About the Madness that is Margaret

margHello. C’est moi, Margaret!

I am a former talented and hard-working “Initech” day slave, a graphics department senior designer, who gave the single finger salute to The Man and quit (long story). Then… well… I didn’t go out and get another job right away, and quickly ended up becoming a victim of my addiction issues, my untreated depression, some extremely bad decision-making, and the worst economic downturn since 1929. I’ve lost everything and am literally starting over from nothing.

But I’m actually intelligent and a really nice person. Honest! (Blatant approval-seeking device).

A former Vicodin and Loperamide addict, I am now in recovery. I have been attending AA meetings since getting totally clean in November of 2013. I’m not a huge proponent of the AA way, and you’ll find I’m often critical of the 12-step programs in general, but I find the support does help.

I presently work retail — well below my skill level — earning a salary somewhere around 5% of what I used to make. I am completely broke, have lost everything I spent a lifetime to earn, live in a crap apartment in a crap neighborhood that I used to make fun of. Yeah, life pretty much sucks big time, but I’m working to make things better.

I’m also back in college working to earn my nursing degree. That keeps me really busy.

Please stick around — I’m working to make a real success story out of all this. One day, I’ll be able to say, I knew me when…

25 Nov 2016


10 Responses to About the Madness that is Margaret

  1. wardteacher says:

    Hi, Margaret–

    I started with your First page, tripped into your cast of characters and now into your bio. I too am in AA for the traditional reasons- alcohol– and will celebrate 13 years (is it “celebrate” or white-knuckle-brate?? naaaa. I am happy with AA but not always the groups. )_)

    I have met and befriended three women with conditions as you describe.. and yes it is tough.

    I have met and hung out with a doze or more women who, as you said, have literally lost everything.. some are in AA, some are not. You tell their sotry and yours well: humor, a little sarcasm, some regrets, but open and clear honesty.. I think we call it rigorous.
    So in a land of b.s., I found your writings honestly refreshing…. and will look for more.

    I have bee at this writing thing for 35 years and blogs for ten.

    Yours is the first blog I have ever bookmarked because of the quality of writing. Hope that doesn’t scare you.

    Kind of a bled of Santaland and Running with Scissors…

    Oh I leave this comment with one thought— if you want or haven’t, Take a look at “The Spirituality of Imperfection. I am re-reading it this week. Obvious that is the endorsement. I am sure you will find YOU in the book.

    Since i have never written someone like you on a blog, I hope these comments are private mode. If we choose to write directly later, so be it.


  2. As a former opiate addict (I was using MUCH stronger drugs than vicodin… straight out of the poppy fields in Afghanistan ((if you know what I mean.)))

    I used to have a successful business online (also a graphic designer) was making 6 figures, and traded it all for the needle.

    Ended up going to the pokey for a little over a year, did the rehab thing, got out… long story short, I am flat broke, barely able to get out of bed in the morning, and severely depressed.

    I almost think life was BETTER as an addict. At least then I actually cared about working. ha

    • madmargaret says:

      So sorry you have to go through all that, I really am. As you know, I’m in a similar situation myself. Sometimes I think life was better then, but it really wasn’t. Frankly, I’m here sitting on my broke butt because of poor decisions I made back then, under the influence — that’s just an unavoidable fact. If you aren’t already, find a doctor who can help you through the PAWS and with the crushing depression. I’m not at 100% with the depression meds but at least it’s not that black pit of despair where you can’t get out of bed. I know it’s hard but be patient with the process. Your brain is reconfiguring itself to deal with life without the needle. You’ll be okay. Do you attend meetings at all? I go once a week, which is all I can do because of work, and the community does help, esp not feeling alone and being able to vent. Please hang in there and write back to let me know how you’re doing. And know you’re not alone 🙂

  3. pnysher1 says:

    hey I gotta say its like ur telling my exact story. I started using immodium after trying to kick a heroin habit and it does work only problem is now im stuck taking 60 plus tablets of immodium a day. Could u suggest how u tapered down cuz anytime I try if miss a single night at lower dose the anxiety kills me and I get sick to tummy. Could u tell by how much a day ect u dropped ur dosage ty. And good to see someone else conquered the demon im struggling with for over a year

    • madmargaret says:

      I often recommend a 10% taper — reduce by 10% every third or fourth day. Once you’re down to a low enough level, you can just jump. Withdrawals can be prolonged, but this will ease you into it. Hang in there — it gets better!!! –MM

      • Margaret, you are bang on about 10% tapers. I just found your blog and will be emailing you, hoping to connect. I am a nurse, 30 years experience, Masters degree and last position was as an University assistant professor (addictions/mental health nursing). Your information is useful and I want to invite you to my closed facebook group AddictioNurse. The members include people in (and out) of recovery, professionals and anyone wanting to know/learn about addiction and recovery. If a member has trouble, I try to help them, and would love to have you as a member.

