Methadone Maintenance & Continental Socks.

During my ten years of heroin addiction I have been in rehab just once. That was for a very specific reason and was not my choice. It lasted 5 months. This post details my reasons for entering rehab along with my experiences and observations of it. I do not go into the failings of that system, as it is outside the scope of this post.

I will start by saying: I don’t believe in rehabilitation... not for me anyway. To go for that means you think that you have something to be rehabilitated from, and I don’t feel I have. There is nothing wrong with me...I am dependent on a drug, that’s all. Rehabilitation suggests something so much more... that beyond heroin the person is the problem, that the person needs rehabilitating. But from what? From life?

My reasons for even considering rehab came about because of my wife. We’d been living together in London for a few months and each month had became more miserable and more depressing than the last (especially for her). What she thought she could handle, she quickly realised she couldn’t and that what may have seemed romantic on paper was not so when it was the crux of a daily existence.

By the end of October (I think she waited until after my birthday) she said she was leaving... returning to France. She asked if I was following, but I could only shake my head and look down. As our relationship crumbled all I could do was stare despondently at her red, flat soled shoes and continental socks. We parted on the corner of the street... me heading off to work and her heading to the airport. She was crying, but I was dry... of tears, apologies or goodbyes. Poetry would have been useless... it was that which had brought her here. And so she left.

After a month apart I realised that unless I done something the relationship was doomed and I didn’t want that. The last year (including the fights) had been the happiest of my life. In absence of any other acceptable solution I agreed to enter a rehabilitation clinic (though not to stop using) and promised that once I had been stabilised on methadone that I’d transfer my script to a hospital in Lyon and then we’d leave together. Whether transferring a script to France was even possible I had no idea, although I told her I’d looked into it and that it wasn't a problem. The reality of what I discovered was it was extremely difficult transferring a script from one London borough to another, let alone abroad. Still, I had to tell her something... and as I had nothing to tell her, I lied. On the back of that lie, and actual proof that I had really booked myself onto a maintenance program, she returned.

It was during the middle of December 2003 that I experienced my first taste of white-walled, fruit-filled and sickly Drug Substitution units. After passing my 2 months on a waiting list I was finally there, feigning junk illness so as I could get as much methadone as possible. It was 8.30am, and I was surrounded by snivelling, groaning, moaning junkies... sick to the bones and begging for their dose. From the start I had problems.

After waiting 30 minutes in the dying room I was called by a doctor. I followed him into his little surgery and was joined by my drug counsellor (my key worker). I tried pretending illness as best I could, but it’s a difficult thing to do, especially around those who know it so well.
“When was the last time you used Mr. Levene?”
“Last night... just before going to bed.” I admitted.... omitting to mention the injection I had taken just before leaving
“You’ve not gone the 24hrs? You are not withdrawing?” The doctor enquired.
I explained that I was withdrawing, but that I wasn’t sick and couldn’t understand why I had to show up ill.... did I have to earn my treatment?
“No, but you’ve got to show you want it... that you’re serious on quitting”
“ Well, I’m here...I’ve money in my pocket and I’m here, how more serious can I be?”
The doctor scribbled something on a notepad and gave it to my counsellor. “We’ll give you 10mls... if you want more, you’ll have to come here withdrawing.”
“10ml! That won’t do anything. I need at least 90ml!.. 10ml!!!”
“Mr. Levene, 40ml is enough to bring about fatal overdose... whilst using on top we cannot give you anymore. Tomorrow morning we’ll review your situation further. Good morning.”
“Good morning?? It will be... I’ve gotta go and score now!”
With that I left the doctor, swallowed down the measly 10ml I’d been prescribed and then caught the bus to Shepherds Bush where I scored before heading in to work.

This pattern continued for nearly two weeks. Each day the doctor telling me the same and upping my dose another 5 or 10 ml. By the end of the 14 days I was on 110ml a day, which was enough to stop me from becoming ill if I had no gear.

After being stabilised I still had to travel to the treatment centre each day, see the doctor, have my urine tested and then drink my little cup of juice in front of the nurse. It was a one system suits all... yet from what I could see it was a one system fails all. On account of my job, I asked for special permission to have a weeks script at a time... I explained that I could no longer justify to my directors why I had need of an hour and a half absence each morning (and for the foreseeable future too), but it was refused. It wasn’t until I forged a letter on company headed paper, threatening myself with disciplinary action, that I was finally given a weeks script. Thank God for common sense!

To cut the story short, I was at CAPS, the treatment centre in West London for 3 months before being in a position to transfer my script to France. During those three months my heroin intake remained the same as it had ever been. This disappointed my wife a little, as regardless of my lack of resolve to quit, I’m sure she secretly hoped that I would... or that I’d at least slow down a little. Instead the truth was this: when she left England I was a crack and heroin addict, and when she returned I was a crack, heroin and methadone addict... things hadn’t gotten better, they’d become worse. Anyway, soon she’d have her wish... soon she would experience a life free of any illegal drugs.

Surprisingly the transfer of my prescription to France couldn’t have been more simple. Two faxes and a note from my key worker and it was complete. So at the very beginning of March 2004, my wife and I left London to start a new life in Lyon... a life where heroin was no longer a barrier down the middle of the bed.

