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I'll NEVER use needles...
I'll only do it twice a week...
That was me a year ago.
I've now been on Methadone for almost a year. As of January 27th, 2013 I will have been clean of Opiate addiction for an entire year. How did I possibly get to that point...?
About three years ago I was selling Ecstasy, along with Marijuana and Psilocybin Mushrooms. One day a customer of mine didn't have any money, but he said "Well man... I've got percocet... could I give you like... 15 of those for a couple E pills?" Having been curious about opiates for the past year by this point, I looked them up online to make sure the pills he gave me were actually Percocet; and then the deal was done. I got about $150 worth of Percocet for $60 worth of Ecstasy (in my area it was really expensive at the time, and my shit was the BOMB).
My girlfriend (who is now my Wife) and I went upstairs, turned off the lights, laid in bed and I turned on Bush's first album Sixteen Stone. We both had a Coke and we popped two pills each. As time went on we started feeling the drugs kick in. We looked at each other and said "this is what we've been looking for all these years... this is the ultimate drug of all drugs..." After that we popped another two each. So at this point we both had consumed about 30mg of Oxycodone (since the pills were 7.5mg/500mg Oxycodone/Acetaminophen). As we started drifting farther and farther inside our own heads we both realized that we needed to make sure we had a hookup for this for the foreseeable future for those Opiate induced weekends that de-stress you a hell of a lot more than an alcohol binge. About an hour or so later (I had NO perception of time at this point, the only thing I could really judge by was the length of the albums I had gone through, and at this point we had switched to Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson) we popped the last three and a half pills each and decided we would lie there until we fell asleep some-6-hours-later.
After this night we ended up getting Percocet from that kid a couple more times until we found out that he had been stealing his Mother's prescription to pay for his Ecstasy. I was pretty infuriated that the kid would do something like that when his Mom had just had surgery of some kind. Anyways, fast forward about three months of us doing Codeine cold water extractions from Tylenol 1 tablets and trying our hardest to find a hookup for pills through somebody we knew so we wouldn't have to head downtown where all the junkies live. At the time, I was frightened of that prospect, although months later, that's exactly where I would be heading to get fixed up every once in awhile. One day our pot dealer stayed around to talk to my Wife for a bit because they had developed a bit of a friendship by this point. Our pot dealer was a female and she had a car so we always got our stuff delivered which I don't have to tell you, is good and bad at the same time when it involves Opiates. My Wife was talking to her and happened to mention that we had been trying to find Opiates for months and we only managed to get hooked up through one of my friends a couple times but could NEVER find Percocet. All of a sudden our dealer grew wings and a halo formed over her head (at least in my mind) and she said "well... I don't have Percocet, but I sell OxyContin which as I'm sure you know is the same thing, only better". I looked at my Wife as she looked back at me at the same time and our eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning. In fact, I believe I mentioned that exact same thing after she left. The girl said "I don't keep them on me unless I'm heading over to someone else's place to deal to them after, but if you want I'll head home and come back with a couple pills. You interested?" I replied "HELL YES I'M INTERESTED... only problem is we have to hit the bank first..." "OK Well you guys just come with me and I'll stop at the bank for you, and then we can head to my place and then I'll bring you back home."
This girl became our one and only Oxy dealer who we went to for two years. She lived about a two minute drive away so it was way too easy to get it, especially since I also had a car at the time and could pick it up if it was absolutely required. For a year I worked at a GM plant in the weld shop on the production line making the Equinox and Terrain. Every single weekend I would use about $200 and buy 4 pills (they were usually a whopping $50 each, not $20 like a lot of people I know from the States...) and eventually the price went up to $60. Luckily for the first year we were only doing the pills on the weekend. We'd crush them up and sprinkle them on top of pop or juice in a shot glass and down it as quick as possible. This was our ritual until a couple weeks before I went to College for the second time at a private College for Audio Recording Technology.
About two and a half weeks prior to my intro-day at my school where we went in for the first half of the day to meet all the teachers and get some of the class materials etc. we had ordered a box of Insulin syringes. 1cc 27 gauge Monoject's were our very first box, until I started just walking down to a local pharmacy and picking up the cheaper and better (due to the needle being longer) 1cc 27 gauge BD needles. The first Sunday after I had stopped working at the factory, it was our first day to finally try shooting our OxyContin. We watched a couple videos on YouTube and read various sites to learn how to prep the drug for injection and to learn how to actually inject the drug. We grabbed one of my belts to use as a tourniquet and I turned on the song Tourniquet by Marilyn Manson from his 1996 album Antichrist Superstar to begin our journey into shooting drugs. My hands have always been incredibly shaky so I had to have my Wife shoot me up; and she managed to do a pretty good job for being our first time ever doing this.
