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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:37 am 
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I have to make a comment on those who talk about the body "healing" as we taper and our body/mind becomes stable at a lower dose. I've seen at least a couple of regular members use this word to describe how the body reacts to tapering.

To say our body is healing as we take lower doses implies we are ill or sick at the higher dose. It may be a play on words but I just don't like to think my body is "healed" or healing after I lower my dose or stop taking suboxone. Perhaps "adjusting" is more appropriate??

I almost replied directly to a post yesterday to someone who used this kind of description ... but didn't want to create a confrontation or seem critical of good forum member who was obviously trying to help another person.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:26 pm 
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Hey suboxfreedom!

This particular topic is of interest to me. In my opinion, it would be a good topic for the 'BLOG'... by Dr. J .

The reason is that I agree with the notion of wording like this. When we are on higher doses of bupe, and we stay out of withdrawal - are we more 'broken' than taking 'less' bupe, versus the only way not to be broken is 100% abstinence?

It kind of goes contrary to the disease concept of Opiate Addiction. If a diabetic needs low dose oral insulin for blood sugar, and a different patient needs injections of insulin - is one patient more broken than the other?

Maybe the answer is yes, but I'd sure like to see how Dr. Junig treats this subject - in specific regards to the 'disease of Opiate Dependence.'

Great thoughts - deep thinking!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:30 pm 
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I feel that we are healing, because we were never intended to have synthetic opiates in our body. Hence after we expose our selves to it over a long term we become addicted and then we need to slowly taper off to repair the damage that has been done so our body and brains can resume to normal function.

I like the insulin example lathedude mentioned because at that point its something that is debilitating from other aspects through out life... I guess kind of like abusing drugs though.. some is geneic and some is due to health related things like not eathing healthly or not exercising then you get diabetes..

Though like I said above, we chose to abuse opiates to an extent that we became addicted, so yes we need to heal ourselves. Atleast this is how I look at it...

Maybe you're trying to justify your addiction, don't justify it, don't rationalize it, accept it.. because until we accept our problems we will never get better.

Just my 2 cents.. well more like 1 cent lately ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:20 pm 
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The way I look at it, and I very well may be one of the posters that you are referring to, is that we all have done damage to our body and our brain by the drug abuse we have all engaged in. That damage was done long before we found Suboxone. In my opinion it is not the Suboxone that has done or is doing this damage. The Suboxone is keeping us from going into withdrawals, preventing us from getting high or continuing to abuse our former drugs, and helping us to feel "normal" again without cravings. That does not mean that the damage that we previously did is not still there. I see so many people speak of how they are now addicted or dependent on Suboxone. I guess I can sort of see that point, but what we really are addicted or dependant on is opiates - not Suboxone specifically. While Suboxone is not nearly as "damaging" to our brain chemistry as the true opiates we previously abused, it is still suppressing some of the "normal" activities of our brain and body. As we slowly reduce the amount of Suboxone in our system, our body is forced to start to function like "normal" again. We are healing from our disease just like many other medical patients heal from their illness. I'm not sure that the experts have yet decided/discovered whether or not some, all, or any of this damage may be permanent. What I do think we now well know, is that damage has been done.

