Thursday, 3 March 2011

Long Overdue Update!

I've been crap at posing recently, all my energy is going into staying clean right now..!

Its been six weeks I think now? Every day drags, I'm still not sleeping properly, I'm consumed 24/7 thinking about heroin..
I've actually ordered some more Ibogaine, it helps with the cravings, when your on Ibo the last thing on your mind is heroin. I've been going to the obligatory NA meetings, I forgot how elitist and judgemental the people can be!

I sit in them and inevitably feel like I'm going to have a panic attack, gripped with fear, wanting to 'share' but the words won't come out.
It keeps me busy though, gives me a focus and something to do every day.

Unfortunately heroin addiction is a 'chronic relapsing disease' and is incredibly hard to get off and stay off. Although I definitely feel a difference this time to the last time I cleaned up.

Last time I was so determined, I stopped using altogether and tapered off methadone over the next two years!
I had used heroin and methadone for ten years at that point and technically I should have suffered with PAWS. I actually hadn't heard of PAWS then though so maybe that had something to do with it.

I didn't get PAWS, the only symptom I had was severe depression and I'm talking suicidal depression for nearly a year, in fact I'm amazed I didn't relapse. Ibogaine helps a hell of a lot with the depression side of things, I guess I feel flat but I'm definitely not suicidal this time round.

The physical difference this detox is huge, endless low grade withdrawal (PAWS) which really gets to you.
Unfortunately the longer you use opiates every day the more your brain adapts to it. The serotonin/noradrenaline/dopamine pathways actually end up hard wired to a constant flow of opiates and this is what causes all the problems when they're stopped.

It can take up to two years for the brain to re-adjust, which is a very long time to suffer PAWS!
The average is around 3-6 months.

This is just the physiological side of it, physchologically it manifests in 'using dreams' - vivid dreams where I run around scoring, cook up and usually I wake up just as I'm injecting...! It's pure torture!

One of the hardest things is to remain positive, it's all too easy to look back with rose tinted spectacles and forget all the bad stuff about having a habit, all the crap is easily forgotten when your craving... It's so easy to talk yourself into 'just one little hit'

I forget all the times I've spent hours, in tears trying to get a vein, sick, knowing that once the amount of blood vs heroin in the needle reaches a certain point it will clot and the drugs will be lost..
I forget all the hassle of trying to get cash, then waiting around for hours in freezing parks/bus stops or dodgy council estates for a 14 year old on a bike to drop the gear to you.
I forget about the damage I've done to my body from 14 years of injecting, I get pins and needles in my arms, I have no superficial veins in my arms and hands any more so I really feel the cold plus my hands look like boxing gloves!
I forget the pain using causes my loved ones, my long suffering partner who has somehow stayed with me throughout this relapse.

One thing I can say though is although I didn't get the spiritual awakening that a small amount of people that have used Ibogain get, I'm talking about the ones that take it once and never want to use again.
I have found that it is slowly helping me see things a bit more clearly.
It's subtle, when I think about my life now and the reasons I used things seem to make more sense, it's very difficult to describe!

Every year I was on it I would swear to myself that I wouldn't still be using on my next birthday, having a date to work towards helps.
The years are whooshing past faster and faster, I turn 31 in less than a week and have wasted more than half my life using heroin. It makes me sad to think about it but I also know I'm still young enough to do the things I want to do...


Iboga said...

Dear Sid,

Your story is touching. Stay strong, you can make it! I know you ordered some more iboga.

Have you thought about thaking root bark booster doses. If you like I can give you some contact of people who went trough the same thing as you are going trough today!

Take care!

Kind regards,

Iboga Foundation

BMelonsLemonade said...

Well, it is good to hear from you. I have wondered how you have been.

A couple of comments here. When I got off methadone several months after Hurricane Katrina, I never had a single withdrawal symptom. I took 80mg of methadone a day, and just quit. I had post traumatic stress so bad that i could not even sit down long enough to eat three bites of food. I paced constantly, and I was out of my mind with anxiety. And that took precedent over any withdrawal. It just goes to show the power of the mind, and how much the psychological piece of the addiction puzzle plays into the physical symptoms.

I still have using dreams, and I have been clean from all opiates for about four years. Now, when I have a using dream, the dream plays out much longer before I wake up. I usually dream about doing the dope, and generally some kind of trouble eventually follows, usually it involves fucking up at work. Then, I wake up, panicked about losing my job, before I realize it has all just been a dream. I rarely have these dreams, but they do sneak around every now and then.

