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Any methadone success stories?
Any methadone success stories?
I have been going to a methadone clinic for about 10 months, and I'm going to phase 3 on 1-26-09. I want to start going down on my dose when I get my next phase. I'm at 110 mg now and it holds me fine, I just don't want to take this any longer than I have to but I also don't want to get off to soon. I was wondering if anyone has any advise on how many mg to go down in a week. I thought 10 would be good and some people thought that would be way to much, I know it's up to me, I guess I would just like some advise and to hear someone who has actually done it. Most of the people I know don't seem like they will ever get off, especially when the state is paying for them. Counselors at this clinic are more worried about getting you to sign their sheet once a week and writing 1/2 hour for an appointment when I see them for 2 min. It has changed my life and made it so much more manageable and for that I am thankful, also if anyone has any feedback on how it was when you stopped taking the methadone all together, how were the cravings, did you want to go back to the streets or did the fact that you were taking actual medication break that habit? I have a lot of questions and this thread is all over the place but if anyone can offer me any advice I would be very grateful. Thank You
I am a certified methadone advocate, and moderate/administer three methadone support forums as well as working nationally with the major mathadone support organizations, and have a background in nursing and training as a chemical dependency counselor.
You are trying to taper too soon. Most professionals do NOT recommend tapering until you have been stable on treatment for at least 2-3 years. The reason for this is that for those leaving treatment, the relapse rate is 90% in the first year--and this is even for those who taper as advised! So you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success.
Once you do begin a taper, the suggested rate is no more than 10% of your dose every 2-4 weeks. You can probably drop every 2 weeks at first but may need to stretch it out to every 4 as you drop lower. Realize that this means 10% of your CURRENT dose, not your starting dose.
For example--if you are on 110mgs, your first drop would be 11mgs, putting you at 99mgs. Your next drop you would round off to 10mgs, putting you at 89 mgs. Then your next drop would be rounded up to 9mgs--and so on.
Many people try to taper off too soon due to people in their family, or at 12 steo groups, etc pushing them to do so. Most folks do not understand MMT and how it works, or the nature of brain chemistry and addiction. People who have abused opiates long term often (not always) sustain permanent damage to their natural opiates (endorphins). These are chemicals the brain makes that enable us to feel pleasure and happiness, control pain, and regulate mood. When we take outside opiates, this suppresses the production of the endorphins--the brain senses there are plenty on board so it ceases production. However, when you cease taking opiates, in some patients, the damage done is permanent, and their brain NEVER produces endorphins normally again. In others, they never produced endorphins normally to begin with, even before they became addicted, and their opioid use was an attempt at self medication a horrible depression/anhedonia.
Methadone replaces the missing endorphins without causing a high or euphoria, in the same way that insulin replaces the natural insulin no longer being produced by the pancreas. Living without endorphins causes severe depression, inability to feel pleasure or happiness, exhaustion, irritability, cravings, etc. and results in patients relapsing over and over again in a desperate ettmpt to feel normal again.
For these patients, methadone may need to be taken long term--even for life--and that is ok and nothing to be ashamed of. But there are many others who DO get off methadone and have their endorphins return after a few weeks or months of abstinence, so it never hurts to give it a try. In fact, methadone is unique among opiates in that it does not connect to ALL the opioid receptors in the brain, but leaves about 30% of them open, which encourages natural endorphin production even while still on treatment.
Please do yourself a favor and take it slower--there's no reason to race through this and every reason NOT to.
Two years is the MINIMUM amount of time they suggest to be on methadone before you start your taper. Contrary to popular belief, it's not harder to get off the longer your on. It's actually the reverse. The longer you stay on, the more stable your dose becomes and the more your life is back to normal-the better your chances of success when you taper.
When you do taper you MUST go slow enough that your symptoms of addiction don't return. If they do, stop the taper and hold. You may even require going back up a few mg.
Addiction is going to be with you for life. You can not fix "what ails you" in 10months. If your on methadone for two years and take two years to taper-BIG DEAL~! That's four years out of your entire life span. That is four years "lost" in order to gain twenty, thirty or fourty (depending on how old you are!). Even if you had to be on methadone for ten years, it's a small price to pay to have the rest of your life to live, right?
What you can do is learn to live differently, responsibly and stable. Once you've gotten that down then you can taper knowing that if your craving and obsession with drugs returns you will at least have the rest of your life in order so that you have all your energy to devote to staying off opiates....and it may require all your energy for quite a while.
Try not to look at methadone as just a continuation of your addiction. Look at it as a way to control some of the bad things that addiction can cause. Look at it as a way to STOP the progression of your addiction before it ruins any more of your life and health.
Your addiction isn't going anywhere. It will be with you whether you taper off methadone or not. How will you treat your addiction once your off methadone? That is a very important question you have to answer BEFORE you even think of tapering AND you gotta have this "treatment" in place and working before you think of tapering. It can be ANYTHING (doesn't have to be 12 step programs) that will help you get through each day without using. Exercise will be VERY important to get your own endorphin function going.
