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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:35 pm 
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Hello Everyone,

My name is Patrick, I am 34 years old and am from Racine, Wisconsin. For anyone outside of Wisconsin the easiest way to describe my location is smack dab in between Milwaukee and Chicago so I get the best of both worlds. After almost 5 years straight of abusing opiate based painkillers gradually moving up the ladder from hydrocodone all the way up to the blue oxy 30 milligram beauties. Along that timeline, I went from an almost always honest person to the worst compulsive liar, I went from someone up until the start of my addiction who had never stolen anything to someone who stole his kids tv and videogame systems just to pawn off to get cash to get pills. See at first I went into this whole pain pill using as in it will be just be a morning thing pop a few go to work get through that first half of the day feeling great, not releasing two things were going wrong without me even noticing the first of the two and most important was the fact I was laying the foundation of my addiction, by feeding my happy sensors in my mind and secondly and definitely nowhere less important I was without notice causing myself to act out of character at work. Yet, I was either too prideful or ignorant probably quite a bit of both and continued my usage until after about a year I remember I was lying in bed and at this point I upgraded to the 10mg hydrocodone and yet still in denial, my bills were still paid on time, kids were taken care of, and still had extra money for fun stuff and entertainment buys outside of the house. Yet that October night like any other night I laid myself down to sleep, and on this very night I didn't have any pills before bed, and actually took my last 3-4 10s while going trick or treating with my kids. So I go to lie down and I start sweating not just on my forehead, but my arms, legs and back of my neck my legs began to tense up and tingle and I found my hands clinching the sheets of the bed. This prompted me to jump up and research the pain pills and their after effects of prolonged use and much to my surprise I was going through withdrawal. I have never felt that horrible in my life, and after going to many opiate friendly forums online, alas the magic cure for opiate withdrawal more opiates yippee!!. Yes I was that ignorant, yet at the same time still never thought of myself as an addict, how bullish right? I will spare you guys the whole next 4 years, as most of us know how the addiction process progresses into even more caustic hurtful behavior. The things I did I still sometimes have nightmares/flashbacks mostly at night and raging guilt for the things I did. The lowly things I did just to maintain my sanity and not get sick.

Then late in the 4th year of my addiction a friend and former heroin addict was prescribed suboxone, and me not even knowing what that was or afraid to put anything under my tongue I was hesitant that first day to buy any. This friend was also my steady supplier of oxy 30s up to this point and all the way until I cleaned my act up, so day number two gets here and by then my body and mind are a total wreck, my mind races every single moment just pacing a million miles an hour hoping my phone lights up with that all familiar contact finally at 230pm day two into no kind of pills she phones and says sorry I wont be getting my oxys for another week or so. And I know most former, recovering and current drug addicts have all heard those ominous words of a few days wait to a week and you immediately go into panic mode, so she tells me again about the suboxone that she will get rid of a few of them, finally after playing 50 questions with her about them I fly out there door and drive mach 10 to her house.

Even after purchasing two of these blue and white packaged strips I sat hesitant at the end of her driveway, and the message that drove home to me from her was your sickness will be gone within 15 minutes which all seemed sort of far fetched upon opening the package and seeing the small orange strip. With my hands shaking and following a gulp of water to wet my tongue I slide the orange tangy tasting strip under my tongue, and started my drive home. I don't know if it was because of my empty stomach or my blood pressure shooting high as heck from being in withdrawal for 48hrs, but within 10 minutes of driving home I was on cloud nine and not like a good oxy high cloud nine and more self confidence that the sickness was lifting faster than it would have with pills. I was ecstatic and from taking the following one a few days later burnt a forever reminder that there is a cure albeit it medicinal one from opiate addiction. But, after only a month or two on suboxone my friend peed dirty multiple times and got kicked off of her medication not that it really mattered to me because either way she always had my business either by subs or the oxy. When in retrospect I think she purposely always said she was low on subs just to keep me strung and pay for the more expensive opiate and I have not spoke to her since my clean date of October 29, 2012. She ended up going to prison for heroin possession along with retail theft that helped fund her addiction. On a side note, that is one thing I am grateful I never tried was the big bad H, the master of all drugs. I lost a friend in high school to addiction, and crazy as this may sound lost a decently close friend while we served in the air force together. People think that just because the military is supposedly a drug free work environment doesn't equate to the fact that drugs are still used and sold during active duty no matter the branch or base. It is not a widespread problem or an epidemic, but yet it still is a problem. Because my friend didn't die from an enemy combatant's bullet or roadside bomb, rather than a needle and a bag of heroin from East Baltimore, Maryland.

