Citation: Junkielover. "In Loyalty and Detox: An Experience with Methadone (exp44631)". Erowid.org. Jun 30, 2006. erowid.org/exp/44631
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My true love kicked methadone (and opiates for good) after a couple of years being a junkie. I thought it might be helpful to share his/our story of how we did it. I say “we” because he could do this alone. I never have used and never will use opiates, but Spike (who’s name has been changed to protect his identity) regularly injected heroin and cocaine for about a year. He then made the mistake of going to a methadone clinic. While still shooting H, he was on 80mg of methadone a day, for almost a year. Finally, he confessed his undying love to me, stopped shooting and decided to give up all drugs including methadone. So he stopped going to the clinic. Rehab was out of the question for Spike. I prepared my room for him so that he could detox at home. We had both quit our jobs and used up all of our savings to buy drugs, vitamins, food, juice, etc. After 90 days of hell, he was pain free. It was not easy, but here we are. And this is the story (the short version) of how we did it.
SECTION ONE: OPIATES
Spike’s plan was to expose himself to a small amount of opiates everyday for a couple of weeks and then gradually reduce that amount. For short periods of time, we did not have access to opiate pills. During those times, he purchased one or two bags of heroin and sniffed a pin-size amount. One bag could last him 5 or more days. (Injection of drugs was out of the question.) We estimated that about half a bag of H was equivalent to 30mg of Vicodin… roughly.) Spike’s tolerance was much lower, having been away from methadone, so he was being careful to use the smallest effective amount of any opiate.
He did not get high when he used opiates. He used just enough to take away or reduce the pain he felt. I must also mention that I never left Spike’s side. We were together every second for those 90 days of hell. Spike was not interested in any institution so I was his nurse. I kept a detailed journal of every substance he took with notes on how he felt. On my journal page, I broke the day up into four sections.
If he was allowed a total of 6 Vicodin pills that day, he’d take 1 upon waking up (at 10am), ½ at lunch time, 1½ at dinner time and then he’d have 3 to take any time before bed. He’d take 2 of those three, lie down in hopes of sleeping the night and eventually take the last one in the middle of the night after waking up in pain. Finally, the next day would come and it started all over. His dose for the new day was to be taken no earlier than 10am. He did not do much of anything else but sleep (or try to) for the first month and a half. However, he had reduced his opiate intake down to 2 Vicodin pills a day and eventually 0. Unfortunately, every day felt like “day 4” (of a cold turkey detox) and he only really felt relief from the opiates for the first hour after taking them. Then it was pain all over again. This means that there was NOT ONE DAY out of all three months, where he didn’t feel pain and sickness. His symptoms were all of the worst ones… unbearable leg pain, body aches, flu-like symptoms, weakness, the shits, sleeplessness, kicking, hot flashes, cold sweats, etc. He took lots of naps.
I don’t mean to make this sound easy. It wasn’t easy, but Spike is incredibly strong physically and mentally. I wanted to see AT LEAST 4 hours between Vicodin doses, so I had to distract him, get him to take a nap, sit on his legs, put in a movie, get him to do something online… anything. By the end of that first month, he was only taking opiates before bedtime.
SECTION TWO: SLEEP AIDS/SEDATIVES
Valium (without alcohol) was also used but only to help him sleep. It did nothing for pain. I would give him a couple of Valiums if he was craving his opiate dose too soon or if it was the middle of the night and he had run out of his daily allowed amount of opiates. All Valium did was knock him out. We later discovered an over-the-counter supplement called Melatonin that worked just as well or better, to knock him out for a the whole night.
A good friend gave us a few Throrazine pills. When Spike took one, his pain was dramatically reduced. However, he was an immobile drooling couch potato while on it. Also, he could not take Thorazine if he planned to take opiates or any other drugs or if he planned to drive anywhere [Erowid Note:
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
. Thorazine basically just shuts the brain off. So long as it was in his system, his brain would not respond to other substances.
SECTION THREE: VITAMINS
Immediately after discovering a website (sometime during month 2) I started giving Spike vitamins for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I gave him twice or 3 times the amount recommended on the label. Here is the list…
Spike and I believe that the Muli-Vitamin, the SAM-e, the Flaxseed Oil and the CoQ10 were among the most important vitamins to take. We also believe that these vitamins reduced cravings for nicotine. I tried to make sure he never skipped a protein shake. We spent roughly 250 dollars a month on vitamins, juice and food.
