Friday, July 15, 2011

Re: Comments

I appear to be having problems replying to comments on my blog, it wont recognize my open ID of mumofaddict, comes back each time invalid, help section within blogger for this problem is useless.   Trying this way as new blog posting.    Thanks Dad and Mom for comment, all I can add is what's wrong with our Governments & Health/Law department/ agencies for allowing such lethal substances to be sold legally.   Urgent laws need to be passed to protect our future generations from acquiring addiction problems

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Generation. New Drug

I apologise to my followers/readers for kind of abandoning my blog of late.   Shane's drug addiction/Methadone story was the platform and main reason for starting this blog and now that his story has come to an end, my passion re: my blog has waned a little.   But I haven't lost sight of the fact that there are still lots of issue's regarding addictions that need to be aired and written about.   So this posting is about our new generation coming through, my grandchildrens generation.   It's a whole new ball-game out there today for them.   The temptations and peer pressure that surrounds teenager's today regarding drugs/alcohol is huge and very worrying.

I can't speak for other countries, but in New Zealand we appear to now have a major problem with a new drug called 'Kronic'.   It is a synthetic cannabis type drug, apparently highly addictive and can be purchased at, what we in NZ refer to as our local 'dairy', (little food/market shop.)   No identification or age limit required to purchase this stuff, children as young as 10 years old are buying and smoking this new drug called 'Kronic'.   It's obviously less expensive than cannabis/marijuana but gives the same, if not more satisfaction.   Because this drug is legal, is cheap and can be purchased so easily we have a new very young generation with addiction problems looming up.   Many years ago the problem drug was 'Heroin', then came 'Methamphetamine (P), now it's 'Kronic'.   I think the drug 'P' re: it's addictive nature and problems still seems to rank and take precedence in NZ anyway over all other addictive drugs being used and abused.   Nevertheless, I presume addiction experts are well aware of this new drug and it's addictive qualities.   Therefore there should be help readily available for this new generation of addiction coming through!!!!!

But it's not only illicit drug's, legal or otherwise that is of concern regarding teenager's in today's society.   Alcohol is another major problem for teens here in NZ, binge drinking and problems arising from that is rampant most weekends.   Alcohol, with it's 'lollipop' mix's and different alcohol strengths is the reason for  our youth binge drinking problem.     Some responsibility though must be levelled at  liquor retailers/outlets for the way they market and present these alcoholic beverages/mix's merely to entice young buyers.   All these lovely coloured, fancy looking bottles of alcohol mix's is just to tempting for our young teens.   Drinking 3 or 4 of these alcoholic mix's especially the high end strengths of 8 and 11% is not what our young teens bodies or brains can handle.   These alcoholic drinks are just so nice and easy to drink, but the teens drinking them aren't equipped or experienced enough to know or guage the consequences or effects these alcoholic beverages have on them.   Hence, undignified binge drinking, violence and drunk driving, sometimes fatal car accidents.

It's tough being a teenager growing up today, trying to obey rules parents impose but at the same time trying to keep up and impress friends and everyone else around them.   We've all got to learn, it's part of life's experience and journey.    However, sadly for some of this new generation coming through life's experiences are going to leave them with a bitter sweet taste.

My oldest grandchildren are: 20, 18 and 2 x 16 year olds and so far so good with them, but they have grown up with their uncle Shane's drug addiction and maybe witnessing and experiencing his addiction has helped them to be more aware and better equipped regards alcohol and drugs, I don't know.    I'm just thankful we don't have any major problems in our midst, but I do feel concern for all those teens out there that aren't equipped or aware and do have problems.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reader's Methadone Detox Regime

Methadone is an extremely controlling, burdensome substance for most that are using it.    Taking Methadone becomes the user's daily grind, their 'liquid handcuffs', it is a substance that most have a love - hate relationship with, they hate the control and power it possess but love that it eases their pain and craving.   However, ending the relationship with Methadone, withdrawing or detoxing from it even if deeply desired can be a very difficult almost fearful task.   Therefore anything that can impede or aid the detoxification process off Methadone is definitely worth reporting or passing onto readers.

This detox regime is from one of my blog followers which she has kindly permitted me to pass on:   This lady has been on Methadone for 10 years for back/pain surgeries and has found this method or detox regime very helpful.  The following is quoted from her email:

I first ordered New Chapter Turmeric Force and the New Ginger Force ( I presume these are books), then I ordered the Ultra Clear Ph medical food/powder.   In ONE WEEK I was able to go from 30mg of Methadone a day down to 10mg a day.( I feel this figure may be a typing error on her part, it seems a lot to withdraw down in one week)   It was for the most part painless.   I am on edge a bit but I also take Lexapro for depression so I assume that is helping me.

The one thing I have noticed is that if I eat suger (sweets) then my body pains come back tenfold.   I also realized I am able to take the Ultra Clear Ph TWO times daily so that has really helped in the afternoons with the withdrawals.

I felt this detox regime was worth passing on, especially if it helps others as much as it has this lady.  Good luck to all out there attempting Methadone withdrawal.   Stay Strong and Positive, it is worth every ounce of effort and determination you put in.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Living In Recovery

In recovery or living in recovery, is a metaphorical term that is used to explain the stage after rehabilitation regarding one's addiction.   It's general meaning is taking one day at a time and it is the golden rule within rehabilitation and support group programme's.    It is presumed or said to be the most difficult stage or phase for those suffering with an addiction, but I kind of disagree.   Don't all addict's or those with an addiction live one day at a time all the years of their addiction anyway, so on this assumption being in recovery is what those with an addiction are used to doing or living with, their addiction has made, trained or taught them to do this.   An addict's life has revolved this way and probaby has so for many years, it's always been moment to moment, day to day and week to week in between sourcing and scoring just to survive their addiction.
Frankly I think the most difficult stage for those addicted is recognizing their addiction and getting to this recovery stage. 

Shane and I talk periodically about rehab, recovery and addiction, not a lot because he wants to live in the now not in the past, however, he does semi agree saying 'recovery' is the term and it is what it is but thinks maybe living in or with temptation would be a more accurate and appropriate metaphoric term or stage to use, because that's what life after rehab is really all about.   Once an addict always an addict as the saying goes, your addiction is never cured, rehabilitation can only teach how to control the urge or mindset of it.   Shane say's he's lucky being the age he is regarding being in recovery, as those in their mid forties like himself seem to have a bit more control regards the temptation or urge to use again and don't put themselves at risk or in risky situations, so they probably have a better chance of success than those younger coming out of rehabilitation.   The younger you are the harder the 'recovery' stage is, this age group still wants or needs to socialize and party, so the temptation and contact with those that are addicted and still using is much more prominent where this age group is concerned.   Shane's says he's just happy to have what he has now and doesn't have the desire or need for more.   But being 'in recovery' is the term and only those that are in the process of it know the real message behind it.   Recovery, temptation is what life is for those addicted, but it's also the same for the families and loved ones that are or have lived with their addiction, our lives are in this 'recovery' stage as well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recovery Is Just A New Battle For The Addicted

Shane's drug addiction had spanned twenty five years when he entered into the Odyssey House residential rehabilitation programme.   Shane may have controlled his addiction reasonably well in the early years but he certainly didn't in the later years, how he survived those years without overdosing his beyond belief.   Some may profess it was just good luck that he did but I truly believe it was god's will and his way of giving Shane a second chance at life.