For me France would be the unknown.... not just in terms of the language or people, but as an adult living a drug free life. I knew that once I left England that heroin & crack were off the agenda... not possible, at least for the time being. My only heroin contact in France was Alexandre, my wife’s brother, but unfortunately he was serving 3 years for heroin trafficking charges in the local St. Paul Prison. So France was the real beginning of a heroin free life... my first in almost 5 years.

The methadone clinics in France are pretty much the same as in the UK. Early morning visits, drinking your juice in front of an observer... weekly urine test... psychiatrist reports and meetings. The main difference between France and England is the punishment on giving dirty urine's. In England you are punished severely for this, whilst in France they use the information more for monitoring your progress and the success of the treatments. In France all addicts have their own script, in England all addicts are thrown off their scripts. The ideal position to be in, and which I’m in now, is to give enough clean urine's to build up a little bit of trust. Once this has happened you can ask to be transferred to a GP (who rarely if ever takes urine tests).

In France I stayed clean for almost 5 months... just enough time to speak a little, and get some money in my pocket. Those 5 months were not miserable or unhappy I got down and got on with life. I used them to concentrate on my painting and writing and other creative outlets that I had neglected in my drug addiction. That little break really served its purpose as I reviewed the past 5 years and made certain promises to myself. My writing or thinking or painting heroin free was no different... it was no better or no worse. Heroin doesn’t affect one in that way.

My gradual descent back into addiction upset my wife, but she always knew I’d bring heroin back to our bed. Like everyone else I suppose she just hoped. At least here she had some control and a hand in my addiction. She knew the dealers and how much I was buying... if my usage was constant or increasing. The paranoia of London was not here and it was a huge release for us. Also, I had given up my addiction to crack cocaine so she was thankful for that She was also thankful that I was painting and at last doing something creative, though she was always urging me to write... well, maybe now’s the time to do that. In fact, I think it is.

I’ve explained a little of the program and my experience of it and now I will go through the problems of treatment.

1) Methadone or Subutex is NOT heroin. It stops the physical withdrawal but gives the addict nothing else. Unless the addict is also taken away from heroin these substitutions cannot work. 50 or so years of treatment have proved this.

2) The punishment of the addict and the subtle ways he is made to earn his treatment or to deserve it.

3) The strict discipline for dirty urine's. The clinic is fond of reassuring you that a slip up is nothing serious, that heroin is a long term addiction. Yet if you are caught using, or you stupidly admit to it, you have your methadone dose cut down and if use is continued will be thrown off the program.

5) 95% of addicts enter rehab because of financial problems. They’ve hit bottom and can no longer sustain a habit. They are there not because they want to give up junk, but because they can’t afford it.

6) The early morning meetings and all the hidden agenda’s that are attached to drug treatment. Instead of attacking the main problem they sneakily serve to discipline and train the addict.

Of the 52 addicts that I met during treatment in England only one managed to kick first time. Of the rest 46 admitted to being there because of financial reasons. Most were still using heroin at any opportunity.

I don’t offer up any solutions here for drug substitution treatments, I’m not informed enough to do that. But I do know that neither methadone nor subutex works. What is needed is Heroin maintenance programs. These do exist, but are extremely controversial (especially when state funded) and one has to be almost dying (if not dead) to get on one of these programs. The controversy (outside of giving addicts free heroin) is that they do not encourage the addict to stop... that they encourage prolonged drug use. They do, but they stop all the crime, dirt and destroyed lives that come with illicit addiction. And what will be surprising is just how quickly a completely stabilized addict will feel completely stupid using just to feel normal. Once the highs and lows are removed from heroin addiction, the addict is as good as permanently straight... there is very little difference. And if one is straight using, one may as well be straight and not using... I myself sometimes feel this... but then there is a drought.

Take care readers... was it really 7 days??? (No, it was 8! ;))


Nikita said...

I want to comment on your post Shane, but I don't know what to say. I have no experience with drug addiction, save for my father's alcoholism.

I guess what I want to say is thank you, for writing and sharing tales of your life. For giving me something to read while I try to figure out my own life, for your honesty and your willingness to be up front about your addiction.

Hope it's not out of place to say, but I hope you and your wife are happy.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


No it's not out of place for you to say anything. I open up my ife and it's there for comment or criticism. Yes we're happy... Of course she wishe drug addiction was a part of the marriage, but she accepts it and doesn't push for abstenance. She knows enough to understand that I'm me whether addicted or not, in fact she says she cannot even tell any difference... Maybe I'm just permanately screwed!! lol

Hope you're well Nikita, sorry I've not stopped by your blog yet I've been very busy this past week.

All my best, Shane.

Nikita said...

Thanks, it's brilliant how open this blog is... I really like it. Very glad that you are happy, it's a nice change to hear that when everyone is telling me not to get married next year.

I'm ok... don't worry about being busy, I'm glad that you are! I do a lot better when I'm busy. If I'm honest, my blog is rather trivial... but from time to time it is my salvation.

Much love, Nikita.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I'm the opposite... i do nothing wen I'm busy. I think about everyting but the topic in hand! ;)

Why not get married.. if your happy and in love then do it. I dn't actually believe in marriage (though I've been married twice.. not divorced once!) but I go through with it anyway.

