5 Years Ago: Methadone Me, Recovery and Pastures New

” All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another!”

Anatole France 1881

I’d found the perfect place for my home based rehabilitation and detox, far from others, surrounded by nature and the elements, a perfect environment for me, and my dog Charlie. I’d become tired of heroin life, it had served a purpose but I was aware things needed to change, I wanted change, I wanted to feel like I was living again. I’d been resistant to taking methadone, had heard lots of false wisdom, that it rotted your teeth, it turned your bones green, that it was harder to give up than heroin and the drug service only wanted you on it to control you. None of which are true of course, but when I was using I subscribed to the idea because it allowed me to keep using heroin, which is what I wanted, even if I told recovery workers the opposite.

I had educated myself around opiates and tolerance, and when I was using heroin I wouldn’t use methadone, when I wasn’t using heroin I would use methadone, but this was only on days leading up to drugs tests and when away from home on holiday or escorting with clients. When I stopped using heroin I started taking methadone properly and soon realised there was nothing to fear, it did what was required, and in some ways methadone helped my mental health, more so than heroin because it was more stable. It seemed to alleviate depression and anxiety, it also left me in a motivated state and was perfect for setting myself up in preparation for withdrawal and detox. I’m grateful to the recovery worker who explored my concerns about it and helped me to be open to the idea as I’d managed to stay away from drugs services by surviving on heroin and it was only an acute illness and near death experience that led me to explore options with the drug service, which did, eventually help.

It helped because I was willing to let it, because I’d finally resolved my ambivalence about giving up heroin and was motivated by values of importance. Once the decision is clear there are options to support change, having confidence in my ability to change was vital, and it was necessary for me to be mindful of this and validate my ability daily with the smallest of things, just to show I was trying and progressing. My journals were a necessary companion and allowed me to trace in intricate detail the daily efforts of body, mind and spirit.

August 2015

I made myself go to Morvah Pasty Day last night, they had bands in a tent in the field next to Morvah Church. Lots of local folk and some tourists too. Me and Charlie shared a hot dog, well two in fact, we sat on the stone wall and looked over to the rough moorland that rises upwards to the carn, almost like the tors on Dartmoor but smaller. It does feel very moor like here, secluded farmsteads and remote houses and cottages. The landscape is desolate and bleak when the sea mist creeps in, a certain eerie creepiness, not scary, just atmospheric. People here can’t help but be in touch with the elements, you have to embrace it and make it work for you, like the farmers and fisherman and so forth. It was nice to see community spirit in action, a group of lady dancers were warming up, dressed in white, whirling about. Kids were running all over the place, laughing, smiling, people just enjoying themselves and being jolly. It made me smile to myself.

Forcing myself to do stuff is good, I’ve been trapped away in my own world for so long with nothing much to say or share. I was so numb and vacant at times, driven by anxiety and hope, ever fearful of the impending doom that I thought I’d have to face if the trial didn’t go my way. Still so thankful for that one, pleased I didn’t have to face that.

Got up early this morning, the new routine is going good, and no thoughts about wanting to use now, it feels like a different life, like a weird dream. I could kick myself for wasting so much time on it but I guess it wasn’t a waste really, I mean for all I know I would’ve topped myself without heroin. I was pretty impulsive and over-emotional, to put it lightly, can’t help but smirk writing that! Very sensitive and at times incredibly irrational and self-centred. Loosing Tobias, loosing Joel, loosing my whole identity was a good thing, it wasn’t really mine anyway! I was such a mess, the losses taught me the most, the things that really mattered.

When I was in St Just earlier it started to pour down so me and Charlie dashed to The Star Inn, I was a little hesitant but just went for it. I was greeted by a friendly landlord who seemed a proper local, aged about fifty I guess, there were a couple of older gents sat at the bar, some tourists who were camping nearby and in need of warmth and a cider. I managed to get in a conversation about the documentary called A Very British Brothel. I expressed my views although I didn’t say how I’d come to be so enlightened!!! The landlord said he’d seen many brothels and sex clubs in Spain and didn’t see the harm in proper places with ladies who are happy to do it as a choice. The more it’s out in the open the less likely people will get dragged into the seedy underworld aspect. For some it is a choice, and they’re happy to do it, some make real success at it. I met other escorts who’d earnt a great deal and used it to set up property development companies, another used it to finance a small business, another to pay for university. When I did it there were times it was a choice but once I had a habit things did change and sometimes I was forcing myself to do it, that wasn’t nice.

I’m sticking with my two walks a day and often walk for a couple of hours each time, I’m making a record of my walks so I can plan new ones. I’m making myself eat three meals a day, making sure to eat lots of protein to help build muscle strength, need to build up a bit before I start withdrawal, and if I can get my body used to routine meals it’ll be easier to maintain during detox. I’m listening to music, having funny little dance moments, singing. Heard from Marcel, he’s back off to sea soon and should be quite busy for next month with fishing which is great, hopefully he can keep it together too, I just want him to be ok.

“To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet”

Charles Caleb Colton 1825

I hope you’ve enjoyed this piece, I will be keeping this blog as open access, as the people who it may help the most may not be in a position to manage subscription or payment. If you’d like to support my creative work and the continuation of this blog please contribute, all support is most appreciated. Do sign up to my email list at the bottom for a weekly email and update, always happy to connect, thanks for popping by.

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