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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:01 am 
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[b]Hi all! I am new here as of tonight, because I was aimlessly and sadly searching EVERYWHERE for tips and stories on withdrawing and coming off of suboxone. Well, here is a little bit about me. I am 24 years old and after being addicted to percocets and oc's for four years I hit rock bottom and was in three rehabs and a sober house, resulting in being 5 months clean and sober. However, I came back to where I grew up and used and picked up again. Instead of going back to rehab I just started buying suboxone off the streets. I started using suboxone two years ago in February. I started with just doing a quarter in the morning and a quarter at night. Well, as we know the tolerance grows quick and my need and boredem got the best of me and I started doing up to a whole one (8mg) a day. A quarter in the morning, noon and twice at night.
I am currently facing scary issues with my health... suddenly my blood pressure has been extremely high and my doc. put me through series of tests and on blood pressure medicine. I have been having anxiety attacks because of palpitations and chest pains. But it's been cleared that my heart is in good condition but my blood pressure is high.... also, I am in the midst of applying to schools for my RN degree... I do not want to be held down by suboxone and I want to be free of all things. I am currently taking a quarter in the morning and a quarter at night... 4mg total. I have been taking them two years. Sorry to repeat myself, but PLEASE someone help me with a plan to conquer the weaning process and jumping off the suboxone!!
Please :) thank you to all. thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:07 am 
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Hello INTST and welcome to the forum. The first thing I want to stress is that suboxone is not like other full agonist ("normal") pain meds (it's a partial agonist). It does NOT cause tolerance and you do not need to increase your dose over time. It's possible that the lower dose isn't helping you enough and when you take the higher dose you feel better. That's entirely possible, in my opinion.

But let's put that aside for the time being. If you want off sub the best way to do that is to do a long, slow, low taper. Start working your way down over the next several weeks or even months and get yourself down to below 1 mg before stopping. This will help reduce the intensity of any withdrawals you will have. There are many taper threads here that you can read about.

I hope this helps. If you have more questions, feel free to throw them out there and we'll try to answer them as best we can.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:37 am 
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Thank you for replying-- I have read your replies to many people and they are all very supportive and helpful and that's why I already love this group! After reading a few last night I felt better mentally... I was starting to get really down. Thank you for your input, what you say about the higher dose to feel good is probably right. I know this is absolutely WRONG, but I have never had a doctor to supervise me, I illegally buy my months script... bad bad, but I planned on using it to come off opiates and all of a sudden life got the best of me and two years later I am facing the demon head on.

I have read a few stories of tapering and they are all helpful...however, I know that it matter on the time and amount that the individual takes? I have been on it two years and the most 8mg... didn't know if there was a certain way to taper like reduce ever week or two weeks or month??? thank you!!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:49 am 
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Hey Stopthis,

First, I would suggest that you somehow try getting your suboxone through a sub doctor. Getting it off the street is hit or miss. As long as your supply doesn't dry up, you're OK. But we have all heard too many stories of people getting it off the street and then bang, the supply disappears and you end up in way worse shape. I would hate, hate, hate to see that happen because you would probably go back to OC's and the like if such a scenario ever happened. That scares me for you. Please, try getting your sub from a doc, OK?

If I'm reading your post correctly, you were taking a total of 8mg a day, right? 8mg is not a high dose. It's about average, if there is such a thing. You are now at 4mg a day and experiencing some classic wd symptoms. My blood pressure went cuckoo when I tapered off sub. My anxiety caused the exact same symptoms you have. I'm wondering if you dropped from 8mg to 4mg in one step, because that would have been one giant step. It could very well be the cause of the issues you're experiencing.

A good taper is a slow taper. Small drops, usually 10% or 15% at a time. Wait until you're fully stabilized at the new dose before dropping again. This method usually produces the weakest wd symptoms.

