Methadone Detox and Traverse City

By Aaron Emerson

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on here. It’s been an intense last several months for me.

Thankfully, I’m in a spot in my life today I have never been. For the first time in seven years, I am free from all substances – including methadone. I’m also living in a new area in Michigan that I have really come to love: Traverse City.

After spending a few months in jail, I was sent to a treatment center in northern Michigan. While there, I detoxed from methadone, which was easily the hardest thing I have ever been through.

The withdrawals lasted about three or four weeks and I can’t tell you how many times I almost gave up and left to find some relief. By day five of the detox, I was in a state of being that no human should have to endure. Every bone in my body ached like I just got hit by a semi. My legs were endlessly restless. I was shitting non stop and puking occasionally. I had no appetite whatsoever and when I did force something down it came right up, so I lost 17 pounds in two weeks. There was no such thing as sleep, so on the fourth or fifth day of no sleep I actually started seeing things move, like evil shadows on the wall. I had the worst hot and cold flashes of my life. And then the mental torture of it was something I can’t explain. In fact, I don’t even want to explain that part.

As bad as it was, though, I toughed it out somehow. My mind and body shut down but I made myself push through. Looking back, I don’t really know how I did it other than to explain there was a lot of prayer involved. I would be in my bed unable to sleep at 3 or 4 a.m. and so miserable that I’d cry out to God asking him to take it away. By about the fourth week, the symptoms finally started to ease and I gained some hope. By day 30 or 35, I was free from the bondage of methadone.

Methadone did help me for a couple years. After hard heroin addiction and years spent behind bars as a result, methadone gave me a chance to live. It probably saved my life. But after a few years, it became a burden. I knew how bad the withdrawals from it would be so I could never bring myself to get off. I tried to wean down on my dose a couple times, but once it got under 30 mg I would relapse. I became stuck and unable to advance in life. I’m not a doctor so I’m not gonna give an opinion on it; I can only share my experience.

Thankfully, though, I was MADE to get off methadone by the court system. When I was sent to treatment to get off it, I was pissed. I felt like I was being set up to fail because I thought if I was made to get off the stuff, I’d just leave when the detox got bad enough and get high. But that’s not what happened. I fucking made it and today I am actually grateful I was forced to detox. I am blessed with a freedom I haven’t felt since I was a child.

After completing treatment at Dakoske after two months there, I decided to stay up in Traverse City. I’m living in a sober living house with several other people in recovery. I love it up here. I’ve gotten involved with a solid group of recovery friends and I feel like I belong up here. I miss being home and I especially miss my daughter, but I truly feel that if I take some time to focus on my recovery, I’ll be a better father for it. Plus, I can come down and visit her frequently.

So yeah, it’s been a rough year for me up until about a month ago. Spending a few months in jail and detoxing from methadone was not how I wanted to spend half of 2019, but I’m much better off because of it. Like I said, I’m fucking free mentally, physically and spiritually. I didn’t give up even though I wanted to and I hope that can be some inspiration for someone else. God is good.

Author: Aaron Emerson

From Lansing, Michigan, I am a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic. I share my story to spread hope, raise awareness and erase the stigma of addiction. I am a huge Detroit sports fan and have a seven year old daughter.

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