Enough doom and gloom! Another Halloween came last year, and once again I sat too pill sick to take my own two kids trick or treating!! How sad is that, I send their mother out with them to enjoy a night that is made for family togetherness yet I laid up on our couch sick as sin, and the minute I knew they were far enough away to jump in the car and drive off to get a fix I did so. This would be the last and final pill I have ingested to this day. It didn't really make me feel great nor took the edge of sickness off barely. When the family returned I let the better half/girlfriend know that my problem is beyond control and has already caused more stress and damage to our family ties that any other problems combined!! The next day I feverishly or called as many places as possible being as sick as I was any type of suboxone doctor that could see me immediately as north as Green Bay and south as Chicago. The recurring theme that stonewalled me from getting help was the upfront cost the cheapest was 250.00 and the most outrageous was a clinic located in Milwaukee that was 500.00 up front and after a few appointments you would get 200.00 back. It was some kind of Slavic named clinic, either way all these sounded shifty, and I didn't quite understand I had top tier personal health insurance, why is it the people who promote sobriety and say how essential it is do not tell you in order to achieve said sobriety or help you have to pony up the cash. So once again I was down in the dumps feeling like I had nowhere to turn and also knowing I wanted pills really bad or I was going to go nuts, but finally a phone call from the gf at work said you are a veteran why don't you try the VA. I thought yeah right the VA Hospital like they are going to have counseling for drug addiction and suboxone (maintenance program!) low and behold I call the VA Hospital in North Chicago, and I was able to be seen the following day. The shuttled me in the door quickly sat me down, measured my level of withdrawal which by then I was on my third day without pills, so my father had to drive my sick ass to the hospital.

By the end of the questionnaire and my father telling the VA Staff he was not taking me home without me having some type of medication to at least make me feel better. So after all the paperwork was done questionnaire taken, and a follow appointment with my recurring psychiatrist the next day I was released with one 8mg Suboxone tablet. I took it the minute my father and I hit the parking garage to head home, within 15 minutes almost like a snap of a finger I was out of my funk and I think it even took this for my father to see that medicine can cure or at least harness the other medication I was abusing. I did my 6-week outpatient program at the VA which meant driving down there for 8 hour days 5 days a week, and picking up one tablet of Suboxone per day from the pharmacy. I would get three on Fridays so I could have enough over the weekends and such and slowly the Doctor prescribed me 5 days at a time then a week, finally my first week in December he prescribed me one-month's worth. Granted I have heard a lot of people who are on suboxone get prescribed 30-60 a month right from the jump, but I am glad he worked me up the ladder the way he did. It showed me the hesitation on his part, and it also showed him the drive and seriousness on my part to get sober. I have since been on Suboxone everyday since October 29th, 2012, it has been a godsend and really with it I have never had any urge nor inclination to use pills again.

