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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Hi all! My name is JDizzle (Jess) and I am new to this forum. I posted an introduction in the appropriate message board if you want to know more about me :D

I was hoping to get some guidance. I have been a sub. patient for 4 years now. My program has consisted of me going to my doctor every 2-3 months and getting a refill. And on the side I went to meetings for about the first 2 years. Worked my steps, etc. I saw a counselor once towards the beginning of treatment and wasn't a big fan. He said things like "well, this isn't a permanent solution" and "you should try and taper off as soon as possible". He also pushed me to sign up for Karate, something I have no interest in at all. He and I did not click at all. So, after 6 months (and still being on 16 mgs of sub at that point) I decided to avoid seeing this counselor again at all costs because of the pressure he put on me. I wanted to stay on this medication. It was going too well to taper off.

Well, I now have an appointment on Wednesday to get my refill and my doctor has started a new thing where when we come in to see him, he is going to make us see this counselor as well.

I AM SO NERVOUS!!! It's 2 days away and I haven't been able to sleep at all at the thought of having the rug ripped right out from under me.


I am still on 8mgs a day and very comfortable at this dose. I do not attend AA anymore, But this is because I am in college pursuing a master's degree AND I work 40 hours a week. I go straight from work to school and vice versa. I barely have time to sleep. I spend weekends doing homework. However, not going to meetings has not jeopardized my recovery whatsoever. I have been 100% clean for 4 years. And being in school and working so hard has been more of a motivator/reason to stay clean than going to 12 step meetings was. I never really talk to my doctor about this. He doesn't really ask questions. Just looks at my pupils, asks how much I'm taking, and sends me on my way. Which is really how I prefer things to be done!

So...I am totally worried. Worried that the last 4 years will come crashing down this Wednesday and that this counselor is going to ruin everything!!!

Please, help me out peeps. What experiences have you had with your doctor appointed counselors/therapists? Anything similar to my story?

Thank you SO SO MUCH! Look forward to hearing your responses. 8)

Jdizzle


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:42 pm 
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Hey jdizzle (cool name),

Welcome to the forum!!

Is this counselor you're going to see the same one as before? Regardless, if he tries to push you off of Suboxone, simply tell him you're afraid of relapsing. Surely he's aware of the fact that thousands upon thousands of addicts die every year of OD's from a relapse? If not, he's an idiot!!

If it were me, I'd say something to the effect of "I understand getting off of Suboxone is a goal for some, but I simply don't think I'm ready right now and I don't know when I'll be ready." You may want to explain how your life has improved and stabilized while on Suboxone and you fear losing those improvements and stabilization. You're basically going to have to guilt them into keeping you on Suboxone.

As a side note, when I got off Suboxone, I knew in my heart it was my time to quit Suboxone and I still lapsed several times after quitting, one of them very nearly an OD. If you're not completely ready to get off Suboxone, I'd say your odds of success (living) would be less than mine.

Finally, if they're still pushing you to get off Suboxone, find another doctor. There are doctors out there who believe in Suboxone as a maintenance med, you just have to find one.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:01 am 
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Hi Jess. I've been on sub for about six months now. I have back problems and was on pain pills for 5 and a half years prior to the sub. I ended up with a bit of an addiction so I started taking sub. I decided to stay on it because it helps my pain much better than the pills did. But even though I'm mostly taking it for pain, my insurance will only cover it for addiction. Though they were fine with covering whatever amount of pain pills. Kinda messed up. Anyway, my insurance will only cover sub if I am in some kind of therapy. And the doctor I see insists on monthly visits with a therapist, who is in the same office as him. I've pretty much run out of things to say with her after six months and I kind of feel like it's a waste of time and money, but it's required so I have to keep seeing her. She's very nice and very supportive of sub. She repeatedly tells me to make sure my doctor knows how much the sub is helping my pain. She's not sure what his feelings are on long term sub, but she definitely feels that I should keep taking it since I'm doing so well on it. The sub makes me really tired, but at least I don't constantly feel like I need more. I dose three times a day, as opposed to the eight times a day with oxy. I do like my therapist, and am glad she supports me on this. I think any good therapist should be supportive of what works best for you. That's pretty much what they're there for, to just listen and be supportive. So hopefully that's the kind of therapist that you end up seeing. Just wanted to let you know that they're not all like that first one you saw. Good luck and let us know how it goes!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:11 am 
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I would guess it won't be the same counselor as the one you were seeing..generally an established psychiatrist isn't going to leave their independent practice to run concurrent with a doctor's office, since it takes them giving part of their pocketbook earnings away. Usually what happens is you get a counselor that doesn't have a practice of their own, and need a "foot-in-door" approach to get their career kicked off, so they come in a existing practice.

