EDIT: Whoops, I just posted the most private and personal blog I've ever written into off-topic by mistake. Ah well.
Day 3 of my Suboxone taper.
[This first part has nothing to do with games or the industry, just a forewarning]
It's been a year and a half since my heroin overdose and subsequent rehab. While I'd be lying if I said I remained completely sober that entire time, I haven't use illicit opiates in almost eight months, and I've managed to taper my Suboxone dose from the initial 24mgs a day down to 2mg every 12 or so hours.
The worst part about the taper isn't even the physical withdrawal symptoms. With that, I know what to expect, and I know how to remain as comfortable as possible. The tricky part is actually the psychological dependence to opiates. About two to three hours before the onset of physical withdrawal symtoms, the mental withdrawal kicks in. This makes things tricky.
Imagine sitting at your computer or in front of your TV, when all of a sudden a crippling depression washes over you. Depression isn't a big deal, everyone gets depressed at some points in their lives, however under normal circumstances, one tends to know WHY they feel so bad.
Having struggled with "depression" (never actually diagnosed but I must have been pretty sad/desperate to shoot heroin and oxycodone into my arms), the tricky part is knowing whether I'm legitimately sad. It's hard to know sometimes whether I really am feeling crummy for a legitimate reason, or if it's purely chemical. I tend to just wait it out until the physical withdrawal symptoms kick in, at which point I take a sliver of Suboxone. 99% of the time, 20 minutes later, I'm no longer sweating/shivering/shaking/throwing up/shitting my pants, and the depression has been lifted as well.
It's weird because a lot of the time parents blame a problem in their children's psyche on a "chemical imbalance". Nine times out of ten that's bullshit, and the they simply don't want to believe that their child is depressed because of something the parent's are directly responsible for/in control of.
During a Suboxone taper (any kind of opiate withdrawal actually) however, the chemical imbalance excuse is actually completely valid. Think about it. Imagine sitting there, all of a sudden feeling totally helpless, depressed and miserable for NO REASON WHATSOEVER. Seriously. Sometimes it can be hard to identify the source of a legitimate depression, but in the case of withdrawal, you could literally have just gotten laid, just won the lottery, something like that, and yet the depression still sets in 10 hours from my last dose.
It's tricky to deal with, but considering how tame the psychological withdrawal is in comparison to the physical, it's worth it to wade through the depression and wait for the onset of physical withdrawal symptoms to expedite one's taper. After all, if I were to just take a Suboxone every time I felt shitty, how would that be different from me shooting dope to deal with my problems?
I'm so happy that part of my life appears to be over. I know I'm not in the clear and I could relapse at any moment, but it feels so good to once again be engaged and excited about video games. When I was a young kid in middle school and in high school, I would literally have a euphoric response to the reveal/release of a big game, or DLC for a game I love. I stopped playing video games entirely for almost a year during my 'bout of dependency, and it feels great to get back into the whole scene.
I wont lie, Portal 2 has helped tremendously through the mental withdrawal periods. Though I have but one more co-op course to complete, thanks to the awesome community over at thinkingwithportals.com, I have a bunch of user-made maps to play and critique. I really hope Valve releases a free DLC pack with fully debugged versions of some of the better maps. It's totally unfair that 360 Portal 2 players can't play custom maps (neither can the PS3 but it comes with a Steam version, hence the reason I got it for PS3).
Not to knock any consoles, I own all three, a PC and a few Macs, I aint no fanboy =D.