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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:26 pm 
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As I mentioned in another post, I have a 380-page book about my experiences with addiction and insights gained from treating or communicating with other opiate addicts. I have realized that it will never likely become a run-away best seller-- 'humility is a bitch', as they say-- so I will share the first chapter here. It is basically 'all bout me' so this an 'introductions' page is the right place for it. I hope you all enjoy it.

[align=center]My Story[/align]

Nature vs. nurture

I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, the son of a defense attorney and a teacher. I was the second of four children. I will not get into a drawn out psychodynamic exploration of my upbringing at this time except to note that I firmly believe that the way I ultimately turned out is a result of a combination of genetic, developmental, environmental, and personality factors. There were probably elements of my early life and also genetic factors that predisposed me to become an addict, but I believe that each person can point to similar predispositions. I am the one responsible for how I used the gifts and liabilities that shaped my life.

The nerd

I was a very cheerful young child, but at some point I began to struggle with social interactions. By the time I was in high school I was clueless about fitting in. The things that seemed impossible back then look easy now; why didn't I simply look at what other kids were wearing and imitate them? That idea never entered my mind, and I cringe when I see pictures of myself at that age. Why did I think any boy should enter a school with embroidered blue jeans?! I did well with the academic aspects of school, always scoring at or near the top of my class with little effort. There was little respect for academic achievement in my rural high school, and I blamed my academic performance for at least some of the harassment directed my way. By the time I was a sophomore I was literally afraid for my own safety on a daily basis. I had several incidents where I was facing bullies, my back against a wall. I was deeply ashamed when the bullying occurred in public, and I certainly didn’t want my parents to know that it was happening. I was physically beat up on two occasions, both times accepting the blows with no effort to fight back or defend myself. The clear message from my father was that real men do not run away from a fight, and so running was not an option. But I didn’t know how to fight back, and was afraid that if I tried I would only be hurt worse, so the outcome of my ‘don’t run’ strategy was not great!

I ‘tried on’ different personalities during my last two years of high school. I became a druggie, growing my hair long and replacing the smile on my face with a look of apathy or disgust. I sported an Afro and used a pick instead of a comb. I smoked pot and drank beer when not in school. The changes worked as intended, and the harassment from other students stopped. But I was still on the ‘outside looking in’. Some people who lack social skills seem to come to terms with their unpopular position and quit trying. That wasn’t me; I continued to try to be one of the popular kids, kissing up, tagging along, and laughing at the stupid comments of ‘jocks’… Yuck! During my senior year I joined the cross-country and track teams, and in retrospect I was fitting in at the time without even realizing it. But by my high school graduation in 1978, the year when marijuana use peaked in the United States, I was a daily pot smoker with a great GPA, little confidence, and no direction in life.

I attended the same liberal arts college that my older brother was attending mainly because that was easier than finding a college that I liked more. I took the courses that were the most interesting and ended up majoring in biology. College came very easy to me because I had a genuine interest in what I was learning. Everything I learned seemed to answer a question that I always wondered about. That is, by the way, is a great way to attend college!

I was in a couple of relationships in college that in retrospect had addictive traits to them. After a difficult breakup during my sophomore year I became very depressed, and afterward spent several months engaged in the heaviest drug use of my life. My fraternity house provided ready access to pot, opium, cocaine, Quaaludes, marijuana, LSD, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. I wonder if I carried so much anger under the surface that I had a ‘death wish’; I have hazy memories of walking on a ledge seven stories up, losing control of a motorcycle and ending up in someone’s front yard without wearing a helmet, and wandering around in tunnels under the streets of Milwaukee after climbing down a manhole. I was lucky to survive those experiences, and I now try to understand similar behavior—extreme risk-taking and impulsivity—in addicts who are patients of my practice.

Local hero

Interestingly, the heavy drug use came only months after a time in my life when I was riding as high as I ever had before or have since. During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college I was working for the city of Beloit Wisconsin, planting flowers and shrubs in the center islands of the downtown roads and sidewalks. I had taken a break underneath a large parking structure that spanned the Rock River, at an area where the very wide, calm river narrowed to fast and deeper waters. As I stood in the shade of the parking structure I thought about what I would do if I saw someone drowning in the river; it had always been a fantasy of mine to do something heroic! To my astonishment, shortly after having that thought I heard moaning coming from the river, steadily growing louder as I listened. Shaken by the coincidence, for a moment I wondered if I was going crazy. But then I realized that something was fast-approaching in the current. I couldn’t see details through the darkness under the parking structure, so I ran along the bank trying to determine what I was hearing. When I reached the end of the parking structure I squeezed out through a narrow opening in the concrete into the bright sunlight. I ran across the road and looked over the railing at the river below, just as a woman emerged from the darkness floundering in the current. She was half submerged, rolling from face-down to face-up, wailing alternating with gurgling. I ran to the nearest side of the river and then through the brush along the bank, peeling off my shoes and pants, and eventually jumping into the water and swimming out to her. After a brief struggle I towed her to the riverbank, and a group of boys fishing on shore ran to call the police. I lay at the edge of the river with the semi-conscious woman, grateful to hear sirens approaching. Eventually photographers from the newspaper appeared and took pictures of me standing in a T-shirt with red bikini briefs (didn't I say I had no fashion sense?!). To make matters more interesting, the back of the wet, clinging T-shirt read ‘Locally owned bank’, and the front of the T-shirt read ‘Beloit’s Largest!’ For the rest of the summer I enjoyed my nickname. What a fantasy it was, to walk into bars and have the people yell out: “Hey! It’s Beloit’s Largest!!"

I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a hero. There have been times in my life since then when I questioned my worth as a human being, and I could look back on that moment and recognize that on that day I did a good thing. I continue to see that incident as a gift from God.

