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 Post subject: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:00 am 
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So today at my NA meeting, when they go around and state their clean time, I said - " hi, Im mel, Im an addict and have been clean for 30 days".
Everyone clapped and congratulated me (and gave me a clean 30 day key chain) especially because they know I have not been able to get anywhere near 30 days up since feb this year. I felt really happy and proud but in the back of my mind I thought - but am I honestly clean as im on ORT. I have not told them this but 2 members have seen me at the chemist pick up area. They too, say they are clean but don't count the days, they sort of say "clean today" and that's it.
Now, I do think im clean but there is still a part of me that says I shouldn't have to have anything in my system.
Suboxone has literally saved my life. Im so happy also to finally be taking medicine that actually has my name on the script. Without it I could have OD by now. Its just that the other members are so against ORT and make it very clear, hence why I don't advertise im using it. I also worry that if they find out, they will say I have no clean time up at all. I would hate that because I really love my NA meetings and get so much out of them.
Im my biggest critic and my negative self talk says, other people can go cold turkey so why cant you. I have tried many times and always end up relapsing.

Can someone please confirm to me (again) if im a fraud or actually clean even though im on ORT?
I don't want to offend anyone else on ORT by what I have written as its just my negative addict mind working over time, I think. I hope

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:48 am 
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Well, I look at it like: there's a difference between addiction and dependence. Everyone is dependent on a lot of things they're not addicted to, and it's addiction which causes the problems and brings in the bad stuff. After all, what's the problem with not being clean? It's spending all your money, time, and energy on scoring. It's lying to or even stealing from your family, so you can get high one more time. It's being too fucked to take care of yourself or your loved ones; it's risking jail every time you drive to pick up; and maybe sometimes even risking robbery or assault if your regular source is indisposed or dry.

But none of that is involved with ORT. We're not getting high and forgetting our responsibilities, we're not running our lives into a brick wall, we're not basing every waking moment around trying to get high or get drugs, we're not risking jail, we're not dealing with shady people. In short, everything that makes addiction so terrible is gone; the only commonality is a physical dependence. As if we had high blood pressure, we head to the pharmacy and pick up a bottle with our name on it, as you so aptly mentioned.

And I know that the dependence bothers some people. None of us like being tied to the pharmacy. But that's not really a clean vs dirty issue to me; it's just an extra responsibility that some of us have to bear, just as some can't run out of beta blockers for blood pressure or SSRIs for depression. I think it'd be foolish to rant at those people for not being "clean"... and I think it'd be wrong to say you are a "fraud", too. You're not a fraud, and anyone who says you are is confused -- to take the most charitable possible view.

When you get right down to it, half the things we ingest are mind-altering to some degree. Cheese, chocolate, coffee, Lexapro, atenolol... even Tylenol has been found to often boost mood. So I, personally, ultimately object to this puritanical aspect of NA/AA. I understand where they're coming from, because an addictive personality can't substitute alcohol for heroin or benzos for alcohol; that's good advice, and like I've said elsewhere, "no more cigarettes ever" worked better than "cigarettes in moderation", for me, so abstinence has its place. But when people take this idea as a philosophical principle, a matter of ethics, I think it's wrong and harmful. ("Don't fix your life if it takes a medicine; gamble your life on a matter of brain chemistry, but don't try to work with it!")

We've got people worrying if they're "really" clean, even though their lives are finally back on track -- the professed goal of any rehab or 12-step program! It's not an unreasonable worry, don't get me wrong, but it is unreasonable to say "no, you gotta be the Platonic essence of sober"... especially when caffeine and nicotine and cheddar get passes, as if drawing an arbitrary line and then abstaining from anything on one side of that line is virtuous no matter what harm or benefit actually results.

(Aristotle is dead; long live consequentialism! ;))


Last edited by crossfinger on Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:18 am 
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MEL!
You are working just as hard as other ppl attending NA and you should feel really proud.
It shits me that NA is so one dimensional and leaves good ppl like us feeling " less than " or " not as good as"...
Early in recovery I too found NA. There is something beautiful about being so transparent among strangers sharing a similar struggle. NA was helpful for a short period but I personally wrestled with a number things and stopped attending.
Mel, it's your business if you choose to openly talk about ORT.
Who really cares what they think? But what you believe IS important.
Mel, like you stated earlier, you have quite possibly saved your life.
We are proud of you!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:46 am 
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Hi Mel, I have been in and out of the rooms of twelve step meetings since I was 16 and am now 55. It is your business and only your business! There is literature, I think it is titled AA and Medication. If you can, take a look at it. Anyone who would pass judgement on you and your recovery is not working the program the way it is meant to be worked! PLEASE, be proud of you clean time! You deserve congratulations for your hard work!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:29 am 
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I've seen this topic come up a lot over the years...

