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 Post subject: Moderate Trigger
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:58 am 
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It's been a while since I've posted about my recovery - partially because there really has not been anything all that eventful to post about. However, that sort of changed today. Let me explain a bit.

First, for those you don't know my story, I have been in recovery for exactly 7 months - since October 22, 2009 and started my first dose of Suboxone on October 24. I have not had really even a "far call" much less a "close call" since then. In fact I really have no desire to use at all. I may actually be lucky in this respect. I don't think about the "good ole days" in fact I have absolutely no desire to get high and don't even look back on it with any fondness. My last several years of using really carried no pleasure with them at all. I am your typical addict story where I never got high anymore - only used to keep from getting sick - and also because I could not stop. So, I may be very lucky with never really having cravings - at least not so far.

That sort of stopped today - sort of. For many years I owned and ran a recording studio doing all sorts of music production. Because my career really took off in another direction more than a dozen years ago, I slowly did less and less with music. I am also a life-long musician and while I never quit playing professionally altogether, I was down to about a dozen gigs a year or less the past five years or so. Unfortunately my addiction caused me to lose my job so I am back to playing music again and even re-opened the recording studio to try to make ends meet. The recording business is very much changed due to the fact that many musicians today have recording software and do their projects at home (or at least try to). So there is not nearly as much business out there as there used to be. Anyhow, I had my first full recording session in many years today. I spent much of the week cleaning the recording studio from top to bottom and testing all of the equipment to make sure everything is working. Four musicians came to record the basic or starter tracks (instruments and musical parts). Once all of the microphones are set and the equipment is calibrated, there really is not much to do other than essentially press play and record, listen to the band do the song and then play it back for them. It can get very boring. Well we started at 9 AM and didn't knock off until 11 PM - a 14-hour session and day (we did break for lunch and dinner).

Okay, I'm getting to the point. LOL Sorry about taking so long to get to it. Anyhow, back 15 years ago, when I was only a very casual user of drugs, this would be one of the chief times that I would get high. In fact, when I was doing this many hours a week, I would be board as hell and really relied on getting high to not go stir crazy. This was also when drugs actually worked for me. 5MG of oxy on an empty stomach really got me high and I was not at all dependent on them so I would not get sick when not using. This was also because I would only use once or twice a week. It was just amazing how this triggered me today. It was the first time since October 22 that I actually had good memories of my drug use. It sort of made me want to take some extra Suboxone in order to recapture that feeling, but I never even got close to doing it as I knew deep down that it would not do anything for me. I would distract myself and push through the craving and I'd be fine for an hour or so and then the thoughts would come back again. I have little doubt that if I was not on 10MG/day of Suboxone today may have been more serious for me. Now, I don't have any opiates available to me and I never bought off the street so it's not like I could call anyone, so I really am pretty safe. Plus, my craving was about a 3 on a 1-10 scale. So no worries there. It is just surprising how these thoughts and feeling came pretty much out of nowhere. I didn't even consider that this might happen.

I don't know if this is interesting to the rest of you guys or not. Again, I don't at all feel like I'm in any danger or need any help or anything at this point. I just found it really interesting how my brain quickly returned to something from so long ago. It's just like I've read - about triggers. How driving down a certain street, being with certain people, etc. will cause a trigger to happen. I do think that if I were ever to get back into a situation where I was doing this job much more frequently, I might have to worry a bit more as I could see that my brain would push me to want to get high to not be board while I'm doing such a mundane task over and over and over again for hours on end. Plus, somehow in my head, it almost seems like doing basic tracks in the studio and getting high go hand in hand. I, clearly now need to create new thoughts about that.

So anyhow, I hope I didn't bore all of you too much. I just thought I'd share my little trigger story with all of you. And the best part of all is I'm headed for bed with my seven months or sobriety still in place. Another little victory over my addiction. If I'm going to continue to have triggers in the future, I really do hope they all go as well as this one seems to have gone.