Getting serious

Near the end of my sophomore year of college I tired of the drug scene and stopped using substances without any conscious effort. But drug use was replaced by something else: the need for academic success. I finished college with excellent grades, and enrolled in the Center for Brain Research at the University of Rochester in upstate New York. After doing well there for two years I was accepted into the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program. I graduated with a PhD in Neuroscience, and two years later graduated from medical school with honors. I published my research in the scientific literature, something that results in requests for reprints from research centers around the world. My ego was flying high at that time, but I continued to struggle socially; for example I entered lecture halls from the back, believing that I stood out from my classmates in an obvious and negative way. I had only two or three close friends throughout all of those years of medical school. My loneliness and longing to fit in was quite painful during those years, and is still painful to look back upon today.

Our son Jonathon was born during my last year of medical school. His birth and early years changed me in wonderful, unexpected ways. His birth divided the lives and relationship of me and my wife, Nancy, into two parts: the meaningless part before and the meaningful part after. After medical school I entered residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, at the time one of the most prestigious anesthesia programs in the country. Our young family moved to a suburb of Philadelphia, and each morning I drove alongside the Schuykill River, the Philly skyline in view, feeling at least initially that I had really ‘made it’. But over the next few years my interests changed from wanting an academic position at an Ivy League institution to wanting to move back to Wisconsin, make some money, buy a house, and raise a family.
Our daughter Laura was born during the last year of anesthesia residency and again, the joy of gazing into her eyes made me resent my time away from home. At the end of my residency I took a job in Fond du Lac Wisconsin, the small town where I continue to live today.

Treating myself

In the spring of 1993 I took codeine cough medicine for a cold. A few weeks later I was still taking the codeine each evening. It worked so well; finally I could relax and get some quality sleep! I started feeling more irritable in the morning as the codeine wore off, so I began taking cough medicine in the morning too. By this time I was prescribing myself larger and larger amounts of the medicine. My wife found empty cough medicine bottles in my car and we argued over the secret I had been keeping. I promised that I would stop, honestly meaning every word. I knew I had a problem and wanted to fix that problem. I tried my best to stay busy and keep my mind occupied, but as time went by and my use continued I became more and more frustrated. I had ALWAYS accomplished what I set out to do! By now I was making more money than I had ever imagined, and by all measures I appeared to be a successful young physician. But as my use of codeine grew I became more and more irritable at work, and eventually more and more depressed. The ultimate trigger for seeking treatment came when I was taking a walk and heard birds singing-- and in response I cursed them. I had always loved nature and wildlife, and the contrast between those old interests and my state of mind helped me see that I had lost my bearings.

I scheduled appointments with several addictionologists and treatment programs, knowing the type of treatment that I wanted but finding no programs that would go along with the treatment that I considered appropriate. I believed that I was a ‘special case’, after all! Yet all of these doctors wanted to treat me as if I was just another addict—they didn’t see how ‘special’ I was! I had an appointment with Dr. Bedi, a Freudian psychoanalyst in Milwaukee. After I explained what I knew about addiction and how ‘special’ a patient I was, Dr. Bedi began speaking. “I know you very well,” he said. “You sit with your family every night and feel like you don't belong there, like you are miles away. You feel no connection with any of them; you feel depressed and afraid. There is no connection with your wife. You are only going through the motions.” I felt a chill down my spine as I realized that he was absolutely correct. How did he know me so well?

As I drove home I began to cry, and I pulled off the highway. I suddenly had a wave of insight into something that should have been obvious: I was powerless over my use of codeine. After trying to find will power and failing over and over, I finally ‘got it’; I had no control! As this realization of powerlessness grew stronger, instead of feeling more fearful I felt more reassured. That moment was a profound turning point in my life that continues to play out in unexpected and important ways to this day.

I’m cured!

My admission of powerlessness was the start of my sobriety. I soon found a treatment program that let me enter outpatient treatment, and I also began attending 12-step meetings. AA and NA became guiding principles in my life, and over the next five years every area of my life improved. My marriage and family life improved, I became Board Certified, I was elected Chief of our Anesthesia Department, my wife and I had another healthy daughter, we bought a vacation home… what's not to like?

After five years of avoiding all intoxicating substances and attending AA, there was no doubt in my mind that my problems with addiction and opioids were behind me. Avoiding alcohol was not difficult, because I was never much of a drinker. One afternoon I had some friends over to watch the Green Bay Packers, who had been having a great season. I was serving beer in my home, something that I had avoided for the first several years of my sobriety, but that I began doing after becoming convinced that relapse was not a concern. At some point during the game I asked my wife whether she thought it would be a good idea for me to have a beer. How sneaky-- I have since learned that we addicts will do this type of thing on the road to relapse; we set up a situation where we know in advance what the outcome will be—that outcome being the answer that the addict inside our brains wants to hear. We are looking for permission to take a very small chip out of our sobriety. I manipulated my wife into saying what I needed to hear, and a few minutes later I was sipping a beer. From that day forward it was okay to have beer during Packer games. It was then a logical step to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I found a wine store run by two retired college Geology professors, and tasting wine from different parts of France became an academic exercise. In fact, I was so inspired by the idea of lifelong learning that I began to enjoy this academic exercise every evening at dinner time. At some point I was introduced to port, a fascinating beverage that has a noble history and just happens to have higher alcohol content. When eating Mexican food, margaritas were, of course, more appropriate. And then I found that there is a huge world out there of aged cognacs, which have a history all their own! Wow, I was learning a lot!

Some distorted thinking

You see where this is going. My behavior was an example of cross addiction, where an addict stops one substance but continues to use another, only to find that the previously safe substance becomes the drug of choice. My use of alcohol increased, and soon I was drinking as soon as I got home from work, to ‘unwind.’ When my wife protested I started sneaking small bottles of whiskey and hiding them in places once reserved for bottles of cough syrup. Once again I knew that I had a problem, and I also knew that I was in denial. The funny thing is that simply knowing that I was in denial did nothing to stop the denial. I would pause for a moment and think to myself that there were problems ahead, but I would quickly sweep the thought aside to be dealt with on another day.

