Then I remembered that I have enjoyed many groups in the past, when I was in the mood to go. What I didn't like was the inconvenience of going to and from the clinic midweek. That is no longer an issue, now that I live so close.
One former worker had wanted to combine keywork sessions with her group because she didn't seem to want to be botehred to make time for me. Two other workers tried to bully me into going. So I just didn't go, except when I felt like it. Which happened to be on the weeks when I wasn't pushed into going. (Some people think I'm stubborn, but I don't think I'm any more contrary than an average person. I just don't seem to be on the outside...)
When I last went to groups my mental health was too much of a problem for me to make any progress there. One week I'd turn up hypomanic and dominate discussions by chat-chat-chatting. One particular week I remember putting in three times more input than the entire rest of the group combined. In other words it was a dialogue between me and the guy chairing it, with everybody else looking on. Then somebody did pipe up to disagree on what I considered a simple point of fact, and I was so offended I vowed never to return. Within a week my mood had switched from manic to miserable, and I didn't want to speak to anybody, so I didn't go. A week later, depression had intensified and was topped off with paranoia, so I couldn't face a room full of people. The group happened to start as my keywork session ended, so I went in for the sake of it. But the bitch invigilator insisted we pair up, interviewing whoever happened to be sat next to us. One person would pretend to be a drugs-worker and the other the client. The surly crackhead beside me, who had made it clear he was there solely to fulfill a court-ordered Drug Treatment and Testing Order and who had already been twice reprimanded for reading The Daily Mirror in-group, didn't appear to have any willingness to any sort of recovery at all. I took one glance in his direction then skedaddled out the door. And that was me and groups done with until today.
I really enjoyed today's group as it was all about me. In other words I was the only person to show up! We filled out some kind of risk-assessment sheets and I got the first of my tapering scripts: 24mg for this week; 23 for next. All being well I should be OFF METHADONE and DRUG-FREE for nearly 2013.
That's if the Mayan Calendar doesn't terminate us all in the meantime, sending computers crashing worldwide and aeroplanes dropping out of the skies.
O sorry, that was the Millennium Bug, wasn't it? You know, the bug that didn't do anything at all, but cost lots of money for large corporations to have written out of their systems.
If the world does end, I'm sure the heroin supply will dry up first. And after that the methadone supply, as the world pharmaceutical system goes into crisis.
Urban Legend has it that methadone was an innovation of the Nazi party, to keep several of the heroin-addicted German top-brass in opiates during the dark days of the Second World War. The most famous of these was Herman Goering, head of the Luftwaffe, who had been a morphine addict for years. But rumour has it that even Adolf Hitler himself was addicted to heroin. Obtaining a reliable supply of any opiate was of course very difficult, hence the introduction of methadone, a completely synthetic opioid.
According to Wikipedia, methadone never gained widespread support in Germany and the reasons are telling:
The reason for its swift abandonment as an alternative to morphine was due to the adverse effects it had on German soldiers during early trials. In contrast to morphine, which was used to alleviate pain in the injured but also to boost the esteem, stamina, and drive of German soldiers in combat, methadone had effects that have been described as such; "Dolophine (Methadone) had many adverse effects on the soldiers to whom it was given, leading to apathy, lethargy, and decreased willingness to engage in combat".
And you wonder why I complain about methadone's side effects!
I don't, by the way, believe Hitler was a junkie, or that methadone was devised as an evil Nazi plot to keep the German, or any other, population in subjugation. It is true, however, that methadone was originally patented in Germany and the patent "appropriated" (some might say stolen) by the Americans after World War II. Because methadone didn't make a particularly good painkiller, despite being an incredibly addictive opioid, it never found its way into general medical use until the "substitution therapy" as a treatment for heroin addiction was pioneered by Dr Vincent Dole in New York in the 1960s.
The old trade name Dolophine, by the way, echoes the Latin dolor, meaning pain. Whether it was also a pun on Hitler's first name Adolph is very much a moot point...
In the UK, methadone never gained acceptance as a treatment for heroin addiction until the early 1970s. Up until that time, heroin addiction was usually treated by heroin prescription. Though the British system proved open to abuse by certain dodgy doctors such as the famous Dr Petro (Petrovski) who would write out scripts for heroin and cocaine to anybody who claimed to be addicted, the principle of treating heroin addiction with injectable heroin has been shown to be sound, with far higher success rates than for oral or injectable methadone.
I'm just so glad finally to have got to the stage where methadone "works" for me enough that I can at least go days on it without climbing the walls, even if I am sweating like a rancid pig. Even if I am having to take antipsychotics to cope with the adverse effect the stuff has on my mind.
Best of all, I'm glad to be in a clinic ~ at last ~ that is willing to detox me the way I want to be detoxed. The old place were suggesting a drop from 20 to 15mg in one go. That's a 25% reduction! The same as dropping someone from 100mg to 75mg overnight and expecting them not to go crazy. Personally I'd like to see the clinic from the London Borough of Crudsville struck off the medical register. The treatment I got there was the worst in my entire life.
Anyway that's another nightmare relegated to the cesspool of the past, where it belongs.
My one ambition is to get OFF this noxious drug they insist on treating me with, to get ON with life.
PLEASE PLEASE, I want a FUTURE...
Illustrated: Methadone Man and Buprenorphine Babe; stop the drug clinic! (my old one)
Here's another Like A Prayer, a very laid-back rendition from Madonna's Re-Invention tour, 2001..