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 7:15 am 
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I hope the session went good and your customers want to come back, thats the beauty of sub. we can carry on our lives and fight the need to use pills ( one day at a time for some of us ) the thougth of the good times while taking pills will always be around. Your now able to get in the " fast lane " whitout being all gooped up on drugs. Hawker1 speaks of getting out from beneath the " opiate blanket " .... Sounds like things are exciting for you and your buisness right now, run with it, I also have a business and I love to work and make money, thats why I posting, Sometimes all this sub stuff gets a little boring, from all your postings I know you deserve success, Mike


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 8:28 am 
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Hi don,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. Sometimes just writing about such things will make us feel better in and of itself. As far as I'm concerned, you are absolutely correct about the trigger being related to the studio for you. If I can get the terms right and drag my pysch degree to the forefront of my mind, it's all about classical conditioning. It's like Pavlov's dog - the studio was just like the bell before the dog got the food. In my mind, your trigger had nothing to do with the strength or health of your recovery. Your brain was strictly conditioned to link those two events together - getting high and the studio. Now you have to work on extinction and destroy that link between the two. (And please forgive me if I'm not recalling the proper terms/vocabulary with regard to conditioning.)

I'm glad you recognize that the trigger was minimal (3 on a 10 scale) and that for now your recovery isn't threatened. I would think that from here, the strength of those triggers will slowly reduce rather than increase. I see it as that original trigger having been the strongest when it comes to the futures correlations between the studio and getting high.

You know don, to me it seems like you're in excellent recovery shape right now. You've worked hard and it paid off for you today. Not only did the trigger NOT cause a relapse, but you're able to recognize it for what it's worth. I think the fact that you're able to analyze it's meaning makes your recovery even stronger.

Good job, don!

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 1:21 pm 
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I can so identify with your story. A couple of months ago I went for a nice weekend out of town. I have had an easy time with the suboxone also and have not had any strong cravings just fleeting thoughts at times. By the time I arrived at my destination I felt a little bit edgy (somewhat hyper which was odd). While stopping at a convenience store I realized I actually was thinking about buying alcohol! I don't, even like to drink! Of course I didn't buy anything, but I realized at that time that it had been years since I traveled without my "little companions" and I was having one of those "trigger" moments. It really blindsided me! I did not expect it at all!

Anyway, my point is I think that's what is great about suboxone. If you haven't done it "sober" you haven't done it. It gives us the extra support we need as we do things for the first time without our DOC. It also reinforced my choice to abstain from alcohol for fear of substituting. Thanks for sharing. Hey, good luck with the studio.

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 Post subject: Awesome post!
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:31 pm 
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Hi donh,

Thanks so much for posting that, and it was not at all boring. I think we all have triggers at some point in our recovery and it's awesome you werre able to recognize it for what it was and deal with it without getting upset about it.

I believe our addiction is always there, lurking in the background, just waiting for us to have a weak moment when our guard is down and we least expect it. I had a similar thing happen last week when a really good friend from my cancer survivor group passed away from ovarian cancer. I was hearbroken, and my very first thought was to numb myself. I didn't want to "feel" what I was feeling and actually found myself digging through the bottom of my sock drawer where I used to hide my pills looking for a stray pill that I may have missed. (I knew there was nothing there as I have dug through that same drawer dozens of times in early recovery) I kind of stopped dead in my tracks when I realized what i was doing. I know for a fact even if I found something and took it, it would be blocked by my sub (have actually tried that, too) Instead, I went for a long walk, and had a good cry and it's the first time in a VERY long time that I actually allowed myself to "feel" the pain. As heartbreaking as it was losing my friend, it felt good to feel this pain, and not numb myself out immediately.

It sounds like you are doing really well in your recovery. Sub has literally saved my life and I am so grateful that i was finally able to find a doc to prescribe it or I'm sure I would be dead right now. I lost enough in active addiction and I will not lose any more. I hate what addiction did to my life and I am prepared to fight for my sobriety at any cost, because without it I have nothing. I have survived 3 rounds of cancer, but addiction almost took me down. Sorry - got rambling there!!

