My experience with the business of Methadone.

First, I want to make it very clear that methadone quite literally saved my life and I am forever grateful. It helped me to get my life back, my family, relationships, everything basically.

However, during my experience at the methadone clinic, I have noticed some things I find interesting to say the least and in my opinion it keeps those in recovery “stuck” which often leads to eventual relapse.

1. The clinic ONLY accepts Welfare insurance. So let’s say you have a family to provide for or just want something better for yourself, and decide to get a job.

This was Brian when he was on the clinic, he was one of the rare unicorns to detox off the clinic, but I’ll get to that part later this post. Anyway, when he got his job (making less than $25,000 a year for him and the other 2 he provides for) he no longer qualified for welfare insurance.

Without welfare, your only other option is cash payment, which most can’t afford ($150+ a week). Once your bill gets to a certain amount, they can decide to detox you.

Ultimately, this is a privately owned business, you don’t pay, you don’t get service.

So for many in recovery, this is a hard decision or many work under the table for lack of other choices.

2. When you first come to the clinic they require IOP for everyone (no exceptions) which is newbies or people who are actively using. So let’s say you are straight out of long term rehab (6+ months) and then you are forced to sit in group with others who are actively using. If you are not yet strong enough, then these could be the exact relationships they warn you against. Yet the clinic is forcing this.

3. They don’t tell you about how long it takes to then get off the clinic. You very rarely hear that people are successful in this- rarely! It’s not something that is encouraged and in fact it can be harder than just staying where your at.

There are always multiple obstacles in a way to any goal worth achieving. I just wish I had known these things ahead of time. At the end of the day, it’s just like any other business, money is the main objective, not your recovery. That’s something you have to make do or die for yourself if you want to overcome these obstacles in your way.

COVID-19 and our family

As many of you know, and some of you don’t, my husband Brian has been working in a nursing home during this pandemic.

So when he unexpectedly knocked on the front door yesterday at around 10am I just knew. He gets tested twice a week, and apparently last Wednesday he had a positive test. He had off this past weekend, so when he arrived back to work on Tuesday, they cut him off before he entered the building and told him to go home. Which is puzzling to me since he got it there, also puzzling is why no one tried to contact him sooner.

Bottom line is that he DID have a positive COVID-19 test and so he has to be quarantined.

Now every parent stresses before Christmas- did I get enough for the kids? Did I remember everything and everyone? Etc. but now we get to add to the list, will he even get paid for this forced time off?! Will I be able to hug him Christmas morning sitting with him as our kids open their gifts.

The unknown is and always has been soo difficult for me. I’m usually good at looking at the bright side, but it just seems difficult at this point. Until the unknown becomes known and I can deal with whatever that may be.

My (Addiction) Story

It all began in high school. The first time I used anything besides smoke weed, was cocaine. I remember that day vividly. My best friend at the time had gotten it from another friend, and asked if I’d want to try it with her. At the time, I didn’t know anything about what I was about to try, and didn’t really care. Within a few months, I was meeting friends in the bathroom at our high school, to get high. Cocaine, painkillers, mushrooms, acid, wet, ecstasy, whatever I could get my hands on went into my body. Then, when partying with friends I broke my ankle in two places and ended up with a few prescriptions for the painkillers I already loved so much.

2006, the year I would have graduated high school, which instead turned into my first marriage. My boyfriend at that time decided he wanted to join the Marine Corp. and although I was bitter for a while, I ended up fully embracing the “military spouse lifestyle.

Growing up I had always had mental health issues. But moving away from everyone and everything I had ever known didn’t help things. I became more and more reliant on my husband for my happiness. I was convinced that without him I was incapable of love. Because I couldn’t yet find love for myself, I knew I didn’t love him but married him for the sheer fact of being scared of being alone.

During our time in North Carolina, I drank alcohol every day, but it hadn’t really started to affect anything besides my mental health.

Once he was done with the military about 3 years later, we moved back to PA. I began working at a diner and taking Percocet daily. This was the beginning of my serious addiction. I continued convincing myself I was a better person- more social, more ‘normal’ with the pills. Without them I felt inadequate.