Shane entering into rehabilitation in April 2007 for his addiction was the answer to a mother's prayer and dream for her son.   Shane had to face his demons with real courage and conviction though to overcome his embattled life of drug addiction and he vowed and declared long before graduating Odyssey's rehabilitation programme in September 2009 that drugs would never become part of his life again.

This vow and declaration has helped determine his path of recovery and today two years on Shane is still clean and free of drugs.   He remains in the same employment position that he obtained while in Odyssey House back in 2009 and he has been in a solid, supportive, loving relationship for the last eighteen months.   His partner has an adorable little three year old son whom Shane is a wonderful, hand's on stepdad to.   So Shane's life has been rewarded and enriched in many ways since taking those first steps to become drug free four years ago.

Shane is very appreciative and respectful of the Odyssey House rehabilitation programme but he doesn't believe in living in the past, so his rehabilitation and years of drug addiction isn't something he reflects or dwells upon a great deal.   Shane's attitude and focus is only on the years ahead now regarding his life, relationship and recovery.

Shane's story of drug addiction and Methadone treatment has come to an end.   I hope my experience and views as a parent of a drug addicted loved one has been of some value and comfort to other parents or to those inflicted with an addiction.   However, from time to time I plan to continue putting forward my experience/ views and information regarding Methadone and drug addiction, so my blog will not end.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Drug Freedom And The Rehabilitation Journey Continued

As my previous post explained certain privileges, responsibilities and important duties are bestowed upon an entrant as he/she progresses through Odyssey's rehabilitation programme.   But all is soon removed and an entrant is demoted back down the ladder of levels for any inappropriate behaviour or misdemeanours occurring.   Entrant's recogonizing and accepting that there are consequences for every action and irresponsible decision is important for their rehabilitation and future recovery to be successful.   By the September Shane had progressed up to a level 4 status entrant and entrant's on this level can apply for a days leave away from the centre once a week.   However, entrants aren't permitted on outings alone they have to be accompanied by another level 4 peer.   Apparently, Shane and a fellow peer had acted irresponsibly while out on a days leave from the centre and, subseqently, both were demoted back in levels, which also resulted in the loss of privileges.   Shane made contact with me around the time of this incident and it was obvious he was disappointed enough in himself, without a mother's worthy wisdom flowing forth as well.   He explained how and what had happened and didn't attempt to excuse his misdemeanour in anyway, but said the fact that it had occurred made him realize that a more concerted, determined effort was needed regarding his rehabilitation.  

Addiction rehabilitation facilities such as Odyssey House all have programmes that are based on the twelve step principle of recovery.    This therapeutic type programme and supportive environment enables entrant's to establish goals and recognize without fear or judgement his/her own successes and failures.     Which in turn also encourges attitude and behavioural changes regarding one's addiction.   Hence, the theory of rehabilitation programmes isn't about solving or curing the addiction for an entrant but to give them understanding of it and the skills to hopefully abstain and manage their long term recovery process successfully.

By the end of 2008 all Shane's privileges, duties and his level 4 status had been fully restored.   It was a Saturday in mid January 2009 when Shane finally extended an invitation for us and his family to visit him at Odyssey House.   It had been 10 months since we'd all seen him, so there was excitement tinged with a bit of nervousness about this first visit.   But once in his company it was like we'd only seen him yesterday.   Shane looked healthier and fitter and there seemed to be an air of confidence and importance about him which indicated his self worth and esteem had also been restored since being in rehabilitation.   He took great delight in showing us all around the centre, it was a large sprawling type facility and the whole place had a warm, homely feel about it.   Shane's gratitude, pride and respect in the centre, Odyssey's programme and in his fellow peers was very evident as he showed us through, stopping many times to introduce us and converse with other entrants's and Odyssey therapists.   Shane said life at the centre was like living in a big commune and he'd come to enjoy this aspect of his rehabilitation at Odyssey House.   I realized, as we walked through the centre, that Shane was well within his comfort zone, and all the people in Odyssey were now his family.   After our guided tour, we all including Shane departed Odyssey to have a lovely picnic lunch at a park near by.   Being exposed to Shane's life in Odyssey House did give me some understanding as to why he'd initially distanced himself from us.   My only concern for Shane back then was, because he loved being at the centre and the lifestyle of it, how he'd feel when it came to to leave.

During lunch Shane explained, in order to proceed with his rehabilitation, he was to be candidated out, this meant finding employment.   Once settled in employment Shane would move out of the centre and into one of the houses Odyssey owns with two other of his peers.   There they would be responsible for sustaining themselves in a flatting type situation, with the requirement that they attend two meetings a week at the centre.   Shane was nervous but seemed quite optimistic about his chances of gaining employment in the area.

Our next family invitation to visit Shane was to attend a community dinner at Odyssey House on April the 2nd 2009, which happened to be his first anniversary in rehabilitation.   These community dinners are held fortnightly and are hosted by the entrants, whereby they can extend invitations for family to attend.   This dinner is a real highlight for Odyssey entrants, with all residents pitching in to help prepare and cook the huge smorgasboard banquet meal for themselves and their guests, which I was told can be for up to 150 persons or more.   It is a very social event for entrants and their guests, as well as a special celebration for those entrants who are graduating from the Odyssey rehabilitation programme.   Along with much appreciated family time, it's an occasion and opportunity for entrants to intoduce their families to the wider residential community, including Odyssey's facilitators and therapists.   It was a wonderful, unique experience and social event.   The meal was a feast, the atmosphere was relaxed and jublient, with the centre's Kapa Haka group performing, then prayers and formalities.   Two of Odyssey House entrants were graduating that night, and we felt honoured to be present at this special dinner and occasion, it was such a very humbling experience for us all.

On this occasion we conversed with a large number of Shane's peers and therapists, which left me feeling even more humbled and respectful of Odyssey House's reputation and programme.   Also for the entrants on this programme, including Shane, for the courage and strength they all show in their attempt to end their addictions, which for some, have plagued their lives for many years, just like Shane's.   Most we met readily discussed their addictions and journey of rehabilitation, openly and honestly.   The camaraderie and support for one another is so very evident, especially to outsiders like ourselves.   It was so comforting to know Shane was surrounded by people who cared about him as much as we did.   The dinner and evening lasted approximately 3 hours, and it was nice to experience some of what Shane's life at the centre was all about.   Shane intoduced us to three residents that night whom had entered Odyssey House about the same time as he had, all for Methadone withdrawal.   They all declared how difficult those early months of rehabilitation had been to come off the Methadone, and none, including Shane would ever contemplate it as a treatment option again.

In the May Shane did acquire fulltime employment, and upon commencing work he was accommodated in one of the facilities re-entry houses with two other of his peers, as arranged, but only for  a short time.   He and a friend/peer located their own accommodation together within a short distance of their work places.   The final stage and what's termed completion of Shane's rehabilitation within Odyssey House programme is his formal graduation.   This entailed Shane collating a personal account of his twenty five year drug addiction, his journey of rehabilitation and his future long term goals.   Once this proposal has been completed and accepted by Odyssey facilitator's, it is then shared within the centre's wider community and Shane is presented with a graduation certificate at a community dinner.   I was told by some of Shane's peers, at the community dinner we attended, who had completed graduation that this is a difficult proposal to recount due to it's personal agenda.   However, is is a necessary and important conclusion to the programme, and all canididates, at Shane's stage of rehabilitation do eventually achieve this graduation process.   Our Shane though, being the skilled procrastinator he is, masterfully sidestepped this process for as long as was acceptable by the programme protocol.   Eventually, Odyssey facilitator's felt it necessary to set a deadline for Shane to complete his proposal and he was given the date of mid September  to do so.   Failure to submit this proposal meant, although he would be considered to have completed the programme, he wouldn't officially graduate.   This was all the incentive Shane needed, and his peers knew this as well.   They all rallied and encouraged him, and we bombarded him with texts, and on September 17th 2009 Shane officially graduated, along with six other of his peers, from the Odyssey House rehabilitation programme.

