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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:06 pm 
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So my bf suffers from addiction to pain killers, oxy, heroin etc. He is in his late 20's and was using from high school up to 1 year and a half ago. Since then he has been sober from all medications, yet smokes pot and drinks occasionally. Recently, he has been talking about seeing a doc to get on subs and I have difficulty understanding why. He is living well and has a 40 hour a week employment. He isn't stealing or acting like a jerk or exhibiting any addict behaviors such as those; he just says he thinks about it everyday. He chooses to stay off drugs everyday though as well. Why should he want to run the risk of getting on an addicted to subs? I have read a lot of this forum, trying to see the benefits, but I also see a lot of people that are having difficulty getting off the subs or that they fear the w/d, so they are longterm users. Do these pills provides some kind of miracle healing that you can take them for a while and never want to use drugs again? Sounds a bit far fetched. To me it sounds as though it is a low dose opioid, but then again I am still learning about the drug, which is why I have questions.
My question is this. Knowing what you know now and your history with suboxone, would you do it all over again? If you were living clean for 2 years almost, had your life in order and all that; would you risk it all to start suboxone? It isn't going to make the thought of taking pills go away, it isn't going to make the history disappear....what would you do, knowing everything about the drug that you know now?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:50 pm 
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In my opinion, if he thinks he should be on it I would not discourage him. I was off for about 8 months and feeling great, working out everyday, had an amazing job making good money, great family, the works. Anyways, I started thinking about getting high and next thing you know i was in deeper then ever before. I had the hardest time getting back on suboxone because I was doing way to much H and couldn't wait the 36-48 hours I needed. I ended up having to go into treatment and losing my job and savings and almost my family. So again, don't let him get there just because you don't understand. He's not able to get high off of it and it will allow him to live a life without thinking of drugs. And it really does make the cravings go away if you put in the work. I hope I helped


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:19 pm 
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Very easy answer...

YES!!!!!!!

I applaud you for looking into this. By your own admission you are still learning and I get that and again applaud it. Unfortunately you have some things wrong. Will taking suboxone erase his history? Of occurs every it will not - you are correct. Where you are wrong is saying it won't stop him from thinking about using. IT WILL like turning off a switch. If he is like many, his cravings will go away with his first dose. Now will that cure him? Absolutely not. For as long as he takes suboxone daily his cravings are very likely to stay away. If he stops they will almost certainly increase if not return in full. Like many other meds, it works when taken. Stop taking a blood pressure pill and high blood pressure returns.

You state he is risking everything by taking suboxone. Just what is "everything"? If he were to relapse he really will be risking everything including his life. He could die of a drug overdose. That is next to impossible while taking suboxone. He is not in any way risking everything by deciding to go on sub treatment.

Now, in his case, this decision is all that much harder. You are correct, if he starts sub he will have a difficult time coming off it. You are also correct in concept that sub is "a low dose opiate" it's not quite that simple but close enough for your purposes. The problem is life has no crystal ball. If you could somehow know he won't relapse without sub, clearly staying off is the better option. But what if he overdoses and dies? Suboxone then looks far better.

There may be another alternative. What about naltrexone? Have you or has he considered that? It won't help with cravings but it also won't create dependence. He can let it wear off, not renew it and have no withdrawls. It may not be the right answer for him but it should at least be considered. It will block any opiates should he relapse. It just won't stop cravings.

Life and medicine are a balance. Risk versus reward. Nothing is perfect. He has to weight the downside of sub with the upside. If he is living with daily struggles with cravings to use, what kind of life is he leading? Most of his waking hours are Consumed with drug thoughts. It may be worth the few downsides to feel Normal and live a better life.