Eventually, I left this job for another at the university I was attending at the time. This was the beginning of one of the darkest days of my addiction. Firstly, my husband and I were not on good terms as our marriage was concerned, that soon just turned into a get high partner. Anyway, I ended up falling in love with someone else, someone I knew I couldn’t really be with. For me, this feeling of being unwanted was huge. I was in pursuit of a fantasy life, with someone who was completely uninterested and not serving to me. All of the signs should have led me away, instead of to this man.

Soon after this, in December of 2013, with no real place to stay I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Charlotte.

I was still using heavily, instead it was now oxycodone 30mg, stronger than the Percocet. I was living in and out of the library at the university. I felt so alone, I hated so many things and people. I was stuck in my own negativity when all I really craved was a normal life.

Fast forward to Charlottes birth, besides being in full withdrawal for days. It was not the first birth story most would imagine. Instead it was horrible and I also had a man who was equally as toxic trying to help me through. My mental health and addiction were at an all time high. I’d love to say this was the point where I went for help to get clean. However, that wouldn’t come for years, instead it got worse.

You can judge me for using pregnant with my child. I judged myself harshly for years. It wasn’t until I accepted it as my past that I could move on. So any

I was more concerned with getting high then taking care of my newborn baby. Looking back I have no idea how I could have possibly sustained this lifestyle- but we did for a good while (years) before it turned from bad to worse.

After my husbands step fathers death, their newly opened family business was going under. So we went from having money at least every two weeks, to stealing copper to support our habit. Our apartment was a mess, along with our lives, and my daughter unfortunately was witnessing this.

My husband at the time, eventually got arrested and went to jail for the robberies. So I moved back with my parents.

Now they could obviously see there was something seriously wrong, but I continued on convincing them that it was simply my mental health for as long as I possibly could. I finally had to tell them, went to rehab and the local mental hospital multiple times.

During one of these rehab stints, my parents had asked me to sign custody of my daughter to them. It was emotional, but I willingly gave it to them. Not knowing when, or if I’d ever be able to recover, I knew that they would be able to provide what I couldn’t. I’m still thankful for that to this day. Otherwise, she would have been dragged along through the worst part of my addiction, and wouldn’t be the amazing girl she is today.

So now, I felt that I no longer needed by Charlotte, and this is where my addiction got really bad.

I’d get out of rehab for 30+ days just to go back out and use the second I stepped out of the building. I didn’t want to recover or even know how to at this point. They continuously tell you that going to meetings, helping others, telling your story, changing people, places, and things- this is what will keep you clean and sober. But, they left out the most important part- you have to WANT it for YOURSELF. Without that key factor, you will continue to go out and get high like you’ve always done.

During most of these rehabs I thought- I’m not like these people, constantly comparing. I’m not as bad as her because x,y,z or I’d never do that so I’m good. instead of realizing how much all addicts behaviors are so similar, I chose to separate myself because I wasn’t as bad as these addicts.

After my first rehab, I ended up getting the psychiatrist to prescribe me a benzodiazepine, so I left with a new habit. And only one “recovery house“ willing to take me was on Longshore, known as the drug alley in the Tacony area of Philadelphia. As well as a short bus ride away from Kensington.

This started one of the worst runs I’ve ever had. I was literally living on the streets. Hanging around getting high with god knows who, getting in cars with random men, shooting up with whatever liquid we could find, including puddle water and Red Bull. When you’re dope sick, you only can think of how not to be sick anymore and you don’t care how.

Soon after, my PO found out that I was using, shooting heroin, cocaine and benzos were in my system when I met her. So she decided to lock me up. I was in jail for about 6 months on my first violation. Unfortunately, this made me just want to get high even more. But now I knew how to stay out of jail- rehab.

I really hadn’t had more than my time in rehab as clean time, on the street I had none. I didn’t remember what life was like before drugs, because I honestly couldn’t remember it. So my mental health and state at that time was far gone- hopeless, helpless, and really didn’t care if I lived or died at that point. The same day, lived over and over it felt like a never ending cycle, that I was incapable of changing. So it continued in this way for a while.