I'm sure I speak on behalf of all Shane's family, those present or not at this special community graduation dinner, when I say that this was an intensely proud moment, and one I will remember and hold dear for the remainder of my years.   Shane stood tall and proud, here, before us, was my son, clean of drugs, healthy and happy, ready to face his future head on.   To mark our pride and respect for Shane and  his achievement I had prepared a brief speech, my words were as follows:

No matter how strong the desire is to clean your life up of an addiction, the prospect of actually doing it is understandably the most terrifying, daunting task an addicted person will ever face.   So we, Shane's family, have great pride in what Shane has achieved in accomplishing graduation tonight.   I'd like to thank Odyssey House facilitator's, therapists and Shane's other fellow peers.   Congratulations, Shane, and god bless you all.

I will update Shane's recovery process at a later date.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Drug Freedom And The Rehabilitation Journey

Shane approached and entered into Odyssey House's addiction rehabilitation centre with a commitment and determination I'd not seen in him before, which indicated he was truely ready to face and conquer his demons.   The desire to be drug free was always within Shane but the will to pursue it had slowly diminished the more controlling and encumbering his addiction became that's all.   This lack of will, confidence or faith, whatever it may have been clearly wasn't the case anymore though.   It was like Shane had come full circle regarding his drug addiction.   His goal was still the same as in 94 but there was definitely a more optimistic and motivated approach towards pursuing it this time around.   The processs and rehabilitation journey ahead achieving his goal of drug freedom being difficult didn't seem to be overly perturbing him either.   Shane's life had been at the mercy of drugs for many years but out of the despair had come determination and out of the hopelessness of it had come strength.   He finally believed enough in himself and in his ability to accomplish and overcome what had always seemed an overwhelming task.   Shane admitted, on the day of entry though, to being a bit nervous and apprehensive about everything, but still eager to proceed with his rehabilitation.   Although Shane had a fairly outgoing personality I do think this day he was feeling quite nervous about meeting and getting to know everybody within the Odyssey community as well.

Shane and I had talked a lot about the months ahead of him in rehabilitation, prior to his entry.   He'd stated in those conversations, that he may not extend and invitation for us to visit in the early stages of his rehabilitation, he just felt it might be better for him if he didn't have personal contact with family for a while.   His words were;   "I need to do this on my own mum, the lone wolf way, like I was on the streets that time without any distractions or emotional hang up's".   Shane's declaration wasn't at all surprising or upsetting, this sort of thinking is so very typical of the type of person Shane is.   His reasoning about this though was understandable and it did once again verify how important this rehabilitation journey was to him.   However, understanding it didn't make our final goodbyes any easier that day at Odyssey's admission centre, especially not knowing how long it was going to be before Shane permitted us to see him again.

Upon entry Shane's addiction was stable and his daily Methadone dose was 36mgs.   The first stage of Shane's rehabilitation was, of course, to withdraw off the Methadone.   This took him approximately sixteen weeks, so it was the August of 2008 that total Methadone withdrawal was completed.   There was sporadic telephone contact and mail from Shane during this time.   He stated then that with the Methadone withdrawal process he was very thankful to have been in a rehabilitation facility, as even reducing down at 2mgs a week was rough going, physically and mentally.   He said in the early weeks of withdrawal there were times he felt like 'shit' with flu like sypmtoms and slight nausea, and that the whole withdrawal process would've been a lot more difficult without the support of peers in the centre, regular therapy sessions and anxiety medication.   Shane now believes that withdrawing completely off Methadone is the one thing that could never be successfully accomplished outside a residential rehabilitation facility because the lower you go and feel, the more tempting it is to drug abuse.   It took a lot of determination and willpower for him to stay in the centre and accomplish it himself, he said.   The pride Shane felt in finally achieving this major task of Methadone withdrawal was evident in his voice and would've been a sight to behold.   However, this was something we weren't privy to as his request for having no family visits hadn't yet changed.   His achievement could only be acknowledged with letters and cards of congratulations.

Odyssey House has three different residential addiction facilities within the Auckland region, the adult, dual diagnosis and a youth centre.   Odyssey's adult centre where Shane was entered caters for both genders and is from 18 years old upwards.   No outside staff are employed to operate Odyssey's adult facility, the entrants living within the centre are responsible for it's daily upkeep and operation.   All entrants are assigned general housekeeping duties when they enter into rehabilitation, kitchen, laundry etc, the facilities garden maintenance and lawns are also included in assigned duties.   Shane explained facility staff does check that all duties and tasks are completed to a high standard, and that if the centre doesn't pass inspection then the whole house is locked down and privileges are removed.   It is part of Odyssey's higer level entrant's responsibility to supervise and make sure all housekeeping duties are carried out to the required standard.   This is all part of the Odyssey House rehabilitation programme;  that between housekeeping duties, peer group meetings and therapy sessions, an entrant is kept busy and occupied in the first few months of their rehabilitation daily from 7am until 9pm.   Entrants have only one hour of television daily throughout the week, the news at 6pm, but television viewing time is extended to a movie at weekends.   As an entrant progesses up the levels, his/her duties are minimized so they can supervise lower levels.   The higher level entrants are also permitted to have more television viewing time.   Shane stated these are small privileges but ones that are greatly appreciated, so loosing them is a sad loss.   Respect for the Odyssey programme and fellow peers is expected and emphasized whilst in rehabilitation.   It is important and vital being that Odyssey is a large community of people that this rule is adhered to at all times in and oustide the facility.   Shane said any entrant whom doesn't comply to this rule are held accountable and it is deemed and treated by Odyssey facilitators as a serious misdemeanour.

The Odyssey House programme is structured in a way that involves the entrants to be responsible for the centre's daily operation and it all works on a simple points and reward system.   Hence, this programme not only teaches responsibility and respect for others, but also that entrant's take pride in themselves and in what he/she achieves on a daily basis.   This is the reason why I believe Odyssey House's rehabilitation programme is so highly respected and successful.

Shane had been in Odyssey for some months and we still hadn't had any personal contact with him, with no invitation so far to visit being extended.   However, contact I had with Shane around the September/October established that his journey of rehabilitation had struck a small bump, nothing major but one he did own up to having.   I will explain further about this and continue Shane's rehabilitation journey in my next posting.   As it is this posting has ended up longer than anticipated.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CADS Meeting Information.

Most of the issues my campaign raised regarding the MMT programme had been proficiently addressed in Robert Steenhuisens letter of 3-12-2010.   His correspondence was very informative and explanatory re: Methadone treatment objectives, expectations and of CADS treatment policy/obligations and expectations.   All of which had given some clarity and understanding of Methadone treatment.   However, my meeting with Robert Steenhuisen, Regional Manager CADS Auckland on 28-2-2011 which my husband and daughter attended as well proved more beneficial and insightful than previously anticipated.   All discussions, questions pertaining to the MMT programme were approached and answered objectively by Mr Steenhuisen.   Hence, new knowledge, information brings clarity and insight.   Mr Steenhuisen has been with the MMT programme for many years and he also chairs two other nationwide Drug Addiction Treatment Committees so his knowledge and expertise in the field of addiction and this treatment programme is extensive.

