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Gledwood's Drug Confessions: A Heroin Addict's Blog
Sunday, 26 November 2006
Getting Clean &
Mood:  sharp
Now Playing: Snooker
Topic: Getting Clean

THERE ARE TWO WAYS of tackling heroin addiction.

  • 1 Detoxification which can be
  • A Cold Turkey or
  • B Medication-Assisted Supervised (methadone, dihydrocodeine, buprenorphine, etc is given in reducing doses to minimize withdrawals)
  • 2 Substituation ie give the patient methadone or some other opioid to substitute for the heroin

The problems with detoxing are that if the addict isn't ready (he or she may genuinely believe he/she's ready to come off before detox) the whole experience can be so distressing the addict simply runs crying back to gear with a stronger resolve never to sufffer like that again. Ie -- far from putting the patient off, addiction is only reinforced.

One myth that holds sway over much of the general population seems to be that the best way to treat an addict is to get them off that stuff ASAP! & that "Cold Turkey is over in a week." True the physical part is. But "clucking" is a shock that takes time to get over. Anxiousness, mood swings, depression poor sleep and general exhaustion can persist for weeks.

If you're going to come off in this way -- make sure you have something to do once you are clean. A change is as good as a rest. Get away from as many of the people, places and prompts of your past life as you can manage. This is easier said than done. After some years a typical addict knows hardly anyone who's not on drugs.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can be an enormous help. There are meetings all over the world in English and all manner of other languages. If you're serious about doing the 12-step programme you must follow it to the letter (you can't pick and choose aspects you like, eg you must give up booze as well as ALL drugs except lifesaving medications). AND you MUST get a SPONSOR.

As for Section B Assisted Detox, only a reputable clinic can do this properly. (You can even be knocked unconscious!)

Find out in advance the House Rules.

Eg: Are mobile phones allowed? What's the policy on tobacco and caffeine? What medication is given (including sleeping meds) over what type of timetable? How late is bedtime? What is the visitor policy? How long will I be there? What's the food like? If it's state sponsored, do I contribute £/€/$ & how much?

Again, you must have a proper plan for when you come out!

On both counts A & B I'm speaking from experience!

Obviously these pointers are only my view. I am still using. I tried and failed. For someone who gets told I "think too much" I was guilty of awfully bad planning. I had no clear idea of what to do once rehab was accomplished. Literally none at all. Or perhaps "denial" was the issue. Do your own research and take whatever path you choose with your eyes open. Failure can be expensive!

This post 1/2 finished. Will update L8R.- Gled xx

Posted by gledwood at 7:42 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 26 November 2006 8:12 PM GMT

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