How can I get the monkey off my back without screwing up my job?
April 4, 2013 7:05 AM   Subscribe

I have a problem with intense physical anxiety. As anyone knows who has gone through this, it takes a long time before you can see a psych and get medication that works for you. I've finally done so, but in the period before getting help I relied on opiates to cope. Now I'm addicted and want to stop being dependent, but I have a new job and can't screw it up.

Over the last year or so I've become addicted to poppy seed tea. Although the concept sounds laughable to those who have not heard of this, it's all too real. At the core it's basically a morphine addiction, except the other opioid alkaloids that wash off of the seeds also factor into the addiction and extend the withdrawal period to 3-4 times how long heroin withdrawal typically last.

I've tried heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, suboxone, and others. The first time I became addicted to an opiate was suboxone, so suboxone therapy is probably not a good option. It doesn't really work the same way once you've become addicted to it. Methadone seems like a bad choice too, since it's so hard to taper off.

I can't do inpatient rehab. I can't lose my job, and I can't take any vacation days for 6 months. I don't know what to do. I tried to taper down but it's too hard by myself. I've stopped cold turkey from opiates before, but this withdrawal lasts for almost two weeks and I have full-time work. It's not feasible.

So I don't know. I don't want to take suboxone for the reasons above. I'm scared of taking methadone. I'm scared doctors won't take me seriously because poppy tea addiction is not well known in the medical community. It's not a joke. I've seen hardcore heroin junkies nod the fuck out on poppy tea. I tried calling one of those opiate healthlines once but it wasn't helpful and they ran me around in circles. What can I do without messing up my new job?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Prioritize your health over your job. Jobs are something that come and go. Health is something that, once gone, there's no guarantee you'll come back. Because straight up, you know that there's no job worth risking your life over...and that's basically what you're doing here.

You need to find an addiction medicine specialist in your area. They will give you straight talk.

The truth is that you are telling yourself on one hand that you have to get off the stuff, but on the other hand, you just see reasons why it's not possible.

You can't half-ass your health. If you lose your job in pursuit of your health, well, then you'll live another day to get another job. I am not going to lie to you and say it will be easy, it won't. But it'll be better than how you're feeling right now.
posted by inturnaround at 7:23 AM on April 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

Talk to your doctor, if you have one. Your doctor should take this seriously, as addiction is a real medical issue. If your doctor won't help you, find another doctor. If your company has an anonymous Employee Assistance Program, go through that. Find someone to help you with this, because "keeping your job" isn't any help if it comes at the loss of your health.
posted by xingcat at 7:48 AM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been out of circulation for a while but is methadone available in your locale--either through a specialty clinic or private physician ?
posted by rmhsinc at 8:52 AM on April 4, 2013

I'm scared doctors won't take me seriously because poppy tea addiction is not well known in the medical community.

This addiction is documented in the medical literature, so you might be able to use any of the following in case your doctor is skeptical:
posted by woodman at 8:56 AM on April 4, 2013

Mistakes I made while on opiates and working:
I went from a high dose of methadone to almost nothing. It was seven hells, and I went from being at work on the nod to being at work and sick sick sick sick sick. While at work. Although I got clean, I think all of it left my coworkers going duuuuuuuuude.

Put your health first, and get off the stuff with close supervision.
posted by angrycat at 9:00 AM on April 4, 2013

Speak to an addiction specialist, and review your options. Then make your decisions.

Don't reject things out of hand, just because you're afraid of them, if anything, that's your addiction talking. Methadone can be a good tool to step-down from opiates.

Hang in there.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:53 AM on April 4, 2013

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