The following information is the outcome of my meeting and, or correspondence with Robert Steenhuisen.

In 2010 a policy review of the NZ Alcohol & Drug Addiction Act which has been in existence since the 1960s was undertaken.   Therefore, some significant policy changes - nationally and locally - in how the Methadone service delivers its service has also taken place.   Back in the 1970s all Opioid Substitution was provided by GPs, then specialist services were established and GPs weren't allowed to prescribe Opiates for addiction/dependence.   Now there is a move back to a shared care/partnership approach with GPs and specialist services (CADS) regards Opioid Substitution treatment (MMT programme).   All GPs work with and under CADS service guidelines and protocol, and GPs require CADS authorisation to alter a patient's prescribed Methadone dose.   GPs monitor and drug test their MMT patient's and test results are forwarded to CADS area clinic.   All persons accessing and requiring Methadone treatment must come through CADS first, once a Methadone client is stabilized their file is then allocated to a GP.   At this stage, 50% Methadone treatment clients are prescribed by GPs and 50% are prescribed and still being monitored by CADS.   Government driven policy - aim by CADS is to get as many MMT clients as possible to go through a GP.

MMT programme statistics:  In the past year 15,000 persons nationwide have accessed CADS service.   Average age accessing service is rising, suggesting long term maintenance.   CADS Auckland region treats annually 1200 people with Methadone for Opiate dependency over 7 clinics and employees 250 staff.   Over the last 5 years in the Auckland region around 120 withdraw from the programme annually and a similar number of people are admitted.

Methadone treatment policy information:  The objective of Methadone treatment is to provide an opportunity for opiate/drug dependent persons to get their lives in order by offering a legal substitute to replace their illegal drug habit.   It is realized by service providers that taking a dose of Methadone daily does not automatically fix the social, health and psychological problems clients have or face.   Professional counselling is offered and given upon a clients request, but counselling isn't mandatory for those whom don't want or desire it.

Service providers (CADS) supports minimum of 2 years in treatment with an average of 5-7 years, it is quiet acceptable though for clients to remain in treatment for longer or less.   It is largely a client's decision to do so.

Service providers recognises that abstinence from all drugs is not possible or desired by some drug users so abstinence although preferred is not expected.   But service providers will help and support a client achieve an abstinence goal if they so desire.    So drug abuse by clients in MMT treatment is acknowledged and providers do share concern on this matter, especially the rise in prescription medications being abused.

Black market Methadone - treatment clients selling part of their takeaway doses, service providers are aware this does periodically occur.   However, measures are in place and strict guidelines are imposed if illegal trafficking of Methadone by a client is established and proven.   CADS do have a proviso in place for discharging clients from the programme if illegal trafficking is proven.   CADS receives a monthly report from the police departments Drug Enforcement Agency to keep abreast of what illegal drugs are on the street and being abused.   By all accounts black market Methadone isn't a major problem in NZ.

Assessment for Methadone takeaways usually includes urine drug screening showing definite positive for Methadone but negative for other drugs of abuse, especially alcohol, illicit opiates, benzodiazepines unless prescribed and amphetamines.   Urine testing is random and is performed at Medical labs - cost picked up by CADS.   If a client is strongly suspected of illegal trafficking his/her Methadone then frequent random urine testing is done to check Methadone in his/her system.   Serum level (blood) testing is done mainly in the early stages of entry for checking body metabolism to establish correct dose of Methadone has been prescribed, or but rarely when there is genuine concern about accuracy of reported Methadone consumption.

Methadone treatment - recovery/rehabilitation, Robert Steenhuisens correspondence addresses both these matters.   I felt Roberts views, observations as an experienced treatment service provider worthy of including.

From my observations the clients in our Methadone programme fall into three categories.   A small group of people who, as soon as they are on the programme, organise their lives again, are working or attend university, look after their famalies, disengage from crime.   As a rule they are pleasant to engage, but want to minimise their contact with our service as much as they can.   They see our programme as an extension of the 'junky world' they are keen to exit.   A second group will make hardly any progress in terms of full recovery, but make some gains in reducing injecting drugs and crime.   While these are modest results, they are important for the families they live with.   There is also the group hardest to manage on the programme with ongoing confrontations between them, our staff and community pharmacy staff.   The third group makes progress to recovery but will also suffer regular set backs due to a range of psychological and environmental factors.

In your information you make the case for stricter management of clients on the programme through discharging those who fail to make progress (a slight misinterpretation of my info I think) and offering more rehabilitation for those who stay on it.   Offering more rehabilitation services to the first two groups is wasteful.   The first group makes ample gains without professional input (other than prescribing methadone), while the second group professional input remains limited to managing anti social behaviour.   The third group is the most promising for a return on more rehabilitation input.

My experience is that once you look at the recovery pathways of individuals they are very diverse.   It is obvious that a person who intends to exit the world of addiction needs to address a wide range of issues.   For some they will find support within The Methadone programme, others will do so elsewhere.   For most the journey to abstinence will be interupted with many set backs.   It is essential they they accept responsibility for their own recovery.   It is not possible that a Methadone programme can force people to recover and avoid making mistakes.

In my discussions with Methadone clients who withdraw from Methadone after many years I always felt they saw the Methadone service with some ambivalence.   On one level it saved them from HIV, Hepatitis and imprisonment, but on the other hand it prolonged their dependence on a chemical 'to feel normal'.   I have not been able to identify in the literature any guidelines on how to manage this dilemma.   The management of Methadone programmes swings between being too permissive and/or too restictive.   Neither is good for the client, or the staff.   I do not think there is an 'ideal' way of running the service, it is a process of regular review and adjustment.

Mr Steenhuisen quoted the NZ MMT programme is fairly rigid compared to some overseas programmes, and he is a strong advocate for more addiction treatment facilities nationwide.

All campaign issues were addressed with the exception of the addictive nature of Methadone and its withdrawal/detoxing problems.   However, this was semi addressed in Mr Steenhuisens observations - recovery pathways sections.   My interpretation is:  if a client desire it, remains stabilized, doesn't actively drug abuse and follows a steady/slow withdrawal regime then Methadone withdrawal/detoxing problems are possibly minimized.   I still feel that this Methadone addictive/withdrawal problem needs to be included in the facts section of CADS website or upon initial contact so clients are aware upon entry.    Sorry post is a bit long, but felt it only fair that readers have the full benefit of this meeting/information and insight into Methadone treatment.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Love Of Family Triumphs Over Drugs. An End To 'Chasing The Dragon'.

In the early stages of admittance I did have contact with the unit regarding Shane's addiction history, our decision, and his prevailing circumstances.    An update on Shane's status confirmed what I had feared, that he had very little recollection of the days leading up to his admittance, which isn't unusual with the use of certain substances.   But it was concerning because this loss of memory was causing him to be unsettled, confused and depressed about his present situation and reasons for it.   So permission was granted for Shane to contact me to clarify his situation and future circumstances.   Which he done on the third day of his admittance, where all was explained and clarified especially our ultimatum, 'tough love' decision and what it meant for him.   Shane listened intently and was extremely sorry and apologetic for his actions.   He told me he fully understood our decision and why, and would respect it, and said I wasn't to worry about him, that he'd be alright and vowed to clean his life up of drugs.  He ended the phone call promising to keep in touch with me via his mobile phone.   It was a sad, emotional call for both parties, but I felt so very proud of how strong, brave and compassionate Shane was about it all, and without an ounce of animosity expressed.   His strength, compassion and understanding not only showed true grit and the measure of the man, but also of his deep love, respect and appreciation for us and his family.

