Thursday, 27 February 2003
Today is my 7th day of detox and let me tell you – it has been hell! But my husband and I have come out of the other side and we are today going for the Naltrexone implant. The tablets can be effective if you are very controlled or if you have a responsible person to give them to you daily, but we don’t have that. So at least with this implant, there is nothing that you can do about it. We will just have to accept that we cant have any more gear now. The implant lasts six months and by the end of that time I would hope that we will be strong enough to be able to not relapse after all that time. If we aren’t we might have to go for another one, or start taking the oral medication.
What I would say after this detox (as it has definitely been the worst) is that I would recommend that if you are going to try it, you try to build yourself up in the weeks beforehand. If you are anything like us two you wont be eating much (mainly because of the cost of food on top of your drugs money). I was mainly surviving on 1 chocolate bar and 1 packet of crisps a day (IF I could afford it) and on payday we would sometimes get a pizza/Chinese or some extra sweeties, although most of the time it was just a few extra sweets, as takeaway seemed too extravagant when the money had to last all week.
Being so run down before we started this detox I think had a lot to do with why we have been so ill, although I must say we have never eaten properly and never suffered this badly.
My parents became aware of the situation again and offered to let us come to their house (over three hours away from ours) to complete a withdrawal. We thought about all the varies medications that you can get, but decided to just go cold turkey as most don’t seem to help that much plus it’s the time that it takes to get anything off the medical profession. So we traveled up here on the Thursday with just enough gear for that day and a prescription for 7 Temezapam each (prescription sleeping tablets).
Finished the last of the gear on Thursday night/Friday morning at 4am, and then woke on Friday at 2pm not feeling too bad. Things got worse from there on in until Sunday night when I had thrown up 13 times that day and had to be taken to hospital. They gave me an anti-sickness injection and I went home, managed to keep my sleeping tablet down and had about 3 hours sleep and another 2 hours before I was sick again. On the Monday I had totally had enough and was really wanting to leave, if it had been possible! But the thing is that we had left our own transport behind, handed in our bank cards and cash to my parents and so there isn’t much choice left when you are so far from home.
Monday mid-morning I was back at the hospital again and this time was admitted to be given a drip to re-hydrate me, as I had gotten so low. After 5 attempts to get the line in I eventually had to have a subcutaneous needle put into my stomach, for the solution to be slowly absorbed by the body. I was also given a cardiograph and told that my heart may be damaged by the drugs I have used in the past, and on top of that I also had an infection.
On Tuesday they weren’t going to release me until I had eaten something, which I find impossible to do whilst detoxing. I haven’t had a single thing since Thursday night when we arrived here. So I eventually persuaded them to let me leave and I went back to my parents.
Another nightmare day rolled into another, but fortunately we got some good news yesterday (Wednesday). The Lifeback Clinic in Mansfield had agreed to do the implant at short notice as long as we could get a Liver Function Test. The implant isn’t cheap though, at a little under 1,500 each (English pounds) for the six month one.
To get the Liver Function Test we had to drive an hour to get to a hospital that could get the quick results we need from our blood samples. I had no fears about the test because I am not injecting now and when I did I always ensured I did so safely, so I thought my liver would be just fine. A couple of hours later we were told that my husbands was fine but mine was abnormal, and that they might not be able to do the implant because of that.
So today we face a four hour drive to this clinic where hopefully I will be able to have the implant as well, as it will save me from myself. Although if my husband gets it and I don’t, we know for a fact that he will make me take the oral Naltrexone, as he isn’t going to let me go back on gear and him not. So we will be safe for a minimum of six months but more than likely for ever!
I am just writing this quickly before I go today, as the clinic is past our house so we will be dropped off on the way back and I don’t have my computer at the moment. Its amazing how drugs can damage your body in ways that you don’t even realize at the time, I would have never thought that my heart and liver would be damaged from smoking heroin.
To end, I just wanted to add (in case they read this) that we are both SO grateful to my parents and sister for all their support. I know that you will have wanted to just wash your hands of us, but you didn’t – you stuck by us and it is only because of you that we are sitting here today on our 7th day. I know as well that this week has been a nightmare for you, us crying and pleading to go home, the sickness, worry, etc. I hope some day I can make it up to you all. In the meantime all I can offer is my sincere wish and hope to stay clean. We wont let you down!
Monday, 17 March 2003
A quick update to let you know what happened. We both got the implant done and YES, they do work. We have tried gear since having it and you don't get anything off it at all, total waste of money! It was an easy procedure as well.
