Be active; Live healthy!

An important part of recovery is getting back into a routine & whatever normal is to you. I also think it's equally important for MMT patients living in recovery to focus on living a more healthy lifestyle over all - We all certainly did plenty of damage and likely some irreprable harm to our bodies & souls during years of active addiction.  Some patients with which my path has crossed that are the stongest in their sobriety as they journey the road to recovery are also some of the patients who focus more wholy on their physical and mental health overall.

Being active (even just taking a stroll or going to water exercise at the pool) goes a LONG way in combatting some of the side effects from a long term daily maintenance dose of methadone - more than nearly any other super food, supplement or multivitamin regardless of their miraculous claims. We have to own our recovery, and for me that has also meant owning my physical and mental health.

Get out and enjoy life. Have some fun in the sun. Sometimes it can make me realize just how much I have overcome since my treatment intake all those many moons ago just to be able to wear short sleeves in the summer and not having to worry about visible track marks! We have earned our recovery, our normalcy... so get out & enjoy life in recovery this summer! We deserve it.




Just a friendly reminder....

There is a Public Hearing at the Jones Meeting Center in the Johnson City Public Library this evening, May 28th, at 5:00pm.

This is quite the day on the road for me, as I am currently about to pull out of Private Clinic North in Rossville, GA of the metro-Chattanooga area. I'm headed to the Knoxville area for a couple hours then on up to the hearing in JC before 5pm.




NA and MAT... Friends, enemies or case-specific?

Are 12-step groups like NA and MAT modalities exclusive of each other?

A physician who practices in MAT modalities recently made a blog entry about 12-step groups on which there was much passionate debate in the comments where a strong majority of MAT patients and advocates made the case that any mutual exclusivity between NA and MAT has been created by the rejection, scorn and judgement that many NA groups have shown towards patients whose recovery has been successful in large part because of their being patients in MAT programs. This physician seemed to defend the 12-step groups and try to say that the MAT patients were being critical and even compared many of us to the very folks who say that methadone doesn't work and is poison - without any evidence to support their argument. 

It is hard for me to comprehend that a physician who treats MAT patients on a daily basis in both OTP and OBOT settings could be so "caught off guard" by the passionate opposition to MAT patients' involvement in 12-step groups that many patients and advocates expressed.  I have personally known multiple patients, from all across the country (and the world), who have experienced similar rejection and accusations of "not being clean" due to their employing the use of maintenance medications in their recovery... And those stories, from wide and far, were again described in many of the comments on this blog.  Let me say that I am for ALL treatment modalities, approaches, groups and anything else that offers help and hope, and I believe that ANYTHING that helps people on the road to recovery should be supported to the greatest extent possible.  I personally attended several different NA groups in the hopes of offering and receiving support on the road to recovery before the rejection based solely on the fact that I am a methadone maintenance patient took its toll and led me to conclude that these particular meetings had the potential to do more harm to my recovery than they did the potential to help and aid me in strength along my journey.  A proponent of 12-step groups recently wrote a stigma-filled editorial in my local paper criticizing methadone and buprenorphine therapies as "trading one set of chains for another" to which I felt compelled to respond with my own letter to the editor.  This editorialist only further gives credence to my conclusions that any mutual exclusivity that exists between NA and MAT has been created by proponents of the 12-step groups themselves - not by MAT patients who have sought out support at these groups with open minds as they searched for tools to aid their recovery journey.  

In reflecting on this issue further I decided the best thing to do was to go to NA World Services themselves with an open mind to find out what THEY say "officially" about the use of maintenance medications in treatment modalities.  I went to the website of NA World Services and found this bulletin (#29) that was drafted by the Narcotics Anonymous World Services Board of Trustees titled Regarding Methadone and other Drug Replacement Programs which says, in part:

"Members on drug replacement programs such as methadone are encouraged to attend NA meetings. But, this raises the question: "Does NA have the right to limit members participation in meetings?" We believe so. While some groups choose to allow such members to share, it is also a common practice for NA groups to encourage these members (or any other addict who is still using), to participate only by listening and by talking with members after the meeting or during the break. This is not meant to alienate or embarrass; this is meant only to preserve an atmosphere of recovery in our meetings."

This makes it clear that those at the "top" of the NA organization believe that those in medication-assisted treatment programs ("replacement therapy") are "still using," that they do not want MAT patients to share at group meetings, and also suggests that if MAT patients do share they would damage the "atmosphere of recovery" at the meetings. Could it be anymore clear?

What do YOU think? As for me, I rest my case.



Understanding Medication-assisted treatment with methadone and buprenorphine

Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment

HBO's documentary "Addiction" has several supplemental series' which go in more depth on certain areas of recovery and addiction treatment than the main documentary had time to air. One of these supplementals is titled "Understanding Replacement Therapy," and while I take some issue with the title of the supplemental (the term "replacement" can lead to the misinformation and stigma that methadone and/or buprenorphine are "trading one drug or addiction for another" or are "replacing one addiction with another"), the information contained within is EXCELLENT.  This short supplemental by HBO is in two parts, each of which are less than 10 minutes long. (The total length of BOTH parts is under 20 minutes.) 

I encourage EVERYONE who is serious about having a better understanding of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction to watch these short films, whether you are a patient, provider, advocate, ally, friend, family member or inquiring citizen.  This is great information in an easy-to-understand presentation.

A+++.... Way to go, HBO!!

Part I

Part II


"CATTLE CALL:" All MMT/MAT patients, providers, advocates & allies to Johnson City!!


A public hearing will be held by the Tennessee State Health Services and Development Agency on Tuesday May 28, 2013 at 5:00pm.

Details are as follows:
Jones Meeting Center
Johnson City Public Library
100 W. Millard Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37604


May 28, 2013


This is an opportunity for supporters of quality evidence-based, medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction to show our support for the clinic proposed by Tri-Cities Holding, LLC in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Statements from those opposed to the opening of this clinic may be addressed, and we will also (hopefully) be able to answer any questions, based in truth and facts, those concerned about the proposed treatment center may have due to misinformation and generalized stigma they have been exposed to or made aware of since the proposal for this treatment center/clinic has been made public.

I strongly encourage everyone to show up and show support for this proposed clinic by attending this public hearing.  It is important that supporters of quality evidence-based, medication-assisted treatments show up in large numbers for public hearings like this.  Too many times public hearings like the one planned here have been dominated by opposition forces and misinformation has not been effectively combated, challenged or corrected.  We can not allow that to happen on the 28th of this month. The stakes are too high, and there are far too many opioid-addicted people living in the Tri-Cities, TN area that can not access the most effective treatment for their disability and disease.

BE THERE on May 28th at 5:00pm and SHOW YOUR SUPPORT for medication-assisted treatment!