One day I heard someone say “if you want it for yourself, you’ll find a way”. I think I was just sick and tired of feeling this way- mentally and physically exhausted. I had no real drive to live, nothing good in my life. Until I set about changing it. I guess my perspective had changed, a glimmer of hope.

So finally, I got into the last rehab to date- Kirkbride in Philadelphia, I finally decided I needed their long term trauma program for women. After 6 months, I also decided I’d go to Libertae which is a program for women (halfway house) paid for by insurance. I did well for the 3 months I was there, until I got kicked out.

I used it as an excuse to use, no where to go etc. until I decided that I’d go to a recovery home in Philadelphia, the only place that has methadone houses. But I still had a few days where I had gotten high, so I was basically going to be stuck in that house for a good while.

One day of my way to the clinic I ran into my now fiancée Brian on septa, and the rest is history. I don’t like to count time, but it has been a few years now.

I live with Brian and our son. My life has so much meaning today, it always did I just didn’t take the time to see it. I have relationships- with my man, friends, family.

Once I made the decision to leave the past in the past and really wanted to recover- I was able to recover.

Therapy with Little Man, it’s not all smiles.

Getting ready for SI therapy.

I’m not gonna lie, some days, it’s so draining!

If Declan isn’t feeling it, I try to make it fun, engage him, put him in between my legs etc. etc. etc. But, he will go limp, throw a fit, kick his feet, and sometimes I totally think- wtf is the point?! Or I’ll get emotional like why doesn’t my son find interest in playing with me. It’s rare he finds joy in playing with me, which as a mother, feels like a shot to the heart.💔

This- I want to pause- to feel this for a second. Most days my son literally HATES playing with me. It is soo incredibly hard not to just give up right then and there.

I know deep down, it’s not about ME, it’s about him. He isn’t happy when I try to play with him in the traditional sense, so I needed to find things that he likes to do and use that in an interactive manner.

Just like anything in life- some days are better then others.

I constantly remind myself that without the bad, there’s no good. So I try and take the good and the bad with the same result- positivity.

Little Oilers and Declan

When our son started to display autistic symptoms I began to look for an alternative to medication, when I found Young Living oils.

I didn’t know it at that point but these oils, little bottles of pure plant goodness, would drastically improve both of our lives.

That first night when my PSK arrived, both Declan and I slept 12 hours! After a few a-ha experiences of wow these really work, I decided to grab the kids starter kit for Declan specifically. Below is how I use each to individually combat some of his symptoms.

TUMMYGIZE- for all the little tummy aches and woes.

SLEEPIZE- before the introduction of oils into our routine it was near impossible for Declan to calm before nap or bedtime. This oil has completely changed that for us, along with the sound machine for Declan = sleep magic!

OWIE- Little man rarely pays attention to where he’s walking, even when heading right for a wagon and takes a spill! I use owie on all of those nasty black n blue marks all over from learning to walk.

GENEYUS- This is a big one for us, and has greatly improved our experience with his therapy, especially with SI (play therapy). With GENEYUS in my tool belt it most definitely helps him to concentrate on tasks.

SNIFFLEASE- exactly what it says, eases any little sniffles.

Want more info?

The Hardest Part of Recovery

The hardest part of recovery for me has been feeling.

For years, I ran from all of my feelings, happy/ sad/ afraid/ mad/ excited, etc. and covered them with a substance. That, honestly was the easy part. I only had one worry in the world- getting and staying high.

This is a reason why multiple relapses are a part of my story. I could get clean, but I couldn’t stay that way because I couldn’t deal with myself and my feelings.

The hard part was learning to deal with my emotions, all of them, good bad and indifferent.

That and leaving the past in the past- focusing on things that I could change, and not the things I couldn’t. Making amends wherever I could, leaving people, places, and things and replacing them with new positive people and things.

I’m not a time counter, but I have a few years of being clean and sober, by the grace of God (source power, universe, whatever you choose to call your higher power). I’ve become a different woman who holds herself accountable. Today I’m a loving, devoted, reliable, and honest friend, spouse, sister, daughter and mother.

Once I finally learned to move on from my past, my mistakes, etc. and DEAL with my emotions I was able to move on in my life and eventually achieve sobriety. I am SO thankful for my sobriety and the relationships I’m blessed with today.