Ten Months…

Today I had my Groups: Recover Together meeting.  It’s basically weekly group therapy for opioid addicts trying to get clean, and in recovery.  I have been going to Groups now for over 6 months, and today got my 6 month token.  Its’ just a little pocket coin to fiddle with and remind yourself that you are in recovery and yes, you can do this!

2017-09-13 19.46.10I’m pretty proud that I have managed to kick my opioid addiction and stay clean for almost 10 months now.  Oct. 28th will be my 1 year anniversary.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve had some really tough days and brutal nights.  I am currently in the Suboxone program. Suboxone is a drug used to curb the cravings and block the effect of opioids.  Basically, as long as I take my daily sublingual strips, which are paper strip that I put under my tongue and let dissolve for 7 minutes without swallowing — yeah, TRY to go 7 whole minutes without swallowing, it’s a real trick!  Anyway, as long as I take those I don’t have the hellish cravings for the drug, and even if I did do any dope it would be “blocked” by the Naloxone in the Suboxone strip.  Rendering doing it absolutely useless…I wouldn’t get high, so why bother?  It’s a phychological thing as well as a physical thing I believe.

Going to the weekly group meeting, where I am in a room with 8-10 other addicts all in the same boat, and all doing the same basic thing – trying to eliminate addiction from their lives.  We have developed a pretty tightly knit group at this point.  We’ve come to hold one another’s feet to the fire.  When you arrive at the office for the meeting you have to take a piss test, and they test it on the spot for any drugs.  It’s a 6 way test.  As long as you don’t test for any drugs except for the Suboxone (buprenorphine) you are good to go.  You go into the group meeting and when you are finished you pick up your weekly prescription from the coordinator on the way out.  You can test positive for marijuana also, it’s legal here so they don’t dock you for having it in your system.  Plus, many of us use it for pain relief, which is why many of us started using the opioid drugs to begin with.  Marijuana isn’t considered to be a problem in this program, and I don’t believe it’s a problem drug if used smartly.  If you test positive for any other drug you are pulled aside and have to meet with the counsellor before you can pick up your script.  You have to explain why you are positive and generally they will give you a break and a chance to continue.  If you habitually test positive, or have a “dirty” or “hot” result you can be tossed out of the program.  And no one wants that!  Going to these meetings in order to get your prescription, being tested weekly, and bein accountable has become pretty damned important to me.  I need the Subs, so I follow the program and it’s kept me on track very well.

The opioid crisis is a nationwide crisis affecting all communities regardless of age, race, gender, religion, social status, or wealth.  It doesn’t discriminate.  I know many very prominent people in my community that hide secret addictions to these powerful drugs such as Percocet, oxycodone, Vicodin, Heroin and Fentanyl.  Once the drug gets you hooked you are in a fight for your life.  Too many times I have seen that fight end in death.  I didn’t want to be another one of those statistics.  Maine has an unusually high number of addicts, and a very high over-dose rate.  It’s a rural state, and for some reason has become a very big state for the trafficking of these potent drugs.

Tonight on ABC television here in the US there is a show that’s going to be on that’s called “State of Addiction” which will talk all about the epidemic we are facing here.  I plan to watch it and have encouraged my family and loved ones to do the same.  I can tell them things, but I think that hearing them from people who combat this every day will be even better for them to understand.  I am very lucky to have a very good support network of family, friends and a very supportive and loving girlfriend.  Without them I don’t think I would have made it back to sobriety….I thank every single one of them, and especially my dear Mother who I put through hell and back with worry and angst.  I’m sorry for all of it, but an addict doesn’t see those things or the way they are affecting people around them when they are actively using.  It’s not til one gets clean that we can look back and realize the damage we have done, and just hope and try to fix it somehow.

Peace.  ~MB

 

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Personal Stuff, Updates

Hello my fearless readers! I hope you are all in the very best of health and spirits – wherever you are on this big blue marble we call Earth.