I don't at all think that we are sicker on a higher dose of Suboxone than we are at a lower dose. Either way, we are sick. We have done damage. Suboxone at any dose is a great step to containing and perhaps reducing that damage. I have written before and firmly believe that dose is just a number. I don't at all think that someone on 16mg is any sicker than someone on 4mg. I have never thought that and certainly hope I never conveyed that. Suboxone is simply a substitute for what we are not currently able to accomplish on our own. Suboxone provides what our body cannot. Just like insulin provides the diabetic patient with what their body cannot. I don't see any difference when it comes to Suboxone. And just like in the Type II diabetic patient, steps can be taken to "heal" their body to the point that they no longer need to take medication, the same thing can happen with Suboxone. I see all of this as pretty much the same.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:02 pm 
Okay...this topic is of interest to me as well. I've thought about quite a bit...may have posted or asked something along these lines previously.
First of all, Gubulars, I don't think SuboxFreedom or Lathedude, is trying to "justify" their addiction. I don't think that's what Suboxfreedom was talking or asking about at all. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) I think what's being discussed is more about terminology(in the simplest of interpretations) or perhaps it's about what is going on in our brains/bodies scientifically as we are being treated with Suboxone (in the more complex of interpretations)
The latter is what I have wondered a lot about.....As we are on Sub, especially as we taper and wean to lower doses, is there something going on scientifically with our brain chemistry that could be construed as 'healing?' Or is it simply 'adaptation' or a 'reduction in opiate tolerance'? I believe that no matter what you call it, there must surely be changes occurring in our brains' ability to produce and regulate the chemicals responsible for feeling good/happy/etc. That would explain why the people who do long, slow tapers seem to be able to eventually discontinue Sub without an extraordinary degree of difficulty. Right?.....so I would probably call that 'healing.'
Now, if we're at or above the ceiling dose of Suboxone, is there any 'healing' going on? Well, scientifically, I guess the answer there would be much less clear. Surely there is some level of 'healing' or 'adaptation' going on.....there is certainly no further increase in tolerance going on anymore (as there would have been with full-agonists)....so perhaps our brains are at least 'healing' to the degree that they no longer are receiving the positive reinforcement of the opiate high anymore. But if we are at the ceiling dose of Sub, is there any true returning to normal functioning at the cellular level or not? Are our brains beginning at that point to relearn to produce those feel-good chemicals on their own again? I would love to know the answer to that!
Then there's the whole other side to the discussion about 'healing' which has more to do with our work in recovery outside of Suboxone.....healing old hurts, healing our spiritual lives, healing the aspects of our physical bodies that are able to respond to such things as nutrition, exercise and the like. Certainly noone would argue that those are issues that can be 'healed' no matter what dose of Suboxone we're on. Right?
Maybe I'm thinking way too far on this one....maybe is just a discussion about word choice. I'm not sure it matters that much what we call it. I think for now I like to just say, "I am getting better." That way I'm not committing one way or the other that addiction is or isn't a disease; whether it's to be cured or managed; whether I will need medication for it for the rest of my life or not. There are just so many things that I don't fully understand about all this that I'm not up for a big argument about how or why this or that works and this or that doesn't work and so forth. All I know is that I got sick (my word choice today) and that I am getting better!
Very interesting topic!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:59 pm 
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Hi everybody -

WOW! what great replies! Guess I ramble some.

Setmefree has some insight that I wanted to clarify. I hope I wasn't justifying my addiction... to coin a phrase 'it is what it is'. I am an addict.

What tickled my thinking was the implications from the post. I think the medical community is not all on the same page with the disease of addiction. Dr. J's view is not necessarily the same view as my doctor - but both say that it's a disease. One doctor say's to taper fast, another to taper slow, another to say - stay on it for maintenance.

Still others, say absolutes for everyone (that is - everyone I treat MUST taper off), while others take it case by case.

Personally, I see someone like donh who is obviously a deep thinker - and his input is as valuable as an addict to me personally as some doctors. A person with a theory is at the mercy of a person with experience. Are doctors who have fought addiction, understand differently (better?) than those who have never fought this battle?

I only bring up these rabbit trails to illustrate the fact that the 'disease of opiate addiction' is surely in its infancy. It is confusing to us who 'have the disease.' It's a big mess to sort the fact from fiction.

There are some facts that are universal I believe. This is me: I have done damage to me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I have damaged others, lost opportunities, etc. My chemistry in my body has changed differently than if I had NEVER taken opiates on a consistent/dependent level. I personally believe even a 'healed' me will be different that a 'me' that had never seen chemical/physical/brain damage without any opiate dependence.

I'm now, also convinced, that I'll have to deal with this issue forever. Part of my healing is to admit that I'm not going to be like someone who does not have this disease. I have this disease - I have cravings - I have to learn how to deal with them. Get me clean - and put me under stress, hit my triggers, and relapse is all but certain. Maybe I'll get to the stage that the triggers are also able to be managed with behavior changes. I'm not sure yet. Thank God that I have suboxone for now.

donh was right in my opinion with the fact I am addicted to opiates. Before suboxone it was oxy for me. Now I have a drug that attaches differently to the receptors - and blocks full agonist opiates from making me feel good, numb, or whatever. But guess what? Before I became dependent - I still wanted that feeling! I guess when I was younger, I was forced to abandon my chase of the feeling, but it was still there. Anybody relate to this? When I was in my early 20's...if I knew someone had a lortab, or percocet - I wanted in. I would think - sheesh - cut me in on that. But, I could also give my 'head a shake' and walk away. Later, after caving to the lies of the opiates - I could no longer walk away. If I tried, I got really sick, lethargic, depressed, moody, etc. Does the brain every really return to where I can walk away in the same fashion? Have I had such permanent changes done, that I'm on a new path now - one that say's you always have to keep your guard up? You crossed a barrier, tripped a trigger, whatever - and now - you are not as strong as you once were?

