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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:32 am 
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Hi all,

I haven't posted on this site since 2008 or so, when suboxforum was very new. So I'd like to reintroduce myself and share my experience.

I am a former chronic pain patient who was on suboxone off and on for 2 years with no regrets. I was on opiate pain medication for four years prior and eventually my pain medication use spun way way out of control.. Suboxone was a godsend in terms of giving me stable time in which to feel better physically though emotions were and still continue to be another story in and of itself.

Eventually side effects (numbness in all my limbs) on suboxone forced me to go off, and unfortunately I returned to serious opiate abuse for another few months until I entered rehab and did a cold turkey detox. After a number of years seeing a very unscrupulous pain management doctor I found myself snorting up to 180 mg of Opana a day along with long acting Opana, xanax and the occasional dilaudid suppository. whoa! Apparently the opana I was on was the equivalent of around 360 mg of oxycontin. I really am truly lucky to be alive considering I am a 5'6" 130 lb woman. After a few years of being on pain management, the addiction part of uncontrollable use kicked in with a vengeance. I was very unwilling initially to admit this was happening since I was previously adamant that I was somehow "different" and could manage being on painkillers. I am incredibly surprised that I did not OD and a private yoga teacher of mine said he was terrified of coming to my house and finding me dead.

What led to being on pain management was suffering from adenomysosis (very painful, look it up), endometriosis and chronic debilitating migraines which I now know was very directly influenced by my hormones. I have since had a hysterectomy which was a godsend. However after rehab (my second time, first was for alcohol in 2000.) it was about 2 more years, up until last Spring that that I got off all opiates. Even after rehab it was a long long taper since I was still struggling with debilitating migraines. I had hoped rehab would be a magic cure all, which is wasn't. In fact, life was much harder after being in the safe, but uncomfortable confines of a treatment center. About 5 days after in-patient I landed in the ER with an uncontrollable vomiting migraine...so I made the very risky decision to go back on much lower dose pain management being much more transparently honest and having my meds tightly controlled. I don't think this approach is for everyone, but I just wasn't ready with pain in the equation. By the time I finally quit the opiate train I was taking 1 fioricet a day for 3 or 4 months so it was pretty easy at that point to finally once and for all stop all pain meds.

What I do know for myself is that opiates/pain management was a nightmare. I truly learned what the expression having a "monkey on my back" meant. I could not run from my addiction no matter how much I wanted it to stop and despite knowing how dangerously perilous my use had become. At the end of my addiction I repeatedly tried going back on subs but the body numbness was getting a bit scary, so I continued bouncing back and forth, mostly using the subs as a withdrawal filler in between scripts because of course I ALWAYS ran out, no matter how much I was prescribed. I subsequently found out the limb numbness is in the black box of side effects are on the black box side effects listing. So humbling myself and getting medical help was the only way I could get help.

That said, I am very pro-suboxone for harm reduction. I have seen it work well for many people. I don't have any opinions on long term use since this was not my experience, but I can see how it is a greatly protective measure. I currently have a 12 step sponsee who ran out of subs, went into withdrawals and had a nasty relapse 1 week after getting out of rehab finding herself with a needle in her arm. She believed that since she was doing so well that she'd go off suboxone. So she skipped her doctors appointment and did not refill her script. ouch.

I definitely admit that I am an addict, despite getting my scripts from a doctor, never ordering online and never buying pills off the street. I'm not sure if that benefited me either since I paid so little for so many pills having good insurance coverage. I've seen many people justify their use this way, that getting drugs from a doctor somehow legitimizes their use. I found it to be such a murky area dealing with chronic pain and addiction. I've seen many pain patients, like myself, over time begin getting high. I know this is not always the case and that pain meds can be a godsend for many people but there are some of us who have a biological predisposition for addiction. On the other hand, pain is a scary experience, especially when it is unremitting. Opiates initially provided immense relief in my life. I was so tired of being in overwhelming pain any just wanted to feel better at any cost. When I am in pain, it is nearly impossible to focus on anything else pain and breathing through it. But once I was abusing my pills this was the only thing I focused on, getting high, staying high and staving of withdrawals.

Nonetheless (apologies for long windedness - its helpful for me to write all this down) I hope that I can be helpful to those struggling with addiction. As I mentioned above I am no longer on suboxone, but I believe it has a place in addiction recovery. I am in a 12 step program and have seen far too many people shamed out of recovery by those who either have no experience with opiate addiction (in AA) or have a hard-ass attitude, almost Darwinian, towards medications of all kinds including anti-depressants. I have heard over an over that one will not be depressed if one is working one's program properly. yikes. I beat the crap out of myself for many years in recovery, feeling like it was somehow my fault for having faulty wiring in my brain. Being angry at myself for not toughing it out through pain, being angry because I still suffer from anxiety and major depression and being angry at the world because I often feel ill equipped to simply deal with life. I do continue to be involved in 12 step though slightly less so than I used to be. I try my hardest not to be judgmental and try to bring that perspective to the rooms. I find it can be an incredible support system especially in the early years of getting clean.

Things are finally getting better in my life. I have had to diligently keep pursuing a solution to my migraines since they didn't magically disappear as I hoped they would once I got clean. At this point in time I believe I have found a good mix of medications (non-addictive) and supportive treatments that have significantly decreased my headaches and pain level. Its taken a lot of patience and honesty to work through this.

best of luck and I hope to participate further in this forum.

-j


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:27 am
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Hi June,

I just wanted to say hello and welcome back. Thank you for sharing such a well crafted introduction. It was insightful and inspiring. I can't imagine what it's like to be caught in the vortex of being addicted to something that you truly "need." That is the ultimate mind f*ck. Excuse my language, I couldn't find a better way to describe it. It seems like you've got a good grasp of where you were and where you are now and I hope I get the chance to read more of your posts.

TD


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