They make a small incision in your abdomen and the implant is inserted, which in our case for the six month was two sets of tablets (about the size of a aspirin and about 6 tablets in each set). This is done under a local antiseptic and the incision is then stitched up. The stitches are removed after a week and the tablets slowly dissolve under your skin, releasing Naltrexone to cover you for the next six months. (It takes 12 months for the tablets to totally dissolve and disappear, but the Naltrexone amount in your blood is only high enough to block heroin for 6 months.)
The good thing is that once it is done, your stuck with it. So even if you are feeling weak there is nothing you can do about it, compared to the oral Naltrexone which you would just stop taking.
I can't say we felt brilliant, as we felt very weak and lethargic but I think that is due to poor health and nutrition beforehand rather than the implant and procedure itself. Now that we have started eating properly things are picking up and we are both feeling a lot better than we did, remembering that it has still only been three weeks since we started the whole detox, so you have to expect to feel a little under the weather.
The clinic that we went to was BRILLIANT. The people that run it couldn't have been nicer and they made us feel so relaxed and at ease, I would definitely recommend them. They run The Lifeback Clinic, which is in Mansfield. (The clinic has now moved to the Isle of Wight. They still do implants, as well as detox). Also, they don't operate waiting lists like the other places that we contacted, and this meant that we could get seen before we started using again.
One thing that they recommended which I hadn't heard of before is that you take a course of antidepressants after detoxing. I have started on these and hope to start feeling better once they kick in, in a couple of weeks. Its true that heroin becomes your best friend in life and your life revolves around it, so when you lose it, it can be like a bereavement. You feel lost without it and there doesn't seem much point in anything else, for example what do you need money for now when you cant buy gear, how do you fill your days without your friend to keep you company.
I have found that I am getting very down, even to the point where I feel like ending it all, as apart from the fact that I cant have any more gear its all the worries that come when you stop taking it and reality sets in. Bills and debts to worry about, as well as my health (I still need more tests regarding the liver problem - they think it is Hepatitis C!). It all feels too much and you want to retreat into the 'no worries' world that you used to live in but you cant, as no other drug gives you the same feeling and heroin doesn't work anymore. It is hard and I have been regretting the whole thing, I just want to go back three weeks and not start the detox at all, as then I wouldn't have these worries (I would have had others but they don't seem as bad when you look back!). I know that it is all for the best in the long run, but right now it is really hard. I miss gear so much and really want to have some! Especially to get over the worries in my head about everything.
My main worry being that I was told by the clinic that I was pregnant after doing a pregnancy test (which they do as standard). I did really want to get pregnant again, but once I had stopped taking gear. My first child was born when I was using and it was a hard time and I feel bad for it. So I didn't want to go through that again myself or put the child through it. The clinic was also unsure of how the implant might affect the growing foetus, so they had to call the man in Australia who made them for his advice. He did say that about ten people in the world had given birth while being on the implant and they were all okay, but that isn't a large number to make your decision against. So I had the hard decision over what to do and have decided not to go through with the pregnancy, incase the child ends up damaged from firstly my drug use, secondly the implant and from taking the prescribed anti-depressants. I had also been using crack cocaine before I had the implant, so it isn't just the worry about what heroin may have done to the foetus. There is also still the worry about whether I have Hepatitis and the heart problem. So it seems the best decision all round, but a very hard one to make and live with.
That's all I can really say for now. If you have been struggling to get off gear for a long time and keep failing, an implant would definitely help you as you cant do gear on it and unlike the tablets, you haven't any choice in stopping as its with you for a given time period. It might seem expensive but when you think of how much money you would spend on gear over a six month period, its cheap in comparison! You can also get a 6 week and 12 month one, so if you haven't got as much cash you could get the 6 week one and save up money during that time to have it redone at the end of that period. It definitely saves you from yourself, so I would look into it as its something that definitely works when nothing else has. As although I really want gear, I know that I cant have it, so have to accept that fact. It is very hard but its getting easier day by day.
Sunday, 20 April 2003
Well it has been just over 7 weeks since we had the implant done and 8 weeks since stopping using heroin and we are both so much better now. The liver problem turned out to be nothing serious as my recent liver function test came back as okay and I was negative for Hepatitis and HIV, so that was a relief. Must have just been really run down or perhaps a false result - will never know now, but at least it was good news. I have had the termination carried out, which I feel so sad about but have to remind myself that it was necessary. They did another check at the hospital and the heart problem isn't that bad either, slight damage from using drugs but nothing major to worry about. I have also stopped taking the antidepressants, think they might have helped a little but wasn't sure they were doing much so did think about stopping them. Then I went away to stay at my mum's house for a week and tried to get my prescription to be told they don't stock that particular brand up where she lives and so the decision was made for me. Haven't had any for just over a week now and feel fine. So I am glad about that too, as although they probably do help I was concerned about at the end of the six months, as I was only to receive them for that period and the implant runs out then. I didn't want to be stopping the tablets and feeling down at the same time that I would be able to use, as the temptation might be to just score. Also I think that they might help you not feel too down but they seem to stop you having any feelings at all, so its hard to be upbeat as well. Perhaps I didn't give them long enough to work, but I feel fine so no need.