In June of the year 2000 our family rented a house for a week in Eleuthera, Bahamas. My son sprained his neck snorkeling, and the spasms caused him to grimace with pain whenever he tried to move. Desperate for a solution, I drove from market to market on the small island looking for something that would work as a muscle relaxant in addition to the several bananas full of potassium that I had already given him. I eventually came across a market that sold, over the counter, a dissolvable tablet that contained aspirin along with my old friend, codeine. I felt a rush of excitement as I purchased a packet of tablets for my son… and another packet of tablets for myself, to treat the headache that I suddenly realized I would probably get later that evening.

I have since learned that this is another common behavior of addicts: setting up an eventual relapse. Rather than relapse directly I carried the tablets in my pocket for about 24 hours, before eventually realizing that I had a headache. In fact, I had a severe headache—so it was lucky I had the codeine in my pocket! I took the codeine with nervous excitement and an hour later was disappointed that the effect was not as great as I had anticipated, so I took a couple more tablets. An hour or two later, I still was not satisfied, and I took several more. By the end of the evening I had used up all of the tablets that I had assumed would last the next four days! So there I was, late at night on a small dark Island, driving on the left hand side of the road back to the market to buy more codeine, ‘just in case my son needed them.’

I learned a great deal about addiction because of that trip to Eleuthera. I was amazed at how quickly, after seven years, I resumed the behavior that I thought I had left far behind. I also noted that I was returning to substances not out of desperation, but rather at a time in my life when things were going very well. Either there was a self-destructive aspect of my personality that needed to bring me down a notch (a big notch!), or I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was—that despite the money and success I was still ‘desperate’ in some way. I eventually learned that both were true—but that and other realizations required further ‘education.’ I continued using codeine during the remainder of my vacation, and I returned to the United States scared to death about what the future would hold.

An educational process

I was able to stop using codeine after returning home and to my job in the operating room. I dodged a bullet-- or so it seemed. I continued to drink wine, beer, and the occasional margarita, but I had convinced myself that drinking was an isolated vice that was necessary given the stress of my job. Yes, the AA and NA people said that alcohol would take me back to my ‘drug of choice’, but they didn’t understand my special situation, and didn’t know how smart I was. The scary incident in the Bahamas faded from my memory. Looking back, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

About ten months later I was having a tough week. I had a bad cold, I was feeling depressed (my mood always takes a hit when I am sick), and my wife and I were in one of those low stretches that visit most marriages. Seemingly out of the blue, I thought about how I had stopped the codeine after my vacation months earlier. Hey-- I must have learned to control my use of codeine! And since I have control, I can take a small amount of codeine for my cold… and perhaps get a tiny bit of euphoria… but then I will stop just like I did before! That thought—that I now had ‘control’—would be the end of my career as an anesthesiologist. Similar to the experiences of many other addicts, my relapse was horrible; much worse than my original addiction. I was like a rat pushing a lever to get food in a lab experiment, using medications from work, shooting up intravenously, and taking doses that I knew could be fatal. I even injected contents from unlabeled syringes, hoping they contained something to make the sickness go away, and not the paralyzing agents that would have killed me. Every Friday I brought home enough fentanyl to cover the weekend, but no matter the amount, it was gone by Friday night, leaving me sick from withdrawal every Saturday and Sunday. At some point I didn’t even care about getting busted. There is a great line in the movie ’28 Days’: “this is no way to live…. this is a way to die!”

I was met by a security officer one Saturday morning as I entered the hospital to scrounge the operating rooms for drugs, and he apologized for having to escort me out of the hospital. The next morning I met with the my wife, a member of my anesthesia group, and the hospital CEO, telling them that I only needed a minor, outpatient ‘tune-up’, since I knew all this recovery stuff already. But the CEO pointed out the needle marks on my hands and arms, and said that any possibility of working again required residential treatment. I left the meeting wondering whether to just put all of us out of our misery or to instead go into treatment. As an aside, I remember that feeling now when I am trying to get a person to enter residential treatment-- my aversion to treatment was so strong that suicide seemed a reasonable alternative! I did choose treatment over death, but not by a long-shot.

The night before going to treatment I watched my 12-year old daughter play a piano duet, her teacher playing the part that I was supposed to play. Laura and I had practiced the piece together for weeks, but with my hands shaking and dripping sweat I was in no condition to play. I have many shameful memories from my ‘using days’, but memories of that night will always be among the worst of them.

I was in severe withdrawal the next morning, too sick to enter the treatment facility, so I spent some time in acute detox in a locked psych ward. My shoelaces were taken from me so that I couldn’t hang myself. I was given a room at the end of the hall where I waited for the pain to stop, minutes becoming hours. Clonidine was ordered, but was to be held for blood pressure below 90. Every time I heard the nurse I tensed my muscles, trying to push my pressure higher, but I was so dehydrated that I couldn’t get my blood pressure high enough for even one dose! I will point out that people write on the web that ‘Suboxone withdrawal is the worst;’ in detox I could barely walk for the first few days, and for a month or two I was so weak that I became short of breath after walking 100 feet. Sleep and appetite took a couple months to return. After experiencing withdrawal many times, and watching many people go through withdrawal from substances including buprenorphine, I can say with complete confidence that buprenorphine withdrawal can be significant, but is NOT as severe as withdrawing from opioid agonists. Those who say otherwise are being influenced by the fact that current misery always feels worse than ‘remembered misery.’ People withdrawing from buprenorphine go to work every day and complain about how bad they feel; those withdrawing from oxycodone, methadone, heroin, or fentanyl lie in bed and DON’T complain, as they are too sick to write on the internet!

I eventually transferred to the treatment center where I would spend the next three-plus months of my life. The program consisted of work from sun-up to bedtime, and included individual therapy, group therapy, art therapy, music therapy, experiential therapy, relaxation training and guided imagery, ropes and challenge course, physical training, and twelve step groups. One irony of treatment is that a person is ready to leave at about the time when he no longer wants to go. I now see the experience as a wonderful gift to myself.

I had a number of ‘consequences’; I lost my job and my hospital privileges, and I was disciplined by the licensing board. I was ordered to attend treatment and twelve step meetings for the next five years, and I was subject to random urine testing at a frequency of at least twice per week. I did as I was told and time went by. At one point I decided to repaint the interior of our house, and beige walls were replaced by forest green, golden tan, and light burgundy. I took up running and got in better shape. I became active in community theater, something I had always wanted to do but now had time for. I became more involved in the day-to-day lives of my children.