My heart immediately wanted to retract the decision and bring Shane home, but my gut instinct and knowing the path his drug addiction was now on wouldn't allow it.   Shane had good drug knowledge but a reckless attitude towards his abusing, so the potential for and risk of him possibly overdosing was always there and one of our greatest fears, all of which had increased in recent weeks.   It was probable death or rehab, we knew it and so did Shane, but getting him to acknowledge it was our problem.   Hence, the reason for actioning 'tough love', it was a last resort measure for us and done purely out of despair and desperation, hoping it would prompt Shane to recognize his drug abuse was now very extreme and life threatening, and that a professional facility to end his battle with drugs/Methadone and possibly save his life was required.   My belief was that if Shane's desire for drug freedom was still in tact, then this would be his guiding light for obtaining it.

My first task regarding our 'tough love' decision was to pen a letter to Community Alcohol & Drug Services (CADS) regarding Shane's current situation, to which they would've been informed about but were possibly unaware of the reasons.   So my letter was to explain that and of all matters pertaining to it, plus of our decision, hence Shane's circumstances upon discharge.   Therefore, informing them that I was relinquishing my authority and all responsibility regarding Shane's Methadone and drug addiction.

Our Christmas festivities were still celebrated but they weren't, as you'd expect full of cheer and excitement.   However, we done the best we could that year under the circumstances.   Knowing Shane was a least safe in the unit and that all Christmas festivities were being bestowed upon him in there brought some solace though.

Shane was discharged from the unit after one week and his no fixed abode lifestyle commenced.   He lived this rough, vagrant lifestyle for about 2 months.   His accommodation and home for this time was a tent in a camp type situation, set up in the bush on the outskirts of the Thames township.   This bush camp/home sight just had the basics and belonged to, and was set up by another vagrant male person whom invited Shane in to share his accommodation.   Even renting a room in the scungiest budget hotel in Thames cost $30.00 a night, which Shane did pay for and do for his first 3 nights upon discharge.   But he couldn't afford to continue staying in the hotel so this male's camp accommodation when offered was gratefully accepted.   Which does go to show that these street people or vagrants whom most of us look down on and also judge, do care, are kind, and look out for others especially those in the same situation.

Because of his no fixed abode lifestyle Shane wasn't permitted to have take away doses of Methadone, which I was very thankful of, as this could've caused problems within his lifestyle, or with those around him   Shane and others on the programme that are in this position are required to attend the pharmacy daily and the hospital on Sundays for their Methadone.

The 'tough love' rule of no personal contact with Shane, although difficult and distressing was adhered to by all in the family for this time, with the exception of his brother, whom veered only slightly by having personal contact with Shane on a weekly basis.   But at these times he never rendered any other personal or financial support to Shane.   This was good though because it gave him and us peace of mind regards our actions and also of how Shane was coping.   By all accounts Shane handled his sudden vagrant lifestyle well and done it with resilience and dignity.   With having only minor slip-ups, re: drug or alcohol over indulgence, and these were in the initial first couple of weeks of his vagrancy.  Shane did abide by his word and promises, he kept safe and in regular contact with me, and also in his vow to clean his life up of drugs.

Within days of being discharged from the unit Shane informed the CADS clinic in Thames of his intentions, and requested entry into a residential rehabilitation facility for his drug addiction and Methadone withdrawal.   Shane being on the Methadone programme meant that CADS were deemed his drug addiction treatment providers.   Therefore, it was CADS responsibility to initiate and action Shane's request for entry into a rehabilitation facility.   Shane couldn't enter himself into a facility which was very unfortunate, because it took CADS nearly 2 months to action his request, by which time Shane had become quite disheartened and despondent.   The wherefores and why regarding their lack of action I wont go into, well not in this post anyway.   We had decided that once Shane's requested entry into a rehabilitation facility had been actioned and confirmed, then he could reside back home with us to await and prepare for his admission date.   Shane was informed of this decision early into the rehabilitation entry process with CADS to encourage, and  to keep his will, spirit and motivation in tact.   But it was also because I knew through my own inquiries of the entry process and admission criteria for such residential rehabilitation facilities, and Shane's no fixed abode lifestyle could cause delays or problems regarding either process.   We imposed a total abstinence rule for Shane though, with the exception to his daily dose of Methadone.   And it was emphasized that if he mucked up or delayed his admission into the centre he would be resuming his vagrant lifestyle.   But this abstinence rule being imposed didn't perturb Shane at all, with living the rough lifestyle he was just ecstatic about the option and chance to come home, to a comfy bed and a hot shower.

By the end of February Shane's entry into Odyssey House, a long term residential addiction rehabilitation facility based in Auckland had been actioned and confirmed so at this point as agreed, his vagrant lifestyle ended and his comfy home lifestyle began.   Shane's two clinical interviews for the entry process were by telephone and completed within the first week of March, but a definite admission date couldn't be given.   The fact that this addiction rehabilitation facility is a highly respected long term programme, up to eighteen months, and also that it is one of the few facilities nationwide that does undertake Methadone withdrawal makes this programme and centre very much sought after.   Shane was advised though that being from the Waikato region and not Auckland, regards allocation of beds could expedite his entry and admission.

The waiting for an available bed began, but as luck would have it not for long.   Towards the end of March Shane received notification and he was admitted into Odyssey House in Auckland on April 2nd 2008, to commence his Methadone withdrawal and drug addiction rehabilitation.   So in the end, the love and importance of family proved more powerful than the love and desire for drugs, well it did for us anyway.   And I thank god for that every day.   Because 'tough love' did work for us, doesn't mean it's a measure I am advising or recommending to others in the same position.   Shane may have been ready to clean his life up of drugs and this action just prompted him to make the attempt, that's all.

I will do a posting on Shane's long journey of recovery at a later date.   My message to all out there is, never give up hope not matter how hopeless it may seem, love until you just can't love anymore, and always have faith in your convictions, decisions and intincts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Important Message

I have recently received emails from two readers of my blog about their own personal experiences regarding Methadone.   I feel very privileged these two persons have trusted me enough to communicate their stories, and would like to reassure them and any others wishing to do the same that all personal contact with me will remain strictly confidential.   No information, personal story or experience that is forwarded to me will be publicized, or used towards my blog or MMT Campaign unless I'm intructed or permitted to do so.

I do have an appointment on February 28th with Robert Steenhuisen, Regional Manager CADS Auckland.   Community Alcohol & Drug Services (CADS) operate and are responsible for The Methadone Maintenance programme, so this meeting regarding my MMT Campaign is very important, and the opportunity it extends is one I intend to grasp whole heartedly.   Any readers of my blog whom wish to contribute towards this meeting can do so by forwarding their views, experiences or stories, whether they be positive or negative about Methadone or the programme via my email address prior to the 28th.

Some professionals within the drug addiction sector and our Government Associate Minister of Health, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman have definite views and perceptions of the MMT programme, and of the drug Methadone.   Dr Jonathan Coleman's recent response to me insinuated that my portrayal of Shane's experience on The Methadone Treatment programme, the addictive nature of Methadone, and of the drugs withdrawal problems is without justification, and also that the programme or the drug Methadone wasn't responsible for Shane's problems or escalation of his addiction.   Therefore my claims that this addiction treatment programme is a failure and that there are misdemeanours occurring within this programme is unfounded.   In other words Shane was at fault, not the programme or the drug Methadone.   Maybe I was just imagining what I lived, breathed and witnessed on almost a daily basis for 14 years, do you readers think I was?   But at this time I cannot prove otherwise to Dr Jonathan Coleman or his professional addiction advisors, so any contribution from others would be extremely beneficial and much appreciated.

