How to Quit Methadone, Part 1: Do Not Quit Methadone

Don’t. Switch to something easier to stop using and less dangerous to quit, like heroin. Maybe time-release morphine for six months to two years depending on the duration of your methadone maintenance. Buprenorphine, even. Really, methadone withdrawal is incredible torture and medically dangerous. I think it fucked me up permanently.

I once watched a man dying from methadone withdrawal in a redneck county jail. He was in his forties. They wouldn’t even give him clonidine. After two days he stopped getting up off his bunk. After three days you could smell death coming on him, like a sick animal smells at the pound. Pretty soon it made you want to vomit if you got within ten feet of him. He really was dying, so the redneck jailers took him to a hospital where doctors shot him full of morphine. This was out of character for the kind of scum that ran that county jail, so you can understand how sick he was. He came back looking fantastic, like he’d been to a dinner party where Jesus Christ did magic tricks. Now, he didn’t willingly subject himself to that. But you can, if you want.

If you have strong motivation, you will find you have the willpower to do just about anything. Most junkies develop a strong will. It takes a lot of willpower to go out sick and score, suffering all manner of degradation and discrimination. Most junkies don’t quit in the face of this because they don’t want to. The will to continue using is stronger. The two opposing desires can coexist simultaneously; both an exercise of willpower.

If you want to quit methadone (or any opiate; the others are easier), whoever or whatever your motivation is, it will have to move you on more than a practical level. Quitting to save money is a practical reason. Beyond the impulses of the lizard brain, intellectual and emotional reasons are the only true motivators. Those who do have the emotional will to quit but lack intellect will gravitate towards adopted ideologies as a coping mechanism. Those are the crazy-eyed ex-junkies who go to AA meetings and shout about abstinence with desperation. They have relapses you could set a train schedule by. That’s because they sought out an ideology to suit their needs instead of finding what they believe in. Willpower is an existential urge. It doesn’t really matter what motivates you, but you have to believe in it to the death.

There is no opiate harder to quit than methadone. If you never intend to quit and never have to, methadone is ambrosia, a cure-all elixir, a miracle drug, a fountain of youth. If you want off methadone, it suddenly becomes the kind of thing Nazi scientists tested on freezing Russian prisoners.

If the quitting doesn’t kill you (or seriously harm you) and you make it all the way to the other side, you will suddenly find you have some questions for Nietzsche; because while quitting methadone will kill some people, far more people will survive with lasting damage and new health problems. That which does not kill us makes us stranger.

With or without complications, you will feel like your brain needs rewiring. You will remember that you quit methadone because all it did was make you feel normal, only to find that you can’t feel normal without it, even after your unforgettable withdrawal is a distant memory. You have evolved into Homo morpheus. You will literally become like a fish out of water.

The quitting may leave you so broken you have to get back on methadone for health reasons totally unrelated to the chemical dependency you just beat. When you get to the final stages of tapering (assuming you’re not insane and didn’t try going cold turkey after years on the stuff), you may find that methadone was treating medical conditions you didn’t know you had: anorexia, anxiety, depression, eczema, hypotension, stomach disorders (yes, Kurt Cobain wasn’t just whining). What else? Who knows? Only junkies. Doctors won’t even be able to explain how methadone treats your suddenly revealed health problems, because no modern doctors have bothered studying opiates for anything but pain and addiction. You will probably never find the explanation, because the doctors from ancient cultures that knew the medical value of opium are all dead.

Now that you have stigmata to match your stigma, no drug the doctors prescribe will treat your symptoms as well as methadone did. You will wonder how people suffer these various illnesses without opiate treatment. If you suffered from depression or anxiety while on methadone, you will really have some problems waiting for you. SSRIs are toxic, ineffective garbage compared to methadone when it comes to treating anything but the most extreme depression and anxiety. And benzodiazepines for anxiety—don’t even bother, unless you like withdrawal and dependency-induced anxiety so much you want to experience it every day with symptoms that rival methadone withdrawal in life’s constant contest of miseries.

You will feel like you possess a powerful secret when you quit methadone. You will wonder how people get by without opiates. If you’re free from withdrawal but now a prisoner of any of the potential side effects of quitting methadone, you may refuse to go back to the drug because you’ve been through months or years of agony just to get off it. Even if you want to get back on methadone, you may refuse to go back to the kind of places or people (greedy clinics, rip-off treatment programs, corrupt doctors, etc.) that you were forced to deal with to acquire the medication. It’s harder to subject yourself to being treated like a subhuman when you have the stubborn will to avoid it, and by now your willpower will be very strong.

If you decide to go back, you will wonder why you can’t just go to a normal, decent doctor. You will certainly feel frustrated if you feel that you need to go back to the medication for health reasons, and not because of addiction. After all, if you made it this far, you’re no longer physically dependent, and the terrible months of withdrawal have probably conditioned you to hate methadone. You are supposedly no longer a junky, and they only give this stuff to junkies. Where does that put you? If you didn’t know that methadone could alleviate your symptoms, it would put you with everyone else who has whatever you have. But you know a secret, and with wisdom comes the terrible frustration of knowing when everyone else is wrong.

Regardless of what you do, you will continue to live in an age that treats opiate addiction with hysterical fear and inexcusable ignorance. There are deep historical reasons for this. Public health is not among them. Due to cultural beliefs, the medical community thinks it’s appropriate that you suffer because you are an “addict”.