I think the real question is are you/I in recovery? For me, that means practicing spiritual principles like honesty, compassion and a willingness to serve. It means turning away from our addict behavior of "ripping and running" and not being who we really are. For me, active addiction was living a lie. When I got on Suboxone and then a little later started getting really honest, my recovery began.

NA/AA are programs where non-professionals support one another. No one has the authority to tell someone what medication they should or shouldn't be taking. Back in the late '90s when I first went to NA I remember people being told they weren't clean on Prozac. That kind of judgement can kill someone, as can telling someone to get off ORT.

I truly believe it's up to the individual to decide how to count their clean time (this whole "clean time" thing gets on my nerves anyway, but that's another post). For my own reasons I chose to reset my clean time when I got off Sub. One of my group members, who used to shoot dope and prostitute herself, and now is a Sunday School teacher, collected a 5 year medallion on methadone - and I think that is perfectly valid too.

I advise people to share their ORT with only their closest confidants. And if they have a sponsor pressuring them to get off it, find a new sponsor. I guess I'm lucky that I live in an area where people seem to be more educated and open minded about harm reduction. But if someone shares their Sub use openly at a meeting, there's always that one person who's got something to say about it..

I truly understand your self questioning. I detoxed off Sub over 2 1/2 years ago and am now in 0.5mg bupe for depression, and I even questioned myself. Am I back on opiates now? Am I still clean? The answer is, yes I am. And ironically it took a couple people in NA to help me see that.

My home group has everybody go around the room and state their clean time. I always say "I have today" - and it's not because of the bupe. It's partly because I had over 6 years clean at one point, and when I relapsed I was told I had 1 day. I don't buy that. While using is a huge mistake, it's doesn't erase years of recovery. It's also because I've seen people in the room with 20 years of abstinence act sicker than a newcomer. So I don't put a lot of stock into "clean time"

Sorry I wrote a book. Hope something in there helped. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:18 am 
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I too see this come up a lot. I think ur recovery is UR recovery, nobody has the right to put rules or stipulations on that but urself! I understand NA has their own beliefs and rules, and that's cool but that doesn't mean ur not clean in ur eyes. I think razor says it best...clean enough. If u still enjoy the meetings and don't wanna give that up, my advice would be to just keep it to urself. After all, it's ur life and ur recovery.

My time in NA didn't go so well (and I know that's only my experience and I'm not downing all of NA). They tried to tell me that taking certain types of cough syrup wasn't allowed and I'd have to start my clean time over again by taking it! I was like, absolutely not. I know all aren't that strict but some are and that's ridiculous to me. Who's allowed to tell us how much clean time we have besides ourselves? In my eyes I'm clean and have been for almost four years and in my eyes ur clean too. Ur obviously working on ur recovery or u wouldn't be attending meetings.

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:10 pm 
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There is so much I want to say here.....I think everyone who has posted is correct. And it is There experience.

One thing I have learned at NA is that there is the Program and then there is the Fellowship! The Fellowshiping can have great peer support, but also this can bring up the comments and judgements of other members about Medical Assistanced Treatment..The gray area of what is recovery and what isn't seems wide these days.

I was a member of Na for the first 4 years of my recovery, all on Buprenorphine. I had the same thoughts and feelings as you Mel. I felt some guilt. I wanted to be "a part of".But deep down as the weeks went by and I learned the program and read and reread the Basic Text, I saw that it is a Total Abstinence program. It is. Is there room for "us"? Ya, I guess so. But hearing the readings every night and , listening to slogans always sparked that guilt. That little secret I had. "For when we use drugs of any kind,or substitute one for the other,we release our addiction all over again".That one is hard to forget.

The program of spiritual principles lives inside me today. But as time pasted, and more and more subbers started showing up in meetings many others would share there disapproval of this life saving med. Finally, Id had enough. My sponsor was cool but left. I sponsored guys Only on Suboxone but they dropped out quickly.

