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She’s on Methadone but Still Using Meth

Woman Lying on Stone Wall

PThasnohead writes in that his Loved One is starting treatment, thanks to Allies in Recovery and the resources on this site. He held his ground and has seen things start to get better. The improvements feel small, however, and he is struggling with wanting to see more significant progress. How should he approach this with his partner?

Thank's to AIR, Craft and the podcasts, My LO is starting treatment.
However, it is the last option I would have chosen.
My last post I talked about not knowing when to disengage/engage with her constant use/formication. The advice I was given worked great, things definitely got worse before they got better like discussed on the most recent podcast.

So treatment, yay! big step. However, she chose to start methadone treatment at a clinic she has been to 3 or so times in the past. Because of her tolerance/years using, the expectation is that she will continue to use until her MG dosage goes up and she stabilizes. She expects to need to go up 60mg or so and they increase it by 5 every 5 days if you ask. That's a year… Read the full comment here.

She started methadone but your partner’s bad and dangerous behaviors continue. Let’s first applaud your success in using CRAFT to get her to enter treatment. Hurray!

I wish that getting her into treatment provided you with a much needed break. It still may. Methadone does take a little time to stabilize in a person. Typically, a person starts at 30mls and goes up from there. It is possible for her to get up to 60 much quicker than the outline you have been given.

You are right that methadone alone is typically only a partial answer. It will protect her from opioid cravings and withdrawals and will give her a fighting chance to have a normal “feeling” day. Give it another couple weeks. So yes, you’re spot on to acknowledge that you need to be patient as best you can at this point.

Methadone won’t help with the methamphetamine and as you noticed, the use of meth may be going up.

Methadone clinics do provide group and individual counseling. However, it may not be the best quality. Counselors have huge caseloads and are also charged with policing the methadone and the result of drug tests. This creates an inherent tension between therapy and the fear of being “kicked” off the clinic. It is not the best therapeutic alliance.

Did you have more on your list for your wife to choose from? What is available to her for the meth addiction? It’s a tough answer usually. Methamphetamine addiction is very hard to treat.

Either way, the methadone is a good start. It will protect her from relapse by reducing the amount/times she uses. It may get her to -0- opioid use. We pray with you that this is what happens.

For the next week or two, see what you can find to help her address the methamphetamine. See if you can remain patient with her as the methadone stabilizes. I agree, now is not the time to talk about her moving out. You will get there though. You sound tired and disappointed. Now is the time to pace yourself. Try to keep finding ways to acknowledge minor victories, and remain in the present without letting your mind take over with concerns about the future. Go for a walk, practice finding positivity in other realms of your life. Every little bit counts.

We all want it to be over, this thing we call addiction, like a light switch: on/off. But instead, we get the dimmer switch. It’s not a clean break and hoping for that can contribute to the exhaustion and frustration. Get out of the house, pay attention to your needs and what makes you even the tiniest bit calm and happy.

You are on a moving train. Don’t give up. The methadone was a very good first step! Having the basic level of communication that you have with your partner is still encouraging. You know it’s not a good idea to argue about what she is or isn’t doing, even when you don’t agree with what she says. Each new exchange is a chance to wipe the slate clean and practice CRAFT.

Your role is to plant yourself firmly in her life as an ally to her treatment. You are growing roots and branches to help get her connected… the stronger and more developed these are, the better. Even when she isn’t there yet, your work is not in vain. The work you do to tend to your own well-being ripples out and strengthens your own roots. This can help you weather the storms.

It’s good that you’re using the site to work out these feelings, to find support, to have a place to talk about the uncertainties. We hear you. The most important thing right now is to find acceptance, find your own peace amidst the noise. This is a realm of moving targets. Knowing that you need to be patient is an enormous part of the process. It’s not easy, and you are doing a great job. Keep it up.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)