Breaking the Cycle: Staying Clean
Copyright © 2002, Patrick K. Kroupa
All Rights Reserved
Original Publication: Heroin Times
All right, you have detoxed; whatever modality you chose to use, you are presently in a drug-free state — or using medications someone has prescribed for you, to assist you with whatever underlying conditions you may have been self-medicating with heroin in the first place.
It tends to feel a lot like talking the final step off a cliff. You’re in freefall and not really sure how to deal with all the things that are coming at you, which you’ve used drugs to avoid — possibly you’ve never really dealt with any of the feelings or problems which cause you to find a solution in bangin’ up dope.
This is one of the main things to keep in mind: heroin addiction isn’t really the problem for MOST people who become drug-dependent; it’s the solution to your problems. Physical dependance is just the first hurdle to get past.
How exactly you do this, is entirely up to you. I am a big proponent of ibogaine, because I tried — literally — every other treatment methodology which presently exists, for opiate/opioid dependance, and none of them worked for me. Ibogaine did work.
It also tends to provide one hell of a booster in the form of its long-acting metabolite, noribogaine, which seriously helps to reduce craving and elevates mood for a period of several weeks, to a couple of months, depending on how fast you metabolize it.
All that being said, it’s certainly not the ONLY way to detox, and as many people as I might know who have had a high level of success with it; I know at least that many who have kicked dope without it.
However you got here, you are in a weird space. It’s gonna last for a while, anywhere from 6 to about 12 months, before everything starts firing at anything approaching a “normal” level again. And, well, it’s extremely easy to pick up dope and get right back on the rollercoaster ride.
So the primary question is: what gets you through this space of time, and allows you to move forward to some other way of living…
In the past I might have said that some sort of connection to spirituality, God, your higher power, whatever you want to call, will do that for you — and it certainly can. I personally, absolutely do believe in my own conception of God.
I could easily write 20,000 words on this topic and just be getting started. But I don’t have that kind of space right here, and the reality is: it doesn’t matter that much, because EVERYTHING can be distilled down to exactly ONE word: BELIEF.
You MUST believe in something. What you choose to believe in, is almost completely irrelevant. It can be your higher power, it can be your own ability to surmount the obstacles you will face, and make it through to something else; it can be almost anything. However, without this belief… You’re not gonna make it.
What you need to do is as simple or complex as you choose to make it. You need to change your definition of who and what you are; to rewrite your own mythology.
How long does all this take? It can take months, years, a lifetime… It’s as simple or difficult as you choose to make it. Having spent many years living in a really negative headspace, you’re probably gonna make it extremely hard on yourself. It doesn’t have to be. It takes exactly the amount of time that you need to stop defining yourself as a junkie, and begin believing you are something else.
It is that simple. Your “mysterious disease” is not a necessary component; you have problems? Okay, well, welcome to the human race. Your belief in God is not particularly necessary — although it can be very helpful. In the last couple of years I have met people who haven’t had therapy, didn’t go to any meetings, and do not believe in God; who spent a good 15-20 years bangin’ up heroin, and are clean right now. Why are they clean… Because they believe they could be.
What exactly motivated them to change is all over the map. In one case, the person I’m speaking of — an atheist, non 12-steppy, non-ibogaine kinda guy — simply did his accounting one year, realized he had injected something in the neighborhood of 3 million dollars in the last decade, and concluded it was time to cut it loose… And he did. And that was 7 years ago. While this particular method absolutely would NOT have worked for me, because I mean, I ran the figures too, and my only conclusion at the time was, “wow, I need a LOT more money.” It is entirely possible, and probably happens more often than various people would choose to believe.
There are MANY people out there who used to be hardcore dope fiends, who have not joined some cult, found God, or gotten unsprung using anything more than a handful of benzos and some pot. Who made it.
To reiterate, I personally do not fall into that category, but it can and does happen. You’re just unlikely to find these individuals sitting in the rooms, walking around with chips, and talking about their clean time. And with very few exceptions, you’re not going to find them written up in any studies or monographs about addiction research.