Friday, January 8, 2010

Double Deuce

Two days ago Jake shot a 10 point buck with a bow and arrow the day hunting season opened in southern Kentucky. He has met two nice girls and is trying to decide which one he likes better and wants to date. He’s playing basketball on a team and has gone back to church. He said he can’t believe how many good things are happening to him all the time now.

Four months ago he was snorting 6 to 8 Oxycontin 80mg tablets a day. He could easily afford it because his job was climbing telephone poles and working on the electrical components. He made about $6000 each month and spent a whole paycheck within 2 days.

He came to TCI for an Accelerated Opiate Detox 4 months ago and today I saw him for placement of his second naltrexone pellet. When I questioned him about counseling or meetings, he told me about his therapy with Deuce.

Double Deuce is a Palamino filly born to his father’s stud horse when the horse was 22 years old. This was the last baby the horse would sire. Jake left his job and returned temporarily to live at the family farm --clean for the first time in several years, he took over the care of this 2 ½ year old horse.

She didn’t like or trust Jake when she met him. He tried to ride her the 1st day and she threw a fit and bucked him off.

He somehow knew he needed to treat this horse the way he needed to treat himself: with patience and compassion. Jake started counting off each day of his training with Deuce and each day of his own sobriety. Every day Deuce learned something new; every day Jake learned something new. Slowly, he started picking up her feet and getting her used to the idea of being shoed. Carefully he placed a plastic bag on her back and gradually worked up to a saddle. Every day he is there to feed her at 6:00 a.m. and ride her at 6:00 p.m.

She can read his emotions. He needs to bring himself completely into the present moment and meet her with a calm composure or she will react to his unsettled moods with her own anxiety and nervousness.

When Jake’s father told him he’d been offered a good sum of money for the horse, Jake pled to keep her. Deuce now belongs to Jake. He has trained her for 60 days, the same number of days he has been opiate free. This sounds like a movie to me. When he told me about spotting the buck in the predawn light, arms shaking to hold the bow steady, I almost cried. It is so good to get your life back.

Joan Shepherd


  1. Is implantable naltrexone FDA approved?

  2. Naltrexone is an FDA approved drug. Delivery as an implant is not approved by the FDA, but is by the pharmacy compounding regulations which allow a Physician / Pharmacist to delievr drugs through alternate mediums as they determine is necessary for the treatment of their patients. In this instance teh FDA approved delivery mechanism of a pill is felt to be inadequate because of the challenges of compliance and the additional burden placed on the patient.