My first marriage lasted all of 3 days... and the third day was spent driving her to the airport! 3 days.. not bad, hey? lol

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


ps: 95% of the people on this blog have no experience with heroin or addiction... your in good company. What's important is that we're here.. reading, commenting and learning.

shane. x

Nikita said...

Thanks Shane, marriage was never in my plan either but there you go... no such thing as a plan in life. I'm 19 and I've done more than most 30 year olds I know... I have regrets and I have pain, but that doesn't mean tomorrow isn't going to happen.

Agree with you totally, it's such a brilliant experience being able to do those things - they make up such a large part of 'life'.

Nikita x

Unknown said...

HEROIN sucks seen it all been there. Don't recomend any one to try, the drug culture gives it to much glory for all the pain.Never have seen a controled substance with so much power. As mick sang your just a shot away.Glad it's behind me never again god willing

Kat Skratch said...

Finally! I watch for your posts everyday now Shane. :) Glad I am rewarded today!

Interesting life point. I'm glad your wife understands it seems. Glad to see you're alive and writing.

I'll be back everyday. I need something to do with the insomnia now that my xanies are gone again...

Kat ;)

Bar L. said...

This was very interesting, as always. I understand the point your are making but am coruious about what you said in #6 "Instead of attacking the main problem they sneakily serve to discipline and train the addict."

What is the main problem?

Keven has been on suboxone for two weeks. I am not sure how different it is from subutex. They say he will need to be on it for a year but he already wants to wean himself off since its expensive and I no longer have an income.

I am confused, i want to help him.

sKILLz said...

Methadone treatment is pretty much the same here in New York.
Well the ones I know of in the city and shit.

You get on, and they really don't care if your sick or not just of you have medical care that can pay for it or you yourself can pay.
To them THAT is ALL that really matters.

Every week you give your piss, and if it is dirty then you can forget getting "pick up's" meaning not having to come 6 days a week for your dose.

Most people go there just for a back up.
They still use either heroin and most use crack!
Which to me is CRAZY, that makes your methadone dose go away faster and that's a fact!
They make sure they drink there dose and then go out and steal or sell drugs or whatever for there next high.
The next high could be anything from weed, pills, heroin, (gear as you say ;) )
or crack/coke.

You know now that I'm posting this I think I need to post on this very same topic...
Yo homie wheres my email?
Stay Up brother from another mother!

Herbert Barry Woodrose said...

OK, have an idea for therapy - just give 'em the goddamn shot. Give people what they need. It costs less than this ridiculous merry-go-round. I mean there's this entire insane infrastructure in place, and we have them NOT giving care. They are giving out drugs, lots of drugs, hard drugs, and NOT the ones people want. Why not just cut out the nonsense? Have the infrastructure in place, let people line up and get their shot and leave. I'm more frustrated by addicts being given the runaround, or being in jail for some stupid reason, than I would be if they just gave addicts what they want. It might mean a lot less hassle, cost, and crime. But what do I know. Well, I know this isn't working. I know that jails are a publicly traded stock now. I know that representative government is a dead word from a dead language. Anyone witnessing scores of nurses and doctors standing up to Congress last week and getting arrested on behalf of single payer national health coverage in the US would have to come to the conclusion that it's over, the veil has dropped. This isn't a representative democracy when the majority of United Statesians wish for single payer coverage and it is instead "off the table".

It isn't the person injecting heroin who is destroying my country, by a longshot.

I listened for a while to The Howard Stern show on satellite radio. They have a comedian on the show who had a heroin problem and was given Subutex to get off. He touted it as a miracle, completely removing the ability to get high. For the longest time he was taking this stuff with no plan whatsoever, just whenever he felt like it. He was supposed to take 1 a day or something and was taking 6 in a 2 hour span. Oh... and woops! Turns out he was using heroin too. That came out later. Oh and woops! He used again after getting clean.

Why are we still pretending it is working, that any of this is working? Why not just GIVE THEM THE SHOT. GIVE THEM THE SHOT. By Odin's Beard, can't we just get anyone in "authority" to behave with sense, to behave with reason? I don't want anymore users in jail. I don't want any more users - already full of inner conflict and turmoil and hiding - to be given any more conflicting logic. As you point out Shane, this isn't about getting high after a point. It's about being straight. It's ok to dope someone up on morphine or dilaudid, but if that guy's puffing on a joint - watch out. Eternity is folding and society will crumble. I'm sick to death of this crap.

PS - In closing, my poetical offering:

Sniffles from the Memoires
And Human heads in Stew
No post for a week or more?
I'm going to KEEL you!

(I'm going out to get Continental Socks.)

'Stoopid Slapped Puppies' said...

I don't know too much about this, so this is an outsiders view maybe.
Firstly it always seems to me that to be a full time addict is such fucking hard work. Where to get the money, where to score, supply problems, noding out time,that there is little time or space to do anything else even if the person wanted too. I don't know if this is true but when I talk to heroin and crack addicts here where I live their lives seemed consumed by it. Secondly it seems to me that the whole treatment basis is set in some protestant/puritanical work ethic. Which sseems based on people only getting what they want if they earn it, so junkies arriving for drugs they havn't worked for goes against the grain and therefore a more punishment type ethos has to be set up. I dunno, it just seems that way to me.
As I say what do I know, it just seems that way.
Hope you are well and the sunshines in your heart.
Nick XX

Changedit said...