I actually touch on those rose colored spectacles in the Epilogue of my book. The final line of the book is spoken in my head, the moment I get on that plane leaving New Orleans almost six months after the storm. (I went back for several months right after Katrina.) That line is, "And I never look back." In the Epilogue, I explained that is was not as easy as never looking back because the disease of addiction is always riddled with relapse. But, when I got on on that plane, I never looked back with those rose colored glasses again...those eyes were lost forever in the waters of Katrina, and most certainly drowned in the madness of the aftermath. Once those rose colored lenses are finally discarded, the game becomes so different. Still, it doesn't ever happen overnight.

Now, often when I think about those old days, I do not miss getting high. It is weird because I miss standing on the street corner, puking on occasion. I miss the dirty bathrooms and bars. I miss the shady hotel rooms, and scrounging for money, and walking to fast food when you are really hungover. Then, I think...What the hell am I thinking? I do not miss that stuff at all! And I chuckle because I know it is much better here.

Your birthday is less than a week? Mine too. I will be 36 on March 8th. You know, I was 31 just five years, I struggled to get clean. It has taken me five long years of ups and downs, and ins and outs...but, finally I am starting to see that it really is worth it all. Things are finally starting to make sense again. I have finally gained back so many of the things I lost in that fire, and things are finally starting to fall in place. And now, I am almost 36. Happy Birthday.

Worldbones said...

Oh sid....

I miss you. Don't be a stranger. I hardly speak to anyone anymore. Remember when I was a speed freak and would be constantly hassling you to come over and play some accordian for May Kittens? haha. I thought you just didn't wanna see us. Now I know that you probably did, but smack causes agoraphobia. Our dealer lives 5mins around the corner so I don't have to do the waiting around thing. I've also worked out a way of earning enough to score without leaving the house. So cutting down seems so far away it's hardly worth thinking about.

That part you wrote about digging for a vein in tears, the blood clotting in the needle.. Oh Jesus sid i know i know... I couldn't find anywhere the other day for over an hour and was covered in blood, sick, sobbing in frustration. The Boy tried to help out but ended up filling the whole syringe with blood in one go cos it was the thick vein running up the back of the arm. It was the last of our money and he'd already done his shot so I was livid. Really, it was like i was possessed. I don't really get angry but the sight of that syringe clotted with blood and gear I couldn't get to...

But yeah, that's the one thing that would really drive me to give up. When i first got my script back in London the nurse inspected my skinny arms and said "well you're not going to have a long shooting career anyway". Was that really 3 years ago..???

I have a job in the Smoke tmw morn, if i make it i'll come down and see ya.

Lovelovelove Sailor xxxxxx

Worldbones said...

p.s it's my birthday too at the end of the month. doesn't time slip...

Let me know if you're doin anything on the day xxx

Gledwood said...

I feel like fried up dogshit and I can't blame the heroin though I do remember feeling like this a lot of days when I didn't have heroin to use only methadone. Quite depressed.

NA are in my bad books. I fucking shared that I had bipolar and kind of apologized for my bad behaviour which was no worse than me getting up a lot for endless cigarette breaks and being a bit over vehement when I shared (enough to make people next to me jump out of their skin at my manic rages) so I fucking TRIED to smooth things over and I told them I had this medical condition which they have no fucking right to hear I CHOSE to share this I felt under no compulsion to do so and do you know what not one fucking person had anything to say to me afterwards. Not one. In fact if anything I got even more of the arms-length "you're still on crack" type treatment I got before so they can go do one I've had it with them. I will continue to go to my "home group" for 10 minutes a week (I don't sit through any entire meeting I don't have patience to do that, so ten minutes is TOPS usually I'm only there for 5)... I'll carry on going. I thought as a self-deceiving addict I was doing the right thing by doing what other people said was a good idea but I have pretty good instincts and I know when my needs are not being addressed and I know when I'm not being heard and I get precious little understanding in NA. I simplified the mental disorder by saying it was bipolar when it's actually bipolar schizoaffective but like I say they have no right to a fucking explanation anyhow. I did my bit and got no understanding back. Just like I got no understanding for weeks on end when I turned up in various states of mania. LOTS of bipolars use drugs so we can hardly be a rarity in NA and I feel badly BADLY let down by those fuckers. I just wanted to pass this on as it would have been nice to go to a meeting. When I'm up for going to and staying at a meeting I'll let you know but I'm so fucked off with them I think this might be a bit of a long while.....

Sid said...

Thanks peoples..

Bms! Happy birthday! That's funny, were a day apart, were probably very similar then, im every inch a piscean, a dreamer, a musician, I don't handle reality very well!

Im looking forward to reading your book!

I find it intersting about pisceans being addicts, were renowned for not knowing when to say no, we do everything to excess and easily fall into addictions of all types!
I know so many junkie pisceans it's unreal!