If the counselor wants any merit at all with patients, they'll not tear them down for wanting to stay in something of a stable environment...which means, life currently on suboxone. I never understand why these "counselors" get some of their jollies by telling people they aren't as clean as the should be...I'd love to ask them "by who's definition of CLEAN do I need to live my life by?"...because their definition of clean may not include a life of buying opiates from a dealer for $6 per pill...and in my case, $45 to $60 per pill when I was on Oxycontin...in fact, I'm sure their definition of clean includes living in a gated community, growing up in a household where a 6-figure income was "living on the cheap" and driving a new car every year was par for the course...
So for them to set their standard of what clean should be, according to their perceived notion of what society thinks is ok, well that's really not being professional, nor is it furthering their career choices, as not many people are going to like someone who wants others to live by their definition of what a clean person should ideally shoot for.

I think you shouldn't worry. Counseling should help you address triggers and possible problems you may have, not define what length of time your treatment should run....they aren't there to tell you the time constraints on Suboxone, as there aren't any -- those are solely up to the doctor.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Hi Romeo, Kitty36, and Jonathan!

Thank you so much for the insight.

To clarify (as I didn't really before) this is the same counselor that I saw the first time a good 4 years ago. And Jonathan, yes he is running concurrent with this doctor's office. He is kind of a jerk, to be honest. He runs a tight ship from what I remember....really pushes and pushes to get patients off of suboxone in a few months. Also, my doctor runs out of the local community health center. So, with that said- I think this counselor and my doctor are pretty used to seeing some "trashy" folks who really are abusing the program.

They always tell me I am "the golden patient" as they've only been suspicious twice (and I rec'd U.A.'s both times that came up clean of course).

Anyway, so....the last few days I've been trying to study the big book and re-memorize the 12-steps. The addict in me wants to just lie to this counselor, say what he wants to hear, get my refill, and be on with it. It's been a couple years since I got into meeting. But, as Dr. Junig believes, are meetings really necessary? For a desperate addict yes, but someone who has been stable for 4 years...no not really....

So, as hard as it will be I am just going to be totally honest. I'm going to tell this guy that I haven't been to a meeting but I am doing great and would like to continue on this path. Maybe I'll taper down to 6mgs but I do not want to go any lower. I start some intensive schooling in the fall and I want to be at my best.

Anyway, wow, you guys are AWESOME..again..thank you for the support. I should have joined this forum sooner :)

Much love-
Jess


PS- look forward to hearing from you guys even more!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:38 pm 
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If you feel bold enough to ask him the question, I'd like to know why your counselor thinks it's so important folks get off Suboxone. I'm just curious to hear what he would have to say.

BTW, that dude in your avatar looks like he's having a bad day!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Romeo,

We will see where the appointment takes me and I will let you know if I can get an answer! That's great, I'd love to put him on the spot and see why he thinks the way he does.

Who knows though, there are 2 counselors at this office and I may sit with the other one (who could be better or worse, I've seen him around and he has that "I'm better than you" look to him. Then again, most doctors/psychologists seem to look like that to me..hah!)

And hahaha yes my avatar is from my favorite movie "Pan's Labyrinth". He's one of the monsters. Keep in mind, I'm pretty chill, despite what impression my avatar gives :)


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 Post subject: One more thing, Romeo
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:17 pm 
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Yknow, Romeo, I was just thinking more about asking the counselor at my doc's office why getting off suboxone is so important..


It really WOULD be a great question to ask...

I mean, really...WHY?! I think he is probably one of those prudes who sees being on suboxone as "not being entirely sober". Well, yknow what, Romeo...I'm going in there with my head up high tomorrow. I pay a lot of money for these appointments and I don't deserve to get dicked around, you feel me? I'm going to tell him that I'm happy, I'm staying on it, and that's it. If he wants to help me work out some of my daddy issues, great. But I will not take any guilt tripping.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:26 pm 
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Good for you! A counselor should be there to support you and to help you work out problems, not create them. You don't deserve to be made to feel guilty. You're doing the right thing and getting treatment. That's something to be PROUD of! Good luck and let us know how it goes :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:39 am 
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I hope all goes well and you are able to convey your feelings in a way that gets across to the "counselor" exactly how you feel...just like it was said in kitty's post...they are (or should be) there to HELP with current problems, NOT create new problems.