Brilliant post, Shane! Thank you! I can't contradict anything you say, because you hit the nail on the head in every sentence. I've never been to a rehab (unless you count prison as rehab haha) and have always done cold turkey. I have only used methadone when I bought it on the street because I couldn't score gear. Since the last cold turkey, I have substituted heroin with codeine and it works for me. I just have to keep my fingers crossed that they don't take it away from me. I would be genuinely fucked!!!

Checked every day for your post ... it was worth waiting for.

Love Fishy xx

Annette said...

Hey Shane, Thanks for posting. I have to be honest here....this was hard for me to read. I don't understand a functioning addict. I don't have those in my life. I have addicts and alcoholics who have brought great chaos and pain and fear. I have to work hard at not buying into it and living my own life despite what the addicts in my life are doing. Tough stuff.

Your post brought a completely different spin to my thinking. I am sitting here wondering...can someone be an addict and still function, still be healthy. Can someone still use and be healthy? Based on my own experiences, I have a hard time accepting that. That doesn't mean its not just means I can't grasp it.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Dear Shane,
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing another part of your story with all of us.

Much love,


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hiya Cat Scratch (with 2 K's),

Yeah, sorry for the wait... I was very busy!! lol

can't you buy more Xanex? I've ever used it... though a friend will maybe post me a few. If the police are reading... yes, WE POST DRUGS TO EACH OTHER!!!) ;)

Hope you're well Kat (apart from the obvious) I'll be across to youer blog shortly.

All my thoughts, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


I hope you're not refering to Mick jagger???he is the last person to take any notice of when it comes to hard drugs... he's a business man and always has been. A suit that sings.

if you've been there, i'd have thought you'd have more to say... what a waste.

thanks for your comment & for reading, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

hiya Barbara,

The main problem is the patients drug addiction. Rehabs should forget about trying to give people regimes and discipline (with the employment market in mind) and focus all their energies on the actual drug addiction.

Coming off drugs is already hard, why make it impossible by giving junkies who are not used to rising early 7.00am appointments. Apart from dirty urines, the other group who fall off programs are those that fail to make the meetings. I'm sure that if all appointments were in the afternoon, there'd be an almost 100% turnout. They try to make the addict earn his treatment... and use punishment and threats to keep the addict clean. I just don't like it.

I'd be careful stopping Keven treatment... it's bizarre that he wants that. it could be good or bad... I think it's good. How much is the treatent a week/month?

All my best B,

Love Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hey ya Brooklyn Love,

I've sent your email... i was surprised you didn't get back to me!!! I thought you was offline or at your mothers. i'll resend it.

I never understand people who say they don't feel heroin whilst using methadone? Ok, it weakens the effect if used directly on top, but I still feel it. Do you?

All my love, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Nick you're right but heroin addicts are also a part of heroin culture and all the problems that g along with it are also a part of the life and the drug. most addicts miss the life and the wheeling and dealing as much as the drug... it's something right on the edge.

If the addiction is stable, one can ahve a very smooth and quite trouble free habit... still, you see from my blog, trouble is never far away. for me that becomes something creative, but I suppse if you don't write and are not interested in obdserving and commentating... yes, it's a huge waste of time. But so is shovelling bricks 8 hours a day... working yourself into a mental and physical exhaustion for barely the fare back to work. Either life allows one to create or be free... but the chains of heroin are still freer than the chains of labour, and I suppose thats why the addict puts up with it.

Also, you have to be very careful of what addicts tell you. It's in their interest to paint a picture of a tremendously hard life... of depression and flirting with death. It's not that, and anyone who sys it is, is living off the back of some film or other.

herbert has it down.. just give the addict what they need. It's simple. Why give out a highly addictive, class A opiate that doesn't work??? Give out a highly addictive class A opiatethat does work.

Thanks for your time and words.. all my best wishes, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya H, glad to see you're well and in good spirits... I'll answer your post, but couldn't resist dding the next couple of verses to your odee:

Keel me if you want to
I'll survive knowing my bad luck
With a twisted broken backbone
That'll never straighten up.

No need for treatment centres
Or punishing regimes
i'll be nodding in my cornflakes
Without bending at the knees.

i may finish this and post it!! lol

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


hiya and thanks for waiting and reading and commenting... it means so much. sometimes I kid myself that it doesn't, but no... it does! ;)

Once your around heroun you're also around all the substitutes and hear all the problems and complaints. it was good to experience that first hand, and despite the negativity of my post I still think there is a place for methadone and subutex programs.

As you mentioned, they helped you at the very last point... we take them as a last resort to getting sick, but it shouldn't be that. How many people would not end up on the needle, contracting hepatitis and/or HIV if it wsn't for such unrealistic help programs.

It's too little too late.

Many thnks again, love Shane. x

Ps: how's your treatment going? how re you feeling? you can mail me tghe reply if you like... I'm not fussed.

Andy said...

Excellent, mon cher ami. I'm so glad you didn't delete this post now, aren't you? You seem to have a knack for hitting the nail on the head... as the old saying goes, you know of what you speak. It's great to see the truth and honesty of your life impacting so many people... and all this from a kid out of White City, hey?