Yes, my blog is a platform for the MMT Campaign, firstly to promote and incite changes to The Methadone programme, secondly to instil awareness about Methadone to discourage others contemplating it as a drug addiction treatment, and I'm passionate and dedicated about that aspect of my blog.   But the real heart, soul and essence of my blog and also a purpose for sharing Shane's drug addiction story and his years of Methadone treatment was that it would hopefully give support, encouragement and comfort to those inflicted with a drug addiction, and/or their families.   To know my blog is being embraced in the way I hoped it would be is not only rewarding, but also very heartening.

I apologize for leaving my blog readers up in the air for so long about Shane's addiction journey.   There will be a posting put on updating you all about that in approximately one weeks time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

MMT Campaign Link

Another Google search brings another important, significant find regarding my MMT Campaign.

The web site of Dr Alfred Dell'Ario, Clinical Director of Alcohol & Drug Services, Canterbury DHB also has a link to my blog and MMT Campaign.   To have my campaign proposals and views regarding The Methadone Maintenance programme acknowledged and recognized as worthwhile and constructive by two such high profile important persons as Dr Dell'Ario and Dr Snee is an extremely positive result.   Another encouraging result and acknowledgment of my campaign proposals has been from Robert Steenhuisen, Regional Manager CADS Auckland, whom I have an appointment with on February 28th to further discuss issues I raised regarding The Methadone Maintenance programme.

My blog was always intended as a platform for my MMT Campaign.   However, I felt Shane's drug addiction and his years on The Methadone Maintenance programme needed to be told, if only to give understanding, credibility and purpose for my campaign.   My story about Shane was also to expose the other side of drug addiction, the effects and ramifications it has on families and loved ones.   This is a side and perspective of addiction that most professionals within the addiction arena I'm told aren't often privy to.

The success of any campaign depends entirely on how much interest and awareness it generates, and this 2010 MMT Campaign has definitely achieved that, which I credit to having my own web site and blog.   Hence, why this current campaign has received more recognition and positive results than my other two previous campaign in 2007 & 2008 did.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rehabilitation Attempt Failed

Early July CADS Thames renewed the Methadone prescription, but for twice weekly 'pick-ups', not once weekly, and also at this time the caseworker suggested Shane was to be given back partial responsibility for his Methadone.   Reluctantly and hesitantly I agreed to Shane uplifting his take home doses of Methadone from the pharmacy, on the condition that the Methadone was put in my possession immediately upon doing so.   But Shane's Methadone withdrawal didn't commence until the September, and then only reducing down, if I remember correctly at 2mgs a month.   The Methadone withdrawal rate apparently is entirely up to Shane and the CADS Medical practitioner.

I had been advised at the beginning of my attempt how difficult the Methadone withdrawal aspect of Shane's drug rehabilitation was going to be, and also of the low success rate for complete Methadone withdrawal outside a professional residential facility.   However, I felt confident that with Shane's desire and my determination, Methadone withdrawal and drug rehabilitation within our home environment could still be successfully accomplished.   But as the months ticked by, Shane's drug abuse or 'topping-up' once again started spiralling out of control and my confidently aspired rehabilitation effort slowly, but surely crumbled into dismal failure.

On December 20th 2007, after a three day, what I knew to be Methamphetamine or (P) drug binge, Shane was removed from our home, with intructions not to return to us until he was clean of all drugs, including the Methadone.   Shane was effectively being discarded out of our lives, so he now had to go it alone, without a home or any family support.   It is an extreme measure often referred to as 'tough love', and one we had considered of recent weeks but always veered away from using because of the risks and implications involved.   Shane had no savings, his income was the sickness benefit and his few associates were persons also with addictions living on the streets, a lifestyle we knew Shane would probably end up living as well without our support.   However, this fateful day in December I finally had to concede defeat, and acknowledge Shane really did need to be in a professional residential environment to safely withdraw off the Methadone and overcome his battle with drugs.   Hence, the 'tough love' option was actioned, in the hope it would eventually ensure that result, of Shane entering into a residential addiction rehabilitation centre.

Although well intentioned, it was still a difficult, heartrending decision to make and action on the day because of his state.   But due to Shane's no fixed abode circumstances and for his own safety, he was thankfully admitted into a hospital unit for a few days to undergo partial detoxification.

The 'co-dependency' or 'enabling' theory springs to mind, and yes, maybe that theory does apply to all Shane's family over those years of his drug addiction, to us though it was just purely love and support, nothing else.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MMT Campaign News

I periodically Google the title of my own blog site to chart it's progress and activity, and recently in doing so I came across a particularly important web site that had incorporated a link to my blog and posting of MMT Campaign.   The web site was that of Dr Kevin Snee, Chief executive, Hawkes Bay DHB.    To have my MMT Campaign recognized and acknowledged in such an important, significant way was extremely encouraging and exciting, and indicated that the campaign information and proposals forwarded out were regarded as worthwhile and constructive.

However, there are many Addiction Professionals, DHB Chief executives and Government Officials that have not responded, or in some cases not even acknowledged receipt of my MMT Campaign information, which frankly only indicates their level of, or lack of courtesy towards others opinions and suggestions.   And we wonder why!!  there are major failures and blunders occurring within our Government, and Government funded Organizations and Departments.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rocky Road Of Rehabilitation

Two weeks after discharge, the heavy leg plaster cast came off and a new fibro-plaster cast was put on, and what a difference this made to Shane's, and ours I might add whole well being.   It had been a difficult, frustrating two weeks with the heavy, cumbersome cast on, especially keeping the leg elevated in bed at night, and also dry when showering.   However, after much thought and perseverance both these problems were solved within days of Shane being home.   We ended up having to elevate the end of the bed with big blocks of wood, and wrapping the cast in plastic for showers although it was a chore, proved to be semi successful.   I attended the hospital clinic appointment with Shane to view the leg wound when the old cast was removed.   I was amazed how well the surgeon had stitched the leg wound considering how swollen it must have been on the day.   Admittedly Shane would be left with a long, large scar down the front of his leg but, nevertheless, the stitching was beautiful work.

Shane was a good patient though and I enjoyed fussing over him.   He started getting good colour back in his face and having him straight, not out of it, was a real delight for us.   At week four Shane was weaned off the pain medication, but remained on the sleeping sedative and his doctor also prescribed anti-anxiety medication, to prepare him for Methadone withdrawal.   In those early weeks Shane appeared to be coping alright having the correct daily dose of Methadone, and he was talking positively about long term goals and plans, which was all very encouraging.    But it was early days and I feared getting to hopeful, knowing the real hard yards of rehabilitation were yet still to come, when Methadone withdrawal commenced.

Our first introductory meeting with Shane's new CADS caseworker was in early May, approximately two weeks after his discharge from hospital.   Shane's appointment was for one hour but my visit with him was brief.   It was just a 'getting to know you kind of meeting' and to discuss my authority for the Methadone, the reasons for it and how we would proceed with Shane's withdrawal and rehabilitation.

The caseworker was a nice, approachable young man, about Shane's age, whom appeared eager and enthusiastic to help Shane, and work with me to ahcieve a successful end result.   Although it wasn't spoken, I did detect at this meeting the caseworkers slight hesitation about my personal involvement, and felt perhaps he wasn't totally agreeable with me having authority over Shane's Methadone.   However, I was aware authority being granted for the Methadone was quite unique within Community Alcohol & Drug Services, so his reaction didn't surprise or perturb me.   I was very thankful though, at this point that Shane was still under Manukau City, when the request was made.