I immediately learned why shooting up is so ritualized and why you get addicted to the needle itself pretty quickly. When you are watching the needle go into the vein, and you pull the plunger back to see if you've hit the vein, a plume of blood shoots into the beautiful clear liquid that's about to get you high. Every time you do this it feels unbelievable itself because in your head you're saying "SUCCESS! TIME TO GET HIGH!" and there's nothing more satisfying than that, aside from the actual high itself. After all the liquid was plunged into my vein, I felt something that I had been striving for for years with my constant experimentations with drugs. I originally thought MDMA (the most common active chemical in Ecstasy that gives you the feeling of loving everything in the world) was the be-all-end-all of drugs and that I would be doing that once every other week. I'm not an outgoing partier though, I'm a very secluded and depressive person who generally likes only being with one or two people at the most. So the absolute nullification of your entire mind and body coupled with the intense euphoria you get from Opiates was what made me keep coming back for more.
This was when the addiction started though, we had no problems not doing the drug more than just the weekends up until this point. Since I was home and doing nothing for almost three weeks, I had all the time in the world to get blasted out of my mind and nod out into non-existence every single day. Unfortunately this was when I realized I had REALLY fucked up. After doing OxyContin for about eight to ten days straight, I started to notice that I was getting extremely sick on the eleventh day when I no longer had any drugs. I knew withdrawal was a serious issue, but I thought that a few weeks of binging and then going back to being a weekend opiate user would've been fine. Boy was I ever wrong.
My Wife and I tried going without the drug for that one day, and by the time we had to try and sleep, we were so incredibly uncomfortable and sick feeling that there was no other option than to buy another pill. We luckily didn't have too much of an issue maintaining our once a day high between around 5pm - 10pm where we would shoot up and then sleep perfectly fine and have no issues throughout the day, up until we needed our fix again around the evening time. We still kept getting just as high as the day before for months and months until we really started to run out of money. I had spent about $35,000 on OxyContin by this point, I was as far in debt on my credit as I possibly could be; my bank account was at the negative, and my Wife was literally making enough money to pay rent and have one pill for us each day of the week. Our roommate really caused problems though because he would always offer to buy a few pills on the weekend so he could join us. This of course causes your tolerance to raise a bit on the weekend so the high isn't as good until later in the week, and you start to crave more than the one pill a day. Eventually we were completely unable to afford any more pills because I had gotten in an accident with my car (no, I wasn't under the influence and drugs were not the reason for the accident) so I now had to pay for a bus pass every month, which isn't cheap (although cheaper than gas and insurance... not sure how I afforded that shit while doing drugs). My wife also had an issue where her student loans finally went to a collection agency, so we were basically fucked at this point.
With no money, no drugs, no car, and I was flunking out of my INCREDIBLY expensive school; we were both at the point of almost killing ourselves. We were so close to killing ourselves that we went to emerge to try and get admitted to the hospital so we DIDN'T kill ourselves. They wouldn't even take us seriously though and sent us home with some bullshit prescription that's supposed to "curtail" the withdrawal effects. But yeah fuckin-right; nothing curtails the effects of withdrawal other than 100 Imodium pills. This is where we finally went downtown and walked into the Methadone clinic in our city and said "we need help... badly..." This caused us another problem though, they require two weeks before they will accept you into the clinic. By that time we would be completely clean, or dead from suicide. The latter choice would've likely been the case from how incredibly down we were at the time. I finally fessed up to my Dad who had been paying for my schooling until I was finished and had a job to pay him back. I wrote out a long letter so I could read it without completely losing my train of thought and concentration while talking to him on the phone.
While reading this letter it didn't take me long to start balling my eyes out, trying my best to read through my tears streaming down my face and pooling in my eyes. Trying my best to explain that I had to drop out of school and get myself clean, and that my Wife had to do the same thing, but with her job. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to admit in my life. I was basically admitting that I had hit the absolute rock bottom and was a complete failure in my life. I certainly have many reasons to use drugs due to an extremely abusive childhood, along with the death of my Mother at the age of 5 and many other things that ate at me every single day of my life and still do. It's even hard writing this all down because I haven't really thought about how difficult of a time I had when I first started getting myself clean... but it has been a world of difference believe me.
