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 Post subject: Kel's story
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:39 pm 
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Hi folks;
Greetings from frosty Edmonton, Canada. Today I joined this forum hoping for information to keep me making the right choices as I kick a 12 year dilaudid addiction. I have been on a slowly diminishing suboxone dose for the last (almost) three years, without going back intravenous abuse. I am now at 8 mg daily, sub-lingual, after starting initially at 24 mg after stabilizing.
My plan was to, with the help of the local opioid dependency clinic, get weaned down to nothing. But after being in the care of an out-of-province doctor while working away from home, I was asked what my reason was for wanting to be free of suboxone. After all, he explained, if one is diabetic you take insulin. If you are hypertensive, you take blood pressure meds. I suffer from the disease of addiction, so therefore, why would I want to stop taking the medication that keeps me from relapsing?
I do know that the biggest reason to want to stop is to be free of having to go the pharmacy weekly, and the hassle that comes with out-of-town work assignments, let alone a real vacation.
But then I look at the medical side of my own issue, and although I am sure that I don't ever want to go back to an active addiction, I know it can be medically prevented.
I'd appreciate any thoughts on the matter, including experiences on how long it took you to wean down to nothing from an 8 mg daily dose.
Thank you, in advance, for your kind support! Kel


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:06 am 
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Hello Kel and welcome to the forum!

I understand your questions and concerns because I had the very same ones at one point. I too was at 24mg and after some time spent at that dose I knew I wanted off the subs. You have done a great job tapering down to 8mg, and now is where you find yourself questioning if your doing the right thing. I get that completely.

schmutzy wrote:
After all, he explained, if one is diabetic you take insulin. If you are hypertensive, you take blood pressure meds. I suffer from the disease of addiction, so therefore, why would I want to stop taking the medication that keeps me from relapsing?
The thing I can tell you for certain is that you REALLY have to want off more than anything else, and be prepared for a life without the drug that was keeping you from taking your drug of choice and active addiction. The statement from your doctor is what has been said on this forum quite often - why get off if it's working so well? And that does make perfect sense to me.

schmutzy wrote:
I do know that the biggest reason to want to stop is to be free of having to go the pharmacy weekly, and the hassle that comes with out-of-town work assignments, let alone a real vacation.
Now if you really look at your "biggest" reason to stop the bupe, is that honestly a good one Kel? No judgement, just asking? It doesn't seem like it to me if I'm being honest. It has to be more than that.

For me personally I was just tired of it all. Tired of chasing the drugs, the time and money spent, not to mention all the harm I had caused others in my destructive path, and what I had done to myself nearly dying a couple times. I knew it had to be over if I were to live. I was on the subs over 3 years, tapering after the first 2 years. I was READY to be off, and I have additional support in the form of NA meetings, and a personal counselor that keeps me grounded. If it weren't for all those reasons I would still be on it. How do I know I won't relapse yet again? I don't and I'm not naive enough to ever think that. But I do know I have been "tested" a few times and the drugs just do not interest me any longer. I want no part of them ever again. For ME, that makes the difference. It should be along the same lines for you too in my opinion to be successful. Just my thoughts on the mattter.

If you truly want off it certainly can be done with a slow and steady taper to lessen any symptoms. Just be 100% POSITIVE it's the right decision for you. I would be more than happy to help you with it as would many others here. It's certainly a tough decision to make. I would suggest you give it more thought. If your still convinced you want off then maybe try tapering a bit more down to the 2-4mg per day range and hold there a while. That should give you addictional insight about it. If things are going great and you want to "test the waters" further then try tapering down to 1-2mg and see how that goes. Little steps to get an idea of what you may be dealing with. You should know by then if getting off is right for you.

Anyway, that's my take on it. Ask all the questions you need. Others will give you their thoughts on the matter. I will say again, that if you do want off, just make certain you are fully ready to do so. Take care and please keep posting, and updating us along the way.

Karen


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Good day;
A huge apology for the delay in responding...