I had been released from residential treatment the day after September 11, 2001, and I found out a few days after the horrible attacks that my best friend from college, Commander Dan Shanower, had been killed at the Pentagon on that day. My attention to his tragic death led to finding a job with the Transportation Security Administration providing medical clearance for new airport screeners. That brought in some money, and we sold our vacation cottage to help pay the bills, but I knew that I needed a new career. I loved being an anesthesiologist, but I knew that most relapses in anesthesiologists came to light when the addict was found dead in a call room. After significant sober reflection I decided to return to residency—this time in psychiatry, to get back to my early interests in the mind and brain.

Starting over

It was difficult being a lowly resident again, but things could have been worse. I know doctors with addictions who never made it back to practicing at all. I have known addicts who died from their addictions. Those AA bumper sticker slogans often contain true wisdom; my most appropriate bumper sticker reads ‘Gratitude is the Attitude.’ A common recovery phrase is ‘the Chinese symbol for crisis means opportunity.’ I don’t know whether the statement is true, but the sentiment is accurate. I have seen recovering people do some amazing things, and I hope to be one of them.

My relapse, horrible as it was, resulted in a wealth of opportunity. I mentioned my participation in Community Theater; circumstances also led to a position as a columnist for the trade journal Psychiatric Times. I for years had dreamed of teaching but only now do I participate in that dream, teaching addiction and other topics to medical students and residents. I appear in a weekly radio show about psychiatry and addiction, and I am, of course, writing this book! None of these things would have happened if not for that fateful day in Eleuthera seven years ago. I am not saying that my relapse was a good thing—don’t get me wrong about that! But addiction-- and relapse-- do not have to be the end of one’s life. For me, in many ways they were only the beginning.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:22 pm 
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wow Dr. that is very well wriiten.People seem to forget that people from all walks of life can be hit with the disease of addiction.I am happy for you and thanks for starting this forum keep up the good fight!! :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:38 am 
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Thanks for sharing that 'Introduction"... Thanks for the Forum and all you do.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:49 pm 
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You sure have a story to tell. I can't wait to read the rest of it. We need to get you on Oprah Winfreys show. It seems every book she mentions on her show gets to be a best seller LOL.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:16 am 
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Hi Doc,
Wow, after reading your whole story tonite as I finally start feeling better after I took my last 8mg sub of the night, suddenly your story caught my eye. The part of your story where you mentioned alot of details of you not fitting in at all in school as you were growing up etc. I was shocked not only how addiction happens to anyone, anywhere, anyplace,even in a capybeara lol(sorry I have a funny sense of humor which I have a dream of becoming very famous for, through venues like YouTube and or Facebook and finally be financially stable, after my whole life of my family living poor in a wealthy area, right in the heart of Dupage county, the supposedly wealthiest area in Illinois, I'm so sick of being so poor but that's another story).

I just wanted to let you know, almost in tears that you definately are not alone at all, lol in fact I feel I'm alot more "odd" as far as dress code than you, long story short I was psychologically terrorised by my then chronic alcoholic "so called dad", this abuse according to sworn secrecy to a distant family member I can't mention"had started as soon as my Mom came in the door of the house I(my Mom still live in!)with me when I was just born and was taken home my brother who is 3 years older than me started hitting me in the head and my dads mom who I always hated was visiting that day etc and told my mom what was going on and she had all she could do, to tolerate my drunk father passed out in bed sleeping.
I just remember every night my Mom would go to Alonon, as soon as she'd leave in that old pontiac tempest, my dad and even my brother! would "gang up on me" and suddenly turn on my bedroom light and my dad usually had my Mom's pantyhose tightly over his head so it looked to me like an alien or ghost and my brother wore my Mom's white wedding dress with a white cap hiding his head and my dad would shake me awake and make loud scary sounds and my brother would go "BOO" and my dad would tell me that I'm retarted, that I am going to be taken away someday.

I was 4 years old when it started, by 5 years old almost, I remember back in 1975 I think, I ran out in my pajamas in summer it was just getting dark out and I rushed out to my Mom before she left. I said MOM!, "stay away from the car I'm moving still, Mom please help me, dad and my brother are telling me I'm retarted and they've been saying this for a long time now that "someone is going to take me to elgin mental hospital and they are going to give me a lebotomy, what is that?". She finally heard my cry for help and let me in the back seat and said, "I'm late you should be in bed", I said I can't help it, where do you keep going at same time of night alot?, Alonon, I said whats that? "your damn father is a drunk or alcoholic" she said, and said she has to go to meetings to cope. I said what was going on and how long, everyone knows I tend to talk too much because I never had but one true friend in special ed school and I feel just like you doc. That I fit in nowhere and that I'm very unique, more later. Of course my Mom said, look I'm sorry but I have to go I can't listen anymore. I pleaded with her to take me with her, she said "you and I will look crazy with you with me in you pajamas, now go inside and go to bed and dont worry I promise I will take very good care of that situation.

That night what she meant was to pretend I was sleeping, so I got out and went inside and crawled back into my crib with the help of my drunk dad, he spanked me and said "you asshole now get your ass to sleep and quit bother Mom". I remember crying myself to sleep after he shut off the light, suddenly he and my brother flipped on the light fast and my dad smelled "wierd to me" which scared me even more, he and my brother did the same thing again, only this time he said, "your crib is shaking as he shook it hard and said the boogey man is gonna get you tonite", I was crying and remembered vaguely, my Mom suddenly rushed in the back door of the family room and ran in to my room which is now the office I'm typing at right now.

