Re: My tale of fifteen years of DXM abuse... ...and looking for advice like everyone
Hi. I thought I'd post a reply after such an extended hiatus from the thread/forums.
SWIM has had mixed success in the last three years. SWIM went to NA 2-3 times a week for all of 2010, but found it didn't help him. It in fact sometimes made things worse, because the subject matter would leave SWIM in intense cravings after each meeting, and sometimes would even relapse from it (although it's hard to say if it really caused a relapse, as SWIM may have relapsed anyway).
SWIM has adopted a few new things to keep him busy. He took over the kitchen in the 4-person household, keeping it spotless every day and cooking things all the time. After a while, he started becoming solely responsible for every night's dinner, and he also made tons of sweet stuff (apple pies, blueberry pies, peach pies, banana breads, pound cakes, banana puddings, fudge, a bewildering array of cookies, a cornucopia of cakes). SWIM makes lasagna, meatloaf, minestrone soup, chicken pot pie, italian sausage quiche, pot roast, roast chickens, chili, etc. To SWIM's surprise nearly all of the food was wonderful. Cooking was like casting a magic spell, and if he wanted some double-fudge scratch brownies to appear, he only had to look up in his spellbook how to create it. It's something that SWIM should probably try to monetize in some manner, but he's too timid, naive and apathetic. It's easy to avoid anything that might cause stress or change, so SWIM avoids.
SWIM began looking into spirituality. Don't get him wrong, he is not religious, and is in fact still an atheist, but he began looking into inward growth, including meditation. He did really well at this for about a year and a half, but lately it has been declining.
SWIM is 35 now. He still has not gone back to school, or gotten a driver's license, or found any sort of job, or moved out from his parents, or anything like that. He still stays at home almost all the time. He never goes out with friends (of which he only has 3, with 1 being very recent). He doesn't make any money. He still has no insurance. He is highly dependent on his parents. His brother just moved out after living with SWIM for the last 12 years or so, and his brother was SWIM's only source of cannabis, which SWIM had been using every day for fifteen years or so. This recent change of no cannabis is highly stressful but he supposes it will pass.
SWIM still struggled with relapses of DXM use from 2009-2011. He usually would relapse every 4-6 weeks, buying 3-4 bottles of 4oz cough syrup, drinking 2, then waiting 4 hours and drinking 1-2. Either that or 700mg coughgels, wait four hours and take 500mg more. He would be up all that night and all the next day, and it was, of course, obvious to everyone. He couldn't hide it. But he wouldn't get a lot of the effects. At low doses (for him; 4-500mg) he wouldn't get much of a reaction from it at all. Regardless of the dosage, he hadn't had the "robo walk" in many years (except the one time after not using DXM for 2 years in 2009). SWIM's tolerance falls very slowly, over years, apparently. SWIM was then somehow able to resist doing it again for another month or so, even if it seemed impossible and he suffered.
Depression, anxiety and cravings have remained in place on a daily basis. SWIM thought he would eventually go out of his mind. There were many nights where he struggled and was in pain a lot. The pain is just the cravings, which have bloomed to such a degree over the last few years that it is often indistinguishable from what feels like an internal chemical burn all over his insides.
SWIM's parents struggled with him a lot, because SWIM couldn't stop using occasionally because the pain never went away. SWIM's parents cracked down even more on loose change or any other way SWIM could get money. SWIM never broke down and pawned anything or anything like that (although he sold lots of his own stuff on ebay for DXM money and also sold some of his brother's magic cards without permission), but he would sometimes "borrow" a credit card and spend $20 on DXM then give it (the card) back. This became no longer possible as his parents plugged one hole after another. SWIM made pocket change doing spare work online like freelance editing, opinion surveys and mechanical turk (he moved from all these to a place called textbroker). He was ordering DXM online and getting it in the mail. After that relapse, he had to give his mailbox key to his parents for a year and so couldn't do that anymore (he thought about getting a P.O. Box but didn'tl; very little money and no way to drive to the post office). He was no longer able to do the family's grocery shopping alone anymore (he would walk up to the supermarket and have a parent come pick him up when he had bought everything for the coming week's menu; he lost this privilege because of buying DXM). Eventually SWIM felt forced to just steal it from the local supermarket when he could no longer stand fighting the cravings. This worried his parents even more. He often stole it in a very careless manner, not really caring if anyone in the store saw him do it - because he was so desperate - but no one ever did.
It got to where SWIM's parents looked into a rehabilitation program that was mainly for the homeless; it was a six-month program focused on daily manual work in a warehouse for room and board. SWIM's parents wanted him to do it, so SWIM and his dad packed up SWIM's necessities and took him downtown to the center. After having to take a breathalyzer to walk in through the front door, SWIM saw one of the admitting advisers. The woman couldn't believe SWIM's story (mainly that he hadn't worked in 10 years previously, had some back problems and probably couldn't work in a warehouse all day). The woman was accusatory toward SWIM's dad, saying that he was enabling SWIM by not kicking SWIM out of his house. She said that the program was not for SWIM. It was a big relief for him because he thought it would be a horrible experience and tantamount to his dad dropping him off on a street corner and wishing him luck, or something. It wasn't quite that stark but SWIM was afraid he was being abandoned. It scared him for a while and stopped him from relapsing for a couple of months, but he started doing DXM again.