Starting my main adventure - was a torn ACL in my knee. The surgery took a part of my patella tendon and it was screwed into my bones as a replacement. The question is not about how I became addicted from then on, it's about my body healing. I went back to sports after - and in the short term - I recovered - just like other athletes. But, today - my repaired knee is not as good as the knee I never hurt. If I had never torn my ACL and had surgery - I'd have better knees. That's just a fact. Is that the analogy we are fighting as addicts? Will we get better to an acceptable level - but never back to 'as if it never happened?' Even if better is 'ok' enough to function and live life - is it the same as if it never happened? In the case of my ACL - of course not. I wonder why I think that I'm a candidate to return my body (heal?) it to the same place as if it was never damaged?

It's great to have smart, thinking people here to look at this addiction/disease/illness. It helps me to be realistic. Just when I think I have the answers I get surprised that I don't... For me, currently, one size certainly does not fit all. And the real 'DUH' for me and others who pop in and out of the forum - is this - if this were easy - to take some medicine to get off opiates, we all would have done it and this forum would not exist. I love this place, the thinkers, the postings, and the education. Without it - I'd be at the mercy of a single viewpoint on a very new disease.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Maybe they are not.. the only reason I said that is because myself have been in that position where I'm trying to make it okay in my head for why I am the way I am today.

I can blame my dad for giving me perocet at 16 for my bad back and then giving me more and more.. but that's not the case.. I only have myself to blame for some of this.. because I wasnt addicted then, but I kept pushing myself.

I do agree this is more about terminology of how we look at the different levels of opiate use.

I think maybe we should look at it as reprogramming then anything.. our brains shift over to a differnt chemistry after long term abuse of opiates... it doenst know how to work without them... hence we WD...

Then we try to lower our dosages and then are we healing or reprogramming.. in my mind they are both.

I never tried to come across that lathedude was justifying his addiction.. but I did get a hint of that from the original poster. I know myself personally have spent many months to years justifying why I am the way I am today.. but I just have to swallow and realize this is the person I am today and will be for the rest of my life.

I'll have to guard myself against these things, and when temptation is at it's strongest resist... because I'll never be the same unfortunately...

Though like most of us, we haven't been the same for many many years, so whats the big deal... guess we just have to deal with being different on or off opiates.. the hardest thing for me to deal with is the fact of being dependent on something not necessary.

I know I got sidetracked, but this is what is good about open conversation.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:40 pm 
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The one thing I know from reading this is that the diabetics medicine is a whole lot cheaper and much easier obtained than the addict who also needs medicine/help. I'm not knocking anyone's reply ,just a fact! Lynn


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Justification is not the issue and diverts from the subject. No one here needs to declare or consider themselves free of blame or be absolved of anything. I also don't think there needs to be an underlying motivation to ask a question and/or open up a friendly debate about what we all are experiencing.

Anyway... healing obviously occurs when someone is diverted from their DOC abuse to a structured suboxone treatment program... and finally, I believe it happens as one recovers from active physical/mental WD's. [I don't like to think this... but I believe it is true]

I also agree there are many different kinds of healing [separate from body] including all those mentioned by others in this thread. But what I was initially referring too is... physiological and biological healing within our bodies organisms, organ systems, cells and biomolecules that carry out the chemical/physical functions.

I'm just not sure that biological healing continues after we are stable on subs?? Especially when we are slowly tapering. I think this is an important question and goes to the heart of how society and politicians view addicts in a subs program... and whether or not our govt will fund this thru the enevitable health care reform.

Many people like to compare addiction to diabetes and I'm not sure that is a fair comparison... mostly because our social system doesn't accept that arguement... I'm pretty sure if a scientific survey was conducted on the general population, a large majority would not believe a diabetic is in any way shape or form... similar to a drug addict. Nor would they believe payment for treatment [via the taxpayers] be justified to the extent it is for diabetes.

Once again I'm thankful we can have an open discussion on something like this without becoming confrontational and/or looking for ones personal reasons for taking a position.












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Last edited by suboxfreedom on Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:39 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:09 pm 
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slyn11 wrote:
The one thing I know from reading this is that the diabetics medicine is a whole lot cheaper and much easier obtained than the addict who also needs medicine/help. I'm not knocking anyone's reply ,just a fact! Lynn


AMEN!! to that...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:33 pm 
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gubulars wrote:
I feel that we are healing, because we were never intended to have synthetic opiates in our body. Hence after we expose our selves to it over a long term we become addicted and then we need to slowly taper off to repair the damage that has been done so our body and brains can resume to normal function.

I like the insulin example lathedude mentioned because at that point its something that is debilitating from other aspects through out life... I guess kind of like abusing drugs though.. some is geneic and some is due to health related things like not eathing healthly or not exercising then you get diabetes..