She yanked her old pantyhose off my dads head as it ripped real loud and yanked my brother and grabbed both of em together and spanked my brother hard and said "shut up and stay right there", she then started hitting my dad on the chest real hard it looked like, and said "now I see why you wanted me to go to Alonon, now I know what a drunk is all about thanks to my 2 only friends there, you liar, you never stopped drinking like you promised if I went to these meetings", Well now I am staying home, and dont you ever spook my son(me) like that ever again or I will divorce you. I was crying still and said Mom please divorce that asshole I hate him,"I felt funny to know almost every vulgarity swear word in the book by the time I was 5". My Mom said to me, "you be quiet, I'm taking care of this like I promised you didn't I?". I said yes but I'm scared they will really do something to me now. Don't worry(me)she said, she then yanked her wedding dress off my brother and the hat off his head and said"and you little devil just like your own father, always buddying up with him in the basement, I know you drink some beer with him too and you can go right along with your father when I divorce him too".

I vaguely remember bits and pieces of my Mom always when she would be sleeping,(their master bedroom had to have 2 single beds right next to each other because my Mom said my dad was so outta it, that they had to sleep in seperate beds or else my dad would hit her across the face every night, due to his involuntary sudden movements due to whatever stage of alcoholisim he was in). I just remember he took advantage of every sneaky angle he could, so since my Mom was sure to watch over me for what I think was half a year more or a year max before she divorced my dad "finally". His new twist on scareing me was to sneak into the basement in the dark, drunk of course all the time and make the sump pump come on and it made a very scary sound in the kitchen sink which this room I'm in now is right next to the kitchen, against the bathroom wall, a small room, with a doorway to the kitchen and another doorway to the hall. I of course would wake up and cry and scream and my Mom was near the breaking point in her life and couldn't help but rush out and say, "damnit anyway what the devil is going on now". I said "Mom I can't help it, the sump pump is coming up the stairs to get me", she said, oh thats crazy go to bed, where is your drunk father?, I dont know but he keeps going in the basement every night when you go to sleep with him and he locks himself in there.

Mom said, we dont sleep together we sleep in seperate beds,I just vaguely remember this happening every night until one night my Mom yanked open the bedroom door and said "okay I'll take care of this, stop crying(to me), then she tried to yank open the basement door and kept pounding on it and my dad wouldn't open it. since this room is right above the "laundry, still original cement dual sink,now long gone water softener area and sump pump well to the left of the sink" area of our basement, not only did loud noises seem louder than normal to me due to my then strong autisim, but any sudden or loud noises bothered the heck outta me or scared me to death. OF course my dad knew well about that after forcing my Mom to come with him and bring me too, to see some psychologist out of the dupage county building for what my dad called to me the place where I was going to be "taken away".Just the short distance from our house to the first appt, my Mom and dad were screaming at each other as my dad drove crazy(he had a hopped up 69 chevy camaro then and it was fast as hell) and he won a few trophies back then in races with that car at sycamore speedway. I of course crying the whole way there, I vaguely remember my brother being in back seat with me as my Mom had all she could do to keep them both shut up.

We got there, while my Mom and dad talked to a counselor first, my brother and I were stuck together in a playroom and he just threw stuff at me and suddenly I snapped and learned to be very aggressive. I became bold and picked up something that was as heavy as I could and threw at my brother and it hit him hard right in the head. I vaguely remember talking a little to the counselor too along with my brother. I said I hated my "asshole dad and brother", I was obsessed with outlets and sticking my fingers in them in a "game of chicken with them", until I finally got tired of getting shocked. I was told I was autistic or dyslexic or something else too. "back then nothing much was known about my then rare condition", my Mom and dad"all 4 of us were in the room suddenly", when my Mom suddenly said everyone be quiet. She proceded to tell counselor all about what my dad had done to me past to present and that she wanted a divorce. Counselor banged his fist on desk and said, to my Mom"no wonder the kid(me)is suddenly agressive", all we know about his mental disorder as he looked real pissed at my dad and stared him in the eye the whole time he said"this kid(me)from what little I have talked to him alone, sounds like he is way ahead of himself in one certain area". Did you ever think he may become a master electrician or something by the time he is say 15 or so?

My dad just chuckled his typical strange laugh he always had till he died in 1996 in a wheelchair with one leg amputated from the knee due to all he did to his body and due to poor circulation. He died of heart attack I think and his kidneys shut down and suddenly everything shut down. Anyway, he said"oh that's crazy, I'm a tool and die maker and when I bring stuff home for him(me) from work which I'm not really supposed to do. "he shows no thanks or appreciation for it and just takes everything apart always and "just wants to take a sledge to everything", he's just nuts. I vaguely remember the counselor just shoving papers in a file folder and slamming the desk shut and said to my dad"something true but bad to him and he was mad, he then told my brother off and told me"dont worry son, I'm very sorry you are stuck with a drunk for a father who is bent on himself only and doing things his way or no way, but you are not going to be taken to a mental hospital". He then said to my Mom after hugging her asmy dad looked on in disgust and said"go ahead and file for divorce before its too late, or your two sons, especially(me) will be ruined for life mentally and physically if this keeps on. He then said for me to leave the room for a short time while he"lets my Mom and dad talk briefly and pay the bill". I shut the door and went to the playroom and ran right back to the door(ever since I was born and can remember, I've had this one gift all my life that I am very greatful for at this time in my life, I have a special "psychic sense, and can pick up on things, or hear this voice or get some feeling etc and if I can pick up on what it is, 90% or more of the time, I'm shocked to find I'm right, or I saved myself from harm, prison, or death, as well as good fortune, such as one little example. I'd have a "feeling" not to do something outside one night, sure enough I heeded it and the cops drove up and down my block that night and I would have gotten a ticket if I had not listened to my sense. That's just a simple example). Well back then I had a feeling I should put my ear against the door and listen in on them, to my shock my Mom and dad were not yelling but talking loud enough for me to clearly hear them, I vaguely remember my Mom saying(me)has just been kicked out of preschool thanks to you(my dad)terrorising the poor innocent child up till now, well now he is going to be bused back and forth everyday to little friends school where he will never see a "normal public or private school most likely in his whole life".(my dad)"OH BULLSHIT, just that name sounds GAY to me, he's going to a normal school just like him(pointed at my brother).