In the end after hearing after meeting talk in the parking lots about the sub folks, I spoke up. I wanted these friends of mine to see that people on bupe could work this program and be good members. They were shocked to say the least. One guy carried the anti sub flag thought my black key tags cheaped it for the rest of them!! Lolol.. unbelievable. .He still leads them.
7 of them came to my shop for cuts...two months after my departure they no louger came in.. no calls...no texs to see how I was "doing"..

Im telling you this because I want you to know, as several people warned me here 3 years ago, that One day things could change. NA can be a wonderful thing, but know the program.

As Dr J has said it is silly to to compare whos recovery is more Authentic " We are Clean Enough today. You sure are Mel. So is Lilly...so is Cross, Jenn and Kap, Michelle works a stroug program. All Clean Enough!

Mel, you said it yourself, "Without it, Id ODd by now." Your doing great. Congrats on 30 days. Early on it is important I think to mark progress but as Lilly stated after awhile maybe hangin on to clean time isn't all that important. I wonder that myself. The clinic sure counts them, everyday.

Mel if meetings are important please Keep going. Keep thoses new friends. There so important. The love in the rooms is there. . Just be careful who you tell about your meds. And Yes, it is YOUR recovery.

I always loved Step Two. Coming to believe that a Power great than Ourselves could Restore Us to Sanity" I would tell other Sub folks to use a make believe basket. In the basket put in ANYTHING that give you Power to stay Clean. Make a list. Your Spouse, your work, your Dog or Cat, your God, your Dad or Mom, your meetings, your Forum your....Suboxone. yes, your suboxone. ..because it is true...anything that can help restore you. . . Im proud of all of you here. And thank you for being in My basket. You too Tiki!!!!



Razor.... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:48 pm 
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Hey Razor I love that analogy! I dont get these 12 steppers who think they can look at someone else's life and tell them what is best! I tell my clients, if someone else has time to be focused on what you are doing and they are taking your inventory, they can not possibly be doing what is best for their own recovery. Bill W. had issues with depression and I would bet my last nickel that if some of the meds that are available now had been around then, he would have been on them! Have a wonderful evening!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 6:07 pm 
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Well thank you Michelle, that means so much to me that you would say that.
My post was short and so many great things do happen in traditional meetings and
I know and am glad that you understand much about all this. I may PM you soon.


Razor R....


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:36 am 
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Thanks to all of you for your informative, positive, inspirational and supportive replies.

I know deep down its up to me to decide whether im clean, but you know how your head can get the better of you?!! Im taking the medicine the way its prescribed and that's all that matters.
Your posts are so true and I just wish all NA members had the knowledge and understanding about how important suboxone is to saving addicts and restoring us back to our true selves.
Im going to a meeting in an hour and will walk in there proud of myself for what I have accomplished so far.
I have pulled out my expensive camera to get back into photography and had my guitars restrung (don't know how to play at all), just as a start of filling my time with positive activities. Now uni has finished for the year I have more time fill. I have also started going to the gym and plan on starting yoga and/or pilates. Im a youth worker so now I can also do some voluntary work after hours which I always wanted to do but couldn't due to needing to score.

Thank you all for the support. This forum is such a big help to my recovery and I appreciate you all.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:16 pm 
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Razor, I look forward to that!
Mel, So happy to hear that you are not going to let them get you down!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:43 am 
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Good for you Mel, you should walk in there proud of yourself! Keep doing what you're doing!

Michelle, it's my understanding that Bill W. WAS on various meds throughout the rest of his life, some of which would cause people to say he wasn't "sober" in an AA meeting today. Isn't that ironic?


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:36 pm 
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Just wanted to add my take, I echo much of what was said already. For me, I went to traditional rehab a few times, made 88 days first time out, then relapsed. AA, NA, and CA were all engrained in my mind, trying to do things their way. When I first read the big book, I couldn't put it down, because everything was so relevant to my story, so for years I kept trying, and failing. I wanted acceptance from my support groups, and subconsciously, the 12 steps and sayings had become a part of me. When I started sub therapy, I hadn't been to AA in over 4 years, and all of a sudden, I was making it one day to the next. I went to individual counseling, and worked on the reasons for using (my issues). Over two years later I am still living addict free, and I take my medicine everyday to keep my disease in check.