The weather is turning here in southern Maine.  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Autumn, or Fall as we call it here.  Morning temperatures are pretty cool, down around 50F and it does warm up into the 70F range by mid day, but summer is now behind us as well as her very hot, humid weather.  Personally, I love this time of year. I love the smells, like fresh cut hay, newly fertilized fields, pumpkin and apple pies being baked, and that crisp clean smell of the ocean as the tides roll in and out.  Yes, this time of year just feels good.  I like being able to wear my sweatshirts and flannel shirts, and dressing in layers is key as you want to shed some as the days warm up.  I  like that I don’t have to run the air conditioners in the house – and have actually removed them and stored them for the winter – yet, I also don’t have to run the furnace for heat either.  Living with the ambient natural temperatures is perfect.  Sleeping is great, the cooler weather makes it so for me anyway.  And days are just comfortable.

I’ve been doing all the regular stuff.  Working, keeping up with the house and taking care of the dogs.  Everything is going pretty well.  I get to talk to my girlfriend every day, and we are doing really well.  Thank goodness for Skype!  And messenger of course.  what the hell did we do in days before cell phones and computers?  Dating was very different back then for sure, you were relegated to dating only those you could meet in your local circles.  I’m really glad that’s not still the way it is.  I never would have met this awesome woman had it not been for social media – this blog specifically.  And I’m really glad I met her and have gotten to know her.  She’s planning to come here in late November.  She’s got a lot of work between now and then, thus we are waiting.  I’m really looking forward to us spending a week just hanging out together.  It’s going to be great.

I decided not to bounce the friend of mine, who is staying here, out of the house just yet.  After giving it some careful consideration I decided to make a rule that politics are not to be discussed and told him to please be considerate of the fact I don’t want to hear it.  I felt bad cuz I know he doesn’t have much choice other than moving back to the motel.  Thus my choice to give it another try.  So far so good…although I am having some issues with his excessive alcohol consumption.  I don’t think that he will be here very long, too many things tell me this.  He’s planning to head to Florida the second week of December, and I think I can deal with him until then.  We shall see.  Regardless, he won’t be coming back to this house when he returns to the Maine coast, and returns to fishing, in the Spring. I’ve already decided that definitively.

I’ve been feeling really good.  Met with my doctors, each of them, in the last week.  Been having some issues with my c-spine, pain radiating down into my arms and hands.  So I am on a non-narcotic pain reliever called Celebrex and I have a brace on my left wrist.  We think I may also have carpal tunnel in that arm, thus the brace.  Both have seemed to help, I am in far less pain now.  Then I met with my HIV specialist yesterday.  My current tests just came back from the lab and I’m doing great.  T-cells up around 790 and my viral load is remaining undetectable.  This makes me really happy.  It means the cocktail of drugs that I am on is working and keeping my immune system healthy.  I’m feeling excellent, although I still battle a little weight gain, but I’m not real worried about it right now.  I know it’s a result of healthier living and being on the Suboxone…got to give a little to get a lot, so I’m just letting it ride.  I’ll work on losing the weight along the way.

My dogs are doing great.  Here’s a cute pic of them invading my spot in the bed…

2017-09-02 13.25.44

Well, I’m off to Groups…my weekly check in is on Wednesdays.  Things are going well with it and I’m continuing the program.  Staying clean is pretty important to me right now.

I hope you all have a great night!

Peace!  ~MB

A Glimpse into My Life

I know I’ve been writing about a lot of different things lately, like my political rants and things like that, so I thought I would write you all a personal note tonight, to say #1, I am very very appreciative for all of your presence here on my blog.  Thank you for your readership, comments, conversations and support.  It means a lot to me, I mean it.

On more personal notes, I’ve been doing quite well lately.  I’m strong in my recovery and have been attending Groups: Recover Together meetings every Wednesday.  It’s group therapy for opioid addicts, primarily heroin and oxycodone.  We meet weekly, voluntarily are tested for substances abuse, see the doctor once a month and pick up our Suboxone prescriptions.  The Suboxone is a life saver.  I haven’t felt this good about my recovery ever.  The suboxone kills the cravings for the drugs.  Flat out.  It’s a miracle drug in my opinion.  I had previously tried detoxing and maintaining with methadone, but I found that it made me high just like the heroin did and I didn’t want the “high” feeling.  With the suboxone you don’t get that, you just don’t have the craving for the opioid at all.  Don’t know why, but it works the balls!  I highly recommend it as part of your recovery program if you are an addict.

