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.
Last Updated on September 28, 2022