Been going out a lot more and enjoying life for a change. Its nice to be able to go shopping and be able to buy something that you want, like yesterday we went and bought new clothes and I got my eyebrow pierced the other day, which I had wanted done for ages. Also been going out to the pub and socializing, it makes you realize what you have been missing out on when you are using. All you tend to do is sit at home and use, or run about trying to get money to score.
I wont say that its all easy going as there are times when I really miss it. When I think about it I don't know why I do, as I was at the point that I wasn't getting wrecked as couldn't afford to buy the amount I would have needed. I could only afford to buy enough to make me feel normal, so god knows what I miss about it but sometimes I really do - just out of habit I suppose. Especially when things aren't going well or I feel a bit down, as you know that gear would make you forget it all and you wouldn't have any worries. You also look back with rose-tinted glasses and think things would be different this time, that you could use now and again and not be addicted, or not spend as much cash, pace yourself better. But in reality none of this is true, one hit and you would be back on it full time.
Every day that goes by it gets a little better and I think of gear less than before, so before long I shouldn't be thinking about it at all, which will be nice. If I'm still thinking about it in a few months I will get another implant but I hope it wont come to that and that I will be able to manage on my own.
Anyway I will end for now. Keep trying to get clean if your a user, I failed so many times and you do end up thinking what's the point in trying as you know you wont do it. But one day you will and that day might be soon. Good luck.
Saturday, 26 July 2003
Well I am happy to say that I have been clean for 5 months now and I don’t think that I would ever go back to using again. In the beginning it was hard to think like this and I just wanted gear so much that I even cried in the first months for it.
What I have discovered though, is that the more time that goes by without using gear the stronger you get and the more you realize how shit your life was when you were using. I can see clearly now what life was like and wonder why I ever wanted to keep doing it.
Once you start living a normal life and doing things that you couldn’t before like going out for a drink, to the cinema, etc. or being able to buy things that you wanted but couldn’t afford, you start to see that a ‘straight’ life isn’t that bad. When I was on gear there is nothing I feared more than this sort of life. I saw it as being really boring and too normal, I thought that I had something more interesting and special. But what a fool I was! My life hadn’t been special or more interesting, it had just been very small, insular and very, very sad.
What did I ever do for the past eight years other than worry about where to get money to get heroin, then there was the problem of getting it and then once I had it, the problem of where the next lot was going to come from. Addicted life is all just one big stress.
You start out having to get the money to score, sometimes you have it already from your pay packet, or benefits etc. Other times you have to go out to get it, which for me meant shop lifting. Totally crapping yourself that you would get nicked and end up in the police cells, even if you manage to get the stuff out of the shop you still have to exchange it for money by selling it on or trying to get the shop to refund the cash without a receipt. Now that you have the money, that doesn’t always mean that you will be able to score. The dealer might have been nicked, or be having a day off (how inconsiderate can they be?!!), or they might have run out of gear and be waiting for more – phone back in a few hours, or they might say that there isn’t any gear about and to phone back tomorrow. Getting through to the dealer and him agreeing to meet you didn’t mean happy days either. As sometimes they would have you waiting for hours and you’d keep calling back asking how long they were going to be, to be told ‘2 minutes’, or ‘I’m on my way to you now’. Worse still is when you call back after waiting ages to find the mobile turned off and you’d have no idea whether they’d been arrested, turned off for the night and forgot about you, if they were still coming, or what. If you didn’t know anyone else to get it off, you would keep waiting anyway in the hope that they would surely still be coming, only to find that they weren’t and to go home to spend the night in agony. If you did manage to get some gear you’d be happy and smiling from ear to ear all the way home. That is until you get home, get your gear ready (either on foil or in your pin) and you find out that it is weaker than cats piss! Gutted!! Sometimes it would be that bad you would do it all in and still be ill. No cash left to buy more and back to square one.
Even the times that I thought were good, weren’t really. When I had cash and the dealer was on and selling top quality gear, I thought life couldn’t get any better. But what did I find so appealing about sitting tooting my gear, when I didn’t get wrecked anymore? Fair enough I looked forward to not feeling ill, but was that a reason to love doing it? And when I started injecting so that I could feel that high again, what was nice about missing and ending up with a swollen and painful arm. Injecting in my fingers and feet and being in agony? Was any of that really worth it?
