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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Hello, all! This is my first post on this forum (or any Suboxone-related forum for that matter). I've been only five days clean of Suboxone and, contrary to my expectations, I see hope, even though it's a withering light that sometimes shines brightly while at others barely lights my room.

I've been on Suboxone for nearly five years now and this is my second attempt at getting off of it. My first attempt failed due to psychological reasons, in addition to immense physical discomfort. I stayed off of the drug for two weeks before I called my doctor and said I just couldn't take it anymore. Once the physical discomfort had subsided, the emotional attachment to the drug seemed to take over my life, making me irritable, depressed, angry, and utterly devastated at the huge void in my life: that little orange pill. It became my obsession. I looked at pictures of Suboxone tablets online, I thought about Suboxone all the time, and was utterly possessed by my grief, which was akin to deep heartache. In short, I was not ready to make the jump at that time. Mentally, I was not as invested in my sobriety as I had thought I was, and that made all the difference in the world. Suboxone is tricky in that sense: it gives you the hope and indication that you can do it on your own, that you're no longer addicted.

Once I got back on Suboxone, I began therapy and joined a doctor-mandated group of individuals who were also taking the drug. We met twice a week and discussed exactly what Suboxone was: a stepping stone, a strong push in the right direction. I've steered clear of NA and AA, regretfully, because I have been ashamed that I was not abstaining from all mind-altering substances. And although Suboxone didn't alter my mind essentially, it was still a narcotic partial opioid agonist and had a huge effect on my life: my day could not get started without it, I carried it everywhere with me so as not to get that creepy, crawling feeling that it was wearing off. Suboxone, in a way, ruled my life for years, whether purely psychological or physiological.

My first attempt at jumping off obviously didn't go well. And there's a clear reason for that. When I got my first prescription, my doctor wrote it for four tablets a day, even though I was only supposed to take one and a half tablets. The reason for this is because my insurance paid for most of my prescription and he was doing me a favor by saving me money. I was supposed to return to him each month for the mandatory drug screening but thought, "I have enough Suboxone to get me through this mental hump and then ween myself off. I don't need to go back." I was very wrong. The two weeks following were amongst the most miserable of my life, a time where I didn't even know who I was anymore: I had lost my essence, my zest for life, the very fundamentals that constitute a human being and their particular and unique personality. The physical pain from the jump was bad enough, but the mental horror that followed trumped any physical pain that I could imagine. I was alone on top of a hill, looking down at my fellow man, who was just so lucky to be independent of opiates. I was utterly alone and a cold, obsessive person who thought about nothing but Suboxone and how one dose could reverse all that mental and physical pain that I was going through. So, I got a psychiatrist who is fantastic, and I accepted that I wasn't ready for the jump at the time.

And here we are some years later with quite a different experience, physically and mentally. I have by no means been off of Suboxone long enough to brag by any means. But today is the fifth day after the jump to the hour. I weened off of the drug at a pace that was comfortable for me. There were times in my life during this ween that I felt that I needed to take more than I should, and my doctor gave me that leeway. But I was reducing my dose, overall, each month, probably over the course of a year. I had no negative side-effects from this process until it got down to the wire and it was time to cut my 1 mg dose each day down to .5 mg. I had withdrawal symptoms on the second or third day after cutting my dose in half, and then, miraculously to me, the next day I was fine.

I must admit that the fear associated with opiate withdrawal is a powerful force that, for me, at least, can hardly be reckoned with. I literally have to tell myself, "You don't feel that bad, you don't feel that bad, you don't feel that bad."

When it came time for the jump, I bravely disposed of my remaining Suboxone strips and waited. The minutes went by so slowly and withdrawal effects were evident the very next day, contrary to most people's experience of withdrawal beginning on the third day. I found that this time my experience was vastly different than before, physically and mentally. Sure, I have cried every day until today, mourning my orange friend named Suboxone. On the third day, I cried nearly constantly and was inconsolable. Once again, the same thoughts ran through my head: "no one understands," "what if I'm never the same?" But I was committed to the idea of getting off opiates once and for all this time. I was emotionally prepared for what I was going to experience and when I felt like crying, I cried. But I have kept in mind this entire time that 1 to 3 months of "not feeling quite right" is nothing when compared to the span of a lifetime, that no matter what, going back to Suboxone is NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. And so, while time is not on my side, I will undertake this great challenge that is as temporary as the sun's last rays of light before night begins.

I wanted to share with you what I did differently this time to have what I consider so far to be a successful jump. First of all, I'm a firm believer that if there are medications out there that can make this easier for you, you should take advantage of that. My doctor gave me a sample box of Kapvay, which is simply an extended release version of Clonidine Hydrochloride, and is approved by the FDA for the relief of ADHD symptoms in children. I take 2 .1mg tablets each morning and, as I find nights to be most difficult, I take another one in the late afternoon. The Clonidine has helped with my anxiety, has completely relieved me of restless legs this time, has made cold sweats a very rare phenomenon for me, and has, I think, utterly saved me in this withdrawal process. Kapvay is simply an extended release formulation of what is otherwise a very cheap generic drug known only as Clonidine, which would suffice, although you would have to take it more often.

I suffer from clinical insomnia and am already prescribed 300mg of Phenobarbital each night for sleep, which has gone off with barely a hitch. I do wake up much earlier than I'd like to now that I'm in withdrawal, but I can deal with that. Many people are prescribed a benzodiazepene during the withdrawal process but I think that Pheno, which is a barbituate with a very long half-life, has sufficed.

I have also used various OTC drugs to assist in my few physical symptoms. I take DayQuil for the flu-like symptoms, Afrin for the stuffy nose, Ibuprofen for the few headaches and body aches I've had, vitamin C, a B-complex vitamin, and a time-released multivitamin from GNC for men. I have heard that multivitamins are virtually useless unless they are time-released, so I would go that route if I were you.