My Mom said, its already set up like I told you, but you dont remember even you and me talking to the principal at the preschool because you were so drunk out of your mind, I'm surprised you didn't kill us driving home, you "damn son of a bitch". I heard my Mom throw keys to him, "there's your keys to your damn hotrod and your work will have a surprise for you when you walk in this week". She then said "do you remember the boss confronting you about your damn 5th of rum clinking around in the toilet tank at work?", in an attempt to keep him from knowing she already filed for divorce. My dad suddenly said, I dont give a god damn fuck about anything anymore"come on(my brother)lets get outta here and hurry and get the retard before he wanders off and takes something apart, if he's not yet". I suddenly ran back to the playroom and just in time put something back I wasn't supposed to mess with, when my dad yanked open the door and started saying profanities to everyone as he said, "get your stupid ass over here dumb ass to me".

I was thrilled when I heard my Mom tell me she divorced my dad and I said "its about time you divorced that asshole, I wish he was dead". My bother said"shut up you fucking bastard to me, I love my dad you hate". My Mom suddenly screamed "shut up both of you, or both of you can ship out to your fathers new apartment in town". I was quiet and suddenly me and my brother went to our own rooms. I had a small bed then and he had his room around the corner from my Mom's master bedroom which surprisingly she still is in but is totally remodeled now as well as my brothers old room which is now mine. What used to be my room of course is now the office where I"m sitting at a nice big desk typing at. Yet surprisingly I dont think about way back then, but I think due to ptsd, in the back of me head, I just want to have me and my Mom get the hell outta here because not only we still live here, but I at least, despise our neighbors to the left of us. They are ignorant stuck up closed minded trash.

There is just too much to mention at once, but everything that happened since I was growing up was very odd to me. I spent 1976 to 1986 at little friends school in naperville for physically and mentally handicapped people on first floor, and mainly slightly mentally and or psychologically disabled kids on second floor. The school used to be a dormitory for naperville college I think and I just remember everything about the outside and inside mainly, looked just like an old orphanage or something. Everything was old and ugly looking. They had a "time out room on each floor except the first floor. I remember million times being dragged into there and locked in there with nothing inthere except a spooky looking old light on the old ceiling and old tile floor with so many gashes and kick marks all over the door on the inside from me and many other kids kicking it out of aggression until they were calm and then were let out. Only one kid was allowed in there, however a few times in my beginning years there, a few dumb teachers would put another kid in there who would kickme and i'd kick him and scream swear words until they took him or me out of therre. I HATED everything about that school. Most of the teachers were women and seemed like "man haters to me", that's where I mostly learned to hate women and found myself strongly attracted to boys at only 8 years old.

By the time things started changing for the better finally there, I never was put in the silly time out room because I was maybe 10 or 11 at that time in 1980 something. I was transferred at that time to the 3rd floor, was in a new classroom, longer, a bit wider and alot of windows all along the side facing the long one lane road that all the short busses lines up at back to back when school let out around 2:30ish pm. I had this heavy set teacher who was manic depressed herself and in a miserable marriage she toldme, one day when I just got the courage to just say"why are all women witches from hell?" she said, "you dumb idiot they are NOT, come here and sit on my lap" I was afraid to get near her, I was very shy most my life up until the past few years of my life. Always afraid of people, trust no one was my motto and still is. She made me sit on her lap and she said"this is how you treat your girlfriend", kiss me on the lips once, I said ewe no way, come on so I did and I felt yucky about it, she said hug me, it was ok but strange. She said"see that's how women are as long as you're nice to them".

A strange unique merging point came in my life in 1983, prior to that my Mom was so poor that she had to rent the family room out to a person working at a christian bookstore, heck everything in my town is centered around a "bible belt", and I HATED it and still do, well this woman was heavy set too, but kind of manly looking. Well long story short we became friends strangely fast and she would hug and kiss and hold me alot. as I was older like 10 or 11, she used to lay back on the bed in my or my brothers room and have me lay on top of her,of course fully clothed both us. I was just going into puberty then of course, so I liked it and told her I wanted to sleep with her. SHe said "oh I'm sorry that would be almost impossible because of your Mom and me being friends too". SHe knew what I was hinting at, but strange that she got me "going like a steam loco" and then realized how inappropriate this was, which was happening more often since my Mom was gone alot to work to pay bills.

She moved out in 1983, after my Mom's Mom died of a heart attack, which devistated my Mom of course, and me and my brother fighting alot didn't help. I used to be just quiet, shy, laid back, simple, hating to be around people type of kid. I only wanted to do what I wanted, so my Mom used to say alot "that's why you have no friends". I said I dont care, they betray you anyway so fuck people. SHe was constantly at me and my brothers throat for swearing, because nobody in her family ever swore hardly at all. She said "I'm sorry but I can't help that I married the wrong man, he as you both know was very sneaky etc". She said"I grew up in a total normal home and was an only child, that's why I wanted to have two boys, well obviously that isn't working out too good sadly like, most stuff in our lives now".

Well my brother was 16 in 83 and got his drivers license and got this cool 68 or something merc cougar. A beater but looked cool hopped up with huge tires in back and "pizza cutter style rims in front", he'd roar down our street after fishtailing around corner and flying allthe way to the end of our block and stopping just in time at stop sign before the busy street that went from a dead end at the edge of town all the way through another side of town. He instantly picked up drinking at 16 and was partying all the time. With tears in my eyes now, I remember looking back then, always saying "I'll never be like my dad in that way, I will never be a drunk", yet I was always "down and sadly". I remember being alone alot when I was young and crying alot.