I think a lot of people fall into this area where, traditional recovery teaches abstinence, and a lot of those ideas work for people, but not everybody can do it that way, and so I choose suboxone, because it works for me. I no longer compare my recovery to AA standards, but I do miss the meetings, fellowship, and especially the speaker meetings. Some people have a hard time being on suboxone, and going to meetings because of the whole "clean" issue, but worry about you. I have to applaud anyone who is trying to recover seriously, which it sounds like you are, so don't compare yourself to other people, and know that you're doing what YOU have to do to stay alive, and start to live a productive life.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 4:23 am 
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Hey todd

Yes I appreciate your input and I now say f#@k those who disagree as its my life, my journey and my choice. That's all that matters.
Thanks for you support and everyone else also. I am now 33 days clean and have no intention or need to use; so im a happy girl.
I can now take away the fraud feeling and replace I with pride.

Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:21 am 
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Hey Mel.

I noticed you say you bumped into members at the chemist pick-up area. Are you in Australia or the UK and have to do daily pickups?

I've done a lot of NA on and off over the last 7 or 8 years, and in my experience the program is really incompatible with long term drug-replacement. The reason for this is that, according to their doctrine, a person on Suboxone or methadone is basically using. And if you do enough meetings, it's easy to fall prey to this idea yourself. And if you don't consider yourself clean, it's a lot easier to rationalise using. After all, what have you got to lose? Your non-existent clean-time?

It's for this reason that I simply don't attend NA while I'm on drug replacement. I've found a much more inviting home in SMART recovery, where counting and identifying one's clean time is optional, and Suboxone and methadone are considered medications alongside naltrexone, campral and antabuse. I've discovered I can have a good quality of life on Suboxone while attending SMART, whereas if I've attempted to juggle NA with my Suboxone I've felt an implied pressure to reduce and "be clean". This always ends in spectacular relapse.

After giving the 12-step fellowships a red-hot-go, I've found I have many other qualms with the program which really needs its own thread. Thankfully there's SMART, and while it might not have the numbers of the 12-step fellowships, at least I don't leave the meetings feeling like a fraud for not believing in God, for being on drug-replacement, for being resistant to the 12-step dogma.

If you ask me, the 12-steps are a blight on the recovery landscape, an anachronism that behaves somewhat like a cult. And really their success rates are quite poor compared to other styles of recovery. This might not be obvious when you attend meetings regularly. I recently attended a midday meeting which I used to attend regularly but hadn't been to for the last 6 months. Looking around the room I only recognised 4 people. Everybody else was new. Heartening there's new members giving it a crack, but for every new member there was a seat that was once held by someone who no longer attends NA.

And don't get me started on the idea that it's impossible to relapse if you do all the suggested things. I know heaps of people who were living by the basic text and working the steps and attending regular meetings who still relapsed, myself being one of them. But according to the literature this doesn't happen, unless I'm "constitutionally incapable of being honest". Are you serious?


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:35 am 
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Hi Mel, hope things are still going well :)

I have a great deal of respect for TJ - he has tons of experience with all kinds of treatment, including ORT/psych meds/support groups and more. I just wanted to reply again because in your first post you said you really love your NA meetings and get so much out of them. I feel the same way in that I have friends in NA, and we share a lot of common experience, which makes me feel less "sick", even in my thoughts and actions in recovery.

I guess there is a newer NA pamphlet (as far as doctrine goes) that says something about methadone/Suboxone. Of the 20+ pamphlets my group has available, that isn't one of them. My group & the groups I attend don't take an official stance that you are "not clean" on Suboxone. It's up to the individual (and individual groups).

I guess my point is if you love your meetings, keep going to them! Screw the official doctrine that comes out of the 1930's (before we even had Suboxone!) I think people are more educated about addiction these days, and more open minded. It's people like us being in those fellowships that are changing them for the better, imo.


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:16 pm 
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TeeJay wrote:



And don't get me started on the idea that it's impossible to relapse if you do all the suggested things. I know heaps of people who were living by the basic text and working the steps and attending regular meetings who still relapsed, myself being one of them. But according to the literature this doesn't happen, unless I'm "constitutionally incapable of being honest". Are you serious?


I just brought this up in my Addiction Studies Class! One of our texts is called Group Psychotherapy with Addicted Populations and it's by some guy named Philip J. Flores. The premise of this book is that the 12 steps are the only way you can truly be in recovery. I'm constantly rolling my eyes while I read it. I mentioned in discussion that the book brings up addicts who are constitutionally incapable of being honest. The book says that these people all have behavioral disorders. I said, "90% to 95% of opiate addicts relapse while in 12 step recovery based treatment. Does that mean that 90 to 95% of addicts have a behavioral disorder?? That doesn't make sense!"