Today I will go for my first bit of arduous exercise since the jump, as I am usually in the gym five days a week. I'm going to walk on the treadmill for a while and get my endorphins going, which, as you probably know, are akin to the feeling one gets from consuming an opiate. Up until today, I have felt far too fatigued to do anything too arduous, but I will say that I have gone to work every single day of this process, and I didn't have to.

There's hope, people! Compared to my last experience with the jump, I'm confident that in some time I will be my self again, and even better than before. I was ashamed to be a slave to Suboxone each day before, and, with all indications, I won't have to be enslaved anymore. I wasn't born with Suboxone in my system, so I know that "I" am in here somewhere, even though I'm a little bit lost at the moment. But being lost on your way to freedom and pride is respectful, noble, and a testament to the human spirit's will to excel.

I hope I stay off this horrible stuff, and perhaps I won't, but as of now there is indeed hope, which is something no one--especially an addict--can live without.


--Juan


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:55 pm 
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WOW what a heartfelt post. It was powerful because I seen a lot of myself in there. You are clearly ready to undertake this huge millstone. I wish you tons of luck. Also, good job going to the gym. It has helped me tremendously as well. I’m sure you know there will be good and bad days. You just need to remind yourself that YOU WANT THIS and like all things THIS SHALL PASS!

Keep us posted on your progress. I will be checking back my friend! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Y'know, you're right about me being ready to undertake this milestone. The clear difference between the last time I made the jump and this time is that this time I'm not craving opiates; in contrast, I just want them out of my system altogether. I want to be disconnected, you could say. But you're right about the good days and the bad days. It's completely unpredictable. Here I am on day seven and having a good day (not great, but good) while on day six I was an emotional wreck. Day five went extremely well, so there's just no predictability about this process, honestly. Like I pretty much said in my previous post, I just want the time to pass and everything to be better, but I know it's not an overnight process by any means. I go through stages of anger at my decision to get on Suboxone in the first place, which really stresses me out. Right now it's all about the mind and conquering this demon.


--Juan


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:47 pm 
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you have managed to put all my thoughts into actual writing. great post! I've been there and i'm ready to stop for good. thank your for your other posts as well, your insites have really opened my mind. Ive been scared about having to go to work and deal with people, good to hear its posible!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Hey, thanks, man. I try to choose my words pretty carefully so that I get my point clearly across. I'd like to know how you're doing.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:12 pm 
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Like the others have posted, I truly enjoyed your post, and definitely can relate to basically everything you've written. It's like you are a reflection of myself.

I've been on suboxone for over 4 years now, and after about a year on it I also tried to get off of it, failing even though I got down to 1mg and jumped, problem was I was not mentally ready whatsoever. So I went back on the Sub, and now, 3+ years later I'm currently tapering off again, but this time, just like you, with a totally different outlook. From 16 mg daily 3 months ago to 2mg a day now, I know I must take it slow, and have been doing everything in my power to make it this time: exercising regularly, taking the necessary vitamins and nutrition, building up a support group (I also stray away from NA and AA as a result not of shame but rather I'm extremely honest and have been belittled too many times when stating "I take suboxone"), seeing my doctor/psychiatrist, among the many other things you can do to help with the physical and psychological side effects of tapering/jumping off of suboxone.

I definitely will be taking clonidine, or rather Kapvay (as I did take Clonidine the first time I tried quitting many years ago, though I had no support group, was in bad physical shape, poor nutrition, and was simply not ready psychologically). Thanks for sharing your story, not only did it inspire me as well as help me realize others are in the exact same situation (feeling chained to sub after trying to quit and having to go back on it, which has now been 4+ years of total suboxone), but also the fact that I also am like you (must be a fast metabolism). I sort of tapered quickly down to 2mg, jumped from 8mg to 2mg essentially and within about a day I was feeling SLIGHT withdrawals. While I know the actual jump off the suboxone entirely is a totally different grind, because we are so used to waking up and taking that small amount of suboxone to get that jump start for the day and feel normal.

Stay strong my friend, you totally have the right mindset and willpower (at least it appears so) and while the first month is definitely full of the ups and downs (like you've noted), it will only get better. And while one day is great and the next a roller-coaster of emotions, I'd say it's better than feeling completely numb and feeling chained to the suboxone. It's good to cry, it proves you're human and actually have emotions. I'm the same way. Like you this time as I have been tapering rather quickly whenever I feel like an emotional wreck I never think or even have a craving, but rather just think "I am becoming less and less dependent on this suboxone to function", and for you, after 5+days off of it, it's only a few weeks from being entirely gone from your body (all those residual micrograms because of the halflife), something you can truly be proud of.

Keep it up, you are an inspiration to myself and all of us here. While the nights may be long, stay busy, as you already know, and keep doing what your doing and keeping that great mindset. I have a feeling as each day progresses you'll start finding your essence, or what I like to call your mojo, and who you are and what you stand for.

Again, great writing, great post, keep it up my friend!

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I have hit a block; long taper, got to 1mg daily and depression/anxiety kicked in. Back to 2-3mg a day, I feel like I relapsed... wtf!

One Love...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:57 am 
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I could definitely relate to a lot of what you said.

Whether clonidine is the 'key' to a successful jump, I don't know. It gives a bit of relief for a few of the withdrawal symptoms, but that's it.

I view the 'key' to successfully stopping is determination, and a heartfelt desire to never use no matter how hard life gets. Us 'addict' types often mistakenly believe that the 'key' to anything is some kind of of medication or drug.

Fact is, if you're determined enough to get off and stay off, it doesn't matter what medications you use or how bad your detox gets, you will still have a successful detox.


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