Life is hard and I find myself thinking so much about all that is wrong with the world that I tend to forget about everything I have that I should be grateful for. I know that sounds like some recovery bullshit - but I mean it in the most sincere way possible. My life is far from perfect but I find that if I think about what I do have instead of dwell on all that I have yet to accomplish, I actually get further from the places I don't want to be. I am so disappointed in myself that I could not make it all the way off the done program. I know that five years doesn't seem like a long time for folks who have been on it for twenty-five years - but we're talking about FIVE years of my life, five years of having to be at a creepy clinic every morning to jump through hoops of pink methadone. However, as much as I think there is wrong with the methadone system, it's better than being out there using in the current War on Drugs climate. Just the few days that I was out relapsing made me remember just how crappy it is to have to be at the mercy of whomever it is who has my drugs that day. Don't get me wrong, we're at the mercy of those running the clinics, and I have very strong feelings in regards to the belief that clinics are merely legal drug dealers; yet there still seems to be just a shred more dignity left inside me when I walk out of the clinic than when I walk out of some shitty dope spot. So in this situation I have to remember how long it took for me to get in to the clinic to begin with, I have to remember how bad it feels to be sick and that so many people have to drive hours every day for their dose. I tend to be pissed that I got kicked out of the clinic in my own town (for what I obviously think are poor reasons) and I should be glad that there is at least an alternative within a thirty-minute drive and I should be even more grateful that I have a reliable ride in my boyfriend's vehicle. In the days during my relapse I ran into the two people who we got kicked out with due to an argument on clinic property and they are full-fledged back on dope and look awful and skinny and are living on the floor in the back of some leech's apartment. In a rather related rant; how can the people running these clinics preach that they are there to help, as opposed to being there to make a bundle of money off addicts, when they kick people out for typical addict behavior knowing full well that they will in all likelihood go right back to using? These people were doing well at the clinic, especially compared to where they had been. The clinic director knew the probability of these two going right back to the streets and he can still fall asleep at night? There could have been so many alternative ways to punish us, ways in which we would have learned a lesson and grew as people, ways in which we could have given back to the clinic community and still been humbled but not entirely destroyed; yet this director chose to punish us in the worst way possible and single-handedly turned the lives of four people into a tumult because he was scared of the poor image that would be reflected upon the clinic because of our behavior. I find this is a common attitude among clinic directors and their staff; but to open a clinic which is a business profiting off the disease of addiction and then become irate when your customers act like addicts seems foolish to me. If these people who open these clinics were not prepared for controversy than perhaps a methadone clinic was not the best business choice for them. On a positive note - those of us who have benefited from methadone in many ways, but who feel clinics leave much to be desired, need to band together and make the public recognize that we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. There are a lot of people across the globe on methadone who are valid members of their communities, as if all people aren't valid in some way or another, but what I mean is that we work and/or go to school, raise families, and contribute to society while not continuing to use illicit drugs. We shouldn't have to revolve our lives entirely around our daily dose, we shouldn't have to fight with insurance companies to be covered for a legit medication, we shouldn't feel like we are at the mercy of anyone, we should be able to go on vacations and not be forced to endanger our lives when we have to drive hours in the worst weather to get our medication. State and Federal governments are making arbitrary laws based on statistics at best and personal misconceptions at worst, and we need them to make laws that make sense for the real people who are using the real services in our daily lives. We need to let lawmakers know that there are real, living and dying people behind the numbers and we are sick of being held prisoner in liquid handcuffs and we are tired of living with the stigma of addiction which for most of us is caused by a pre-existing psychological disorder such as anxiety or depression but could be anything. We are the only ones who can put an end to harsher sentencing for drug addicts than rapists and pedophiles.....And anyway, thanks for reading my rant. The point I guess I was working towards is that as much as I'm disappointed in myself for not reaching my ultimate goal at this time, I'm sort of proud of myself for at least choosing the lesser of the two evils because at least on the methadone I am stable enough to change all the other crap going on around me which makes me unhappy. And thanks to all of you who have been checking in on this blog and power to all of us who have to suffer with this addiction for the rest of our days.