What the future holds I have no idea!? I will continue to attend NA Meetings about 3 days a week, I will continue to take my medication as prescribed to me and I will promise to myself just for today I will remain drug free. I am quickly approaching my one-year anniversary, it will come and go with little fanfare from me, not being cynical at all, but I figure I will start celebrating when my clean time out numbers my addicted time, so I have another 4 years and change before I will do a backflip. Until then I will come to here for strength while reading all of your amazing stories of triumphs, loss and slip ups. But, in the grand scheme of everything we all know we weren't born perfect and we sure wont die perfect either, but there are certain things we can control, what we do to our bodies and families is one of them, and I do not plan on doing any negative damage on that front. My name is Patrick and I am a recovering pill addict nice to meet all of you!! I want to thank my family for standing behind me one hundred percent even though I have personally caused all the pain and negative issues in their lives, I would also like to give special thanks to the VA North Chicago Mental Health Clinic Staff and Counselors for all their time and caring they dedicated toward me, for that I will never ever fail you and last, but certainly not least Dr. Vamsi Gardilapati for trusting me day by day without your professional, personal advice, guidance and maintenance program I wouldn't know where I would be standing today. To all the people who are currently on Suboxone who treat it as a safety net and still currently use their drug of choice like so many people I have personally come into contact with since starting my program just kick yourself off the program, because there is another person out on the street today/tonight that is begging the lord for help, and by you taking up a doctors precious slot and not taking your program seriously there is another person who would die to have the help you get. That is all nice to meet everyone!!

PK-


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:01 pm 
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Wow Patrick,

That was a great introduction! Welcome from me! I'm always happy to read another story of a life that was, if not saved, then at least improved dramatically by suboxone.

I look forward to hearing more from you soon!

Q

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:45 am 
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Hello Q,

Yeah sorry when I get to typing sometimes it matches my mouth when talking, I don't know when to stop. How long have you been using/prescribed suboxone? Were you previously addicted to pills or heroin? Or are you a friend or family member of an addict and are here to support fellow recovering addicts and such? I think I covered all my bases there, or wait are you none of the above and are just interested with subject of drug addiction and how to stop it? Well, crazy as this may seem I am wordless with it being almost 1am and after watching my beloved Chicago Bears perform beyond expectations even if is only the third preseason game of the year. I have to say even while in the depths of my addiction and I could be pill sick as a dog on Chicago Bears Sundays I always mustered up just enough energy to sit up and watch the Bears, next to my kids there is nothing I love more than my football team. Now I am not one who will paint his face up, go shirtless during a game in December or have a room dedicated to just Bears memorabilia, I am as close however to a super fan as possible. However, much thanks again to you for not only viewing my introduction, but reading it as well.

Best Wishes Q,
Sincerely,
Patrick- :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:06 am 
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Hi Patrick! Welcome to the forum! I don't do 12 step groups, but my name is Amy and I'm an opiate addict.

Thank you for sharing your story. It is very compelling! I don't blame you for urging those who aren't taking their recovery seriously to give up their spots to people who are ready to change. It's not necessarily that I begrudge addicts the ability to avoid being dope-sick. But there are desperate people out there who are trying to find a doctor that is not filled with suboxone patients. Also, the unfortunate practice of selling sub on the streets make those of us playing it straight look bad to the DEA and even lay people. The result of the bad perception is that regulations on suboxone get even tighter, making it harder for people really in recovery to receive their medication. I have not heard that this would happen, but I would be extremely disappointed if sub were treated like methadone, and we were required to plan daily trips to a clinic.

Amy

P.S. I still despise the Bears for their 1986 annihilation of the Patriots!!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:27 pm 
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Wow...what an eloquent, well written introduction. I think I just want to give you a *HUG*.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:06 pm 
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Hey there Amy!

Thanks for taking your time to add to my points as well as reading my introduction in general. Sorry about what we did to your Patriots, but I think you guys have fared pretty well since then :) so stuff it sister hehehehehe!!

Kim,

Virtual hug accepted and thank you so much for the compliment about my introduction. I never have considered myself a writer, but man when I get to typing and discussing about this subject matter, I will type novels for sure.