Being straight is wonderful and nothing to be fearful of. Its great to be able to wake up in the morning and not feel sick, to be able to spend your day doing what you want and not doing what gear wants you to (scoring gear or getting money), being able to go away for the day or longer without planning it well in advance, being able to buy things, to eat well, look and feel healthy and also it is wonderful to be able to be honest. You get so sick of lying all the time and covering your tracks, its nice to be truthful for a change!
It takes a while to get used to but I am getting there. I still find myself worried if my parents phone and ask to visit, my first thought is ‘shit, what do I have to hide and worry about them finding out’. Then I realize that I don’t have those worries anymore and I can relax again. Its sometimes the same with money, I will have a hundred pounds in my pocket and only two days till pay day and I will worry about spending it. Its hard to get out of the drugs mindset, when I couldn’t spend any money as I needed it all for gear.
As I say though it is getting easier to get over these small mental hitches, the physical side is completely over now and I feel healthier than I have done in years. The horrible withdrawal effects did last for about two months, but I have been fine since then. I would say that the mental addiction probably lasted about a month or two longer. Once all the physical stuff had gone and I started to feel better, it wasn’t too much longer until I wasn’t thinking of gear all the time anymore. I am not saying that I don't think about it, as there will always be days that I will. Perhaps I will be 80 years old and in an old people's home and I will still think about gear now and again, but the difference is I wont take any.
I will have to end this now but to anyone reading, if you can get an implant I would recommend it a 100%. Without the implant I know for a fact that I would still be using gear as the tablets take too much willpower, which when you are feeling like shit is hard to muster. If I was on the oral Naltrexone I would have stopped taking it after even a day or two because I felt so shit with the withdrawals. The implant makes it so that even though you feel terrible and you want gear so bad, you cant have it so you just have to struggle through. It gives you the time that you need to get over the withdrawals and get your head straight, so that you can think properly yourself.
Anyone on gear is probably reading this and thinking ‘I am thinking straight’, as I used to think that. My parents etc. would say that my mind wasn’t working properly and I wasn’t thinking right, but I was sure that I was as that is how my mind had thought for eight years and it was normal to me. But once you are off, you realize that you weren’t 100% there, even though you thought you were, as gear eats your mind away. Nowadays I think of it as a parasite that lives in your body and controls your mind to think of itself first and foremost. You come very far down in its priorities, basically it wouldn’t even bother with you at all except that it needs you to buy and prepare the drugs, for it to get its fix.
For anyone who is trying to help someone get clean, I know that is it very hard and there are times when you will just want to give up and wash your hands of them, but try to stick in there if you can. I would never have been able to get clean without the help of my parents, sister and her partner. I appreciate that it was hard for them and that sometimes it was like banging their head of a brick wall, trying to get through to me and my husband – but in the end it worked and we owe our lives to them, literally. Try to keep going as long as you can with your help, love and support. Just don’t give in to them by giving cash for drugs or stuff like that, let them know that you will support and help them get clean – not continue.
Best of luck for anyone detoxing, my thoughts are with you. Nicky
Monday 26 April 2004
Still clean and going strong!
Tuesday 24 August 2004
Just reading over this diary so see what I have written and thought I better tell you that the implant ran out in September 2003 and we are still clean.
I thought of another thing the other day to compare getting clean to. Its like walking down a road and getting to the crossroads. Once you reach those crossroads and turn onto a different road, gear will be well behind you and when you look back you wont even be able to see or want it. But if until you reach the crossroad its so tempting just to turn around and go back, as its a long and hard road to walk. But remember that this road has to be walked. Giving up half way through, only means starting at the beginning again. You either walk it all the way or you remain on gear all your life, or die before you manage to make it to the crossroads!
Good luck to you all. Keep trying to get clean. Don't give up.
Sunday 13 March 2005
Been clean now for almost 2 years. Time has flown and life being clean is SO much better. I got a job as a drugs worker in November and worked until the end of February. I really enjoyed it and loved working at the clinic, but had a few complications during my pregnancy which made me rethink about working after the baby was born. I decided to stop working and stay at home, as I don't want to miss any of his young years. I will hopefully be able to get a job in the field again once he is at school age. My son is due in June, so I am really looking forward to that.
Thursday 23 June 2005
My son was born today! A healthy 6lb 3oz and absolutely beautiful. Moments like this are what makes life worth living. We are all so pleased that he arrived safely and is healthy. What more could you ask for?
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