Good luck and please continue to ask any questions you like.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:59 am 
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Romeo is right - it's good to drop about 10%. Some people make that drop and wait three weeks to drop again, others only a week. Just keep in mind that the slower you go the less discomfort you'll have. Also, another good way to reduce your dose is to take the lower dose every other day, and the higher dose in between. Then before you know it, you've made the drop and probably didn't feel a thing. I hope this helps. (And thanks for the kinds words. :D )

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 Post subject: Thank you, Romeo.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:09 pm 
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Thank you so much for answering!! I totally understand what you are saying about not getting them through a doctor. The security of having a prescription in your name is better than none. I want to-- but, the cost would be more and I feel like if I go ON them myself with a doctor that I would prolong coming off...luckily, the whole two years I have never had a problem with getting them off the streets and that's the other reason to start this taper now, so I don't worry about it.
Yes, 8 milligram is not much... I started the first year taking a quarter in the morning and a quarter at night... some days I would do a quarter when I was "bored"..the addict in me just wanted to "do something". Awful... as the next year came along and school was added in the mix and a second job, I found myself doing a quarter in the morning, noon and TWICE at night!! so I was up to a whole one! Now for about three days, it's just been a quarter in the morning and a quarter at night.
I plan on staying on 4mg for about a week, and then reducing it to 2mg a day??? does that sound right?? or smart? thank you for any advice or critizing on how I am doing what.

My blood pressure was seen to be an issue 4 months ago... I was in the hospital with 192/96.. I am 24 years old! it was the most frightening thing... they did a series of test, stress test, echo.. everything was good.. but put me on blood pressure medicine.. I think the subs contributed to this. it's never been an issue before.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:19 pm 
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If you drop from 4 mg to 2, you are going to feel it - that's a 50% drop. I would drop to 3 mg first. And like I said, you could do 4 one day, 2 the next, back to 4 the next and so on. After a week or so, you should be at a painless 3 mg and can then go down to 2. Just my two cents.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Hey there, I'm n a taper schedule that has worked wonderfully for me. I've gone down quicker than most, maybe because I'm not a long time user. But whatever the case I reduce around 20% every four day and have had zero problems.

To me it's vitally important to actually get a plan, and commit totally to getting clean. If your goal is to be off Subs then you can do it with perserverance and a bit of old time grit. the truth is that you can't be a nurse and take Suboxone. You can't even attend RN classes and be on Suboxone. I start RN classes myself in June.

I've kept a bit of a journal on my taper plan. I have my own thread around here somewhere.

You can do this, but it takes total commitment. Mind, body and soul. But the truth is, if you're ready, it can be done.

Below is my personal journey. I can't stress this enough, you must listen to your own body. What works for someone else may not work for you. So listen to your body. You must commit to measuring your doses exactly, taking your dose at the same time daily. it's an all or nothing proposition I wish you success.

All the Best!!

Good Luck and God Bless!!

Day 1 3mg
Day 2 2mg
Day 3 2mg
Day 4 2mg
Day 5 1.5mg
Day 6 1.5mg
Day 7 1.5mg
Day 8 1.125mg
Day 9 1.125mg
Day 10 1.125mg
Day 11 1.00mg
Day 12 1.00mg
Day 13 1.00mg
Day 14 .80 mg
Day 15 .80 mg
Day 16 .80 mg
Day 17 .80 mg
Day 18 .60 mg
Day 19 .60 mg
Day 20 .60 mg
Day 21 .50 mg
Day 22 .50 mg
Day 23 .50 mg
Day 24 .50 mg
Day 25 .40 mg
Day 26 .40 mg
Day 27 .40 mg
Day 28 .40 mg
Day 29 .30 mg


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Hey Stopthis,

Ummm, if you drop from 4mg to 2mg you will more than likely feel like you just got hit by a Mack Truck.

What you need to understand about suboxone is that at 4mg or above all your mu receptors are saturated, they are happy little dudes. They're in your head there just singing away and having fun. When you drop below 4mg some of those little dudes don't get the suboxone they're used to getting and they get a little pissed off at you and tell you so by initiating a cascading release of chemicals in the brain that cause wd. The more of those little dudes you piss off all at once, the worse the wd symptoms. This is the reason we suggest a slow taper. Think of it as only pissing one or two of those guys off at a time. Those two dudes are going to try to cause you some issues, but it will be minor. If you pissed 100 of those dudes off at once......well, you're going to be feeling it then! Know what I mean?

I would really rather see you make the drop % as low as possible. Now, everyone reacts differently too. You may find that you are totally cool with a 20% drop, I don't personally know anyone who was good with a 50% drop once below the 4mg ceiling level though. You can certainly play around with your taper % and customize it specifically for yourself.