Guys, I am so glad, humbled and love being amongst my fellow recovering addicts. Granted it is nice having true loving family members and friends behind us along the road to recovery, but there is nothing like a fellow addict to talk to and cheer on. Just for the simple fact that they have been in our shoes and walked a good long hard mile in them. I wish both of you ladies as well the best of luck in your continued recovery. Amy, in the beginning of my suboxone treatment, I am not sure if I mentioned it within my Stephen King type length intro, but the first 8 weeks were almost a daily 45 minute trip south of my house to get my daily tablet. Granted not a huge fan of that especially in the middle of a Wisconsin weather, but I knew number one I needed my medication since at any infancy of recovery you will have the urge to relapse and use your drug of choice. So it was vital to take my sub to just curb the mental want of the opiates. The other great reason behind this was I got to see my prescribing doctor/psychiatrist on a daily basis and he was able to see how serious/dedicated I was to getting clean. I mean anyone could have went until that first weekend and got their 3-4 pills for Friday-Monday and said I am not going, which I am sure there were plenty of them, and I swore the minute I went to the VA that I would not be one of those individuals. Take care ladies and keep up the great work!

Sincerely,
Patrick K. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:59 am 
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Hey Patrick,

I'm sorry I didn't introduce myself better, I sometimes forget that the newer members haven't had a chance to get to know all of us yet. :oops:

I was a pill addict for about, oh...4 years or so. The last year of use was pretty out of control...we've all been there, so no more needs to be said I guess. I started suboxone therapy in March of 2012. I took 8mg per day for most of my treatment and then started tapering. I got all the way down to .25mg sometime in June and was supposed to make the big jump. I just couldn't do it, so I'm now back up to 1mg per day. Holding here for a bit, and then I'm going to try it again. You will see that there are many differing views here about whether to stay on subs long term, taper quickly, taper slowly, or anything else in between. The thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to do this. You and your doctor (if you have a good one) will figure out what is right for you, and you will find your way through all this. Don't be surprized if your plans change a little along the way. I have found my mind changing as I've been through treatment and all the things that you discover about yourself along the way. The only sure way to screw it up is to give up and go back into active addiction.

I wish you all the best!

Q

BTW - I noticed you mentioned getting treatment through the VA. I wanted to thank you for your service to our great country! I'm so happy you were able to get help through that organization, I know it's not perfect...but I'm glad they are there to help all you guys and gals that served so selflessly for all of us.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Hey man,

Fantastic story. Thank you for sharing. I'm on here because today I made the decision to get off pain meds. I've been struggling for the past 3 years. The first time I got off was cold turkey. Like you, I had no idea it was addictive. I was spending $5-6k a month. The dealers were my buddies. 8 months later, I relapsed. Third time, this time, was due to being diagnosed with cancer. But I quickly found myself using it for escapism, to get high, etc.

For me, it's just time. Yeah, this time I got hooked due to having a legit, seriously painful medical condition. But I've seen myself gradually return to the type of person I was when I was hooked 3 years ago. And like you, I still have nightmares about the kind of person I was and became during that.

I am very nervous about suboxone. I think it's because I never head of it until today. He told me I have to detox and withdrawal for about 36 hours. The they administer/oversee my first dose and make me stay there for an hour to be monitored. I have to travel to NYC this weekend, so thankfully I don't start suboxone until next Thursday, because obviously doing this right before a major business trip is probably not a good idea although he assured me i would feel fine that day.

If you don't mind, I have a few questions:

But from what I'm reading, the other benefit from suboxone (aside from no withdrawals) is that it deters you from wanting more. Is that true? Are you saying you don't have a part of you nagging and saying something like, "lets just do it responsibly this time, it will be okay" or "just one for old times sake." Do you think the pill has helped contribute to ending the urge, or is it just willpower? I guess I'm just wondering if suboxone will get rid of withdrawals but I will still feel the psychological withdrawals.

Is it true you have to detox before taking suboxone? He said that if I still have pain meds in my system and take suboxone, I will have intense withdrawals.

