STP: STEPPING STONES TO STOPPING - EDWARD'S STORY
I’ve been struggling with my ice use for a long time and I am ready to stop. I have legal problems and I really, really do NOT want to go back to jail. I have health issues including collapsed veins. I was attracting desperate people. All in all, I realised I deserve a better life than I was having.
I think when you believe in yourself there is hope. People will gravitate towards you and want to help you.
This is my fourth time on the STP but my first time on dex and it’s making all the difference. I still use ice every day but about 1/3 to 1/4 less. I’ve even paid off a large debt hanging over my head.
I didn’t start using ice til my late 30s, but I became dependent on ice very quickly. I couldn’t see a way out even after the party ended.
Even when I was desperate to stop, I couldn’t just go from a large dependency to total abstinence. The STP’s gentle, harm reduction angle works for me. I need a substitute and gradual change. The STP team are realistic; they talk about stepping stones to stopping. They know it’s a big deal for me to reduce as much as I have. They make me feel like I am winning and that builds my self-confidence. I now see that light at the end of the tunnel people talk about and it’s getting brighter every day I stay on the STP.
The counselling is a necessary part of the STP and my session is my safe place where there is no judgement. I vent about things to my counsellor that I don’t talk about to anyone else. I think everyone should do it. I unload my week, get challenged, work out what I want and generally feel supported. You can talk about anything you want. One day totally out of the blue I talked about my mother for the whole session. Things came up I hadn’t even realised were important.
Your counselling session is also where they work out if you need dex or not, because not everyone needs it or will benefit from it. And it’s where they work out how else they can help you, because there is nothing “one size fits all” about the STP. It’s all custom fit!
Dex is not a cure or a silver bullet. It’s not like having ice. It’s oral so it’s slow release. The dex just gives me that bit of energy I need and takes away the edge of nastiness I get when I am coming down from ice. I pick up my dex around lunch time and I get four or five hours free of ice cravings. The highest dose is 80 mg a day - that’s 16 pills. I think if they could increase that cap and make it last longer I could become abstinent from ice more quickly. Being dosed twice a day might be a solution, but having to go to the clinic twice would be hard because it takes about 40 minutes to get dosed apart from travelling time. Dosing at a chemist might be a good solution if they don’t trust us with takeaways and would open dex up to people who work.
I’ve been reducing my ice use for a few months now and my biggest hurdle is dealing with an outpouring of grief. Ice masked my emotions for a long time but dex doesn’t do that for me. I’m at the stage where I cry easily. I have never been one to share my emotions. I might cry on my own or in front of my partner but never in public, so I am finding it really embarrassing. I have no control at the moment but I have to work out what is at the core of it, what larger grief I am hiding or I feel that I won’t get any control over my drug use in the long term.
I really believe the whole STP combo should be made available to everyone struggling with their ice use. It makes sense to offer it at all hospital Drug and Alcohol programs. Dex should be extended by tweaking the current OST networks including private clinics and chemists.