Let us know what you decide, OK?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:17 pm 
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I gotcha, sorry, I am a little slow with this and like I said I haven't really educated myself on suboxone, I just began taking it to bandaid one wound and ran with it... it helped me accomplish alot from where I was BUT like you had mentioned, I am all done my pre reqs for nursing, two years worth.. thanks to subs.. and am ready to begin in June, I need off... and after being off I need to have some time to clear my mind.. and get strong.. I am some what in crunch time, but I think if I was tapered off by april then I would be in the clear. Hopefully. :) So, you guys recommend dropping to 3 mgs? I just feel it's hard because I only have the 8mg tablets... do you think a pill cutter is the way to get accurate dosages?? thank you!:)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:54 pm 
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I really think someone needs to chime in here with regard to what you plan to do once you have stopped the Suboxone. There is a reason that you have not abused other drugs since starting Suboxone - it's because the Suboxone is suppressing your MENTAL as well as physical cravings. There is also a reason that you have wanted to take extra Suboxone when you are bored, etc. and that is because you are addicted to opiates! I don't want to bring in the rain clouds here but the statistical chance for a relapse for someone under the age of 30 who stops Suboxone is really, really high. The statistical chance for relapse for someone who stops Suboxone and does not have an active treatment plan in place - whether that be a 12-step program or whatever - is near to 100%. Then add in the fact that you would like to become a registered nurse, where you would have direct access and could very well handle and administer drugs like morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone and dilaudid, and the challanges are off the charts for you. What is it that is going to keep you from relapse? What are you going to do about the cravings without Suboxone in your system? Have you considered any of this? They have not magically gone away. They are still there - it's the Suboxone surpressing them.

Again, I don't want to rain on your parade here but getting off of the Suboxone is actually going to be the easy part - and you see just how "easy" (NOT) that has been. Staying off of all opiates is going to be many times harder than the challenges that you are currently facing right now with Suboxone. You said, and you think, that what happened to you is you wanted to use the Suboxone to get off of oxy and you just ended up addicted to Suboxone by accident - like that was not your plan but it just got away from you and happened. The thing is, that is not at all what has happened to you. You were and still are addicted to opiates - ALL OPIATES. It does not matter which opiate you had been using. In fact, your brain often times doesn't even know the difference. It just needs an opiate - any opiate - so you feel "normal" Just like Oxy, Suboxone is also an opiate. Its properties are different (much different) but you have not stopped being addicted to Oxy and are not just addicted to Suboxone now. All through this time you have been addicted to opiates - all opiates.

I hope I'm making sense with that because it should help you to understand why when you stop the Suboxone, you will still be addicted to opiates. The Suboxone is a much safer and much better drug to be "addicted" to which is why it is used to treat opiate addiction. The thing is, for many people, once they stop Suboxone, their disease comes back in full force and they relapse - just like if someone stops their blood pressure medication, their blood pressure goes up again. The pill didn't fix the underlying problem. Unless and until you fix the underlying problem of addiction, stopping your Suboxone could be a recipe for disaster. Stopping your Suboxone while you also have the keys to the narcotics cabinet once you become an RN is even a bigger recipe for disaster. Opiate addiction within healthcare is a huge problem. How do I know this? I'm a Paramedic that is also an opiate addict. In fact, I had to stop treating patients as I could not and cannot trust myself to administer Fentanyl to my patients without wanting some for myself.

Please at least consider what I am saying to you. I have no way of knowing anything about you but I am 100% positive I am correct about what I have said. Your age even makes it worse. I hate to have to be the bearer of such bad news, but I hope you will take it in the spirit that it is offered. I'm sure others will be along to provide you with some additional information and advice.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Hi Donh... you are absolutely correct. There isn't much I can say to anything you have said that will make you wrong and my wants and plans of the future right. All I can say is that with my counselor and meetings and support group that I have the strength to get through it. I know that I am an addict to EVERYTHING, that is why I do everything in extreme or when I am bored... but I don't want it to be my death sentence per say. I have had dreams and aspirations to be a maternity nurse my whole life, and it has never changed. I can't say that my addiction is going to be full blown while administering meds and that isn't healthy for myself or my job BUT I can't imagine doing anything else.. and working hard through school to get to my career I am hoping that my other "medicine" being support groups, NA meetings and counseling curb my cravings before relapsing...
I don't know what else to say because you are ABSOLUTELY right--100% but should I put my whole life on hold and not follow my dreams because of the statistics that are against me???