Well this merging point came in my life in summer of 1983"the best but sometimes not so best time of my life". One of my brothers party buddies had a younger brother too, my Mom became friends with their Mom. Well one night me and my Mom were going to the taste of Chicago because I used to like the Charlie Daniels band alot. well my Mom's new friend called just to say hi etc, they got talking and it wound up, me, my mom, her new friend and her younger boy we'll call omar, all 4 of us went and I was shy and was like "why is this 13 year old so talkative to me and telling me to lighten up and not be shy when I was 12". Well we started talking more and suddenly one night he just came over after calling me up and talking to me. He seemed so nice, he said you need a friend, I'll be your pal. I was cool with it and told him to come over. His brother my brother was buddies with dropped him off and of course they chatted a while, while me and Omar started playing Atari 2600 lol. I was obsessed not only with electronics and collecting and dragging home every tv set or stereo stuff I could find within means onmy bike. Lol I used to have to struggle on my own to "build my muscles" by lifting an old heavy 19 inch up to 25 inch old well built like a tank color or b&w tube type tv set, up onto the handlebars of my bike and looked so funny carefully balancing it from falling off as I slowly rode home with it, luckily Chicagoland wasn't a "traffic hell mess like it is now", but still I got gawkers all the time looking at me like "wow" as I struggled my way home with more "junk". I was also still obsessed with video games and still am but not like I used to.

Well straight to the point, my brother watching tv in the living room"that's all he did when he was at home bored" lol, suddenly me and Omar got sick of playing games and said "I'm bored what else can we do?". Suddenly I started acting silly, I filled up a squirt gun with water and started squirting our dog, which I hated and laughing at how he was trying to bite the water. Suddenly Omar grabbed another one in my stash of toy guns and said "hey don't be mean to animals, how would you like it done to you?. Lol he and I started squirting each other all wet and my brother said, "dudes go in the basement and do that, otherwise our Mom will get pissed". Lol we both said ok, we both ran downstairs squirting each other as we went. SUddenly I remembered the original doorknobs on basement door were falling apart, you could open the door to go down, but since the knob broke off on the other side, to get back upstairs lol we had a flathead screwdriver to push open the mechanisim. So Omar said, lol(me) now what you going to do?. I ran down and turned on the lights and quickly filled up my gun and he said "play fair, no squirting until I'm done filling up", lol ok. We started squirting each other till our shirts were soaked lol, so off they went, we squirted each other into the rec room where there was a lame little pool table and a dart board on the wall etc.

Suddenly Omar squirted down my pants and I said hey thats cold, so I squirted down his pants, then suddenly, well wont get into detail, but we started "truce" we tossed our squirt guns to the side and started "messing around". I was shy of course, so he had to "take on me" lol I remember that song by the band "Ah Ha, take on me". I suddenly said ok, I'm shy but I'm strangely attracted to boys and have been since I was 8. Omar said "well so have I but since I was 6 or 7. Soooo, we just messed around a bit and got to talking about, its ok to be gay. A week later, my Mom let us have a sleepover and Omar and me slept in my brothers room cuz he was gone all weekend, which is my room now with lots of good memories too.

We played games until like midnite and my Mom was asleep and we were sitting in"now my room"talking and lol yawning until we got tired of yawning and we said something so funny. I said actually, "lol Omar, next time you yawn, I get to blow into your wide open mouth to hear how funny it sounds. Lol he said, "ok as long as I can do it back right to you". Ok I said, well suddenly I blew into his mouth and it sounded funny as he closed his mouth, then he did it to me and it sounded funny too. We then said g'nite and it was hot that night outside. We had just one fan on the floor and couldn't sleep good, he and I kept switching from the bed to the floor mattress. I'd get too cold by the fan, then he'd get too hot. Well finally I slept at 2 am, then got woke up by him touching me, he said "are you awake?" I said yea I can't sleep. He said well lets just both sleep by the fan then, ok cool lol. That night was the merging point when I realized I was gay at only 12 years old and he was 13. Surprisingly I was cool with it since I got to know him, but only wanted to be with him because I knew him.

Well sadly, the night of our second sleepover in sometime during the winter of 1983, we were going to "save the love I never got from my so called dad until my Mom was sound asleep". BUT, we were getting bored playing video games etc in the basement and I'll never forget, I suddenly just said "Omar can you lay on the floor, I just want to be hugged?". Sure, well we were dressed fully in the cold basement, in front of the old furnace, I was laying on top of him as we just hugged held each other. Suddenly I got this warm cozy glow kind of feeling as we lay there for like 10 mins, it now as I looked clearly back on that night felt just like the same feeling I got when I first started taking 2 5/500 vicodin's way later in life.

Well my Mom snuck down the basement stairs"how she did it I will never know", at that time she "caught us in the corner by the water heater with our pants down lol". She said "ok now you two boys come right upstairs right now and I mean now". We were both so embarrassed and devastated at same time, we played the "blame game" and then quickly forgave each other. Sadly my Mom said, Omar you are sleeping in(my brothers room), she made me sleep on couch in living room and we had to go to bed early. she was asleep at 3am and I couldn't sleep, suddenly Omar got up to use bathroom and looked in my Mom's room and she was asleep so he quickly came out to me and said(my name), sorry this happened but at least we can kiss and hug each other goodnight. Just in time he walked into the hall as my Mom woke up"darn squeaky floorboards in old houses lol". She said, "Omar what are you doing?, I just had to use bathroom sorry", my Mom got up and said ok, go to bed, she rushed into living room to call my name"I was pretending to sleep and wake up". I said, what?. Why did you wake me up?, she said, I'm just checking on you 2.

Sadly we only got to see each other 2 different times during all of 1984, after my Mom upset me so bad, when she sat me and my brother to boot down in 2 seperate chairs across from eachother while my Mom sat on the couch in living room and said, "so(my brother)do you now that your brother is now a homosexual?". He said(my name), you sick fuck, what the hell is wrong with you, I just knew it all along but was waiting for it to come up. Fuck I can't beleive my own brother is Gay, that is just sick. I blocked most of that time out of my life, but will never forget how my Mom seemed to betray me so bad for the first time in my life. She of course rambled on about the bible bs etc and even made me read all of it and that's when I started hateing religion or christianity and some other religions as well. No offense, but since I was strongly on the aggressive side and full of hate and some rage but not near as bad as I have now. I started "stereotyping things and certain people alot".