Also, the group therapy piece is important too.  It gives me a place where I can bring up subjects and talk about things that are challenging during this process, with other people who are in similar situations with their addictions; a place where I am not ashamed and can actually be proud of my accomplishments and have someone understand that pride.

Around home things are going really well.  I did run out of heating fuel this weekend, which was unfortunate.  I didn’t want to pay for an emergency weekend delivery so I borrowed two 5 gallon diesel fuel containers from my brother and hauled 20 gallons of diesel over (2 trips to the station) and put it in to burn until I can get 100 gallons of heating oil.  The hardest part was getting the furnace running again.  I had never had to do that before, so I watched a YouTube video on it, tried to bleed the line and get it running myself…no luck.  Several tries later, I conceded my defeat and called my heater technician.  He came by and was here all of 12 minutes, got it going and walked me through the entire procedure so that I can do it myself next time.  I just have to get over to Home Depot and pick up a jumper wire, which will help me to get it going in the future if this ever happens again.  I’m going to be a bit more vigilant now and not let it run out!  I did calculate and figured out that I am burning approximately 50 gallons of fuel mix per month, in the dead of winter, to heat this place.  That’s not bad!  And knowing this will give me a better idea of how to budget for next winter’s oil deliveries.  Live & Learn.

I have been uploading new videos to my YouTube channel.  It’s been a struggle to get back into the swing of doing videos.  Plus, of course, I have changed a little bit in the last couple of years, and the world has changed too.  I’ve gotten older, perhaps a bit wiser, and definitively more comfortable with myself.  It’s fun to go back sometimes and watch the really old videos of my younger, cockier self.  I feel like I am much more conscientious of what I am saying in my videos now.  I am more aware of my own internalized phobias and prejudices to begin with, and I fight to change those.  I never realized that one could have those types of things.  I like to think of myself as open minded and educated, but I had to admit that I, like most every person, also have my baggage and am not perfect in my thought processes.  Like today for instance, I was reading about the Russian people revolting against Putin and the powers that be in Russia where they suffer under his rule.  It occurred to me that while I hate Putin and Russian politics, I am not a hater of the Russian people, and I hope they over throw that demon.  Formerly, I would say I hated Russians…but it’s not exactly that way, it’s more a hating of the authoritarian rule of Russia and a healthy fear of it as well.  Am I making sense?

The first day of Spring was last week, but it still is very cold and wintery here in southern Maine.  I am really looking forward to some warmer weather, sunshine and the greening up of the landscape.  Right now everything is brown and dead looking, with smatterings of snowbanks that haven’t yet melted.  It will be good to see green grass and buds on the trees soon.  I always fight my depression more in the winter too.  Although this winter seemed to be a bit better on that front.  I had my best friend Linda around a lot and she helped me snap out of my moods quite often.  She wouldn’t LET me get sullen and depressed; she would refocus me on doing things to keep myself busy and not give me time to get bored, which often brings on the depression for me.  I really thank my lucky stars that she is there for me.  I’ve even come to depend upon her in many ways, which takes a large amount of trust for me to do.  She’s shown me real friendship, and for that I am grateful.

The dogs, Nola and Lulu, are doing great.  Of course they have been cooped up a lot with the inclement weather of winter too.  I try to get them out of the house any chance I get, taking them with me in the truck whenever possible.  They love to ride in the truck and are just as happy to wait for me in the truck when I get out to go into any place we stop at.  Thankfully they are good dogs, don’t chew or destroy stuff and can be trusted to wait patiently while I get things done.  As the days get warmer we will do more outings like going to the local beaches and parks for walks and outside time.  They also have a nice pen outside of my house that they can safely be outside in during good weather, and to do their business every couple of hours.  That pen is a lifesaver.  I built it right out my back door, so all I have to do is open the door and they can scoot out into their yard, which is like 20′ x 40′ in size.

So, there you have it.  A basic update about me.  No politics.  No deep questions.  Just a little window into my more personal side.  I’m healthy, happy and doing well.  And I hope all of you are too!  Peace!  ~MB