First of all, thank you for the thoughtful, not to mention, prompt response. You have certainly given me food for thought.
I wish I knew about this forum when I first got on this wonderful medication. It was my ex who first brought bup to my attention, but sadly it was not yet available in Canada. All the research I did led me to believe it was just what I was looking for. I did not want to go on Methadone, as I have not known anybody to successfully quit while taking it. My first week was rocky, but I settled into it quite well, and haven't looked back. That was three years ago come April.
I guess my biggest hurdle with this medication is how hard it is to fit it in with work that takes me out of town. Here in Alberta, Canada, they (the Opioid Dependency Program) is a real stickler for rules on carrying out doses. I get it that they are concerned about keeping communities safe, don't want meds stockpiled and resold and such, but if they even suspect that one is not following the rules to the letter of the law, you are back to dosing daily (with daily dispensing fees) at the pharmacy. I left the program in Alberta to go to work in Saskatchewan and got adoctor in Saskatoon to prescribe for me for six months, but now I'm back and having a difficult time getting back on to a program here. They aren't taking transfers, or no room for new patients, etc. And once I finally got a call back for a transfer back to the program here, I let slip I had enough meds to hold me for a day or two, so now I'm faced with sanctions reserved for people who abuse the system, when in reality I'm just a guy who plans for contingencies!
My frustration level is through the roof, but at the same time there is a calm that comes just from sitting at my keyboard pounding this out.
I'm cautiously optimistic that I can just continue to pick up once a week, but I'm not holding my breath. I do know - now - that there is a veritable legion of support for me, and others like me, in this forum, and I thank you!
Again, I'm sorry for the delay in acknowledging your response. It was truly appreciated.
I'll post more when there is news.
Love the support,
Kelly


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:54 pm 
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Hi Kelly!

No apology ever required! :D

Just checking to see how your doing? Are you still at 8mg or have you tapered lower? Let us know what you have decided when you get a chance. Here to support you no matter what you decide!

Hope you have a great weekend.

Karen


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:25 pm 
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Hi, and thanks for your patience.
I got good news yesterday with regard to getting my program transferred back to Alberta. I've been in Edmonton since the end of November, but couldn't get an Opioid Dependency Program here to accept my transfer. My prescribing doctor is 500 km (300 miles) away, and getting more and more reluctant to keep writing my scrip. I'm now dosed until Mar 1, and the ODP here will see me Wednesday. If all goes well, they will continue to let me pick up once a week, and be subject to random urine tests. If anything is ever found in the pee tests, I automatically lose my carry privileges and will be back to dosing daily at the pharmacy for the next three months. That in itself is motivation enough to not do anything I shouldn't. If I've had even a couple of drinks the night before, I'll have to wait until the end of the next day before I give a sample or it will be positive for alcohol.

So now, the pressure is gone. Knowing I have an appointment, and meds to last until then, I can relax and cheer on Canada at the Olympics.
I'm holding steady at 8mg/day, and except for trying to get set up back here in Alberta, I don't even think about it. If it came in a 4mg tab, I'd think about going down, but going with 2 x 2mg would be a pain. I remember when my first taper took me from 24mg to 22mg. That meant 2 x 8mg and 3 x 2mg at a time - yecch!
Life is good, and it and everyone around me (that don't already know) are oblivious to the fact I'm on anything at all. This medication has let me get back into a 30 year career in Telecommunications, and 4 years ago I would have bet heavily against that ever happening in my lifetime. I'm taking my girls (14 & 15) out of town for a cheer comp this weekend - that wouldn't have happened. Friends are back (well, the REAL ones never went away, but you know what I mean...), and I can count my ex as one of my dearest friends and biggest supporter. I smile.
I cry. Best of all, I feel!
I'll keep you posted as to how it goes Wednesday. Ya know, it really is comforting to know that there are others going through the same emotions, decisions, achievements, victories...
I do know I am not alone, and my heartfelt thanks goes to all out there who bare their souls in this forum.
Thanks to all!

P.S. Now that we beat the pesky American Men's Hockey Team, I can cheer Canada on to gold on Sunday (just like our Womens Team!)


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:58 pm 
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I have also been wondering about tapering. I take 8mg to 16mg per day depending on my mood. Suboxone helps with depression and my doctor is fully supportive of continuing the drug for this reason alone. I get a month or two supply at a time so I don't face the hassles that you do in Canada and my doctor ensures that I have extra so that I never run out. As of today I have no reason to stop. It helps me sleep and it helps me get up in the morning to face the day. I'm not getting high nor could I if I wanted to. I just don't see why I should taper off if I'm doing really well.


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 Post subject: Re: Kel's story
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:02 pm 
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G' day;
Apparently there is a huge difference in prescribing practices between the U.S. and Canada. It is so over the top regulated here. If I ever had any left over from my weekly dose, I'm supposed to turn them in to the pharmacy for destruction, or risk losing my carry privileges.
If one was going to taper off suboxone, after taking it for depression (I've never heard of that), I would think that would heavily involve your doctor. First, to ensure the depression is properly managed, and second, to assist with or provide a taper schedule.
There are clinical considerations that a physician trained in opioid dependency will have a better handle on than a lay person.
Please think about that before you undertake anything on your own.

Regards, Kel


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