Such BS. Of course, I'm in class with a bunch of long term AA/NA people. I don't know how they would react if I floated my hypothesis that 12 step groups are just another thing you can be addicted to, like exercise or video games. On the other hand I think that step work is valuable and helps you to know yourself better and work on character flaws. I just don't buy into the dogma. I wonder what Bill W. would think if he saw the tenets that NA holds onto in the face of medication that can be life changing.

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:53 pm 
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I have been exposed to the twelve steps since I was 14 yrs old. My Mom is a recovering alcholic who was physically and emotionally abuse. I believe she has borderline personality disorder and used the 12 steps to be selfish and self centered. That being said, I believe in the program and the steps. TeeJay, I have never felt that you need to believe in God to be successful. In fact, I have always found them to be accepting of finding a higher power and that could be anything. But abstinence, for me, has always been an interesting topic. In overeaters anonymous, abstinence is following a daily food plan. So a slice of cake or a cookie is a relapse. My point, is that everyone has a different "abstinence." To me this works for anyone, no matter what your drug of choice is. I think AA/NA would be much more successful if they incorporated harm reduction. My feeling is to take the twelve steps and make them your own. Be honest with yourselves and others and make the program work for you!


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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:22 pm 
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TJ has been through the ringer in terms of everything he has tried to keep mentally healthy. If anyone went back to his first posts and read through them all they would know that the fact that he has found a way through speaks to his incredible fortitude. Of course, he's gone by a couple of different but similar names over the years from forgetting a password or two.

My point is that if TJ has found something that works for him and that he thinks has merit, I not only believe him, but put great stock into whatever is working for him. I have looked through SMART Recovery information before and actually thought of starting my own group. It makes so much sense to me. I encourage others to check it out, especially if they have only ever tried 12 step groups.

Michelle, I want you to know that I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying. I think it's a good idea to compare the two and find out which one makes the most sense to the addict. For some people I think it's going to feel more right to step into SMART Recovery than it is to twist the steps into a shape that suits people in our situation. Anyway, it's good to know that there is more than one thing out there for us.

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Feeling like a fraud
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:34 am 
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hI, I just wrote a long response and lost it, man I hate that.

TJ, yes Im in Australia. It pains me to hear how America charge you guys for life saving medication. I am so grateful of our medical system after reading what you pay. I couldn't afford what you guys have to pay and that's just so wrong. We don't have to pay anything for doc appointments at all and only $25 per week for sub - no matter what dosage. Sorry, Im not trying to brag at all, I just am truly appreciative of what we pay.

I get 5 take aways per week which is good because they don't normally do that until you have been in the program for a few months. My AOD nurse explained to my doc that im trustworthy and I work quite far from my chemist, leaving me only 45 mins to get there for pick up daily.

I am ok now going to NA and AA as I know im clean; this is because im only taking whats prescribed to me and the way im meant to.
Some older, cleaner members do believe in ORT as they have seen too many people die from drugs.
I look at it like im just taking medication for my asthma and bipolar.
To me its really important for harm reduction and now especially for not being in active addiction.
As for NA and AA, I still don't advertise im using sub and about 5 others there don't mention it either. Its not worth the bother of trying to educate closed minded idiots.
The members can see such a change in me already after being on it for 35 days and because they know my sister died of drug overdose 2 years ago, they are really proud of me. It was her anniversary 2 weeks ago and normally I get so fucked up on that date I nearly die but this time I was clean thanks to Suboxone. Its a life saver and that's why I now don't give a shit what others think.
At the moment im making the most of NA to get in touch with some spirituality as im very against religion. It was NA that taught me there is big difference. Being off my face for 20 years has stunted me emotionally and NA is actually teaching me how to deal with my emotions and dealing with difficult situations - clean. I have a psych and AOD counsellor for that as well so im doing everything I can to get clean this time round. I was trying before but now im totally serious. Vey sick of chasing drugs, finding cash for it and hiding it from everyone. Even tho im hiding sub from everyone in my life, even my partner, its so much less stress.

Thanks for your support and for this forum to help me when im unsure about things.
Oh and I have bitten the bullet and found a new sponsor, one who supports me being on ORT.
Thank you all :)


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