I started on the Methadone program on January 27th, 2012. I started at 20mg of Methadone (1mg/ml since it's actually a liquid) which is the default starting dose for everybody, and progressively I went up 5mg a week until I stopped at my current dose of 70mg. I started out downstairs like everybody does, pissing in a cup twice a week, for me it was Tuesday and Friday. You see a doctor who analyses you and checks your blood pressure and other vitals when he raises your dose. During this time you are hauling your ass to the clinic every single morning to get your dose, from between 8am - 6pm (or 7pm if it's Thursday for whatever reason). After three months (approx.) of being completely clean and having no issues on your record (which is INCREDIBLY rare for anybody) you get to go upstairs where you start getting 'carries' which are the carry-home doses so you don't have to go to the clinic every single morning. After three months I was already going upstairs, I cleaned up my act immediately. I really never felt I NEEDED the drug in a psychological sense, it was strictly the withdrawals that forced me to get high every single day. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy getting high every single day, I used to smoke weed on a daily basis from grade 12 until I started using Opiates. Last time I used pot was about a year and a half or two years ago now because it started making me have a panic attack every single time I smoked it, and I would be very uncomfortable for hours until the high was completely gone. Anyway back to the Methadone. Once upstairs you see one doctor once a week instead of two different doctors on two different days. That alone is great, but on top of that you start out with two carries so you don't have to come to the clinic for two days of the week as well. Another huge plus. Both my wife and I were completely clean, but for her she had two false positive tests where Ritalin (of all things!!) showed up in her urine so they were iffy about sending her upstairs until a whole two MONTHS after I had been up there.
After two weeks of the doctor getting to know me, he saw that I really was completely and entirely dedicated to recovery, so he gave me another carry. I already had my six carries within only three more months. I also must mention, they don't give you seven carries since you have to go in to do the urine test once a week still, so they figure you might as well get your dose while you're there. It's kind of a hassle because the line for getting your dose can be quite long, but you have to wait in it to get the carries as well, so it really makes no difference. Now it's been almost a year of being on Methadone, and I've only done opiates three times since then to see if I really can control my use. I have had no issue with use, and I could easily still do it as a recreational drug considering how much of a load of shit I went through being an addict. I don't keep myself around people who sell or do it, so it's hard to come by anyway. I actually don't even have the urge to do it ever either. I will want to pop a few Percocet or an Oxy every once in awhile, but OxyContin was banned in Canada only two months after we got on Methadone (THANK GOD!!!) and we had tried every single opiate from Codeine to Heroin to Hydromorphone etc. and nothing compared to OxyContin to us. The only time out of the three times using in the past year that we actually enjoyed was when we had about five Percocet each (they were the 5mg/375mg Oxycodone/Acetaminophen ones so not as strong as the first time we tried them) and that was a very nice relaxing high; but I didn't feel like I immediately needed to go out and buy a whole bottle the next day.
To conclude this entry though, I just figured I would share my shortened story with whoever may read it and might have gone through the same thing, or have a friend/relative etc. who is/has gone through the same thing as well. I know a lot of people who are stuck using Methadone, and then they get off it and relapse, and they go right back on Methadone over and over again, but I hope there's people like my Wife and I who can get themselves clean and be able to be a normal person again using drugs that they find improve their livelihood without getting addicted to them all over again. I also must add, of the three times using Opiates again, the other two times were using needles again, and I certainly loved that ritual again, but like with the Percocet, we had no problem putting the needle away and not even thinking about it for weeks.
For anybody who thinks they have no way out, and for people who think Methadone is so bad because of a lot of the negative claims made about it (and a lot of them are completely false) I really would suggest giving Methadone a chance. It has helped me deal with my addiction and allow me to have the time to get into therapy and try and alter my behaviour so I can avoid the triggers of the intense stresses that lead to the addiction in the first place.
Good luck to all who are in recovery! If anybody wants to send me a message or an e-mail, feel free. I would love to talk to anybody who has questions about the Methadone program, or anything Opiate/Recovery related. I'd love to be a help to anybody who needs it. Even if you are trying to shoot up for your first time and need to know tips on how to do it to make sure you don't kill yourself or end up needing to chop off a limb, I'd much rather answer your questions so you avoid any of those problems. I very much advocate the belief that a person of the age of majority in their country should be able to do what they want in the privacy of their home. I would love to be able to grow Opium in my garden so I could smoke some every now and then. But aside from that, I don't condemn people for their choices. Sure I could say "NO DON'T SHOOT THAT SHIT, IT'S ADDICTIVE, LISTEN TO MY STORY" but I didn't listen to people's advice when I was asking my questions on forums; unless it was advice related to my topic of course. Condemnation just makes people feel outcast and makes them want to use that much more. If they would just make drugs legal and teach proper use, proper drug etiquette and control the drugs like Heroin so people are killing themselves from cutting agents; and also teach people how to dose properly to make sure they aren't overdosing and killing themselves from that as well, we would see a major drop in drug related deaths and also see a major reduction in crime due to smuggling/manufacturing and cartels for drugs such as Cocaine, Methamphetamine and Heroin. But hey, it'll never happen in my lifetime. I might just move to Columbia, they've decriminalized Pot and Cocaine, who knows, maybe Heroin will be next!
- Andrew Morritt