Do some research on Suboxone docs in your area...they are slowly becoming more commonplace....find a few and have a back-up plan...then, if something goes awry in your appointment, you can say "hey, I hired YOU to help me..you didn't hire ME. I pay you a lot of money to help me with a problem that I stepped up to the plate and admitted to having. If you don't feel as though you're in a place to help me any longer, then there is another doctor who IS..and who's willing, and his office is XX miles away. I'm not paying for you to tell me how long I need your plan..I'm paying for you to accommodate my plan that I've set for my life to stay on track, and that's as long as it takes, and as long as I find it necessary."

In my 5 years on Suboxone, I've had 3 doctors. Changing had more to do with distance than anything else in the first one...but I could've stayed in with the 2nd doctor and tried to talk to him and describe what happened...but why? He tried to punish me for some sort of wrongdoing that wasn't there...by reducing my suboxone. That really pisses me off..first sign of a problem and a doctor lowers your suboxone dose?? That's about as ignorant as a cancer patient having a relapse of cancer, and instead of the doctor helping, they lower the chemotherapy instead of giving another round...
So the doctor created a problem..or initiated a problem by lowering my dose without checking some facts first...and by doing that, I never said a word, but I walked out making plans to see a different doctor the next month...and I tried very little to get the doctor to see my side..and didn't really spend much time trying. Soon as I saw that it was pointless, I made an appointment with a different doctor..and have been nearly 3 months in another office. If there was a problem to begin with...the doc handled it wrong to lower my dose ..to be an addiction specialist and to deal with an issue by first lowering the dose on a patient...well that says he really doesn't understand the patient much at all. He sees himself as a god-like figure in your life, and he's "allowing" you to have something that he feels you're lucky to be getting..when the facts are, you can acquire Suboxone rather easily now, and it's not that expensive in some areas to get it from a doctor, if you can get one that will write scripts for the current generic forms of Suboxone that are available on the market....
Used to...yeah, it was harder to come across it...hardly no one knew what it was..but now...it's come a long way in just the past 3-4 years.

Let us know what happens with your appointment and if you ask the question to the counselor...I'd like to know also what his ideas are on hurry up and become a withdrawing street-addict again by forcing people on some routine, XX amount of time on suboxone then OMG YOU GOTTA GET OFF OF IT NOW...

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Hey guys--

My appointment is today and I am TRIPPIN'! I have to work until 4 then I'm heading up. It takes me about 10 minutes to get to my doc's office (really wish I could just go on and get it over with but that's not the case). I will let you all know how it goes!

Jonathan-- thanks for sharing your experiences. That is a good idea to have a backup plan, but MAN would it be a disappointment to have to switch for any reason. In the 4 years I've been on Sub I've been lucky to have been with the same doctor. It's gone so smoothly. But like I've said, I'm worried the counselor will screw it all up for me! Anyway, just out of curiosity, how many mg's are you taking at this point?

I just really have a feeling that this counselor will discourage the fact that I am taking 8mgs as many who have been on this med are at a much lower dose. I tapered down to 4 mgs but for some reason that dose was not enough for me. I found myself having to take extra. So I went back up to 8. That made me feel kind of weak :(

Anywhoo--You see, the reason they are forcing me to see this therapist is because they are doing "joint" appointments now. So for 20 minutes you talk to the shrink and for 10 you see your doc. The girls @ the front desk explained they are doing it because "he has so many patients and he wants to start weaning them off the medication". So that freaked me out. Everyone in this office knows me quite well. They are all rooting for me. Many of them say "Jessica, you need to get off this medication, you can do it! We believe in you!" So it seems that it is more of a general idea at that place that you are not successful until you get off bupe completely.

Well, like I said, I will update you ASAP. I hope I have the guts to really lay it out and ask this counselor WHY he sees it as a requirement to get OFF sub. We'll see how it goes...I just have no idea...that's why I'm so nervous...and I tend to be a "people pleaser", I hate any potential conflict so I foresee myself kissing ass today and saying what they want to hear. But, I will do what it takes to stay at my current dose!

Thank you so much guys, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate and value your support!