A. xx

Andy Frankham-Allen said...

Whoops. Forgot to sign in properly. But, hey, you knew it was me, right? ;-)

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


I completely understand what you say there, and in the main it is true and your observations are corrct. But there does exist functioning addicts (they've normally got money - but not all) and they can and do remain healthy. Well, they will probably die younger than non-users, but healthy in the sense that they are not privy to the common junk diseases and infections. No-one leaves junk scot-free... that's a fact.

You've experienced your young son descend into addiction and have witnessed the bad side (the normal side) of addiction. I don't know all the details but I suspect you've gone through what most mothers of addicts have. That is what addiction is... I don't disagree or try to change that... what you've seen is the truth for the main part. But there is another addict... a different user, and such a one is typing this.

A good example, and one we witness everyday, are stabilized methadone patients. They work, hold intelligent conversations,contribute to society and are completely unnoticeable... this is also an opiate addict, but a stable one. Street methadone addicts are comlpetely different... in fact, they are exactly the same as street heroin addicts. So it just goes to show, if the user is able to control his addiction - the when and the where of the next money and the next fix, he /she becomes completely unnoticeable.

Excuse me for the long reply, but I was typing on auto!! ;)

I hope you're well Annette, and thank you so much for your time and input. My very best wishes, Shane.

Greta said...

very interesting post!
It's good that you have a happy marriage and someone who takes care for you and supports you. I imagine that a loving wife or someone who is there in general can be quite a shield against the ultimate fuckup... especially when they don't share the exact same vice. Which leads to my question: your wife, does she have no "guilty pleasures" at all?
Best regards to the both of you, Greta

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya SB,

Not one of my best... but sometimes it's important to just give the facts. I could improve that post and make it more poetical, but it would lose truth. I settled for fact.

Hope you're well over there... will mail you now I've got your address. There'sanother hidden post... try clicking on the picture of me. It's just a little extra and I enjoy hiding things... I've many other little one's I will add soon.

Love Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


My wifes guilty pleasure is ME!!! She enjoys watching me kill myself... probably prays for it!! lol

No, she has tried heroin but it wasn't for her... she's tried most things. her arms are not scarless.

All my best, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Andy,

i wasn't going to delete it, just withdraw it to the store room... it was going to become my own little Frakenstein!


Andy Frankham-Allen said...

*lol* Well, bad choice of words. But 'delete' sounded my emotive than 'withdraw'. I should have said, ain't you glad you left it online and not withdrawn it for future useage? How's that work? ;-)


ryan field said...

I guess I'm late to the post again. But I still loved it.

Thanks, Shane.

Lou said...

I think you are a good writer, I wish I could buy into this.

I don't see this idyllic life of the functioning addict where I live. Admittedly the US is very punitive in approach, even marijuana or underage drinking,but every person I know who has a drug or alcohol vice has had trouble with the law or finally had the shit hit the fan in some way.

I thought there came a point with heroin where it is just not fun anymore. Not that people will stop using, but it sure ain't for the enjoyment.

No judgments Shane,just my 2 cents.

Bar L. said...

Shane, I appreciate all the time your put into your blog by answering every comment, that takes dedication and also increases the value of your blog is multiplied by all the comments from others and your responses.

That said - here is one more from me.

I think Keven wants to quit to save me money. I really do. I don't like the idea of it but have learned I can not stop him when he sets his mind to something.

I have to agree with Annette and Lou, we all share the agony of being the parent of an addict. I think in your case its different, I honestly do. You are mature, and I believe you were even as a child, much more grown up than most kids. You are intelligent, you have ambition.

But even with how controlled your use is - it still caused your dear wife to leave for a while.

Its complicated.

Andy Frankham-Allen said...

Hope Shane don't mind me butting in here (I doubt he will).

Hi, Barbara.

You're right, it is complicated. Being in the unique position of having known Shane as a teen, I can say that yes he was mature about a lot of things. Circumstances made him grow up a lot sooner than most his age, and although there is exactly three years between us I never felt the age difference back in '89/'90. I've only recently learned about Shane's heroin addiction, and it took me a little while to get my head around it; days, in fact! In truth, even now, it's still a little unreal to me, but I accept it. I will never try to talk him away from heroin because, even after twenty years, it is not my place to do so. If Shane ever wishes to find a way out then it will be when he decides to do so, and Shane is the sort of man who would find some kind of solution. It's him to succeed at all he does. But as it currently stands, despite his addiction, and the crap he's experienced over the last eighteen years, he's still much the same guy I knew back in our teens. Funny, with great wit, intelligent, creative, and very much in touch with who he is. Which is more than I can say about a lot of people I know, and they're NOT addicted to heroin.

Now back to the main man.

A. xx

kellylebelly said...

Good to hear/read you're back! I was worried.

Heart-wrenching for both of you (and your wife)... I felt that...Ouch!

As regards 'treatment', yes there's almost a mutual agreement of bullshit sometimes. My worker told me I wouldn't get thrown off if my test is dirty (which it has been every time for over a year now). Only if I don't test positive for Subutex and don't pick-up my scripts/attend my appointment with him.