The Methadone withdrawal protocol required Shane to have regular visits with his caseworker.   These were weekly to begin with, extending to fortnightly, and his caseworker was prepared to travel to our home at Te Mata for some of these appointments.   Having regular contact with the caseworker I felt would certainly aid Shane's withdrawal and rehabilitation process, but only if some form of professional counselling was incorporated as well.   Of course, as with all counselling, trust and a general rapport must exist between both parties for the hope of a successful outcome.   Sometimes, to achieve this goal, qualifications work well, other times it maybe the benefit of the counsellor's personal or professional experience.   I was hoping Shane's caseworker, albiet that he was new to the service, therefore possibly inexperienced, was still a bloody good one because if he wasn't 'switched on', Shane would leave him sitting on the other side of the fence every session, especially if rehabilitation wasn't what Shane really wanted.

Like I've said, Shane's a really nice, pleasant, respectful guy.   However, he is a very clever manipulator and a bit of a dark horse!   He's been in the programme long enough to know what, when and how it all works.   He is also extremely knowledgable about addictions and addictive behaviour, so it takes an experienced person in addiction to successfully unravel him.   Over the years his manipulative, masterful approach has seen him very successfully manoeuvre his way out of many unpleasant situations.   And considering Shane applies these techniques while under the influence of drugs does vindicate just how skilful he is.

I'm not putting Shane down, or being unloving by saying these things.   Shane would agree with me, in fact these aren't bad qualities to have, I admire him for them.    I just hope, one day, he'll get the chance to use them all for the right reasons, other than for his drug addiction.

In the June Shane's fibro-plaster cast was removed.   Our weekly town days now became a tense time for us, wondering what Shane was up to, where he'd go and whom of the drug scene he may have seen.   He wasn't as mobile on crutches and never ventured very far, so town days over the last weeks hadn't been a concern.   At this point though Shane hadn't mentioned moving out, so again I assumed my rehabiliation plan was acceptable.

The six doses of Methadone that I picked up from the pharmacy on Thursdays were safely secured in my handbag while we were in town.   Upon arrival home the Methadone would, discreetly, be taken downstairs to the basement garage and locked away in my husband's gun ammunition cupboard.   If I was unable to do so immediately I would hide the bagged bottles of Methadone in my bedroom drawer until Shane was otherwise occupied.   Each day's dose of Methadone was labelled, dated and it was dispensed in small individual brown bottles.

One particular Thursday, towards the end of June, Shane didn't retreat immediately to the bedroom to rest his leg, as was normal, so I hid the bottles of Methadone in my drawer until I could lock them away.   To my bewilderment, there was only five little brown bottles in my drawer when I went to retrieve them, about half an hour later.   Now, my responsibility for this Methadone was taken very, very seriously, so you can only imagine the sheer panic that run through me at that moment.   I stood, for some seconds, just looking into the drawer at these bottles, hoping the missing bottle would suddenly materialize.   My first thought in those few seconds, was that maybe the pharmacy only gave me five doses, instead of the correct six.   Although, logically I knew the pharmacy would never have made a mistake like that, I was confused enough to consider it.   Funny, it didn't occur to me at all that one dose may have been pinched.  Foolish I know.   But honestly I was freaking out, thinking 'oh my god, I'm going to have to declare I'v lost a bottle of Methadone, I better tell Shane first.'

Normally I would respect Shane's privacy and knock before I entered his bedroom, but as the door was ajar I just barged in, all upset about my loss.   And, there he was, sitting on the bed, with a syringe in hand and the missing bottle of Methadone.   Until that moment, I thought everything was going so well, suddenly realizing that it wasn't, made me feel betrayed, stupid and so angry.   I think, seeing the syringe, was what shocked me.   I could've handled Shane pinching the Methadone to drink it, but to shoot it up, no way!   It was an awful moment and Shane never uttered a word.   He couldn't deny it, he just, silently, put the syringe down on the bed.   I picked up the syringe and the brown empty Methadone bottle, left the bedroom screaming abuse, and went straight to the lounge and threw them both on the fire.

Once calmed down, and in control, I re-entered Shane's bedroom to discuss the matter further.   He was visibly upset and apologetic for his actions, and was insistant he hadn't used the syringe.   I responded to his plea, saying;   "Well Shane, I didn't really care whether you'd used the syringe or not, actually seeing you with it was sickening enough, so tough, it's all gone in the fire now."   Shane was horrified, and stated I'd just burnt one of his doses of Methadone.   Still reeling with anger I sarcastically replied;   "Tell somebody who gives a shit, it's your muck up Shane not mine.   We're down one days dose of Methadone now,so you just let me know which day you're going without."   I left the room stating I was going to phone the caseworker and inform him of what's happened.   Shane's morale was pretty low by then, so I don't really think he cared what I done at that point.

I telephoned Shane's caseworker, and in a very upset, agitated state explained what Shane had done and how, by chance, he'd found the Methadone.   Ironically, the week prior to this slip-up, Shane's caseworker had made his first home visit and he'd checked the security of our Methadone lock-up downstairs.   Funny that though, CADS protocol obviously never required Shane's Methadone lock-up to be checked, because in all the years he was in charge, it wasn't.   I was a bit bemused by that requirement, wondering why my addict son was trusted more with the Methadone than myself.   Ok Diane, let's just move, don't dwell.   Of course, the caseworker wasn't emotionally involved like me, so this slip-up didn't affect him the same way.   I was advised that a minor slip-up like this wasn't to be seen as a complete failure, and that it would be discussed with Shane at his next appointment.   The conversation ended and I was left thinking  'Okay, that's all very well, I didn't see this slip-up as complete failure but I sure as hell did see it as possible failure.'   His comment insinuated I'd over reacted, which of course didn't ease my agitated state, so phoning the caseworker proved pointless and unhelpful.

Later that day though Shane and I did talk about the incident.   He admitted to knowing where I was putting the Methadone until it was locked up.   For two weeks he'd resisted the urge to act on his temptations.   This day, he wasn't strong enough to resist and temptation simply got the better of him.   He did it on the spur of the moment when the opportunity arose.   He was desperately trying to resist even after he'd put the Methadone into the syringe, and that's why he still hadn't injected it when I walked in.   Shane was aware of how disheartened and disappointed I felt and assured me it wouldn't happen again.

The issue of trust can be a major drawback when you're emotionally involved with an addicted person.   You want so much to trust them and believe their broken promises, but you never can.   Although I was trying to trust Shane, it was usually my gut instinct that I trusted the most.   My instincts only failed me that day because I'd become a little complacent, and maybe naive about Shane's rehabiliation, which had allowed this slip-up to occur.   However, you learn to move on quickly from upsets and problems when dealing with addiction, if you don't, disappointments can be to devastating and deflating.   Although this incident would soon be forgotten, the message behind it wouldn't, that there are consequences for every action.   Shane was reminded there is a fine line that separates advantage and disadvantage, and he certainly would be disadvantaged if my love and good intentions were continually going to be abused.  

My assumptions weren't wrong about Shane accepting my rehabiliation plan, he did declare his genuine desire to be clean and free of drugs.   But I think, he was also like myself, a bit fearful of the process that's all.   This was a mere bump in the road, and I'd be foolish to even contemplate it would be the last.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discharge Day. Will Rehabilitation Be Accepted?