Gleds, no worries re: NA, as I said im totally with you, NA are elitist and judgmental, I always sit there having a panic attack haha..

The thought of sharing freaks the shit out of me!
I remember when I first started going,I used to be in such a panic, they bang on about newcomers etc but theyre so narccicistic, no one talks to you afterwards, so it's not just you!

Bonesy, I love you! Another piscean junkie! Lol.. hope to see you properly soon babes xx

Gledwood said...

What I've noticed about NA is that they are all very supportive if they think you're genuinely making progress or at a turning point. But if they think you're still in the thick of it you might get a few pep talks in the early days then as nothing changes (because I'm NOT on crack) they just give up. I mean one bastard wasn't just unsupportive he was fucking offhand with me and this was the day I did my Explanatory Share....

Sid I am still up for this meeting it just might be in QUITE some time.

And I'd advise you NOT to mention ibogaine in any NA meeting you do go to. Say you're 100% clean in fuck knows how long and I bet you'll get surrounded by people saying well done. Mention ibogaine and I bet you'll have one person saying "tell me all about it" and a lot of "it's a drug for a drug" attitude.

Maybe you need therapeutic benzos. I thought Ibogaine blocked out that nasty PAWS shit. I have a friend wit a near 40-year habit whos currently clean thanks to the dire state of the current heroin market and he's relatively OK but we were chatting about my mental state and his mental state and he's in a mild mental state I mean mild my psychiatric standards, suffering by ordinary standards. I always try and keep the persepctive of psychiatric standards just like you might want to with your health problems, see them in a medical rather than a "normal life" perspective. It destroys the possibility of self-pity because it gives perspective. I know someone with severe schizophrenia much worse than my psychosis and I know someone with severe depression so bad she was in hospital for nearly 12 weeks and thought it was one day (very little sleep so a mono-day). But those 2 people can look at me and see how severely manic I have been and I was worse than them I was talking to my friend about this only today see we can all help each other and when we do we keep our own problems in perspective ~ know what I mean..!

I'd advise sorting yourself out with some blue Valium pills. They're shit for depression very good (obviously) for anxiety. Don't forget either that Valium is a muscle relaxant.

If you do have depression your GP can give antidepressants. Though it was shit for me (but I'm bipolar remember) mirtazapine is a really good one for most people. Beware of Prozac it tends to give insomnia which is the last thing you need and it's a mild upper ~ again the last thing you need. And it gives "sexual dysfunction" which could actually help if you havae coming in 2 seconds syndrome like some people get after gear withdrawal. If you do feel you need anti depressants you'd do far better researching them and comingin with a suggestion. Make sure it's the FIRST thing you ask for in the appointment as drs are so shallow they assume whatever you say first is most important and what you say last is an after thought. Once I realized this I could play my old GP like a piano.

Gledwood said...

PART 2 :-)

You could try asking for zopiclone 7.5s (and make sure they are 7.5 not 3.75) they're a REALLY good sleeping pill with low abuse potential. If you're like me you'll want to sleep on them not watch Sopranos reruns feeling rubbery. If the dr prevaracates you could say an addict you know (me) with a mood disorder and a long history of insomnia said he found them really helpful. Also the dosage 7.5 is really strong, like 30 or 40mg temazepam so you really can just take one and sleep. When I was manic I got 2.5 to 4 hours sleep every single night on zopiclone I know this sounds bad but I was very close to a state where you just stay up continuously for a week (seriously) I was so full of energy I felt like that painting where God transfers power to Adam via his fingertip.

Another option is beta blockers, they remove the physical symptoms of anxiety, aren't addictive and the GP will be well up for giving them. You know drs you need to impress on him how well you've done and how difficult it was and that at long last you're clean but you genuinely feel you need some prescribed medication to keep you clean, that this is so hard-won it would be stupid to jeapordize it for the sake of zopiclone and mirtazapine.
Mirtazapine gives good sleep btw and a funky side effect is vivid dreams. Once it kicks in after about 2 weeks you may find the sleep starts going down, but if you're having trouble sleeping it maybe what you need.

An old style anti D that REALLY zonks you is dothiepin but it does have a VERY drowsy profile and you need to take it 2 hours before you need the sleep. Don't be surprised if you find it very hard to get up the next day. If you DO need to get up it might be sensible to take it around 8pm.

Trazadone is another anti D often given in rehab for its sleep-generating properties.

As I say there are loads of options. Don't suffer needlessly for the sake of a few pills and be straight with your gp well as straight as you can be. The dr should appreciate your honesty. Or maybe I'm being naive here. I had good results with my shrink by taking that approach: but different circumstances.

Best of luck sorry to go on I thought if I listed some good pills the info might come in handy. Be lucky!