Though like I said above, we chose to abuse opiates to an extent that we became addicted, so yes we need to heal ourselves. Atleast this is how I look at it...

Maybe you're trying to justify your addiction, don't justify it, don't rationalize it, accept it.. because until we accept our problems we will never get better.

Just my 2 cents.. well more like 1 cent lately ;)


Sorry but your post raises a few questions...

1. Why weren't we intended to have synthetic opiates in our body? Isn't the source of these part of our environment/creation?
2. Repair what damage after we are stable? Damage to organs, cells or what?
3. Aren't there at least 2 types of diabetes of which one has little to do with diet and choices?
4. Do all or most addicts chose to abuse drugs... do we have free will in this?
5. Do I need to get better or more well now that I'm stable on subs?

Please don't take this personal... at least some or perhaps all of these are of course rhetorical questions of which there may or may not be a a valid answer too


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Well I have been off suboxone about 34 days and I don't feel like there is any healing taking place :-) Maybe the first week or two getting through the physical stuff. I am not entirely positive my body can or will "heal" from this. From the beginning of time I felt uncomfortable and something led me to use drugs to begin with. My husband had surgery and took the meds they gave him and HATED them. I took them on his behalf ;-) I loved them. I loved them the first time I got them at 16 for having my wisdom teeth pulled. Yet my mom takes a half a vicodin and that does the trick. I have NEVER gotten any effect from 1/2 vicodin.

Why is one person different than another when it comes to addiction? I don't feel like I had a whole lot of free will in the matter and quite frankly, this far into it I really don't sense much free will now. It definitely "feels" like a disease that I don't have any choice in.

The suboxone didn't make me feel healed either. It just made me feel like I was getting a well deserved break.

Just my opinion.

Cherie


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:11 am 
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suboxfreedom wrote:
gubulars wrote:
I feel that we are healing, because we were never intended to have synthetic opiates in our body. Hence after we expose our selves to it over a long term we become addicted and then we need to slowly taper off to repair the damage that has been done so our body and brains can resume to normal function.

I like the insulin example lathedude mentioned because at that point its something that is debilitating from other aspects through out life... I guess kind of like abusing drugs though.. some is geneic and some is due to health related things like not eathing healthly or not exercising then you get diabetes..

Though like I said above, we chose to abuse opiates to an extent that we became addicted, so yes we need to heal ourselves. Atleast this is how I look at it...

Maybe you're trying to justify your addiction, don't justify it, don't rationalize it, accept it.. because until we accept our problems we will never get better.

Just my 2 cents.. well more like 1 cent lately ;)


Sorry but your post raises a few questions...

1. Why weren't we intended to have synthetic opiates in our body? Isn't the source of these part of our environment/creation?
2. Repair what damage after we are stable? Damage to organs, cells or what?
3. Aren't there at least 2 types of diabetes of which one has little to do with diet and choices?
4. Do all or most addicts chose to abuse drugs... do we have free will in this?
5. Do I need to get better or more well now that I'm stable on subs?

Please don't take this personal... at least some or perhaps all of these are of course rhetorical questions of which there may or may not be a a valid answer too


Greetings... first time poster. Last year I was prescribed 32mg of Suboxone per day after six months of a 480mg+ per day Oxycontin habit. In the last three months I have weaned myself down to under 1mg per day. I realize that I should probably introduce myself in another thread with a more detailed history - which I intend to do - but I just stumbled upon this site and felt compelled to post. I'm quite impressed by the quality of content on this forum - many of the questions asked here are some that I have long thought about myself, so I hope no one minds me jumping in.

If I could address the last five questions with my own opinion - and that's all it is really, just my opinion.

1 + 2. I don't think that our bodies are designed to accept synthetic opiates over an extended period of time. The way I understand it, the supplimental opiates seem to cause atrophy to occur to the physical part of our brain that produces its own opiates. The analogy that comes to mind is the atrophy that occurs with our muscules when they aren't used - they begin to shrink (our bones also become less dense). I'm hoping that once I taper down to .25mg, a program of vigorous exersize will help stimulate my body to begin producing more of its own endorphins.

Opium is a part of our natural environment/creation, but that doesn't mean we should be injesting it - at least not at the levels that we addicts do. There are a lot of substances that are naturally occuring - tobacco for one - that are potentially very hazardous when injested.

3. There are two types of diabetes - one caused by eating the wrong kinds and amounts of food, and the other by a biological defect. Maybe many of us here already had a defect from the beginning, and we didn't produce enough endorphins, so we where more prone to addiction. Once we started taking the synthetics, it aggravated the problem further, causing even less endorphins to be produced. I'm sure that's an over simplification, and there are probably many other things happening with our body chemistry.