I know the clinic is a pain in the ass...but other than that is being on methadone ok? There are those that do not feel well on it and those that feel great on it--which are you? If your the first, perhaps your best bet right now is to do a quickish taper to 30mg and then get on to Suboxone for a while? That will get rid of the clinic as well.
Congratulations on getting better. Try to remember that it doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you do it. Do what YOU need to do to make your life better and go from there!
Sorry! I guess Zenith was posting at the same time about the same things!
PS-what the counselors at your clinic are doing is ILLEGAL (giving two minutes of counseling but charging for a half hour?) and it's what gives clinics a bad rap. A reputable clinic would be more worried about getting you better than getting you to sign a piece of paper. There are MANY MANY good clinics and there are bad clinics. They know they can get away with it because people don't have the time (or inclination) to sit with a counselor and so many patients are scared to make waves. Many patients are more than happy to sign off saying they've been seen.
That is the problem with "mandatory" counseling regulations. Counselors spend so much time chasing people down who don't really want counseling and who aren't benefiting from it, that those that really want and need it get neglected. OH how much easier it would be if people that wanted counseling could have all they wanted, and those that did NOT would be required to be educated on methadone and treatment and then told they could come when they felt they needed it.
Either way, you need to report what is happening to your clinic director. You can do it anonymously, but you still should do it. If medicaid is paying for treatment it's called FRAUD.
Last edited by clinilab; 01-21-2009 at 06:27 PM.
Iv'e been on the program 9yrs. 3yrs ago at 140mg I started detoxing 1mg every 22 days
I got to 40mg and stopped. I ask myself do I want off. Will I start drinking again, looking for my next high. To tell you the truth I think I'll be on it or something the rest of my life. I do like the lower dose better. Not constipated, sexdrive is back, etc.
Yes, it's nice to read about some successes instead of the bad press that methadone often receives. I've been on methadone for 24 years, clean of all other drugs for the last 20. I was addicted to percodan (later percocet), >>>>>> (sniffing), tylox, #4 codeine dots, any opiate I could find. When I got on a clinic I was originally on 100mg/day, for the last 5 years I've been stable on 30mg/day. I have a good job, great wife and family, and look at taking my daily dose of methadone just like I take a daily dose of lisinopril for high blood pressure. Because I've been clean and compliant for so long, I only have to go once a month to my clinic where I receive my medication in pill form (40mg diskets scored in 10mg sections).
I considered switching to buprenorphine but it's very expensive. In fact when I went to an OBOT (office based opioid therapy) doctor in Maryland, I only had to pay $80/month, now that I live down south and have to go to a methadone clinic to get my meds (once a month), I now have to pay $392/month. I've asked doctors about OBOT (any doctor can apply to provide both methadone or buprenorphine), but they all shy away from methadone and only work with buprenorphine (suboxone).
So many people wrongly equate methadone with methamphetamine (they use the prefix 'meth') and the press doesn't help in that regard. Again, I look at my taking methadone no different than a diabetic who takes insulin which they'll do for life. 30mg/day of methadone works best for me, I have no desire to quit just as I have no desire to quit taking lisinopril.
Yes there are those that abuse methadone just as people abuse any drug and unfortunately this is what makes the nightly news. The number of deaths from methadone or even from >>>>>>, is literally a small fraction of the number of deaths daily from alcohol and especially tobacco. It's not even close. But there are constant calls for restrictions for methadone or not allowing methadone clinics to open, the only calls for restrictions to alcohol or tobacco are for higher "sin" taxes.
Again, I'm clean, I don't seek out opiates or benzos from doctors, I just want to be able to go to a regular doctor to receive a methadone prescription (or the doctor can dispense it), leave a urine to prove I'm not abusing other drugs, and pay the few cents that methadone costs. It's one of the cheapest drugs out there, especially compared to buprenorphine which often costs around $25 per dose. OBOT should be more widespread than just limiting it experimentally to a few doctors in New York and Maryland. Again, for compliant patients who have proven they can handle the responsibility. Thanks.
Hello..new to this but I wanted to just extend my version of methadone, not only as a healthcare professional but also as an addict. I have been on the methadone program in the state of Washington for 3 years, Not only has it been a conditioned way of life but you discipline yourself to actually get use to being on this drug and you shouldn't.
Discrimination exists! As you well know in my profession sometimes you need to do a drug test for employment. I have been terminated twice due to a positive methadone level in my UA. On this program I have certainly experienced the negatives but there are positives..
I wanted to just say that I am behind anyone that is trying to lower their dose of methadone and be free of it. Like I said I have been on this program for 3 years and just now getting the meaning of life, putting it all together and getting back the feeling of "I will be okay"! An addict needs to reach the point of being okay. In their mind they need to put themselves into a place of all their triggers and know that they can walk past them and not blink an eye.