Well as the doctor had indicated, Shane was discharged on Friday the 30th April 2007 from Waikato hospital.   This day my rehabilitation plans were going to be revealed.   My husband and I travelled the nearly 2 hour trip to Hamilton tp pick Shane up from hospital in complete silence.   It wasn't that we didn't have anything to say, we were both just in deep contemplation of what may lay ahead of us.   I think, I was more anxious about Shane's reaction and attitude to forced rehabilitation, than fearful of taking the task on.   Shane had good virtue's though, so I'd concentrate on those and, with tact, understanding and, above all, patience, maybe we would both reach a successful conclusion.

Walking into the hospital ward and hearing all the chatter and laughter amongst the four men made me realize Shane was going to miss this sort of company once he was home.   I almost felt like taking them all with me just to keep his spirits up.   However, Shane was eager and 'ready to roll' as he put it, so I quickly located the charge nurse for discharge paperwork, prescriptions and advice regarding his convalescence.   The nurse stated that even on the Wednesday, the swelling had made Shane's ankle and leg wound surgery difficult.   So for this reason, it was imperative, the leg was kept elevated until the swelling had decreased, and also why Shane still had a high level of pain and discomfort.   The doctor had prescribed a weeks supply of the pain medication Tramadol and a sleeping sedative, thereafter the prescription was to be renewed by Shane's own general practitioner.

Shane was 'chirpy' enough and didn't seem to mind me dealing with the discharge paperwork, even asking if I'd got all his prescriptions as we departed the hospital ward.   Which should've eased my anxiety, but it didn't.   His compliance only indicated that he understood the discussion about me being responsible for his Methadone and prescriptions, not so much that he was accepting of it.   And I wouldn't dare presume otherwise knowing Shane hadn't been told as yet just what that responsibility entailed.   This dreaded task of explaining all to him, re: my rehabilitation plans and authorities were proposed for the trip home.   I couldn't delay either as my first Methadone pick up from the pharmacy was scheduled for the following morning.   I felt sure, even if reluctantly, he would accept my authority over medications but probably not so for his Methadone.   But that's just the way it had to be now.   My husband and I had decided we couldn't continue living with Shane's drug addiction the way it was before the accident, and yet we didn't want to kick him out of our home either, so this was our only other option.   Shane on the other hand, had two options, to agree and accept what I was doing to stay with us, or disagree and leave our home, it was his choice.   We were both desperately hoping of course, that he would realize we'd taken this action out of love and concern for him, not out of bitterness for what he was, therefore, would choose to stay with us.

Helping Shane into the back seat of the car and noticing how swollen and black looking his toes were reinforced my discussion with the charge nurse, and why elevation of the leg was important.   But it was how well he'd handle the pain and discomfort of his leg on the long trip home that concerned me most, knowing what had to be conversed.   I was praying the pain relief Shane had at miday would suffice, well at least until the dreaded task was accomplished anyway.   I'd planned how and what I was going to say in my head, many, many times over, when to say it all though was my problem.   I knew choosing the right moment for my conversation was imperative, if not, all 'hell' could break loose.   The trip started with a reasonably cheerful, 'chatty' Shane, even humorous telling us all about his week in hospital and I kept prolonging the task, wanting to savour the mood and humour for as long as possible.   However, Shane commenting about having to travel back into Thames the next morning for his Methadone and then again the following Monday morning prompted me to finally pursue the subject.   I braced myself, and lovingly and tactfully told Shane how his dad and I felt and conveyed how much we loved him, so he would understand our reasons why.   Then I went on to explain, as brief as I could, about the measures I'd taken and how they were going to be carried out.

Understandably, there was complete silence for some minutes from the back seat of the car.   Finally Shane spoke and, in a curt manner, he asked if I was going to escort him into the pharmacy to pick up his Methadone, because that would make him feel like and idiot.   I reaffirmed I had the authority to uplift the Methadone myself, therfore it wasn't necessary for us to attend the pharmacy together, and reassured him that he wouldn't be demeaned in anyway because of it.   His next worry was what the pharmacist and staff's attitude would be towards him now.   "With this authority you've got", he said, "they'll all know I've been a naughty boy".   The tone of his voice and the way he spat the comment out did portray how 'pissed off' he was, but I understood why.

There is somewhat of a stigma attached to being on The Methadone programme.   Having to consume your dose of Methadone in front of other customers in the pharmacy is demeaning in itself, so being respected and liked by the pharmacist and staff is the only pride you can hope to retain about being on the programme.   And it was obvious Shane had achieved this, going by the concern all in the pharmacy had shown about his accident, and general well being.   I conveyed this and told him their genuine concern was an indication of just how much they thought of him, so he didn't need to worry or be embarrassed.

Shane's final, but probably most important question, well to him anyway, was the length of time my authority for the Methadone went for.   This was the sensitive, dreaded part of the conversation, and the part that was definitely going to test all those good virtue's Shane had.   So, once again, I braced myself, and conveyed my authority was for as long as it took to withdraw and rehabilitate him off the Methadone.   I quickly turned and looked at him and said, "Im not going to be a 'bitch', Shane, about being in charge of your Methadone and all, you'll see."   Although the look, and the way his jaw was set certainly depicted his anger, it wasn't actually expressed.   Shane just went quiet.   But I think he handled it all very well, considering how miserable he must have felt with his leg, and I believe this was testament to his true strength of character.

Shane's next challenge upon arrival in Te Mata was getting into our home.   With the heavy, cumbersome cast and leg being so painful he was fearful of knocking it, so we all sat in the car and pondered which entrance Shane should attempt.   To access the front door he had ten steep steps to negotiate, and to the back door there was a steep concrete path up the side of the house to negotiate.   After much contemplation the front entrance was chosen, and accomplished with his dad's help.   It wasn't long though before Shane found an easier and less stressful way of entering and exiting the house by going up and down the steps on his botom, slowly one step at a time.

Up until the accident, Shane had been on twice weekly pick-ups for his Methadone.   I believe, more for my convenience and authority, Shane's Manukau City CADS doctor and caseworker had renewed the Methadone prescription for weekly pick ups for the following two months.   After this time the Methadone prescription would have to be renewed by CADS Thames.   I was so thankful we only had to attend the pharmacy once a week for Shane's Methadone, especially in those first intial 2 -3 weeks of his injury recovery.

Shane, as explained, still had to consume his dose of Methadone in the pharmacy on my pick up days, which happened to be the day after he'd come home from hospital.   The deal was that Shane would attend and consume his Methadone first, and then I'd go in and uplift his take home doses.   Understandably, it was an awkward, embarrassing first visit to the pharmacy for him that day, so he entered rather hesitantly, but exited absolutely 'chuffed' that the staff had made a fuss of him.   As demeaned as Shane may have felt about my authority for his Methadone, at least his pride remained intact, thanks to the kind, understanding approach by pharmacy staff.

Shane's doctors appointment to renew his medication prescription was a week after discharge, and I attended this visit.   With Shane's approval it was recorded that I was to be responsible for all his prescriptions.   For Shane to retain the privacy of these visits though, it was arranged with the doctor that all prescriptions were to be left at reception, for me to collect.

Shane hadn't verbally agreed or disagreed with my plans and changes, but he appeared settled and content to stay living with us, so acceptance was assumed.   Although everything so far indicated that, I did realize that Shane was a bit incapacitated with the leg injury and would be until the plaster cast was removed at about six weeks.   Only then would I really know how acceptable my rehabilitation plans were.