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:06 pm 
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I'm really glad to hear that you have a councilor (hopefully an experienced addiction councilor) and attend groups and meetings. That will likely improve your odds. There most certainly are people who have come off of Suboxone and done very well - just not without other recovery items in place. The fact that you have them will certainly help you.

I totally hear you about your career. It is actually what kept me in active addiction longer than I should have been. I am positive of it. I knew that if I went in for treatment, I would be told I have to quit my involvement as a paramedic. I pretty much knew that there was no way I could be sober and remain as a paramedic. I just could not bring myself to give that all up. It was the center point of my life - as I not only did patient care, but I ran the fire department and was involved on a daily basis in the industry. It was my career during the day and my hobby at night. I saw no way out. It was only after I was involved in an auto accident in my own vehicle, on the way responding to a 911 call nonetheless, that my secret was found out and my world came crashing down. I lost my job and was forced to resign from the fire department after 23 years.

Unfortunately, my story is not at all unlike Dr. Junig's who was also found out and had to quit being an anesthesiologist. Even though I had over 20 years of experience, I only had to give up a modest education (as a paramedic), imagine as an anesthesiologist what he had to give up? There is an RN here that worked L&D for many, many years, just like you want to. She too lost it all when they found out she was using the drugs that were supposed to only be for patients. At least in all three of our cases (as best I know) patients were not deprived of the medication they needed. That is not always the case as healthcare providers very often remove the narcotic meds and replace it with saline or similar looking pills in order not to get caught. Patients who need pain medication then actually get none. It is a huge issue in the United States - not to mention incredibly illegal. The RN I am referring to may see this thread and provide some of her own comments to you. As it turns out, she recently tried to taper off of Suboxone herself and ended up with a brief relapse. She has since returned to a higher dose of Suboxone and has decided she is not ready to taper yet - even though she wanted off of Suboxone more than anything. See just how hard it is?

This FUCKIN DISEASE really sucks. I'm sorry, but it just really does. I hate it so much. Addicts are forced to give up old friends they used to do drugs with. They are forced to give up careers. They sometimes are forced to move to a different city. That's bad enough, but others actually die from their addiction. Could anything be worse than death?

You seem to be well aware of the challenges and that is really important. I don't think there is anything wrong with giving it a controlled try - just like SetMeFree (The RN I was referring to) did. She tried to taper the Suboxone and, without too much damage, tested the waters. She had a safety net in place and the ability to get back on Suboxone and she did. I just encourage you to have the same thing in place. I've spoken with my Sub doc about this. If I am going to relapse (if and when I stop Sub) I want to "relapse" back onto Sub. I have to be very careful about that. I don't at all want to go from Sub to stopped, back to Oxy (or whatever). And I don't want you to either! I also don’t want to see you go through years of school to become an RN just to lose it all to addiction. In fact before even trying school, if it were me I would make darn sure I had my addiction under control. There is just way too much to lose.

You sound like you are taking some great steps. That is very important. I'm not telling you to change course - just to have that safety net there.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:10 pm 
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I say no. The relapse rate isn't 100% although it gets quoted here that it is. You must be ever vigilant and work as hard on your recovery as you did on your addiction. Harder actually.

You get yourself a good plan of action, and you work towards your goal. YOU ARE NOT HELPLESS. The man who founded this site himself an opiate addict doctor doesn't take Suvoxone anymore. Plenty of people get off subs and live clean. But it's not easy.