I'll try to cut this short as possible sorry, I was shocked to find myself living with my dad and stepmom in 1986, just to get outta little friends and away from my violitile ragefull brother who I despised more than ever in my life before. I was 15 and was so suicidal it was sick I didn't find opiates before my damn dad started me drinking with him in 1987 all that year through 88 when I was 17 too, sadly I found myself just like my dad and feel like comfortably numb about it, since I merged with opiates in 1999 after realizing how opies gave me a whole new better life full of cozy,warm feeling of zero depression or sadness, renewed interest in my hobbies again and alot of energy and ambition like I never had before or on yucky booze, when I really never like anyway. I was with my dad and stepmom from 86 till 1993, when I came back to live with my Mom after my bro moved an hour from us into his own new built house. I felt safe to move in with Mom again and get outta that "hell hole of paxton illinois"

I felt happy and free and was sober until dec of 1995 when I became a big binge drinker, big mistake and waste of life. Before that, I finally reached my goal that my first car was going to be an old vw bug hard top. I had a kick on them. Well I got one in 1996 and "came out of the closet socially", I thought, I'd fit right in but bam, just like that I was shocked that being gay doesn't make people any different than anyone else. I found myself suddenly not the way I intended. But I was sleeping around with so many guys I'm too sad to tell about it. I went celibate in and out of 1999 when I caught a bad std that is not hiv but a virus that is in your body the rest of your life. I felt screwed for life, sad and betrayed by my own kind. That's when I went back to myself and shut myself out from people as much as I could. Heck who wants stupid sex or effection, when Opiates give me all the love etc I will ever need.

I became obsessed with opiates and anything opiate related in 2004, I had really a "sheltered life" free to order away as many norco's online as I wanted to, I was lucky in a way that I had chronic ulcerative colitis in 1990 when I was 19, look at my posts and you can read all about it doctor. I had plenty of med records to back up "chronic intestinal pain" so I could order from my sadly long lost buddy, NorcoWorldwide. I also had 2 other ones, each giving me 120 10/500 and even 10/325's to save my liver. Of course each had 2 or 3 refills with the first order and doc consultation. I was in bliss most of 04, until sadly my new pal"mr watson" left me because I "wore out my welcome with him", had to take 8 10/500 norco's at once every 3 or 4 hours to feel good. I had one last "vacation with mr watson in early feb of 05". I had lost one pharmacy, so I saved up one bottle and had to dig into it halfway through the week, till my last fill from NWW came. I then proceded to "cuddle up and hug mr watson for a whole week", I gobbled up 240 of him in a week and then "crashed into inpatient detox" right before valentines day I remember. That's when I got on subs for the first time. Long story short, I could still get "mr watson" and was able to break through 4mg suboxone 2x daily pretty easily, I did one time, went into a short but scary wd, then felt real nice and buzzed off my "pal mr watson again". Somehow my subox doctor found out and he is a strict doctor too. He warned me if I did it again, I'd have to go to a halfway house which scared me straight for a long time. He also put me eventually on 3 8mg subs daily, which no opiate can break through, not without serious medical supervision which I did not have or about to have.

I was abusing subs too, crushing up 5 at a time and holding saliva for 20 mins before spitting it out and getting a buzz off them. Of course looking at my posts, you can read about my recent part of my life when I really went celibate from 2006 up to present, when you read about my methadone first success, then nightmare, back on 2 8mg subs daily. I just recently decided to talk to my psychiatrist, first he put me on tegretol, which did nothing, except give me headaches all day long until they got so bad I just quit a week before I saw him again. I saw him last week and we discussed valium and xanax tolerance and I hinted I felt it was no use to keep taking it when I dont feel it in me at all and mentioned cutting off having to take 2 benzo's for my ptsd and rage issues and try Ativan. Since I made the switch, I have been feeling way better the past week. In fact, my funny sense of humor came back with a roar like never before. I have been laughing so hard at my "alternative comedy" the past week, that I'm thinking clearly again.

Thank God I have a nice understanding psych doc, because it has helped with craving opiates too. I hope to get my stuff together while I'm feeling good and start getting my "alternative comedy" up on places like YouTube and my funny stories on a blog somewhere. By the way doctor, during your training and all, I'm sure you probably go to doctor conventions etc and meet all different types of doctors there. I would be surprised if you happened to know my colon specialist. If you are interested, pm or email me and I'll tell you his name etc, I dont want to compromise privacy so I wont give any details here.

Sorry for such a long story, but your story just touched me on things in my life that relate to you in some ways. Well lol wow its 2:13 am and I gotta "charge up", go to bed. Wish me luck and keep in touch if you care to.
Wishing best of luck to you as well,

 Post subject: New Book Intro
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:54 am 
Average Poster
Average Poster

Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:52 pm
Posts: 8
Dr. Junig,
I sincerely appreciate and commend you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to reach out to addicts with your forum site. The literature on Suboxone is often biased and subjective and therefore confusing. The introduction to your upcoming book is easy for me to relate as it sounds much like my own story. I'm a professional as well-practicing as a R.N. for 10 years in ICU and with 3 kids in tow acquiring my DDS degree. While I had experimented and used almost every drug available in my younger years, it wasn't until I developed a severe sinus/middle ear infection did I find opiates. Like many health-care professionals, I thought I could treat myself. I was self employed and didn't want to take off work. After weeks of NSAID's and a few antibiotics, I decided to take a sample Vicoprofin. The rest is history! Suddenly, my chronic pain was gone and I felt great. Instead of the normal response of feeling sleepy, the hydrocodone gave me a synergistic false sense of energy. It wasn't long before it became a requirement to get through the day. I couldn't believe this drug was dictating my life and I was petrified to discuss my situation with anyone.
It has been a constant struggle for the last 8 years; going on and off-substituting my addiction to opiates with everything imaginable. The worst was my insatiable need to spend money. My life had truly become unmanageable!!! After developing a severe tendinitis in my left elbow, and receiving several injections, I allowed myself to once again get stuck on opiates-this time it was Oxycodone. After 6 weeks, I knew I was totally out of control-again! Somehow God led me to confide my situation to a person that knew of this 'new treatment' for opiate addiction-Suboxone. I feel this drug is truly a blessing! While I'd love to say more I'm out of time. I just want you to know how important your site is to me and obviously countless others. There is nothing wrong with the 12 step program as I use many of it's principals every day. It's just not a cure all for everyone.

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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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