So what is it that ails America ? That’s right folks I’m taking on the big dogs this week, it appears my series on replacement therapy fell flat (I thought it was good) so I must move on! As I see it, and I’m not alone we have lost our sense of community, it’s become dog eat dog and he who has the most toys wins! How many disasters does it take for us to realize our focus is in the wrong direction. As we watch another episode of cribs and talk about ” if only”! If only I had that job, if only I had that car, if only I had that house, then I’d be happy. If things made us happy no rock star would ever kill himself!! So you ask me, do you know the key to happiness mr smarty pants ? my answer is this, I know what makes me happy. I’m at my best when I’m serving others, an altruistic lifestyle is wired into us and nothing can give me more satisfaction then seeing a grateful smile in return for my help. On Sunday we go to church and we call one another sister and brother and we sit next to people of a different color and we nod our head vigorously when the preacher tells us to love one another. We talk to our fellow parishioners and we agree something needs to be done and we ask what would Jesus do? Ill tell ya what folks, I don’t know what Jesus would do but I can bet he wouldn’t walk out of church , go home and beat his kids, cheat on his wife and report to work on Monday morning ready to take over smaller companies, fire people with family problems and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t spend Monday through Saturday separating himself from his fellow man. Now I know not everyone beats their kids or cheats on their spouse I’m just giving a extreme example of bad behavior. My point is we need, I need ,to carry the sense of community and love for my fellow man throughout my week. I don’t know how to change the world but I do know how to change my world! Have a great week my friends!!!
So lets talk about withdrawal for just a moment, I can tell you from experience that it is by far one of the worst feelings in the world and not only because of the physical symptoms but the whole ride is pure hell. Lets start at 16 hours after your last shot of heroin, if it was of high quality you should be feeling the beginnings of withdrawal. At this point , the physical part is bearable but the mental part is severe. You know that sickness is coming and your brain is going crazy, your trying to think of every possible way to stop it. The impending pain is almost worse then the actual sickness and its really bad when you’re in a jail cell and you know you can’t get to an opiate! At 24 hours you’re in full withdrawal, you’re eyes water, your muscles cramp, nausea and diarrhea set in everything that can hurt does, you’re irritable , shaking and vomiting. There’s no sleep and no escape from it, I heard one girl say its like having a thousand bugs on me and a thousand snakes in me, and this is the beginning these feelings will intensify over the next 48 hours till you feel like you’re losing your mind. Depending on how much you use dictates how long this last but most improve in about five days with insomnia sticking around for a few weeks
Now the normal person may ask, why would you return to the drug after going through all that? The truth is, that’s addiction and it is a disease, an insidious disease where the addict, without treatment will return to over and over for reasons he doesn’t understand. For the sake of argument lets say he kicked cold turkey and did a thirty day inpatient program. Now they say ok go home , get a sponsor, make your meetings , work the steps and get better. He goes out the door with the best of intensions but his”friend”picks him up and and tells him, ” man you did great, just don’t do it everyday and by the way I have some really good shit” his addict brain goes right to work and he starts justifying his actions and diminishing his addiction. ” yes I let it get out of control but if I don’t use three days in a row ill be fine” or ” I’ve been good I deserve to get high” and my all time favorite ” well I’ll get high today but tomorrow I’m back on track” these are the lies we tell ourselves and this is how junkies overdose. They try to do the same amount they did before going to detox and their tolerance is down or they mix it with alcohol or benzos which is by far the quickest way to overdose.
So it’s not a bad idea to detox with Methadone or Suboxone for the opiate addicted even if he doesn’t have years of addiction in his background . It’s just safer and a more stable introduction to sobriety, to those who say that you are trading one addiction for another certainly have a point but don’t you think a slow taper from addiction is better then an overdose? Again this is just my opinion but the numbers are overwhelming but first we need to remove the stigma of methadone . Many who take methadone don’t go to meetings because the traditional 12 steppers are so quick to pass judgement on them. They will tell you in no uncertain terms ” you’re not really clean” but yet they are supposed to be there helping others and leading an altruistic lifestyle but I guess that only applies if your doing things the way they do them or the way they tell you to do them. Doesn’t sound altruistic or spiritual when you look at it on paper now does it?
Please don’t hit me with ” this is a program of abstinence ” or that the literature says this or that. I’ve read the literature and worked the steps and they are both guides to lead an alcoholic/addict to a spiritual awakening by altruistic living coupled with continued self evaluation. The program is the addicted helping the addicted and that’s the key, that’s the magic and that’s God at work. If we continue to ostracize those who recover using medicine we do a great injustice to them and stifle our spiritual growth in the process. We must do more then admit we are powerless over our addiction and that our lives are unmanageable. We must admit that there’s more then one way to recover and that there’s no one answer to dealing with the addict. Our stories are similar and yes that’s the common ground we all stand on and the ties that bind should be greater then those that would tear us apart but tolerance ,understanding and acceptance shouldn’t be words reserved for those who agree with us it should be across the board for all!
I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel or rewrite the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous or the basic text of narcotics anonymous , I just want the people in those great organizations to be a little more open-minded. While I recognize that we all got to the rooms because of our common problem our roads there are vastly different. Lets stay there with a continued goal to lead a productive life helping one another and searching our soul to reach out to others even if someone doesnt recover the same way you do. We can choose our own God but not our own method of recovery, that seems ridiculous to me but that’s my opinion. I guess you have to look inside yourself, you have read the research you have read my opinion but ultimately it comes down to you, will you open your mind and agree there’s more then one way to recover or is total abstinence the only way? Are you standing on spiritual principles with that mindset? Search yourself because I’m sure you’ll agree that continued evaluation is crucial to recovery.
I love a good western, even a bad western is better then most shows today so when I seen Tombstone coming on this morning at 4 am, well I had to watch it again. My favorite character in that movie is played brilliantly by Val Kilmer who in my opinion is one of the best actors of this generation. When he’s explaining Johnny Ringo to Wyatt Earp, he says that Johnny is a man with a hole through him and he can’t kill enough or steal enough to ever fill that hole. I feel the same way about my addiction, I certainly couldn’t get enough heroin and while it seemed I didn’t care about others , thier pain only increased the size of the hole in me. I attempted to fill it with more drugs, more sex, more whiskey but the hole remained. It wasnt till I went to detox and in that dirty little building I hit my knees and ask God to either kill me or cure me, that I felt that hole close just a little . With lots of hard work, many tears and honest introspection the hole seemed to close more and more. By reaching out to others I filled that hole completely. Some say religion, N.A. And A.A. Are for those who need a crutch, that my altruistic lifestyle is just a front for my true intensions. My true intensions are to get another day clean, I stay clean by helping others like me by taking phone calls at three a.m. When I’d rather be sleeping. I need Jesus simply because I’m a sinner and if that’s a crutch, then I’m your huckleberry !