I AM NOT looking forward to going to this new drugs clinic tomorrow. I've only been twice, but didn't particularly like it there, especially last time. They kept asking whether I wasn't using some other drug bar heroin. The doctor asked whether I was manic. The new worker even seem to know what schizoaffective meant. I just want them to take down my methadone as fast as possible. Because I'm a new customer they want me to drink it in the pharmacy. I'm not used to drinking methadone in one go and I'm not used to drinking it during the day. I want to go back to normal consumption so I can drink my juice in bed like a normal person. (Half before sleep, to knock me out; the second half two hours before rising, to stop me wanting to use that morning.) Because I don't think I'm going to find the support I need at this place, I've decided to help myself. I've found three groups that look promising.
Dual Recovery Anonymous
Dual Recovery Anonymous UK do groups in London. They might substitute for the now defunct Nutter Club, which was a victim of Prime Minister David Cameron's notorious public spending cutbacks. Ironically it was the psychiatrist who diagnosed me who put the final nail in Nutter Club's coffin (so Naomi hints). I'm writing a letter asking for Nutter Club to be reinstated as it's the ONLY place I've ever found where I can speak freely. NA tend to put everything in the context of addiction, recovery and "working the steps". I've heard of people with psychotic depression being told they're feeling so down because they're "not working the steps". And I've heard numerous stories of mentally ill people and even epileptics being persuaded to throw their medication away because taking pills is "using". This isn't NA's official view, by the way. But it has gone on. I never found the understanding or acceptance I craved at NA; perhaps I might find them somewhere else.
My new worker was enthusing about the wonderful drugs groups this other clinic does. I smiled benignly, because they look exactly the same as the last clinics ones. Groups that made me so wound up and angry at the endless junkie one-up-man-ship ("I'm a cleverer addict than you") and subtle drug snobbery ("I only ever smoked my crack in a spliff") and endless boasting ("I got better/cheaper/stronger drugs than you") that I ran straight to my dealer after every session. Far from feeling empowered or inspired, in a room full of addicts with a non-addict moderator, I just feel like an old junkie at best. At worst I feel misunderstood and out of place, surrounded by crackheads, unable to tell my own experience. The reason I won't take most drugs is that I know they'll exacerbate symptoms of an "illness" I'm not willing to tell a room full of stangers about. Despite all this, I think you shouldn't knock anything until you've tried it, so I'm willing to give these new groups a go. When I'm in the right mood. Hopefully psychotically manic, so I can cause as much chaos as possible (ha-har!)
I'm supposedly getting some mental care co-ordination team thing. And a new doctor. Etc. Yet nothing has happened.
I looked up the NICE guidance on my conditions and found out that as a "service user" with a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis, I'm supposed to be offered art therapy. Whoopee!! I'd love to splosh paint on canvas at the taxpayer's expense (does the taxpayer stretch to canvas? Or would I be painting on cheap fish-and-chip paper? Ho-hum. Whichever). Also I found out bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental disorder. Which didn't make me happy. And I'm supposed to continue the antimanic pills despite feeling depressed. So there we go. I don't really wanna take anything anyway. Don't wanna take methadone. I wish I could wave a magic wand and be done with this addiction.
By the way I looked up people's experience of Rapid Opiate Detox. When I was younger I really wanted this procedure, where you're knocked out cold on general anaesthetic, pumped full of naltrexone, which knocks all methadone, heroin and other opiates off the brain's receptor sites. Two to four days later, depending on the clinic, you wake up drug free and supposedly happy. I have to say I envisaged myself feeling like a human train wreck in such circumstances. I also imagined I'd be extremely manic and probably psychotic. Or else extremely depressed, and probably very anxious. Sure enough I found a testimonial describing exactly the feelings I'd envisaged. The unfortunate person (who had spent over ten thousand dollars on this treatment) described waking up feeling like she'd been hit by a truck and plagued by nearly unbearable depression and anxiety which didn't let up for weeks on end.
So rapid detox is definitely NOT for me. I have been told by those who know me that any detox I do should be as gentle as humanly possible. I was thinking of reducing from 1mg methadone to nothing over the course of two weeks or more (why not?) using a broken off 1ml syringe to measure my daily dose. British methadone is 1mg/1ml so that would be quite easy. See I'm fretting about the final hurdle already, when I've bearly cleared hurdle number one! I'm also fretting about this bloody clinic tomorrow. I want cutting down down down on this methadone and I'm scared they will try and keep me stuck on a level dose. A level dose of methadone is too depressing for words. You're not going anywhere. I need to know I'm nearer freedom with every passing day. Really I want to reduce at a rate of 1mg per day, but I don't know if they'd let me.
Well the weather is really hot this week. And it's 2:30am. I'd better go. Nasty appointment tomorrow. Must sleep.
Getting personal - I'm leading Zac's tonight. We've been studying the gospel of Luke and tonight we arrive at the Last Supper. I grew up attending an Anglican church - I was ...
3 hours ago