Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trading One Addiction for we go again

Hello.  I'm back.  I might be back more often.

My son is addicted to methadone.  Somehow, I had a feeling this would happen.  I know, I know... when my son started on this synthetic opiate, I heard all sides of this spectrum.  I heard from addicts who said that methadone is the only way they've been able to function in some sort of "normal".

I had high hopes that methadone would be a bridge to help my son from using heroin, to finding sobriety.

It didn't happen.  My son isn't using heroin. This is a good thing. But, he has to have methadone. He's been tapering down, but now he's about 2/3 down from his dose...and he's hurting.  He wakes up withdrawing.  He's losing weight again.

My son has liquid handcuffs.  Every single morning, he has to drive to the clinic for his dose. The cost is $350.00 per month. My son doesn't make enough money to afford that, so his father pays it. His dad really can't afford it. We stopped paying for it about 9 months ago.

So, my son is at the point where he realizes he wants to go back into rehab.  I need to spend some time doing research, just so I know how to support my son.

From what my son says, methadone is very dangerous to come off. In fact, I've been told it can kill you if it's not done right.  B says he's afraid, yet he wants to be off it.  I've had someone, who went through this, recommend suboxone.  We've already been through that. It didn't work for my son.

What my son really needs is at least 30-days of rehab.  He needs to immerse himself into the program.  B is finally at that point where he is saying that he wants to be truly clean.

I am feeling hopeful, because B and I are very close, now.  We have very deep talks. He doesn't withhold from me.  I've learned to listen a lot more. I try not to give him advice, unless he asks for it.  Most importantly, I'm trying to understand the addict's point of view.  Wow, is that ever complicated!

I feel very thankful that, at my job, I have met a few young adults who have walked in my son's moccasins.  Right now, I'm talking to a mature male who has been through a lot worse than my son-- and he's going to meet with B to explain what's ahead. This person has come off methadone, and he's told me it's really, really hard to do.   I feel that he's a God Send, and may be able to mentor my son.

I wish I could write more-- like the things I've learned about living with an addict. But, I'm on a short break, at work.  I'll write more, later. I've also begun to better understand their behavior, their manipulations.  I'm not expert, by any stretch.

I just feel as though I'd like to be a part of a support group for drug addiction. In particular, I'd like to be someone that a parent can talk to.  I know the pain.  I know the fear.  I also know that, at any time, my son could potentially go right back to that dark place he was once in.

For now, B continues to love his job (though he doesn't make a lot of money).  He is liked at his job, and he always shows up on time. He pays us rent. He's respectful to me, and his step dad.  He's using medical marijuana.  I'm not crazy about it, but at this point I'd rather he's doing that than buying heroin on the street.

If anyone wishes to share their opinion, or even suggestions, about methadone-- please do.

So, I continue to pray for my son.  What B needs to find out is if his insurance will cover the rehab.  This place is EXCELLENT, and he wants to go back there.  B also needs to find out if they rehab center will waive the deductible. My son barely makes enough money to pay rent (and believe me, we charge him a bargain price), his gas money, and car insurance.  He's always broke.

Bottom line-- I am disappointed that the methadone didn't help my son find sobriety.  The clinic said 3-6 months... well over a year later, they keeping increasing and decreasing his doses.   It's a money maker.

'Nuff said.  For now.


Fractalmom said...

Debbie, as I mentioned way back when, they trade letters of the alphabet. Dope for Dose. Their world still revolves around getting it. Like you said, liquid handcuffs.

Rehabs and detox won't take methadone patients until AFTER they have withdrawn.

Methadone clinics are very reluctant to 'wean' their patients off. MMT is BIG BUSINESS $ !!

good luck. My daughter's been on it this time (her 3rd) for 5 years now. The clinic has weaned her down from 120 mg to 90 in 5 years. 90 is a high maintence dose.

GenRxation said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GenRxation said...

From personal experience, I can say that methadone is no good. I went the route of suboxone (which some also disagree with), while my ex-boyfriend (an addict then too) went the route of methadone. Needless to say he's down in Florida still wasted and stumbling and unable to finish his sentences while I'm clean, although it's only approaching a month for me, as my blog reads (I had a relapse a little less than a month ago).

The problem with suboxone is that it's like a safety-net to the user. In other words, I felt that, with suboxone, I could easily go back to using pills/heroin--take "breaks" so to speak--and then hop right back on the suboxone. So long as I had suboxone, I felt I could use because I had an easy way to get off whenever I wanted.

BUT, I don't think I would have been able to last the first three days if not for the relief of suboxone, so it's a tricky predicament.

I'd say, your son has to want to go the "cold turkey" route, and that takes a lot of time and relapses for an addict to come to the realization that this is the best way, although it is the toughest. However, suboxone can be a life-saver if it's use is monitored, preferably at a long term treatment facility where it is only administered in the early stages (3 months MAX...I'd even shoot for one month if it's possible) and the patient is weaned off properly (gradually) with counseling and sober-living/NA attendance.

Like I said, in my situation, suboxone worked but it caused a period of "yo-yo" relapsing, which is common with suboxone. But ultimately, it helps I believe.

Methadone, on the other had, is bad news. Methadone can actually get you high to where you nod (just like any opiate). Suboxone won't do this to a user (although it might to someone who doesn't have a problem with opiates).

