Welcome to HW, although I'm not sure this is the right forum for you (please see my explanation at the end). You really need to be connected to programs to help you with addictions.
I've got some professional background dealing with addictions, and since you describe yourself as a chronic relapser - which is not uncommon, especially if you have legitimate pain issues which also must be managed - you need to be seriously committed to an addictions program of some type. Many people use 12 step programs, although there are other approaches. You may very well need a specialized program that recognizes chronic pain issues along with addictions. An addictionologist, who's a doctor that's got a specialized certification in managing addictions - including special protocols for chronic pain management, needs to be part of your team.
Have you ever been in a residential program, and/or Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for addictions? Something for what's called "dual disorders" would be your best bet, as those programs are designed to deal with multiple diagnoses. If you've not been in at least an IOP, I'd strongly recommend it. It's something that only lasts a few weeks, but can help you get on the right track, give you a lot of education and support, and then help you transition to regular outpatient services with an addictions professional, along with support groups. I've rarely (almost never) seen someone who's chronically relapsed succeed without such support. But that being said addictions are treatable.
You should look into and begin to learn as many non-pharmaceutical ways to help manage your pain as possible - everything from relaxation training to acupuncture. Then an addictionologist can help oversee other medications - including methadone - to manage your pain symptoms. The goal would be to use as little methadone as possible, and if you also read on another thread about
methadone use you'll see that it has to be started very, very slowly, but with your addiction issues you need to have that overseen closely by medical personnel trained in addictions.
In starting out, I did suggest HW may not be the best forum for you. I want to explain that a bit. If you are seriously working to stay "clean and sober", then I think all of us here would be glad to give you support in that, as well as help address the challenges you will have managing chronic pain. You won't find a lot of support, however, if you continue to relapse, or aren't don't everything you can possibly do to treat and manage your addiction. Many of us get treated and viewed as addicts when we are not, and lots of us here are sensitive to that. I just want you to be aware of how that issue may be viewed here.
Finally, as far as being "clean and sober", technically detoxing - and how long it takes for various substances to leave your system - will vary. That will likely be a much shorter time, however, that what will be defined in the U.S. addictions community as being "clean and sober". That takes usually at least a year of sobriety. I do know that some people who have not been trainedin dual disorders, and some 12 step programs, believe you have to be off all medications to qualify, including even things such as anti-depressants. You will need to find the groups that can be more
open to your struggles, and take your advice from the addictionologist and other medical professionals who are treating you.
I hope this helps - and I wish you all the best!
Post Edited (PAlady) : 6/15/2008 2:30:14 PM (GMT-6)