You follow your dreams and live life on your terms.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:26 pm 
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I'm sorry to be a stick in the mud again, but no one has said the relapse rate IS 100%, what has been said - and I might add from studies Dr. Junig has quoted - is NEARLY 100% depending on a few factors (how long on suboxone, the age of the addict, etc). Dr. J can quote you on the studies. And actually, he advocates people under 20 stay on suboxone. As for his own suboxone use, he's never actually shared that with us.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Hi, and welcome here. Truthfully, when I first read your post, I was questioning whether or not it was a good idea for you to be tapering already off of Sub. It's so complicated because no one else can possibly tell how strong your support system is and how capable you will be at handling the temptations that will be presented by your job. Only you know that, and even you have no choice but to guess as some things. I think the fact that you got on here and wrote about buying Suboxone off the street and not from a doctor shows that you are honest, and honesty is the foundation for everything, IMO. On one hand, I find myself nearly just typing, "hey, if you taper and it doesn't work out, just be honest with yourself and accept that maybe you need to go back onto Suboxone". Then, I remember that the ramifications of it not working out okay being off Suboxone could be the worst thing that could possibly happen. My point, I guess is that I just really encourage you to continue to be as honest with yourself in the future as you are being right now. If you feel the cravings are too much and you get that little voice that is letting you know you are about to relapse, then don't beat yourself up if you have to return to Suboxone. I hope this makes sense, lol. I'm in recovery for a nasty, horrible alcohol addiction, and you know what? It's been 5.5 years since I picked up. And I have alcohol in my house because I still cook with it and my husband drinks a little, and there's alcohol in stores and at every holiday. And I don't pick up. It took a lot of work to get to this point, and I fell on my face a number of times, but I'm doing it! It IS possible is what I guess I am saying, but I desperately want my sobriety, and that's what it takes. KWIM?

I'm tapering off Sub and I'm now at 2 mg. Here's the deal. You cannot taper as fast as someone who has been on Sub short-term. You will wear yourself out and give up. I did that a number of times and I learned the hard way that this IS possible but it takes patience, which is something I don't always have a lot of. I know as someone else mentioned, many people have tapering schedules and they stick to them. I personally don't do it this way, but that's only me. I go solely based on how I feel and I do small drops. I went from 4 to 3.5, to 3, to 2.5, and then to 2. That may seem long and drawn out, but I've been on Sub since 2005 and I have still had pretty significant side effects at times. Like right now, I'm kind of stuck at 2 and it's honestly going to be a while before I'm ready to go down and I have next to no say over that because I'm waiting for my body to adjust, because I'm as uncomfortable right now as I am willing to be. I keep an online journal and record what day of my taper it is and how I feel, random thoughts, etc. This is keeping me accountable to myself and it's also helping me see where I've gotten, instead of always only looking at where I need to go. I really recommend doing this. I know you may not have access to the 2-mg tabs or films, so you may need to either do the liquid taper method or do the alternating of days (like 3 mg one day, then 2 the next to get to 2.5). That way you can do smaller drops. I just dropped from 3 to 2.5 for 3 days and then to 2 mg and that was waaaayyy too much. I'm paying for it and again, I just learned the hard way. The closer to 10% you can stay, the better. To me, the whole tapering thing can start to feel negative and like a gigantic pain, so I'm really trying to make it as bearable as possible and to learn as much as I can from it. It is what you make of it, just like anything else. Just remember who you are doing it for. YOU!! It's something you are doing for you, and celebrate your progress and stay honest about how you are doing as you go. And obviously as you do smaller drops you will have way less side effects, but also you will be doing more frequent drops.

Best of luck,
laddertipper

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:29 pm 
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Ahhh, just words can make one feel so much better. Thank you thank you thank you. hat: I definitely know what you are saying!! I think that the dr. who made this forum is an absolute genius and wonderful that he has so much knowledge and compassion for people going through this!! I take his advice and words of wisdom to heart and I believe many things play a factor....however, I don't want to keep drilling in my head that no I can't do it because of my age, or amount of time I have been on them... or the statistics, they are statistics because of a reason of the many that fall into that failure rate and or success BUT I don't want to put my life on hold because of having to stay on it longer... there are many things I may have said that show the addict in full out mode.. but in my heart I am ready to try and give it a shot.. I have dreams where I want to be in a few years.. and without losing everything again I want to try and fullfill them.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:44 pm 
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We most definitely don't want you to fail. I understand exactly what you are saying. But at least with you knowing what the odds are, you can be prepared and will know to be that much more vigilant. That's really the main idea. Knowledge is power, so use it to your advantage. I think you have a terrific attitude and that will help you tremendously. Keep us posted.

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hat: I seem to be saying it over again but thank you.. just for the time and input is truly a blessing that I have found all of you. Because it's a lonely hard world out here facing these issues everyday... without anybody, my parents, family and friends have no idea. My boyfriend does- because we were using together and started suboxone together. So, I will have him in the process... but that is either good or bad.. because we both have to succeed or if one fails we both will.... but, we love eachother so much and we want to have a life together so we have to make it through this together!


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