I assume that people who rattle off comments in an impatient, and lecturing manner, telling me I will "DIE" if I get high again really aren’t helping, right now.
Anyway, I don’t buy that, and that scenario isn’t what scares me. Obviously, I don’t have a healthy fear of death. And, in case anyone missed the point of my last blog, if I went back, today, dying would sort of be the idea. It is the fear that I would not have the nerve to pull the trigger on a full on OD that holds me back. I don’t want to live the cycle of active addiction, anymore. Sometimes, it seems appealing, when I am manic, and just want it all to slow down or stop, like I do, right now. But, even though I know how to function within that life, I know how much it takes away from me, and I don’t want to watch myself become old, ugly, and broken down – I don’t want to be that lonely overweight, middle-aged woman, who strolls into the local bar for lunch and a Jack and Coke, before noon. And, I don’t want to be an active heroin addict, as the years tick by, and I see everything else that I could ever want slipping past me. I don’t want to nickel and dime the rest of my life away because I can’t afford deodorant or Q-tips when I need them (or even rent, or food).
Anyway, I have never bought that whole "to use is to die" argument. I have met a lot of junkies over the years who got pretty old living that life. Heroin did not strike them down – it condemned them to a decently long life, devoid of anything terribly fulfilling. It robbed them of their potentials. It robbed them of any peace, spiritual or otherwise, save the artificial and temporary peace that opiates provide. Because heroin does not break down your insides th way some other drugs do – it usually won’t put you out of your misery unless you OD (which happens, mostly, when people like me, who’ve been clean for a while, go back, and have no tolerance, so they misjudge, and overdose). It’s the lifestyle that destoys one’s health (most of the time). That long, arduous, and painful existence is something I fear much more than death.
I tried NA for quite a while. I respect it and what it does for many people, but it just wasn’t for me. I know many cats in NA and AA tend to tout it as the ONLY solution that works – this obviously isn’t true, as plenty have cleaned up without it. I do support these organizations, I just don’t personally buy into all the ideas they espouse. But, I am not here to write a manifesto about that. My point is, it’s just not for me. I am glad it was there for my dad and others, but it was not what I needed. As much as I struggle now, leaning on psychotherapy, psych meds, and friends for support, I was much worse when I was leaning on NA.
It just wasn’t the help I was seeking. Mood stabilizers are the only thing that have ever helped alleviate my desire for heroin, and on manic days like today, I do still struggle, but back when I went to NA, every day was a struggle. I was told if I prayed enough, God would take away my desire to use. This sounded suspect, but these people were clean, and I wasn’t, so I was going to yield to their expertise. Big shock – it did not work. Month after month, the craving did not abate. I was mentally ill. I needed that kind of help – the drug use was just another symptom of the bipolar disorder. No spiritual steps to a better me were going to change that.
One guy, who was lauded as a genius within the recovery world always said that if you pray to God to take the desire away from you, and keep you clean, you will not use that day. And, if you did use, you just didn’t mean that prayer. He claimed to have done enough primary research (talking to others) to sustantiate this theory as a solid fact. Fucking snake oil… like the faith healer who tells the little boy that if he can’t walk, it’s because his faith just wasn’t strong enough.
A guy at an NA meeting actually bitched me out for deciding to go on methadone. He asked me to see him after the meeting (he led that meeting), and I did, and at that point, he got in my face and went off like he was my father (worse actually – my dad would have never bitched me out so harshly), saying I was not going to do this, and "WE" were going to get me into a detox, but this was not happening. I was hysterical and sobbing, and this guy just kept barking orders about what I was going to do. I had put a lot of thought and research into my decision, and I believe strongly that methadone helped save my life. This guy thought that because he was clean, and he had heard a few stories, he knew the fucking score. That was the beginning of the end for me and NA.
After that, when the subject of methadone came up at the tables, a lot of people threw out there that they did not think people on methadone should be collecting key chains for clean time. Because of a prescribed medication! I was shocked that grown men and women could be so petty and ignorant – and over some little plastic key chains. I mean, we are talking about other people who were in recovery. I knew of others in the group who were on methadone, and keeping it quiet. Numerous people suggested that I lie about the methadone to keep people off my back. This seemed silly to me. Ludicrous in fact… that I should have to lie about my treatment program to a support group because they are a room of self-appointed experts who will get down on me because they don’t like my treatment program. That was it. I was done.
When my life totally hit the fan, towards the end of last winter, I sought support here. If I had not done that, I probably would have committed suicide in April, as I had planned to do. Instead, I made some supportive friends, and got off heroin. I know that people in AA and NA probably think I am just in denial or something about the program not being right for me, or that they think I am "just not there, yet." Well, I know I bitch and struggle, and I may even end up getting high or killing myself, but this also happens to people at the tables (pretty regularly if I recall). I am doing the best I can, right now. I thank those who send me encouraging words. I just don’t need to be lectured or told that I am going to die. That does not help.
I know my bitching gets redundant – the redundancy almost has me feeling like I have something to prove. I keep saying I am going to do something, but I never do. Maybe, it’s time to put up or shut up.