I needed to know that if my triggers became a problem that I could find another way to get through it..to move past the feeling of wanting to get high to get through my rough patch. I read a book that had a great impact on me and the state of mind I was in, That state where you negatively self talk yourself into believing that you need a substance to make it through~ The book was called "Everything happens for a reason" by Mira Kirshenbaum. She is a great author and she too has been through a lot. It was refreshing for someone to explain to you how you talk yourself into believing that you deserve all the negative you get in life- that you can turn that into positive and it will work.
Finding out the truth about how you got to the point in your life where you needed a substance to be "you" is quite a journey and In my opinion that is what addicts need to know...is how they got this far...how they can be okay...and how they can stay okay without going to use...
If I could create a blog where I could be there for anyone that needed to use..or felt like they were at the end of their rope..or if they want to get off what ever they are abusing..I would! Maybe I will figure out how to do so..because being an addict it sure would have helped me knowing there were other people out there like me,,someone to talk too because mt family continuously tells me.."If you wanted to get off this stuff you would..." " If you wanted to not be an addict you would just quit taking this methadone". They have no idea the dynamics of those statements!
I would say that it's why my higher power put me on this earth is to help others get through this. In return I think they would help me and my success at staying off the drugs I was taking..
Finding your higher power is a great key to use in all this..I say that I don't believe in the things and people that most do..I am spiritual but not religious but you need to believe in someone besides yourself However; you need to know that your #1 priority is to believe in YOU-
You need someone to pray to when you feel like you can't take another step- If that is someone in the sky just labeled your higher power then so be it- if it is in fact god then so be it- but you need to find it... it will be the greatest thing you have ever done. You need to get yourself a cheap notebook or get yourself a beautiful journal...I got myself a journal and every three or four pages I put a memory, a person's picture, a quote with a meaning, or something that has significance to me right now that will help me remember why I am here. Write...and write and write some more till you get it all out!...have conversations with the ones that broke you down...tell them off...write the people you hurt when you were high...cry... say your sorry do what ever you need to do to move on and most important forgive yourself for all the things you have done to yourself and I mean truly!..because that is the key to getting off this methadone...it's much much more than just getting off a drug..there was a reason you needed a drug to exist at one time and you need to address that as soon as you can. When you finally find that peace, that place where you can finally let go of that crutch...which it all boils down to fear...you will just let go of it and there won't be all that worry about am I going to be okay..or is it hard to come off of it...because if you are not ready it will be the hardest thing you've ever done. We all do not deserve to doubt ourselves that we cannot do this life without being high...we can...and we will...
As for the MG you go down... well I went down 1mg every two weeks until I reached 0. It does work...and I believe in you..and that you can do this!
It matters to give yourself a compliment daily..to leave yourself encouraging notes around the house..to journal anytime you need too... then everything else you want for yourself won't feel like it's never going to happen to you~ It will happen because you will have to energy, happiness, and motivation to make it happen. I am reaching that point now and it was hard to get there...I went through the self doubt, the tears, the scary dreams, and I got to the point were I was forgetting to take my methadone, or I didn't want to take the full dose, or it was making me so exhausted that I wouldn't take it at all. There are the signs that you can do this- YOU CAN!
Good Luck to all of you on he program..or those of you doing a program of any kind..good luck to the ones that need help..I wish I could help you.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE~
people who are still on methadone are not clean. and until you are, those issues are not tackled properly. thats for sure.
i was on methadone 7 years first time. about 4 the second. and in between i shot up anything that would help.
i have been off subs one year. i used them to get off methadone...
until you are actually 'clean' you cant say so....
it can be done. and you sure cant help people till you get to that stage.... why would anyone trust someone who is still using...
Being clean is not as important as recovering. Everyone is different. If one person can quit everything and run their life again bravo but if another person needs a maintanance drug to get off rec drugs, hold a job, be a part of their family's life again, etc etc then who are you to judge them? Different strokes for different folks. You arent the be all end all of recovery.
Originally Posted by Anonymous
i wasnt bad enough for methadone in the first place. i havent used any pain killers or drugs for 5 years,and i have no desire to do so! i just stay ...
Last edited by colbykerns; 06-26-2014 at 05:14 AM.
You do not lose your endorphins or ability to create them!
I spent forever registering on this site from my phone, to tell you how awesomely terrific and spot-on that your post was. I related to so many of the things that you said (which are the kind of stories that the original poster said they WANTED to hear (and needed to, from the sound of it)! - not "you'll never be happy again, because you can't produce endorphins anymore. Well, not exactly 100%, you never know" type of propaganda-taught clinic admins. You honestly have changed the path of my life in a positive way by this post and I wanted to thank you. I, too believe that you are here to help people. These are the stories from STRONG people who want OFF of all mind-altering drugs and start living your life again. As a HAPPY person. I am taking the plunge while my wife and kids are away in 2 weeks to detox and live life again. No matter the (SHORT) term pain. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.$
Originally Posted by free2beme