The moral of the story: cold turkey is best, but to be realistic, you're son may need pharmaceutical help (depending on how bad his situation is)--and if this is the case, I would recommend suboxone before methadone absolutely.

beachteacher said...

Have you thought about trying Naltrexone or the same in a once per mo. shot form,Vivitrol ? My son's using naltrexone daily (capsule form) and it's covered by our health insurance. The vivitrol isn't covered and I've heard that it can cost $1,000 per shot,...but is supposedly quite effective for many opiate addicts in reducing a craving to use. However, that doesn't help the getting off the methadone initially. I'm sure that's plenty tough. A friend of mine's son was on it for 3 years but is now off it(methadone) totally, after having weaned down gradually. My son is a cocaine addict so it's different,...but the naltrexone seems to really be helping him, without any side effects at all. Good luck. Keep us posted.

Lou said...

My son used suboxone, and he was a hard core, decade long, poly substance abuser. He knew every drug, and what it did or didn't do, and he would not take methadone.

He said everyone he knew abused it or sold it and it was harder to get off than heroin. Just passing on what he said.

I don't know what the above commenter means by yo-yo relapsing. You can do that with anything.

My son got off subox after about 14 months with no problem by weaning off slowly. A good website for all things suboxone is

Barbara said...

This stinks, I am so sorry.

I hope you can find a good solution.

One time when Keven HAD to detox (can't remember why???) A dr. gave us phenobarbitol and instructions on how to keep him calm and pain free enough for him to just stay in bed for three or four days to get the worst of it over. I don't know if that was a good idea or a bad one, but it worked at the time to get through dope sickness. The idea was to switch him to Suboxone at that time but ??? again too long ago to remember details

Dr. Julia Aharonov said...

Debbie, Our clinic offers a drug detox treatment that is basically 100% successful at getting people off their drug addiction. All withdrawal happens while the person is under anesthesia. Please read more about this procedure here.

Cheri said...

Oh, Debby, I'm so sorry. So very sorry. You guys are in our prayers.

I had two sons who got into drug abuse, and it wasn't heroin, which is such a horrible drug. The younger of the two is the one who went to Teen Challenge and has been sober for over five years. In fact, he got married last month.

But the older one ... and I've been trying not to see this ... is still using "something." My dad passed away last Sunday, and yesterday at the memorial service (and last month at his brother's wedding), it was totally obvious that he was high on something.

It hurts, but until he wants to be sober, he won't be. :(

Hang in there,

drug rehab treatment programs said...

My suggestion is that you get more informed about methadone. Methadone is not the solution since it's another opium based drug that would keep him addicted.

It's true that a professional doctor is needed when withdrawing from this drug, but there are some rehabs that work with these doctors and then treat the person successfully without giving more prescribed drugs.

It seems that you and your son are on the right direction since you are looking for the right rehab and he is willing to get help.

MDS Rapid Detox said...

I've treated people in the same exact situation as you. PLEASE ready about this OxyContin Detox . You can forget about any withdrawal.

mumofaddict said...

Hi Debbie. I've just read your posting. We live in NZ and my son Shane was on Methadone for 14yrs. Over those 14yrs he did reduce his Methadone dose down but topped up and abused other meds & drugs to accommodate for the lower Methadone dose. He just couldn't seem to kick the Methadone completely,so finally after many battles he entered a Rehabilitation center. He was only on 40mg Methadone daily upon entry and it took him 4 months in rehab to be completely withdrawn. That was back in Aug 2008 and Shane is still clean today but he credits his sobriety to 1st-wanting to be clean,2nd his luck in getting into a long term rehab. center. We r lucky in NZ, no cost to enter into a rehabilitation center, but long waiting lists. Methadone is wicked stuff to come off and your research is correct, it can be dangerous to withdraw without medical supervision. I feel for your son but he does if possible need to enter a rehab facility and prob for longer than 30 days. Going by Shane Methadone is one of the toughest drugs he's ever had to withdraw from, mentally & physically. Your son having someone that's been thru it will help. I hope your son does gain the sobriety he so desires. The best of luck to you both, especially your son.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Julia and MDX Rapid Detox...Go suck and egg.

Sincerely, Madyson007

Villa Veritas said...

Thank you so much for continuing to share yours and your son's story. We understand just how difficult it is, but are happy to hear that your relationship with your son is growing stronger as he grows stronger in his spiritual health.

Anonymous said...

I'm very interested in your blog. And I am so happy for your son. You have done very a good thing, by sticking with him and trying to understand his point of view. I could not imagine how someone could over come such an overpowering substance if they did not have such a loving and consistent support system. Your story makes me feel hopeful and very happy. I am 23 years old (like your son :). But my story is a litte different than yours. My Mom has been using methadone for the last 6 years. And I have really seen her health deteriorate at a terrifying rate since her use of methadone. I knew that she had been using some kind of pain killer, but I thought that it was something potentially harmless. I had no idea it was something more addictive than heroine even :(. I was staying with her, while away from school for a month, and found about her use of methadone. It was very shocking for me. I confronted her about it, but it was not received well :( I don't know how to talk to her about this now. She's convinced that it's the only way for her. It's so sad to see how much a person can change from dependence on this kind of drug. I want to help her, but lately I have just been trying not to think about it because the situation seems hopeless. I would love to read more about the behavioral tendencies of people who are suffering from this kind of addiction, if you have insight into this. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
<3 Kisuke