Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Stop Now?

Someone wrote to me asking me why my husband is detoxing from methadone if the methadone maintenance program had been working for him, and I thought I'd answer here.

First of all, I'm not sure what made him decide to detox so suddenly, not being him. I can tell you what he's said, though...

He has felt like a slave to the clinic for a while now, and he wants freedom. He can't take care of a lot of problems, such as a legal issue that's lurking out there for him, because being able to get to the methadone clinic has been his first priority for a long time. Every time he's had a little money, he's taken it to the clinic before anything else...before paying his bills, before buying groceries, before buying himself something nice. He says he wants to be able to be financially responsible, and freeing up the $300 a month that he's feeding to the methadone clinic will help.

He says he doesn't feel as creative or as emotional as he used to, which changes the way that he sees himself. He wants to be creative again, and he thinks that his drug use has stemmed that.

He says he feels like he's gotten as much out of methadone as he could. It helped him to get a little more stable for the time he was on it, and while it was a great catalyst, it's a dead end now.

He says he wanted to be free from drugs, all drugs, for a long time, and that the only reason he hasn't quit methadone before is because he knew it would be hard. He says that something being hard isn't a good enough reason not to do it if it's the right thing to do.

He says that he's not been able to feel comfortable going to N.A. meetings while he was taking methadone, and he'd like to get serious about the program. He'd like to change his life thoroughly, and not just skim over the surface.

So I think what he's saying is that the methadone maintenance program is not working for him right now. It was a tool for him, a step along the way, but it's served its purpose, and he's ready to move on. He thinks that methadone is a great resource for people getting off of opiates, and I agree. I also agree with him that it's probably not been working for him for some time, and I'm glad he's making the choices that he's made.

And in the end, I don't know. Everything he's saying could be a big fat sack of horseshit. I've been on this roller coaster long enough to know better than to hang on his every word. He could be coming off methadone because he wants to be able to get high again. He could be high right now for all I know...I try not to invest too much of myself in his recovery.

However, this seems different. He's saying things that seem so much more authentic, and he seems to have his head in a really good place. I am grateful for the progress he's making, and I hope that it sticks.

This morning, he was talking about the anxious, sad feelings he has. He says the mornings are the worst time of the day for him right now, but he had a realization today. The feelings that he's facing are what he's asking for. He said it's what he wants back in his life--the ability to feel, and to feel deeply. He said that he's been hiding from feelings for a long time, and so there are going to be some shitty feelings that he'll have to sort through...but that he wants it, and he knows he'll have to get through the rough part to get to the good.

That's right! He said that! Out loud! I didn't say it first for him to repeat back to me. I'd never even thought of that was him! To me, these little realizations and little steps that he's taking towards a healthier future are really big. I'm so proud of him today.