I liked your analogy of 'shovelling bricks 8 hours a day' of course you don't quite get the same rewards for shovelling bricks as scoring (especially in relation to exertion). I even find I feel good just from scoring before I've opened anything (how do they tie those bastard tiny little knots?).

Subutex was meant to be the wonder treatment. Like you say, it's not heroin, it's missing the very thing you take heroin for.
I've found I can take b 12 hours after sub to get an effect. The worst part is getting back on to the sub again... you live in fear of the threat of withdrawal x10 if u have other opiates in your opiate receptors (this includes codeine).

As for daily pick-ups... that's what put me off methadone otherwise I would have preferred that.
They can't seem to fathom that an addict might have a job or even a career that they actually care about. I felt they'd do everything to put that at jeopardy. Of course I can't tell my employer I'm an addict! If I managed not to get sacked then every slight thing I did wrong will be blamed on my addiction even if it has nothing to do with it. It becomes a convenient scapegoat for people. An identifiable 'evil'.

When they stop treating us like naughty children... we'll stop behaving like naughty children
;-> well, maybe

take care, glad you're back.

x Kelly

kellylebelly said...

If anyone's interested here's a 'video' of people's experience of 'Substitute prescribing'. They should have had at least one person who had no intention of coming off, other than that it has loads of cliches experienced in Drug Services:

(Shane, hope you don't mind me posting this).

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Thanks for the tip-off on the other hidden post. I'm a dolt and never would have found that shit on my own.

I am happy you posted my recommendations of your fine talent.

Tons of love,


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Lou & Barbara,

Normally i answer everyone seperately but this reply will answer both your comments.

There is not an idyllic heroin life... it's hard, and it's even harder on those around it (like yourselves). But there can be an eacceptance of it from the addict. It's better not to be dependent on any drug or substance, but if you are dependent that dioesn't have to mean the end of life as we know it.

From my experience heroin is never fun.. I have written this in another post (or comment)... it's not a fun drug, it is used for something much otherthan that. I've never known any addict to celebrate or party on heroin... that's not what it gives.

But talking of idyllic lives, i'll repeat what i just replied to Nick: Shovelling bricks all day, or cleaning toilets is not easy or idyllic either. It may be more acceptable to society, but for me it's a worse waste of life than drugs. working yourself into a mental and physical exhaustion for barely the fare back to work. No, that's an even bigger waste.

Yes, my wife did leave and it was because of heroin. My first marriage crumbled after 3 days for he same reason. 2 days atually (on the third I drove her to the airport!lol) i've also lost forever the relationship with my brother and sister. So heroin has huge effects outside of vthe user (as you know).... and I never say the contrary of that.

I just write about my life of addiction, though I do mention and know the other side of it. But i can't lie and damn the drug just because it may sound better... that's not what i feel. I also do not EVER say it's good. Read all my posts.... I never say that. I jyst make the point that heroin isn't the end of the users life and addicts can also do creative things and still think and hold intelligent conversations.

for example, barbara: if your son Keven stuck to his subutex and used at the correct dose, he is still an opiate addict (subutex is derived from the same plant.. and was my first addiction), but he is stable and is able to work, hold conversations, be a constructive citizen. And it's he same if someone has heroin all the time. People of prescribed heroin treatments are exacly th same as me they are very stable heroin addicts... just their heroin comes from the pharmacy and mine comes from the street.

heroin doesn,'t always leadto the big downfall.. it's propaganda. i've many friends in france and england who've had stable habits for years... I'm not the only one.

Anyway, I'll leave it here.

Lou, your 2 cents are always valuable. Even if we don't always see thde same things well... it'd be boring if we did.

barbara, if you can possibly afford it, I'd try and keep Keven on subutex. Of course you can't force him to take it.

Thanks both of you for the comments.

All my thoughts and hopes, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


You're never late!!! And if you are, well you've earned that privilidege.

Hope you're well over there

My very best wishes, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Kelley,

the strange thing with Subutex isw, it's exactly the same as heroin. before H, I was using Temgesic (buprenorphine) which is subutex. It wasn't used in treatment of heroin addiction at that time though. But it was exactly the same!! Crush up 3 little pills, snort them and it was heroin. The problem is, onc you've used heroin it builds up your immunity to such painkillers, and as subutex is much weeaker it has no effect once the body knows heroin.

At the Chelsea and Westminister hospital they prescribe diamorphine (heroin) for addiction. The problem there is, to get o the program you must ahve HIV??? Just completely insane!!!

Thanks for the words of concern, but I was just very busy. I was painting and had a few canvasses that were already paid for but which were not finished (too much time on the bog oops, I meat blog (of maybe just B!!!) A little of all three if I'm truthful. lol

Hope you're well... life wonderful here. My best thoughts, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

There's a few people I don't want wasting time searching for hidden posts... you're one of them. They'll all be linked to pictures in the sidebar, so once you've found one you'll be able to find the rest. No more posted yet.

More love returned, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Kelly (spelt it correct this time)

No, you can post anything here. if you ever need to promote anything (your work, etc) just let me know. Or post it in the comments. It's up to you.


Gledwood said...

oh fuckit i 4got what i was gonna say

Gledwood said...

you forgot to add to financial probs ~ or they're on a PRISON SWERVE! just about EVERYONE apart from me last time appeared to be doing this. So I lost heart and fled.