Do you have any plans of getting off of suboxone?

Does suboxone do anything else for you? Like feeling happy, etc.? I've read that people say it also can balance your mood, also blocks the psychological (as I asked above), and also provides some pain relief.

I know you said it took only 10 minutes to feel better, but did you feel any other withdrawals at all? Or are you saying after ten minutes it was all gone! If so, wow!

I don't expect you to answer any questions, but if you do, then thank you so much ahead of time. And it's totally cool if I asked too many and you only address a few. Any further insight is majorly appreciated. As I said, today is the first time I heard about it, so I'm trying to find as much info from those who had positive experiences.

One last question, it sounds like you really see a benefit in narcotics anonymous. I've thought about adding that as well, so what is it like? I'd be afraid of telling my story to strangers. Or finding enablers in the meeting.

I found your story very inspiring. You have no idea who I am, but it made me feel so much better reading it. I want to get off finally, but I won't lie, the lack of information and the process made it frightening, and ontop of that, I'm still processing my decision to quit. There's still that part in me that doesn't want to let go, is panicking and saying "don't run out. One more month."

My pain doctor is really awesome though. He called me after my appointment to just once again promise that it will be okay.

Sorry for the long post. And please keep sharing your story.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Hi Daniel,

First of all welcome to the forum!

I'm going to try to answer your questions for you because I don't believe the member above is active in the forum any longer.

Yes, you should get complete relief from your WD symptoms within minutes of taking your first dose of suboxone. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it's not. It may take up to 30 minutes, but after that you will be amazed at how good you feel! You asked about the cravings...most people report that they have absolutely no cravings for their DOC (drug of choice) once they start on the subs. It is truly incredible how well this medicine works! Suboxone is very unique in the way it acts in your body. First of all, it is an opiate. But it is only a partial agonist, not a full agonist like other pain medicines. Your opiate receptors have a very strong affinity for buprenorphine, which is the active ingredient in suboxone. That, combined with the very long half life of subs will completely hold your WD symptoms and keep your opiate receptors saturated for at least 24 hours. This is why you don't crave your DOC any more, your receptors are being filled with the suboxone and you don't feel you need anything else.

As for the question of whether you really need to be completely off all other opiates for 24 hours. The answer is a great big YES! You have to quit taking any other pain meds for long enough to let your receptors get clear of them. The reason for this is that strong affinity I mentioned above. When you take the subs and still have other opiates in your system the buprenorphine will bully the other opiates off the receptors VERY RAPIDLY and cause you to go into immediate WD. This is called precipitated withrawal, and it's definitely NOT FUN! I don't remember you mentioning what your DOC was and how much you were using. This is helpful information to have for us if you have any more questions. But, the bottom line is you absolutely have to be in moderate withdrawal when you go in for your induction.

If you would like more people to see your thread it would be helpful if you start your own in the introduction section. Most people who come to this one will be expecting to see an update from the OP and may not read it if they have already read his thread.

I just want to encourage you to do a little reading here on the forum and educate yourself about suboxone. It is very helpful to know what you are getting yourself into when it comes to this drug. Like I said, it is a very strong opiate and some people don't realize that going in. I highly recommend it's use to people who need to get control of their addictions. It has saved the lives of many people, including mine. And it is almost a miracle how well it works. But you need to be educated about it and understand the process.

Best of luck!

Q

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:03 pm 
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Hey Patrick!

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I have to say I found your story quite interesting and familiar! I'm Lynn and, I too, am an opiate addict. My drug of choice was Hydrocodone and Tramadol. I abused opiates for the past 6 years and began using Sub on Sept 20th, 2013. (the day after my birthday) These last 3 weeks or so on Suboxone have been the best days of my life! I'm truly living again. Thanks again for sharing your story with us and continue to keep up the great work! Your story is truly inspiring.

Lynn


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