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 Post subject: Can I ask a question?
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 10:32 pm 
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My son takes Suboxone like it is nothing...he can take 4mg's every other day, not take it for three days, take 2 mgs, not take it for a week, take a crumb and not take it for two weeks. He experiences WD's but they are pretty mild. More like muscle aches and sleep issues<---which he has all the time anyway. I am confused. Maybe he is just BSing me and taking opiates over his suboxone? How does he do this?

He no longer lives with us at the moment so I am not sure what he is doing now but I have seen what I described above over and over again. He also can use heroin like that too. Use for three days withdrawal a little and then not use for a week. I am bewildered by this. If he has that much control over his addiction then why not just stop? Sounds naive I know but I just don't get it?

PS. Before my good followers on here ask, things are not good at all and I am sad but trying to get on with my life. You can follow the complexity of my life with my beloved addict at www.madyson007.wordpress.com


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:05 pm 
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I think you may be making a common mistake that a lot of people make - including opiate addicts. It sounds like you are treating different opiates in different ways - like they are all seperate and unique. To the human body and brain, there is really no difference between Suboxone, heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl or any other opiate known to man. In the brain and body, they are all the same - they are all opiates. Oh sure, some are stronger, some last longer, some may provide a better "high" but an opiate is an opiate. So long as your son takes some form of opiate, he will remain out of withdrawals. If I were to guess, I would guess that he is using the Suboxone when he can't find another drug to get high. If he is anything like the typical addict, he will use whatever he can get his hands on to either A) get high or B) keep from getting sick (or C: both). So while he may go a week without Suboxone, two weeks without heroin and perhaps days without oxycodone, how many days can he go without ingesting SOME form of an opiate? I'll bet the answer to that is not more than a couple of days. Addicts don't get tolerant or addicted to a specific opiate - they get tolerant or addicted to each and every opiate out there. Take away all of them and your son is going to get sick.

Now, I guess, there is a chance that he does not have a tolerance or dependence built up yet. That is possible - although not very likely. Having followed your story for a while now, I would put it in the next to impossible category. He is addicted to opiates, which is why he cannot stop - not even if he wants to. His body NEEDS an opiate in his system to feel "normal". So, while the name of the opiate may change on a daily basis, he very likely has one or more of them in his system at any given time.

I hope that helps.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 11:58 am 
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I have to agree with dohn. My guess would also be he is using the suboxone when he can't get another opiate, or his drug of choice. If he were really only taking subs that way I think he wouldn't really be functioning very well at all. I'm not familiar with your story but good luck with everything.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:25 pm 
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With the long half-life of suboxone, one can go two, maybe three days without a dose, but not really more than that before withdrawals start to kick in. (Some people are prescribed it only ever other day.) This is why the likelihood that he's using full agonist opiates in between is there.

I'm sorry for what you're going through madyson, it's got to be hard to have to just watch this happen. Hang in there and remember we're here to support you, so vent when you need to.

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Madyson007,

“Maybe he is just BSing me” …..dear one, I think you hit the nail on the head. You know the old joke: How do you know an addict is lying?....Because their lips are moving. Not so much of a joke as an observation. Addicts lie, REALLY well, all the time, even when we don’t have to…..it’s part of the disease, and it is like breathing for us….we do it without thinking and we often get away with it. And the biggest lie that most of us ever tell is….

“I’m not addicted. I can take it or leave it. I can stop whenever I want. I don’t feel that bad when I stop.” :roll:

It is entirely possible, and highly likely, that your son feels a hell of a lot worse when he stops opiates (and donh is right (as usual :) ) it doesn’t matter WHICH opiate that is) than he is willing to admit. Addicts lie to the people around them for obvious reasons, but we lie to ourselves so that we can continue to use and not deal with the consequences. Dr. Junig once described denial as “don’t even know I am lying”, and I think this may be the case with your son. He just doesn’t want to admit to you or himself that he has withdrawals off opiates because then he would have to deal with it.

Honestly thought, I don’t think this is all that important. How much we use, what we use, how we feel when we don’t use…..none of this makes us an addict. To answer your question: “If he has that much control over his addiction then why not just stop?”, I think it’s important to understand that addiction is about BEHAVIOR. For example, if I only take one Vicodin a day, but I HAVE to have that one pill and I am willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get it, and it’s not prescribed for me….then I’m an addict. Your son is using illegal drugs and not following the directions on his Suboxone (I assume the doctor didn’t write “take however much you want whenever you feel like it”), and is probably also doing a lot of other things to cover up his use….so he is still in active addiction. So, he DOESN”T have control and CAN”T stop.

I know this is really hard to understand. Addicts often go through periods of not using (days, weeks, even months), and then we use these periods to convinvince ourselves that we are in control so that we can go use again. But, ultimately, we always use again…the control is an illusion. And addicts are reluctant to surrender control.

I obviously don’t know everything about your family, but I have been reading your blog off and on for about a month. Mu biggest suggestion to you is to establish firm boundaries (your suggestion to force him into rehab by not paying for a lawyer if he is not willing to go to rehab is a good one….be firm on it). Also, I hope you continue to go to the NarAnon meetings, or see a therapist of your own, or at least take some time for yourself. I can’t imagine how much pain this is causing you. Please take care of yourself….try to remember that this is HIS disease (easier said than done, but so important).

Take Care,

Elizabeth

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Elizabeth

Subs Not Drugs!!!

"Don't hope for a life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy mind."
- Zen Master Kyong Ho


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 6:36 pm 
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Hi Madyson -

Sorry I have not posted in a while. I hope you know that you are an amazing mom.

I read through your blog (again) - and am amazed at you and your husband.

Amazed.

donh provided good insight. Can't really top that.

If you are wondering if anyone in the universe can pick or choose through opiates like you think 'J' might be doing, I'd have to say it is possible. I DON'T THINK IT IS PROBABLE though.

I have followed your story, your blog. Honest, from a total 'outside' perspective - I am wondering if you are not looking at the tree's of the forest.

I'm wondering if you are living in 'addiction' land, when the truth may be that he has psychiatric conditions. Dr. Junig could respond better - but I have a step-son that is diagnosed as bipolar. He won't accept that - and any time anyone brings it up - it's fight about it time.

All the while, he seeks every drug possible to 'self medicate.' Sometimes it's opiates, sometimes it's meth, sometimes it's alcohol. Regardless - there is almost always something. He has been arrested, put in forced rehab, etc.

The brutal reality is the same, though.... destruction in the path. We had to let him fail on his own - as it was the only choice. Sound familiar? If he had to land in jail - so be it. If he is chemically imbalanced, you will likely have a huge battle on your hands.

I still have not found a way to handle this. He finds little paths of sanity - in a field of insanity. Things look OK for a while, followed up by total STUPIDITY. SO STUPID. But then again, I remember the Inpatient Psyciatric Doctor telling us that many teenagers will self medicate if they don't stay on their meds. And their meds are not fun- lots of side effects - so lots of teenagers with psychiatric conditions self medicate. We should be prepared.

I know 'J' has a psychiatrist. I don't recall if he was diagnosed with any condition. If I am off base, then don't take anything I said seriously. If, in the unfortunate case, you are in my shoes - then you ARE DOING THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO. Let him go. Addiction, as it turns out, will likely be a symptom of a bigger problem. Until he get's help for his bigger problems, addiction will only continue. The addiction may kill him - but he won't be able to look at dealing with his addiction if he is chemically imbalanced. 2 issues - neither fun to deal with.

Sheesh... I am a ray of sunshine today eh?

All the Best,

--LD


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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