The insanity of the age means that surviving quitting can be harder than surviving using. the_ludovico_technique_by_biscutbuu-d52inxcIdiots at the FDA who have never ingested Tylenol 3 argue about how much naloxone cut is needed in your buprenorphine to induce the desired punitive effect if you fail to put it your mouth properly. Big Pharma scientists are busy to distraction with their insane quest for the oxymoronic holy grail of “non-euphoric” opiates. Apparently, the foremost thing they need to figure out in order to help you is how to make sure you never accidentally feel good. This is being taken to even greater extremes by the medical foot soldiers of the Drug War, so-called “addiction specialists”, the people who pass for doctors and are supposed to be treating you though they usually know very little about medicine let alone addiction. If they ever knew what the Hippocratic Oath was, they long ago traded it in for a paperback copy of A Clockwork Orange. Nowadays, their “new” idea is to force you to take naltrexone to ensure you never feel good again. Maybe implant it in you. It was done in the 1990s by shady rapid detox clinics. Assorted quacks are “very excited!” to try it again. It only killed a few people and it had no success to speak of, but it has the punishment element.

So, if you do this, if you quit methadone, then at some point you are going to be all alone with your existential angst, and it will be severe. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry, you’ll soon be able to lecture Kierkegaard about his incomplete understanding of the subject.

This is not medical advice. I am not a doctor of medicine.

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4 thoughts on “How to Quit Methadone, Part 1: Do Not Quit Methadone

  1. My old sponsor always tried to push methadone on me. I was already on Suboxone, but in his opinion Methadone maintenance was okay, but Suboxone? You might as well be using. It made no sense to me at all. It has so many advantages over Methadone, I see no reason why anyone would choose the Methadone route. I assume it’s just lack of education. Or, they just want to potentiate their heroin.

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    • Yeah, that makes no sense to me either. I never tried suboxone/buprenorphine. In my experience methadone mixed with heroin isn’t much fun unless the methadone dose is too low. I hear buprenorphine doesn’t feel like much of an opiate high? Methadone comes with a nice glow and pleasant euphoria. It’s not heroin, but it feels like a real opiate. It’s like being wrapped in cotton. But it makes you apathetic, the withdrawal makes heroin seem like quitting caffeine, and most methadone formulations are racemic, so they contain the unnecessary dextromethadone enantiomer, which has been linked to heart arrythmias, and no one seems to care enough to bother to separate it out and give people levomethadone, except in Germany. I was on methadone before suboxone was available and I was always on too high a dose to switch. They say suboxone plateaus at like 35mg methadone equivalent. I had a bad experience with naltrexone, and on principle I don’t like the addition of naloxone as a punitive element. It’s legal for doctors to prescribe subutex/buprenorphine without naloxone, but I hear most don’t like doing it. Supposedly the naloxone doesn’t even prevent an IV high like they claim. I wish they’d just let us use time-release morphine. Studies show it actually works better for people.

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      • Yeah, there is no high at all with Suboxone. Supposedly people with no or little opiate tolerance can feel it and even nod, but I wouldn’t no about that, lol. I’ve IV’d it but it had zero effect on me. Besides the physical gratification of a needle in your arm. I don’t know why people choose to IV it regularly. I guess it’s got to be the needle fix. I’ve known one person who was able to get subutex. But other than that I’ve never even heard of anyone else having it.

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        • I have been on and off of Suboxone now for 7 years, and I am not sure what I think about it. Obviously, if I could go back.. I wish I never would have jumped into a heroin habit to begin with. But thats the thing.. If it wasn’t heroin, then it would have been Oxys because I was dabbling, and dabbling tends to lead to one thing. I do have regrets that I didn’t just check myself into a 12 month stay at a rehab when I first realized I had a problem. I guess back then the only problem I thought I had was that I didn’t have enough dope.

          I’ve done the methadone thing for 2 years, and learned my lesson hard a couple of times when I tried jumping off too soon or transitioning to Suboxone. Methadone is some evil crap. The sugar rots your teeth out, and the withdrawals will make you consider just ending it. I have never felt pain like that before. I think I can actually relate to someone in chronic pain after that experience.

          My doctor finally gave me pure Bup because it was generic and I could get it for half the price of Suboxone. Shooting Bup is ridiculous.. all it did was make me puke my brains out for 24 hours.

          Society is pretty fucked up, and think that is something that a solid opiate addiction makes you realize. You figure out real fast that most people are just assholes, and are for the most part very judgmental and hypocrites. You learn that doctors are not miracle workers. Far from it, and a majority of them are just big pharma shills pushing the next latest and greatest SSRI to try and solve all your problems.

          I never hurt anyone, and never forced anyone to do drugs with me. I often found that I hid my addiction and my use due to shame from others. It really sucks, because anyone who I know who has been able to ignore my addiction and see me for the human being I am doesn’t seem to have any problems. I don’t act like a junkie. I don’t steal from people. I work hard..

          Now speaking on the lack of research. Here is something that will boggle your mind and I am wondering if I am the only person who has experienced this. Since my addiction started back in 2005. I haven’t experienced a single sickness. I never get colds, I never get the flu, I never get sinus infections or strep throat. It’s so weird.

          Perhaps that is what they don’t want us to know.. Where would the medical industrial complex be if they weren’t flooded with ill people. The only time I am ill is when I am denied my choice of substance.. I don’t think its fair.. I doubt any of us do.. and it only makes us angrier at the society that rejects us. Then again, you soon realize that society that is rejecting you is pretty fucked up to begin with, and you are probably better off avoiding them to begin with.

          I just wish some of my past friends wouldn’t be so brainwashed to think a junky is a threat. We are actually really nice people, and if we would just be allowed to do what we do, in the privacy of our own homes, in an affordable manner.. We would probably be some of the happiest and most productive people out there.

          And that’s the secret.

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