SWIM's parents looked into outpatient programs and etc but did not get enrolled in any. He also looked into suboxone but no doctor thought he needed it, yet they would give him nothing to help control cravings or pain. They did try gabapentin, which helped SWIM at first (first couple of weeks) then was forced to switch to a generic and it didn't help anymore, so he was taken off of it. He was on and off more anti-depressants and anti-psychotic (he is not psychotic, but prescribed to him for off-label use) like depakote and seroquel, which he thought were absolutely horrible. They put him on amitriptyline to control his sleep schedule, and he is still on a high nightly dose of it and can't sleep without it (now on for 2 years). They put him on Wellbutrin, even though his anxiety was already high, and it made it worse (he is still on it, due to constant changes of doctors that aren't his fault since he is tied up into the state-funded care system).
SWIM began seeing a therapist at the local health clinic (not a psychologist or anything, just a non-licensed type therapist). While he never got to see the therapist often enough (every 2 months or so) it seemed to help him vent. He was able to tell the therapist about one of the big things that has put SWIM into his addiction, something he couldn't or shouldn't ever tell anyone (not even here), and it was okay; the therapist sympathized/accepted what he had to say. He stopped seeing him in the last few months, but mainly because things have been so busy for SWIM; his brother was married in April, and ever since then, there's been one thing after another for him to do (which is good) but it made him put off seeing his therapist more (which isn't so good). Things have settled down, but he has been going downhill for a while now. Not that his daily life has been any good, but it had not been quite as bad as it had been, and now things seem to be dropping even more for him. Yet, the only reason things had gotten any better to begin with was because SWIM found out about kratom last year (see below). If not for that, SWIM would surely still be relapsing.
In August of 2011, SWIM finally found kratom. He had gotten his mailbox key back and he began ordering kratom and using it on a daily basis. It was the only thing so far that had helped to any significant degree, after trying many other things. He did not tell his parents, and bought the kratom on credit. He managed to stall many of the bills and continue to use kratom daily. He still uses it now and thinks it has helped him a lot, even though it has also slowed his growth somewhat by making him comfortable, and has made him dependent on it 3 times a day. He somehow now has $1000 in debt that his parents don't know about, and the day is coming soon where he is going to have to tell them that he has been on it for over a year now (when the bills become undeniable). This has led to a lot of additional anxiety.
SWIM thinks his parents might let him still use kratom (because they are willing to do almost anything to help him recover) but he is afraid they won't, so he has resisted telling them.
SWIM is still struggling daily with DXM cravings. He has not had DXM in 12 months - the exact amount of time that he has been on kratom, and it's no coincidence. He relapsed about 4 weeks ago, but vomited before the DXM really affected him. From this one relapse he got a horrible tooth infection but managed to avoid going to the dentist and he recovered from it. His mouth had been doing great for all of this year until that. He did not tell his parents about this relapse, though.
SWIM really wants to do DXM again but can't. He thinks the magic might even be back somewhat after a year without it; From 2007-2009 he went without DXM (instead he was eating poppy pods daily), and the magic returned for the first six trips or so then disappeared again. He finds it incredibly depressing that the life he had with DXM when he was in his late teens/early 20s is something that he won't ever have again. He can no longer force himself to forget his worries, and instead his problems continue to stare him in the face. He can't escape anymore.
His neurological stress and pain has subsided somewhat in the last year because of kratom and not using, but his anxiety and depression levels have remained high. He was doing well for most of this year until the last couple of months. His brother has gotten married and moved out and it's a lot of stress for SWIM. Right now SWIM is in a kind of limbo; no one is forcing him to go out, to get a job, to be pro-active, and he doesn't do it. He still makes dinner every day and spends a lot of time in the kitchen and with his spiritual stuff, but lately his apathy has become overwhelming and he has been doing the minimum possible to get by. he has been sleeping in more, staying up later every night, and feels that he has backslid a bit. He has a tolerance to kratom and can't stop using it for even a couple of days to get the tolerance back down. Things have been mounting up against him somewhat, but he's still trying to stand back up again and not get too discouraged.
Because SWIM hasn't had a relapse in a year and his parents don't know about kratom, they have given him back some privileges. He gets to go shopping at the supermarket every week with a debit card. Because the grocery bill tends to be close to two hundred dollars for the family's meals, and no one checks the receipt afterward, SWIM could easily start buying DXM again and stashing it, but he has not. He walks down the cough syrup aisle almost every time he is in the store, to see if it is on sale, even though SWIM tells himself he wouldn't buy any. SWIM's mom leaves her purse out every night now; credit cards and money just lay practically in the open, and SWIM could go and get messed up from it. But SWIM knows that it would be just the one time, and then all of his privileges would be taken away and his parents would be very upset. SWIM still collects change when he can, "just in case," which isn't very smart, either.
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My tale of fifteen years of DXM abuse... ...and looking for advice like everyone else - Part 7
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