SECTION FOUR: SUPERMARKET & HEALTH FOOD STORE
Spike’s only exercise was getting out to the supermarket to pick up our foods and/or vitamins once a week. He had NO APPETITE so I insisted that he drink at least 3 Ensure drinks every day. I also insisted that he drink lots of cranberry juice, prune juice or apple juice (pure, not cocktails). Sometimes we picked up Hi-Anti-oxidant V-8. I got him to smoke pot on occasion, which would induce an appetite. By the third month, Spike was taking ONLY vitamins. His leg pain was still pretty severe, but he could feel his energy slowly coming back.
SECTION FIVE: ILLEGAL DRUGS
By the middle of month two, while no longer using opiates, Spike’s cravings were the worst. So, I allowed him to sniff cocaine on occasion when his opiate cravings were particularly vicious. During month two, he was very good about only using coke once or twice a week. It made his leg pain go away and made him feel almost well. It was the ONLY thing that made him feel somewhat normal.
When Spike used coke, he drank 2 or 3 Ensure shakes after his “crash” to repair the damage done. If I felt that he had used too much cocaine, I would insist that he take Valium (not Opiates) to bring down his heart rate. When he took a Valium, he was done with coke for the night. Throughout most of month three, he used coke almost every day. If coke was not attainable, Adderal or any amphetamine would do. Still, coke was his favorite.
I would not let his illegal drug use become an on-going thing. Plus, I didn’t want him OD-ing. These stimulants would temporarily relieve pain and give him energy, but or course, he felt horrible when they wore off. When he drank lots of water, his crash was not as bad, but I do believe that using coke and/or amphetamines delayed the process of healing his body. I insisted that he take breaks when it came to illegal drugs. I also made sure to give him lots of water, protein drinks and/or eggs after waking up from a night of coke use.
SECTION SIX: LEGAL SUBSTANCES
One legal supplement we found to be effective in reducing pain was a vitamin called “Scorpion Bite Of Energy.” They are like Stackers, but they have different ingredients. The label says not to exceed 4 pills in one day so he took only 4 per day, for 7 days. They noticeably helped the leg pain subside for a couple of hours and gave him a little bit more energy.
SECTION SEVEN: FOOD
Appetite was low, but when he did eat something, this is what he ate.
Protein Drinks or Ensure
Fruit (GRAPES, Strawberries, etc.)
Avacado (a great energy booster)
V-8 (Hi-Anti-oxidant formula)
Pasta w/ Garlic
Veggies (Beets, Spinach, Broccoli)
White Castle (only once a week or less often)
Chili (or anything SPICY)
Tea, Coffee or Redbull
No ALCOHOL… it lowers inhibitions and makes cravings unbearable.
SECTION EIGHT: LEG PAIN
Maximum Strength FLEXALL worked well, sometimes. Other times, I spent a good amount of time sitting on his legs, gently bouncing up and down on them when the pain was severe. He felt some relief from this. I suppose he appreciated the heat and pressure my body produced. I’d get tired after about 20 minutes though. Otherwise, I’d rub his legs with my hands, but that was also tiring.
SECTION NINE: SUPPORT
Throughout the detox, I did my best to keep Spike distracted from the pain by watching LONG movies like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. He also spent a lot of time on-line doing research for his detox. When he kept busy, he didn’t seem to notice the pain as much. Here is a list of activities we did together.
Go to the Library or bookstore/cafe
Surf the net
Read books, comics, porn, whatever.
Drawing, Cartooning, Journaling
Going to the Supermarket or Costco
Conversation (ex. Science & Religion)
Making CD mixes
Cooking & Cleaning (oh wait, that was all me, not Spike.)
Jewelry & Costume making
Cravings to “shoot up” tended to be infrequent but severe. Cravings were especially strong if/when he drank alcohol so we decided early on, to avoid using alcohol. I hid the keys to his car when he was getting bad cravings. I’d sit on his legs, pin his arms down and scream at his face, telling him how much I loved him. We both suffered a lot, we did drugs, we did vitamins and we did a lot of screaming and crying. We did whatever it took to get him through methadone detox. Today, Spike is alive and clean and he is the ONLY person I know to have ever overcome an opiate addiction.
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