      • madmargaret says:

        Hi! Absolutely — I’d be happy to help! Just email and let me know where to sign up. 🙂

  4. Thomas Cruz says:

    Thank you for posting all of this information. Without your information I never would have realized all of the dangers from lope, and I never would have stopped taking it. I’ve been using opiates daily for over 2 years & I had found out about taking high doses of lope to overcome opiate withdrawals. For the past 6 months I have been taking 60-80mg of omeprazole along with 200-250 loperamide pills each day. For the past month, every other day I would feel fluttering in my heart, chest pain, & dizziness. The last time I used lope, the fluttering was happening every few min. I went to the ER & explained to them what was happening for the last month, & came clean about what I was taking. After an EKG/ECG reading the Dr. came in and told me I had “Aquired Brugada Syndrome” from my loperamide abuse. I was then told by 2 Dr.’s if I stopped taking loperamide the Brugada Syndrome would go away. Do you have any information to verify that?…because they said it was from the loperamide, that I didn’t have this before. I can’t find anything online that says that aquired Brugada Syndrome goes away. Thanks to what you’ve posted and to the ER Dr. scaring me straight, I went cold turkey and haven’t had any loperamide for 6 days. So far the withdrawals have been a living hell & have barely started to subside even with a clonidine patch (which only takes away the hot/cold sweats). But I know that I have the strength to see this through to the end no matter what. Also, I tried to sign up for the CD program at Kaiser, but they wouldn’t give me Soboxone because they said loperamide was OTC and not a narcotic, or something like that. Do you have any information that I can show them that will prove to them that loperamide in high doses does act like an opiate with the same, but worse, type of withdrawals? Thank you again for all of the research you’ve done, and for all of your posts about loperamide and its abuse. I’m very thankful that I was able to find your website as soon as I did.

    • madmargaret says:

      Hi — their diagnosis of Acquired Brugada Syndrome may be related to a paper that came out recently postulating that diagnosis. I hesitate to confirm that; further studies need to be done before such a specific conclusion can be leapt to. The doctors I’ve spoken with consider it an overdose-related deadly arrhythmia due to the actions of high-dose, long-term loperamide abuse effecting the cardiac conduction system. BUT — HOWEVER — the GOOD NEWS is, they are right in that it will likely resolve itself. In fact, if you’ve been off it for six days, you’re likely already in the clear from deadly arrhythmias.

      I can tell you that in the cases I’ve studied, the heart’s rhythm and conduction system resolves itself after withdrawal of the loperamide from the body (within days to a couple of weeks). So in that regard, they are absolutely correct!! Unless there is some underlying disorder (such as Brugada, which requires genetic testing to confirm), the heart rhythm and conduction system returns to normal. I have followed up with a lead cardiologist in the area ever since I got off the drug — I’m cleared. In fact, the tech who did my echocardiogram, used my images for a presentation on ideal heart function. Really, really! So stay off the loperamide, and things should return to normal. Be sure to follow up with YOUR cardiologist however, and let him/her confirm your cardiovascular health.

      The withdrawals DO suck, no question about it. But they DO NOT last forever. it’s important to know that. You’ll feel completely crappy for a few weeks, but stick with it. And don’t go back whatever you do. Take vitamins including mineral and electrolyte supplements. Eat healthy food. Nourish your body. Exercise. It all helps.

      Regarding Suboxone, they generallyi won’t prescribe it for a loperamide addition because loperamide does not cross readily into the brain; suboxone will. Important to note: YOU DON’T NEED IT. You’ll be OK without it. Trust me on this. It’ll simply be trading one bad addiction for another — and believe me, the suboxone will just make things worse. I originally thought of going the suboxone route, but I’m really glad I didn’t. Trust me, the withdrawals suck, but once they pass, you’ll start feeling like yourself again! You’ll be okay. Have faith!! I survived, so can you!

      Kaiser should be able to provide you with other chemical dependency assistance. You may need a higher dose of Clonidine in these initial stages. The withdrawal period appears somewhat similar to methadone in its length and severity due to its prolonged half-life and lipophilic properties. Perhaps that’s something they need to know. You may also need other supportive medications such as Hydroxyzine for the jitters (anxiety, etc) and something like Trazodone for sleep. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to help with subsequent depression issues. And certainly a support program such as AA or NA can be of tremendous help (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it). They can contact me if you wish — or they can call the Upstate Poison Control Center where my doctors are located (they’re some of the leading experts in loperamide addiction right now). Drs. Marraffa and Holland: http://www.upstate.edu/poison/

      I’m really proud of you for making the necessary changes and getting off the loperamide!! That’s AWESOME! Honestly — you’re taking it seriously and handling things well. It’s going to be difficult, but once it’s done, it’ll be SOOOOO worth it.

  5. deschened says:

    Hello there MM, can you please contact me at deschened@gmail.com ASAP. PLEASE Thank you!

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