2 other points

1. you look really French wearing a beret

2. do you sell these paintings?

ps I was saying I was gonna go to "la belle france" last week (en vacances). Now I'm saying I'm gonna wohne in Deutschland (Berlin) hahaha!!

Unknown said...

Hey Shane! How are you?
GOSH, I lost 2 posts??? xD hahahaha
I have to read the other one.
anyway, it's just shows how such you love your wife by going into rehab even when you do not believe in rehabilitation. She is one lucky girl!

I don't know why u do not believe in rehabilitation, I mean, wanna live as a heroin addict for the rest of your life?
From all the addicts I've meet, they all wanna go to rehab and leave the drugs behind for good!! Why don't you wanna do it?
Oh well... just asking ;P

oh, I have to send you my new email xD

kiss kiss
take care
Stay strong,

Vanessa Mota

Unknown said...

PS: ok, I think I didn't interpreted it right. you do want to leave it, you just don't like/believe in the treatments available, right? :/ x)

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


hiya Mate, sorry I've not visited you for a while. I still catch your posts on my reader, but had no time to comment.

You're absolutely correct... the prison swerve. I will have to add that as it's a very imporant point. Thank you.

During my little stint on the program there I only met two that were there n court orders... maybe that's why I overlooked it???

Hope you and the creatures are all well... my very best wishes, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya vanessa,

It's not that I don't believe in quittig heroin, it's that I do't agree the person needs rehabilitating. They are drug addicts, that's all. They have taken so much of one drug that their body requires it. So the use of drugs is the problem and not the person. Imagine if coffee was physically addictive... would we all ned rehabilitating? No.

I don't think of quitting heroin at the moment. i'm sure at some point I will... everyone does. Also, you re correct... all (most) addicts constantly talk about quitting and how hard and horrible the life is... but they never stop!! From what i've observed, most addicts enjoy this fight with the drug.. they enjoy explaining how they are "poisoning themselves", "killing themselves"... "living on the edge", "one shot away from death". I prefer just to say what I honestly feel and know, and that is that quitting isn't a thought to me at this moment. I wouldn't want to give my wife false hopes or promises that I know are not true. That would ruin the relationship. The people around me know and understand my thoughts on this... I suppose they just wait, and are happy that I m well and safe.

Thanks as ever for your words... I hope i answered your concern. all my best thoughts, hopes & wishes, Shane. xx

Gledwood said...

Do you really think addicts "need" 110mg? I am beginning to think this is the case. I don't know why ~ for so many years I told myself I "shouldn't have felt ill" because the methadone I'd taken was equivalent to such and such dose of street gear. Bearing in mind when I hit rehab I was ONLY on heroin at about £40 a day which was over a gram at the time, whatever the others had said they were using it was all lies as I was given extra meds in 2 different facilities and getting extra meds in a detox clinic is a bit like finding a hen's tooth...

thanks for the msg at mine
did you see Desireless: Voyage Voyage? Do you know it? And like/dislike?? I like the gregorian chants version myself ...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


I think addicts need that much for the first couple of weeks... I did. But once the methadone has built up in the system you can easily drop 30 - 40mls in one go. Once the heroin is out your system and the methadone is no longer battling junk illness, there's no reason to be on such a high dose. But from the outset, I tink it's better to have way too much than even 1ml not enough.

I was on 150ml in france, and after 2 weeks I dropped 50ml, and two weeks later another 20. So, I was stable on 80 ml and cut down 5ml every week. I got down to 10ml a day like that, but then got back on the gear.

Experiment at home first, and see how i works for you. or m it ws a littl easier than th poition you're in, because I couldn't get heroin... I was in a foreign country, with nt much money and couldn' speak. In tis situaionit's easy tostick to your juice. In London though, it was impossible. I tried, but i knew heroin was a phone call away... it's very hard.

So just to recap, yes 110+ for the addicts with heroin still coming out hi system, but after that, half the dose is sufficient. Again, that's just from my personal experience of the effect on my body... i'm sure many will completely disagree with that.

Best wishes, Shane.

Gledwood said...

I was thinking of cutting down myself week by week then coming in and telling them "I'm on such and such dose now" rather than their capping me and the panic of "will it be enough???" y'know

many thanks for the offer I will certainly come by if/when I'm in la region ;->...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


That's exactly what I done. I made sure I was fine before declaring it. If you do it the other way around an then feel it was a bad decision, it's not eas to have the dose put back up.

One other thing. When I was cutting down, the first day was easy, but he second and third was a little tougher. Nothing extreme, but a couple of yawn (not withdrawal). I think on the first day the body still has excess methadone in it, and lives off that. Just something to be aware of... though nothing to worry about.

Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

hello, shane. i've been in a bit of a rut lately, not making the blog rounds like i once did. so many kids, so little time here in little life and world.

i did not realize you were married, but am so happy to learn of this. she must love you so much.

i hope you guys make it to new york one - day - you're hope and dream.

i can't believe how quickly your blog has grown in popularity. i've never seen anything like it. you're a tremendous writer.

blessings, jen

Cathy said...

