean...I understand, you're not alone." The meetings I go to are held on Saturday mornings at my methadone clinic, so it's all people who are either getting off heroin or pain pills--oxycontin, percocet, morphine, you name it. Just to give you an example of what we talk about, the last three meetings were on "Grief and Loss," "Spirituality vs. Religion," and "Cognizant Behavior." Everyone gets a chance to speak if they want, the mtgs. are led by the clinic's counselors, and there is no fear of angry outbursts or misdirected, off-topic speaking...they do a great job of keeping it on track and in the end, I feel I leave with more info and help for the next time I'm hit with cravings or triggers that will make me want to use.

I guess the main thing is that 21 days is not enough to make him no longer an addict; I've heard once an addict, always an addict. It's a constant battle and you have to be very vigilent in your desire to want to stop. I came here to this board suicidal and broke and unemployed and ready to end it all, and thanks to methadone...I now have time and a clear head to go to meetings, talk weekly to my clinic-appointed sponsor, post here, and read and gain more tools to help me with my life after pain pills.

I am in the methadone program for the long haul, though, as compared to the type of program your brother is doing. I started at 30 mgs. of liquid meth and am now stabilized at 120 mgs./day. I went up 5 mgs. a day until l hit the "right amt." and that was 110 mgs./day. After 3 mths, though, my old ways of thinking crept in, I was having break thru withdrawals, and just some old stuff I remembered feeling when I tried to quit so many times before, and a simple 10 mg. adjustment of my doseage corrected that. One thing about methadone is that it is so very different as to how it works on each person. 50 mgs. would not be enough to hold me, yet for many it would be. There are some at my clinic who are at over 200 mgs. daily! That would probably knock me out, and I'd fall asleep at the wheel for sure. I felt the 30 when I started, and only after a week or so did I stop feeling anything, and was able to just say "hey, I feel normal." I truly think that methadone--like Suboxone--can be a lifesaver for many who simply can't quit cold turkey or by tapering. Cold turkey was a form of self-torture for me, and I failed every time. I had to find another way.

There are also many here who are on Suboxone as a way to get off Heroin (they offer that at my clinic also, but it costs more for some reason...something about the State regulations and sliding scales for payment, and more bureaucracy-related stuff than I know about), so the cost was the deciding factor for me to go the Methadone route. I find this to be a safe, and highly effective way that is working for me. Have I relapsed? Yes! And then this adjustment to my dose gave me my feeling of "normalcy" back. You really have to work at whatever program you choose, though, or relapse might be the outcome. I would hate to see your brother...and you, go through that after all you've done for each other.

With only 21 days to work with, I would expect him to be only through the physical part of the withdrawal. I would suggest that you seek some meetings out, perhaps find a counselor (do they provide counseling at your meth clinic?) or an affordable therapist that your brother would be comfortable talking to. You can only do so much and you won't be able to watch him 24/7, so please seek out some support resources for when his 3 weeks is up...that will be the hardest part, I feel. Many on here say, me included, is that once the physical withdrawals are behind us, it's the mental part that is the hardest. There is depression, loss of energy, physical and mental cravings, so many mind games we play with ourselves as addicts that we have to find new ways to deal with rather than turning back to the drugs, so please look into what other things the clinic you are going to has to offer in the form of outpatient help.

At the clinic I go to, each patient is assigned a counselor and we meet with him or her once a week...it really helps me, but there are others who either don't "click" w/their counselor or just don't get into that type of treatment. So not knowing how your brother responds to counseling, well...you know him best! My counselor and I are working on nutrition right now and finding an appropriate diet for me that will hopefully allow me to retain my energy level throughout the day as well as to work with my specific metabolic body type. I am learning that I eat horribly, and I am learning that I am clueless to so much--and not just about my nutrition, but about how I have fed and nurtured my addiction in the past, as well. I have no doubt that I will be on the meth for a year or two...or maybe even more (I started last July and I have so much more work to do before I would even consider starting to go down off it...), but everyone is different. That is also a key point of methadone and/or Suboxone therapy.

I can tell you love your brother very much, and it sounds like he trusts you and loves you, too. Maybe if he's up to it, he could post to us sometime, and tell us his story and there might be several members who could totally relate to him and therefore, be able to help you both. I know some things are so much easier said than done, though, but you never know...? Everyone here is as helpful and supportive and encouraging as they can be has been my experience.

Good luck to you and your family...all my best,

Dallas Alice





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