4. I was thinking about this just the other night after speaking with another sub patient who told me that he just can't stop shooting up, even though he's prescribed the Suboxone, it's just not enough to make those cravings go away. Is he just selfish, or is he someone, who even though he knows he'll more than likely end up killing himself, just cannot stop no matter what. Maybe it's like a crapshoot. For many who are predisposed to addiction, whether it be from nature or nurture, or a combination of both, it's all over for them after the first time they injest the opiate. How many of us would choose to lose everything, all for this drug. Do you hold some accountable for there inability to stop using, but not others?

5. I don't know if there's any physical repair going on while we're on sub; it's not a full agonist, so I think it's logical to suppose that it may be of some worth in that regard... but you would thing that it's got to help - at least a little - as far as breaking some bad habits that we've acquired due to conditioning.

My thinking isn't anywhere near as clear as I'd like it to be right now, so I hope you'll excuse the confused nature of some portions of my post. I'm very glad that I found this forum today, and I wish everyone the best in their personal struggles.


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 Post subject: My two cents
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:30 am 
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Hi all,

As many of you might recall, I'm on 24mg/day. Some consider this a very high dose, but we all have unique needs. Personally, I do not think I would be more "healed" at 4 mg/day or less. My brain may change/adjust, but who's to say I'll be a better person because of it?

Many people believe Suboxone manifests some anti-depressant qualities, and I agree with that to a point. I know what I was like pre-active addiction, active addiction, and on medication-assisted recovery. I accept that I'm an addict, take my sub as prescribed, and go to therapy weekly. My current state, including my daily life, is tremendously better than both of my prior states. I plan to be on Suboxone for an indeterminate amount of time, perhaps for life.

I also don't think we choose to be addicts. Being an addict isn't a matter of poor judgment and recovery isn't simply a matter of willpower or self-control. It's an extremely complex issue that involves many aspects of who we are, just as recovery is.

I'll end by saying I prefer the term brain adjustment to healing, as the latter seems to infer some kind of preferred state and I just don't know that to be true.

Melissa

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:08 pm 
Bronzebeta - I want to welcome you to the forum! I'm glad you decided to post and share your thoughts and opinions with us! It sounds like you've got a fair amount of experience with Sub, so we're real glad to have you here!
I agree with you - I've been impressed with the quality of content here on the forum....lots of good information and good people hanging around here! If you've not already, read through Dr Junig's blog too.
Look forward to hearing more about your story! Congrats on what you've accomplished thus far in your recovery!


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 Post subject: Re: My two cents
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:07 pm 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
Hi all,

As many of you might recall, I'm on 24mg/day. Some consider this a very high dose, but we all have unique needs. Personally, I do not think I would be more "healed" at 4 mg/day or less. My brain may change/adjust, but who's to say I'll be a better person because of it?

Many people believe Suboxone manifests some anti-depressant qualities, and I agree with that to a point. I know what I was like pre-active addiction, active addiction, and on medication-assisted recovery. I accept that I'm an addict, take my sub as prescribed, and go to therapy weekly. My current state, including my daily life, is tremendously better than both of my prior states. I plan to be on Suboxone for an indeterminate amount of time, perhaps for life.

I also don't think we choose to be addicts. Being an addict isn't a matter of poor judgment and recovery isn't simply a matter of willpower or self-control. It's an extremely complex issue that involves many aspects of who we are, just as recovery is.

I'll end by saying I prefer the term brain adjustment to healing, as the latter seems to infer some kind of preferred state and I just don't know that to be true.

Melissa


Melissa, your post is making me think.
When I started suboxone 2 yrs ago on my psychiatrists, advice, it was a two pronged reasoning. 1. to stop my horrible cravings and 2. to help with me severe recurrent depression.
When I weaned way to fast earlier this year, it was crushing suicidal depression that made me go back up from 1mg/day to 6mg/day.
I like your statement "I don't think we choose to be addicts". I know opiates filled o hole in me that had existed as long as I have. Real agonists (oxycodone particularly) make me feel right in a way that nothing else did.
Uhoh, rambling alert :wink: .
I like reading around this site and seeing the consideration and thinking everyone is doing about opiates and suboxone and life.
Thanks for a great site.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:38 pm 
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<b>setmefree</b> - Thank you so much for the welcome. The content here is truly above the norm, and I'm very happy to have discovered this site. Hopefully, when I get a little more time, I'll write a post detailing my past and how I came to be where I am at this point in my life.

My best,
Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:03 am 
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I want to also welcome you Bill. Keep posting and let us know how you are doing...


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