This is startling! Not just the clinic's Dr's moronic rationale, but the fact that you don't get a methadone script for the month, as we do here in New Jersey. You come into the clinic DEFINITELY not sick, and if you're in active w/drawal a friendly counselor will tell you where to cop, quickly, and come back. You're transferred onto a holding 60 mg dose of methadone hydrochloride and built up gradually. Typical dose is 120 mg and most don't drink it all, it's your right and your prerogative. When given your dose at the window if you don't want it all it's put in a bottle for you. You come back each day for about 10 days, then you're given take-homes for 2 weeks. Then a month. You use them as you see fit - if you're intention is to remain on smack, the meth will tide you over in times of sickness. If you want to live w/o H, the meth will start you on that road - and you must make that decision because it's a chemical mess in your brain - the endorphins you ruined while taking smack now must be repaired - for life. MMT or meth maintenance treatment is for life, you take your Rx each day as a diabetic takes insulin. It's the brain's need, not a psyche one. It's real. I couldn't believe what you went through! Here, though urines are taken randomly, a dirty doesn't mean anything but what is obvious. Not one single milligram is cut from your dose, and in fact it's raised if you feel you need it. Since you presented a dirty, it's assumed by your case worker that you're having a slip-up time, a need for the old feeling, and trying to recapture it. No biggy, just give the MMT a try and not half-heartedly. I can't understand the medical so-called profession in some areas of the world which still thinks it knows what's right for opiate addicts. Here you're treated as the expert you are, on yourself and your opioid needs - your BRAIN'S need for serotonin, for dopamine, etc. It may've taken yrs to get to this place but heck, at least we made it. A script for the month. You decide your own fate.

Cathy said...

Forgot to mention: The clinic opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. you come when you can. I see you mention Xanax. Bendo is the #1 chemical that comes up in a dirty urine. If it's not unreasonable, it's allowed. But you have to own this new addiction yourself, there's no treatment for bendodiazepines. So most don't bother except when they feel depressed, it's a now and then thing. As for crack, it's not even an issue. Crack users are NEVER given methadone, it won't help. Yes Nick, nourishing a habit is a full-time job. Still, I think the "managed" addict works well. With MMT if you nod, you're probably on too high a dose. If you WANT to nod, do it after work, at home. Not on a lampost. Manage yourself. Nodding out is just like saying "I'm not part of this life right now, I want to sleep and not dream" so off you go. Where's the crime? It's when you nod into the steering wheel that tells you something's up.

Cathy said...

Damn lol sorry but I had to come back today. First, correction on spelling Benzo wrong. No z, I was on a roll. Second - dose? Anywhere from 10 to 250 mgs everyone sees the Doc to establish what's needed, and as I say, a bit more so you can stash some. They're realistic, they know you'll do it anyway. OH YES - We didn't get off once a day with smack, so why get dosed once a day? So someone on 150 mgs takes 50 mgs three times a day - I know it's supplanting one habit for another, but the "other" is legal, clean, has counseling, friends, will never say "I'm not holding" like a connection will, they never run out, you're given respect and allowed to keep your dignity - if you chose. Must be boringly obvious by now I'm a MMT advocate by way of experience. In the yrs I've been one, I've become a paralegal, a certified lab tech, and worked as a coroner's ass''t, not too shabby. Couldn't have done it on my own, so credit where it's due - MMT let me re-claim my life, sans jumk. I give you props for being honest, I hopefully give you the benefit of life experience since the time I've been on MMT is twice the time you've been alive. Stay well.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


Hiya again and thanks fro all your comments and time.

Yes,I said in an earlier comment that although the post was a little negative in terms of MMT, I still think it has a place in treatment. You are not the first person that I know it worked well for. My mother has been stable on Meth for nearly 6 years now (with no relapses) as have a few friends. My post was more concentrating on the huge percentage of failed treatment and my own problems with it. Personally, I'd need diamorphine (at the moment anyway) if I was to think of quitting. I am on MMt at the moment, have been for the last 5 years, but use almost daily on top. It is still good for a backup... anything is better than being ill and not being able to function.

BW, Shane. x

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...


In response to your 1st comment... that's exactly how MMT should work and should be prescribed. In suc ways you could say it is succesful. It must go a long way to stopping a lot of desperate, last minute crime that is associated with addiction. It may even save lives, as I know many who have shared needles in pure desperation... it was ether that or be sick and they've gambled. With a proper methadone back-up they may not have taken that choice.

The french system is nearer to yours than the British, but still has too many punishments and it's aim is unrealistic (to have addicts stop completely).

As for Xanax, I've never used it... in fact, I use no other drug other than H. I can't bare tranquilizers or sleepers or anything that has a drunken effect. I think in H I found what I was looking for. Also, if I do use any other drug or drink, I instantly want H to bring me back to a place I know and feel comfortable.

Many thanks for all the input, S. x

Anonymous said...

Hi,I m from Portugal I have 40 years old,I took my first smoke of heroin when I was 18, and and for the next 12 years I never stop... after I start using subutex,wich make me stop the use of heroin...BUT for the last 10 years I take 24mg /subutex) a day and in the last year I took 16mg a now I think it´s time to stop,.
I ask you, if you please can tell me how much months will I suffer the privacion of subutex if I dont take it anymore?.Thanks

ps-sorry my Inglish and I never take heroin again since de 2000.

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