Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Here is a story of a partial recovery. Some success. Some failure. Starting with drug use, including alcohol, at the age of 14 or so, in the year 1981.

I grew up in the country (not here in Manhattan). My friends and i found access to beer and pot. We partied in the mountains of upstate NY, on the shores of rivers and creeks and deep in the woods.

At 18 y.o. old I first dropped acid (LSD). I had a 'good trip' and it was enjoyable. From 1985 to 2001 I had in my mind a correlation between certain music groups and psychedelic drugs. These included LSD, "magic mushrooms", and mescaline. Particularly important was my connection with Jerry Garcia and The Greatful Dead, the most famous psychedelic jam band ever with a huge following of LSD users. The sold out shows would play until 2am or so, and while the music might be confusing to some, it made perfect sense to the LSD user. It sounded as though Jerry Garcia was speaking directly to you through his guitar. You could almost eat, taste and smell the sounds.

Cocaine use started early when I was 14. A little heavier use when I was 18. Even more during college. After college I moved to Florida where cocaine was plentiful and cheap. Eventually I got bored with sniffing cocaine and started smoking it instead ('crack cocaine'). At this time it is the only drug that I slip up on and start using again. Even though I know it is a 'sucky' drug, waste of money, damaging to the brain and body. My trigger is being around other users. However the trigger(s) are not excuses. I do not use excuses for getting high. I get high because I like to get high and I want to get high.

Then there was a start to my worst drug habit:HEROIN. I coincidentally started using heroin on September 11th, 2001. The day the World Trade Center was hit. But again, this was just a coincidence.

Heroin was the best high I ever had. When I began using it my psychiatric problems of anxiety and depression were cured by the drug. But then I had another problem - I had become a heroin addict. By 2002 I was on methadone. Whenever I went off methadone, I started using heroin again. I also tryed Suboxone for a year or so., with the same result. Anytime I went off maintenance, I went back to using opiates in pill form or heroin itself. Currently I have been on Methadone nearly 2 years. I have not used heroin at all during this period of time. So for me, methadone works.

I dont know when i will stop my methadone maintenance. There is no point of going through the uncomfortable experience of getting off methadone if I am going to end up using opiates again. I have been through that cycle several times, and dont wish to go through it again.

If, and when, I am confident that I will not relapse when I go off of maintenance (Suboxone or Methadone), I will begin to ween myself off the maintenance with medical help.

As a side note I have been on psychotropic medications for 17 years straight. I still take the same or similar medications. They are helpful to me. So even if I am "using", I take my medications. I always check to be sure, however, that I am not mixing medications and drugs that are a cocktail for death.

I dont regret much in my life. But i regret ever using / getting involved with opiates.

So as I said in the beginning of this blog, this is not a complete success story, but a story with some success and some continuing struggles. Such is my life.

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