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Methadone Maintenance

 

Methadone Maintenance During the last days of my most recent run, Methadone maintenance sounded like my only viable route towards ending my thirteen-month long relapse and maybe having a life again.  Before I was kicked out of the New York City apartment I had been sharing for several months due to the discovery of one of my dirty needles in the couch, a family member put me in touch with a second cousin who had been a heroin addict during the 60’s.  The word was that he had been on Methadone for the last thirty-some years.

Considering I was roughly twenty-four hours from being totally broke, homeless, and back home in Los Angeles (and very, very dopesick), a chat with this distant relative seemed like it might be in my best interest.  He knew about my habit before I got to say “hello” and asked if I wanted off the junk.  I replied that I didn’t know.  Because I had been battling with heroin and opiate addiction for the last five years, my verdict was out and no part of me felt that it was worth it.  Even if it was, I was highly skeptical about whether I could stay off of it even if I wanted to.

He asked if I knew about Methadone and the clinics.  Of course I did.  Though I had never tried Methadone before, I was well-aware of what it did and for what purpose.  “You should get on it.  I guarantee your life will get better.  Or you could stay on that other shit and get Hep-C, live on the streets, get arrested, die – you know, that whole scene.”

That settled it.  I found a clinic not far from my place, but they wouldn’t see me until three or four days later, and even then, it would be another day or two after that until they got me good and fixed.  It was decided that I wasn’t going to be sharing that apartment anymore whether on or off Methadone.  New York City would soon be just another place I had lived for a short while and another experience I had poisoned with addiction.  I caught my last train to Harlem and scored my last bun (that’s ten bags of heroin for you West Coasters), said goodbye to my dealer for the last time, and took my last fix of East Coast powder around 4a.m., just an hour or two before my flight took off for Los Angeles.

I never brought myself to a Methadone clinic.  Fortunately, I was able to reflect upon the fifteen months I spent clean nearly a year earlier and remembered how liberated it felt to be free of any sort of chemical bondage, how my life had never been so ideal, and how I had regretfully thrown it all away one dark night in May.  It dawned on me—reappeared even—that I could be clean and that it was likely in my best interest to abstain completely. This is the method by which I achieved the most success and thus there was no reason to not try again.

It would be arrogant of me to assume to know what my life could have looked like had I decided upon Methadone maintenance.  Perhaps it would look very much like it does now or perhaps I would have found myself strung out and desperate on the streets of Los Angeles.  Who knows and who cares.  For some individuals, Methadone maintenance may be the only means possible to save themselves from the junkie lifestyle.

By no means do I intend to promote either total abstinence or maintenance.  There is no perfect blueprint for living.  If someone can create the life he or she wants and achieve a level of happiness or standard of living that suits them—be it through the means of abstinence or maintenance—then let that be a decision only that person alone can make.  I only know what has proven successful for me.

 

By Cameron C.

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Filed under: Addiction, Treatment · Tags: abstinence, addict, Addiction, dope sick, Heroin, Heroin Addiction, maintenance, methadone, Treatment