Jess


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:23 pm 
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Sounds like they are in the process of tapering people there.
When you have staff members tryn to talk you into go off
of the med i would see that as a bad sign.
Try to stay calm and just see what happens.
You seem to be doing well .it just burns me
when addicts become forced to go off subs
when it is working so well in the persons life.
Ive never been one to point to money as a reason,
but this sounds or looks like it could me..
One step at at a time, then maybe a new plan later...good luck today...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:39 pm 
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Razor-

I sure hope it isn't a bad sign :( All these thoughts have ran through my mind like "What if he is going to retire" or "what if they FORCE me to taper"? Of course, as suggested, I can look for a new doctor. I just really love it at this office! They have been so great up until this point.

Anyway, I will post an update tonight! PRAY FOR ME THAT IT IS A GOOD ONE!

Talk to you later ;)
Jess


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Hey im not tryn to scare you. Just thinking ahead that there are other places.
And ya you like it there so hopefully they will work with you!!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:59 am 
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Hey Jess, how did your appointment go? Did you ask your questions and get some answers? (Yes, I'm aware that I paraphrased a line from The Little Mermaid.)

I hope you don't have to look for another sub doctor, but if you see the writing on the wall, don't hesitate! It could be that a lot of people from this same doctor's practice will be looking for a new doctor if he's trying to push everyone off.

I'll be holding my breath until you post what happened. :)

Amy

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Hey guys!

So, my appointment went GREAT!

I met with my doctor first and he did the standard run-through (a little chat, checked my pupils, had me give a sample for a UA, checked my bp which was super high, etc etc). Oh he also was "supposed" to send a fax to walmart for a refill but forgot. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms that hopefully I can deal with today.

After that he sent me to meet with the dreaded counselor. Walking down the hallway felt like the longest trip of my life. At first glance I felt slightly relieved because the guy looked super gentle. PLUS, he wasn't the previous counselor I had seen (Dr B, I will call him). He had white haired and kind eyes, etc. He told me to call him by his first name. But, when I'm nervous I tend to spit when I talk. I practically gleeked on the guy. Instead of judging me, he laughed and shook my hand. And from that point it was as smooth as butter. He asked me how I'm doing and I told him "So well, I'm getting my masters WHILE working full-time". He asked how my addiction began and gave me some pamphlets on treating my anxiety without medication. He told me "Well, I think that's about it. I can tell you are doing amazing on this program and that it is working for you and that's all I need to know. Do you have any questions for me?". I said "WOW, ok, great!" As I was about to walk out I decided to ask him "Where is Dr B?". He said "Oh he is working at the center up the street now". I then said "I have a question. I was stressing about this appointment for weeks because I thought it would be with Dr. B. The reason I was nervous was because a couple months into the program he pressured me to start weaning." Right away this counselor interrupted me and said "Yes, he and I have differing opinions on how this program should go. You should actually be relieved that he moved because he was pressuring many patients to taper off. That just seems to be his method".

So, yeah....Dr B was just approaching his patients in the TOTALLY wrong way. I wonder if that has something to do with why they moved him? Who knows..

Anyway, I have to get back to work now but WOOHOO just SO glad to have that appointment over with and so ecstatic it went well. Thank you all for the support through this tough last few days!

Talk to you all soon,
Jess


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Also, HI AMY! :) This mind sound kind of creepy but even before I joined this forum I read many, many posts from you. I guess you could say that I'm a fan :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:28 pm 
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Thanks, Jess! That's always nice to hear!

I am relieved to read that your appointment went well! This counselor sounds like he doesn't have an agenda other than making sure you're doing well. Why is that such a difficult stance for the other counselor to take? Anyway, I'm glad the controlling one has gone bye-bye!

So you didn't hear anything from your sub doctor about wanting you to taper? That's good news too. I'm thinking that your doctor booted the controlling counselor because their philosophies regarding sub did not match up.

You crack me up! I'll be sure if I ever meet you to be wearing a spit shield, although I sincerely doubt I'd make you nervous. Your nervous spitting reminds me of going on this roller coaster called The Phantom's Revenge. I have to swallow several times before the ride starts because I giggle the whole way through it and I'm constantly in danger of accidentally wetting the person sitting behind me! Lol! Maybe we should start a section on the forum about problems with excess saliva! :)

Amy

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:47 pm 
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Yay J D...!!
So glad it all went well.
That does sound like a careing clinic
you found.

Ok, keep on moving forward.
Life can be good.
You might want to read Dr. Junigs Buprenorphine Guide.
It is easily downloaded. Great answers there also.

Peace razor.
Oh just my 4 cents (rule)...lol


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:09 pm 
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Amy, at your age, you shouldn't be riding rollercoasters, anyway. :)

Jess, so glad to hear your appointments went well!!

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