My Experience with Methadone

Four years into methadone maintenance, I still didn’t think it was a bad thing. I still had no concept of addiction or that I myself may be an addict. In time, I realized I needed it the same way I needed heroin and that it had me in its grips.

Methadone as A Way Out

 

But it didn’t start out that way. I had only began using opiates maybe six months prior to discovering methadone as a way to curb my physical addiction. When I first used heroin for a few months, I took a trip to Europe with my friends. I had no idea how bad the withdrawal would be. I spent the first week in Dublin rolling around in a bed, sweating, promising myself I would never touch opiates again. It was the beginning of my 4 year-ride.

When I got back, I was inevitably strung out again within a month. But I vowed to never go through the hell of withdrawal that I had experienced in Ireland. After a few more months my friend told me about methadone. For a very modest amount of money, I could detox avoid my withdrawals. I signed up for a 21-day methadone detoxification program. Get on methadone, quit opiates. That was the plan.

Methadone and the Vicious Cycle

 

After 19 days I used again. I was almost done with the detox, but I felt like as long as I didn’t get myself strung out I didn’t need methadone any longer. One more month after using every day I went back to the methadone clinic. This time I signed up for maintenance. That meant I wasn’t tapering my dose, I was staying at the same amount. This would go on for another four years.

The dose I was at let me still get high from heroin, but never suffer from the pain of withdrawals. It was worth the $150 a month for me to be able to use heroin at my leisure. I went so far as to move next to a methadone clinic two years into it. I could walk down the street in the morning, dose and then go to work. In my head, this was perfect.

Methadone is a Drug

 

Until I learned about the fact that how I use drugs is what made me an addict, I had no idea I was treating methadone like a drug. I thought it was helping me, right up until the day I stopped using it. In fact, the only reason I had ever stopped using it was to increase the high I would get from heroin.

What I didn’t realize was that I was under the perception that I needed it. That every day that passed where I didn’t get my dose I was uncomfortable, ornery and snappish. Even if I didn’t feel the withdrawals I perceived that they were there. Methadone was my master and it never helped me, not even once.

I do think that methadone has helped some people. But for an addict like me, we use it as a crutch. I may have told myself that I would use it to get clean, but that never ended up being the case. I would be never suggest methadone maintenance to anybody. Even though total abstinence may be more difficult, at the very least it is rooted in hope.

 

6 Comments
  • Tamra B
    Posted at 12:58h, 13 September Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Education regarding various drugs continues to support parents who started out quite ignorant on this journey. I’m so happy for your sobriety. It’s almost been 3 years!

    • Derek Free
      Posted at 09:40h, 14 September Reply

      Thank you! We appreciate you reading.

  • 2504
    Posted at 23:20h, 24 February Reply

    Wow.. This is almost a joke hilarious.. Your sitting here sayin methadone never helped you but at the same time lol you are sitting here admitting to never stopping the heroin.. Using the treatment as a crutch for heroin use lol it is not a miracle drug there has to be some want to in quoting the heroin.. As you said, for an addict like you.. Lol for ppl like you there is no help!! Wow..

    • Howard Barker
      Posted at 09:29h, 26 February Reply

      Like the author said, methadone can be used to help people in certain scenarios – it is not inherently evil. Unfortunately, it is also frequently abused by addicts and can set certain individuals up for failure when looked at as a long term solution. I am also pleased to announce that the author in question actually has over 3 years of continuous sobriety at this point, without the use of methadone maintenance. There is help for anyone, if they are willing to do the work!

  • Ryan Goodwin
    Posted at 00:07h, 25 May Reply

    Methedone helped me completely and im still on it. Its free for me, and the day i started methadone was the last day i used heroin. Methadone allowed me to establish stability and normacy without any risk. I dont even drink anymore. I just live my life normally like anyone else, i just take methadone (at a low dose, no high)

  • AMC
    Posted at 23:56h, 10 June Reply

    I’m currently on 70mg/day of Methadone, driving a total of 46 miles round-trip for this medicine that not only prevents withdrawal pangs but curbs cravings. This is my 3rd month. I’ve seen a large variety of “patients”/”consumers”; those seeking an Easy Button, the court-mandated, and the few taking full advantage of what the clinic has to offer: group and individual counseling, free rides for those on Medi-Cal/Medicaid, suboxone as an alternative, Free Lunch referrals (bring a friend!). I debated switching to subs, but I’m also searching for a treatment center at the moment, and my doctor told me it would take 7 days to taper down, and then I’d have to go through 3 days of suffering/surviving with no medical assistance, and then finally be able to begin suboxone. Honestly, if I could do it all over, I would do the 21-day methadone treatment. No pain. No sweats. No insomnia. And then be apart of an intensive Outpatient program. Personally, I now feel like methadone is a crutch, maybe even a hinderance in my case, especially in my search for an inpatient treatment center. I have been told most abruptly and in many a-harsh manners, that they do not accept methadone users with any kind of daily dose over 10mg…. It blew me away. That’s in their detox phase of the program… where most people will be detoxing from their DOC (drug-of-choice), I would be detoxing from a drug that has already helped me get off heroin. Thanks, Western Medical Health Care. I have been told by a number of people with personal experiences that methadone was a terrible come-down and beginning sobriety that way compared to going in with the typical heroin wd’s was confusing to every ounce of their logic, knowledge and hair follicles.

    So, my fork in the road has led me to either tapering down off methadone myself (with the help of the clinic of course) or going into one of a very few detox treatment centers that take Methadone users (But I’m not an abuser!) that typically have a hospital setting, and then transfer to a residential rehab that (hopefully) is CARF/JAHCO accredited, and offers evidence-based, dual-diagnosis therapy. Either way, I’m ready for rehab. I’m ready to begin a new life without substances.

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