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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 10:59 pm 
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It'd be good if we could have an honest discussion about this. I'll share openly my experience on the topic. Maybe there are others out there who have had a similar experiences with drug-replacement programs.

I've been on Suboxone or methadone a few times now, and every time my experience has been the same. The decline with Suboxone is generally a lot slower than methadone, but the end result is always the same. I end up relapsed on my opioid of choice - heroin. My last stint on Suboxone went for approximately 3 years. When I first went on it this time around, I lasted perhaps 3 months before I used. I started on 12mg, and when I started to reduce my dose cravings returned, and I used once or twice. So my dose was bumped back up.

Mind you something remarkable happened when I first went on Suboxone. I got a burst of motivation. I found myself stable accommodation, a job, and made inroads to return to study. It's remarkable in that the confidence required to get my life in order returned nearly instantly. My cravings disappeared, and I felt (for the most part) free of the obsession to use heroin. Contrast this experience with working a total abstinence program and no drug replacement, where an addict may need many months in rehabilitation and intensive therapy, daily peer-support meetings and a slow reintegration into society before they can get that same feeling of momentum to achieve and "move on". In that regard, Suboxone was a magic bullet.

I always found drugs like Suboxone and methadone rapidly quell the desire to use. But there's no magic to this. All such drugs do is essentially feed the addiction monster just enough to shut it up for a day. But is such an approach to opioid addiction really viable long term? I remember watching a video of an old addict American in recovery who, in his using heyday, was put on the prescribed diamorphine (heroin) program in the UK. He'd get his three daily doses of heroin legally, and thought he was in addict's heaven. But it wasn't long before he felt tolerant to his legal diamorphine, his disease got greedy, and he was caught purchasing street heroin to give him a top-up. He was then deported back to the US, where he spent over a year in Odyssey House in New York and has been clean off opioids ever since.

My experience with drug-replacement has been the same. Eventually I end up tolerant to the effect, its ability to manage my cravings diminishes, and I either increase the dose, or I use heroin.

I'm not saying drug-replacement is useless or misguided. I squeezed nearly 3 good years out of my last stint on Suboxone. In that time I was working, studying, had healthy relationships. I had my shit together. But nearing the end of my time on Sub my quality of life diminished a LOT. I stopped going out, I was depressed, I had clinical low testosterone and thoughts to end my life plagued me whenever I was awake. I then turned to heroin, again.

I go to a lot of NA these days, and it's interesting how many other people in the rooms have had similar experiences. I guess those who are managing well on drug-replacement have no reason to go to meetings, or inpatient treatment programs. But it's undeniable the number of people I hear sharing who say drug-replacement never worked for them. Maybe my ideas are skewed a bit by my own, and these people's experiences.

So what's your story? Have you been well behaved on Suboxone treatment? Have you been occasionally topping-up on other opioids, or acting out with other drugs?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:47 am 
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Thank you for your honest sharing teejay! I've gotta say, though, that at nearly my one year mark on sub, I've not upped my dose, relapsed on other opiates or other drugs, nor alcohol. I feel essentially like I did before my addiction began. My 1st week I needed a dose increase to 24 mgs, however, within weeks began to lower that back down to the 12 mgs I've been stable at for a long while now. Thus far, my experience has been very positive.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:20 pm 
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To answer the question put forth, yes. Since starting Suboxone
in Jan, 2011, I haven't used any other substances. None.
I continue to move forward in rebuilding my mess
of a life today.
I know many others in my town and clinic with far more years than i
who are doing just fine also.
We are in a group of older(35 an up), who are sick of using and losing.
I must say the 20 somethings seem to fair poorly after a year or so. No, not all of them
but many. I've had them as Sponcees when I tried to work a na program the last three years.
I've left.. I no longer beloug. I opened up an it cost me. Sad really. But, it's there show and there rules
and I thought I could show them this can work together. I was mistaken. And I was told it could.
I told my Sponcees that we had to work twice as hard as the next guy to show them we were serious.
In the end it didn't matter. One guy tapered off an jumped. He's REALLY clean now. He just drinks beer here and there.
At any rate I'm just tired, tired of thinking about it. Tired really of the whole recovery. I let 3years of pill taking
completely change my intire life. I've learned a lot. You can teach an old dog new tricks. I'm a better person for it, but I did this work. Me. With help. Sub. Clean people. Others in sub treatment an those who are not. Dr's. My wife.
This forum that I've been reading since 2011.watching people come and go an comeback. Make comebacks.
And change.
Have I really stopped using? You bet I have. And I'm amazed.. Like Dr j has written we have to change our personally.

One way or another..

Best of luck to all of us..... Razor 56....


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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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