Back to you - again thanks for posting that. I love to hear stories of people here overcoming a trigger, actually any success story is so awesome. Most of the time, where addiction is concerned, the stories are sad and negative, especially where sub is concerned. That is why I love this site so much and all of the awesome people here. We fight our battles, can talk about just about everything honestly and openly, it's just such a safe place to share our ups and downs.

have an awesome day,
Ginger


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 6:58 pm 
I'm sorry about the loss of your friend Ginger. That's a very sad thing to deal with. I'm glad you allowed yourself to grieve and in the process, you were able to identify a trigger as well.
donh, That was a very interesting story and I'm glad you shared it with us. Good for you for recognizing it for what it was. In my opinion, that is big step. Especially given the fact that this was really the first time you've had any cravings. I found that, in itself, quite interesting. I have struggled with cravings ever since I got off full agonists! Even with Suboxone on board, I've had cravings off and on......which has definitely given me the opportunity to identify some of my 'triggers.'
When you were talking about what happened with you, it reminded me of one of my triggers too. That being the desire for time to move along a little faster. I don't know if I'd call it outright "boredom" and I'm not sure that's what it was for you either in your circumstance in the studio. The reason I say that is because the task at hand may not be exactly "boring." Rather, just a little too easy or too familiar to you. I know for me, I could be doing something reasonably interesting or productive....not boring. But I just wanted to be done with it sooner than later. Opiates made that time go by so much faster somehow. I could just sort of cruise through whatever I was doing and the next thing I knew...Bam! It was time to go, or the project was finished. Maybe that does qualify as boredom, but to me, it was more of just a desire for time to go by faster. In any case, I have certainly found that I crave the feeling that opiates gave me when I am feeling that way. I used to call it my "mental vacation." Opiates let me take those vacations while in the midst of doing tasks that I could practically do in my sleep.
Anyway....thanks for sharing. One more step you've taken successfully. I'm glad you don't deal with cravings much. To me, that is more than half the battle in recovery. And you may not have to fight real hard to win that one! The fact that your addiction had truly gotten to the point where you were only using to keep from getting sick must play a big role in how well you're doing. I was still very much in the throes of using to feel good when I had to stop. Obviously I was also using to keep from getting sick, but oh, I still got very high from my opiate abuse. Hence.....the missing of it and the cravings for it. Thank God, it does get easier the more time we can get in recovery. But how I wish I could erase the memory of how that felt!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 1:23 pm 
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I've been quite surprised at what makes me think about opiates and what doesn't.

Going in to this, I figured I would struggle when I was in places I typically used or when I was doing things that involved caring for my pills (like packing my bags). I found myself in the restroom at one of our offices on Friday. All around the little "crack" between the paper towel dispenser and the wall were little brown/orange flecks from where I had skinned oxycontins when I was out of roxis. I looked at it and just chuckled to myself. No craving at all.

So that was surprise #1. Surprise #2 was when I actually did really start to miss "a little pick me up". Just like the OP, it was during a time of great boredom (a flight for me). While I never in a million years would have associated the boredom of long flights with my use of opiates (hey! I use them to pep up and be able to work more! Not to relax....geeesh!), that first flight without them was really the only time I felt them -- let's call it -- missing from my life. Along that same line of thought I've been amazed at how little they helped me with work, which is what I told myself they were for, and how much they helped me "fight-off" being productive when I was bored. What useless little shits!

To the original poster I would advise fighting your way through a couple more sessions. It took us all a long time to fall in to these associations that caused us to use, HOWEVER, it doesn't take that long to un-learn that behavior. Whereas before I would stare out the window or read on a flight, now I find myself working and being productive. It really only took a couple uncomfortable episodes for my brain to un-learn that association. Force yourself to push through a couple and before you know it you'll train yourself the exact same way!

Good luck.


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