Keep reading and learning. Just remember in the end this is his decision to make.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:03 am 
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Hi, Someone very dear to me is on Suboxone. Not a BF, but my 20 year old daughter. So the situation is different in some ways, but similar in the essentials. I will say unequivocally that this medicine is saving her life and she would not be able to stay in recovery without it. It frees her from the unceasing cravings so that her mental energy is availble for the many tasks she has on her plate- brain and body healing, recovering a normal life with ordinary routines, learning to deal with triggers, using therapy and meditation and other methods to learn how to overcome anxiety and calm her mind, ...

Your BF may seem on the surface to be free from the addiction, but inside he is in turmoil, struggling constantly to keep his head above water. The fact that he is talking about going on Suboxone reveals this, even if you can't detect any other behavioral clues. And the nature of opiate addiction almost guarantees that he is struggling. It is very responsible of him to be thinking of turning to medication rather than returning to his old habit.

It will be of huge benefit to him if you can learn enough about this topic that you can support him wholeheartedly. Addicts are full of guilt and shame. Then when they try to quit and rebuild their lives using appropriate medication, our anti-med culture further shames them. They often conceal their use of Suboxone from employers, teachers, and relatives to avoid censure and serious repercussions like being fired. Our society is mistaken in this attitude. Unfortunately it has serious consequences. Addicts often are made to feel they shouldn't use medication, that it is an unnecessary crutch that weakens them and only total abstinence recovery is 'real' recovery. Since abstinence is a herculean task to keep up 24/7 day in and day out, most of them eventually relapse during a bad patch, be it after 6 months or 2 years or 10. And thus many people repeatedly fall and sometimes die who could have had long, happy, productive lives. If the addict has people close to him who support his recovery via Suboxone, it can alleviate much of that shame, help validate that choice.

I was one of the anti-Suboxone crowd. Until I watched how it changed my daughter. All for the better. It relieves long-standing anxiety and depression and crazed intensity that pre-dated actual drug use. It removes that shadowy 2nd personality that I called 'the 'drug demon' that stood between us for years when I felt that she was in there somewhere if only I could reach her. Now she is herself again. No cravings. She is so grateful every day to be free of the incessant cravings. It doesn't matter to me a bit if she is addicted to it in some technical sense. It doesn't make her high, at least not any more than I get high from my morning coffee.

She needs this to have a life. I wouldn't denigrate her using thyroid medication or insulin if she needed those to live. We often regard medications that change brain chemistry differently than those that affect other systems of the body because we feel that with therapy and 'pulling oneself together' we ought to be able to overcome brain issues without medicine. I read about a lot of these disorders but I am no expert, so I don't know if we are overprescribing meds for ADHD, etc. or not. With opiate addiction, though, the case is very clear. Right now this remarkable medication is THE way to enable a normal life for people whose dopamine systems malfunction to the point of causing addiction. Perhaps someday there will be gene therapy or something we have't conceived of yet that will offer a real permanent cure without a lifetime of medication, but we aren't there yet. And for some DOCs there is not yet a Suboxone-like drug, so that those addicts do not have any such option and have to muddle along as best they can with no medical assistance.

It is inaccurate of me to present this as a lifelong medication since many patients seem able to taper off the drug after some years in recovery. Some of them will stay clean to the end. But others will eventually relapse. At present there is no way that I know of to predict with certainty into which category an addict falls, unless/until he relapses, and then we know he is in catgory 2. I'll hazard a guess it won't be too many years until we get genetic testing that can help assess risk so that patients who wish to taper have a better view of their odds.

Read everything you can. And support him in his decision.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:04 am 
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Hi confused,
I'm so glad you have reached out to us.
Thank you wonderstruck mum for taking your time to write such an enlightened and personal post.
Confused, from an outsiders perspective it sounds like he wants to unnecessarily introduce a dependance with no obvious event. I understand it may seem that way. I agree with what the others have added. Under the surface, it is a constant battle that shifts in intensity but never quite goes away. It is possible that pot is keeping him from truly unravelling, at least that was at times how it was for me.
Can I just say that before suboxone, I would use other things when I wasn't using heroin. Amazingly subs put an end to everything else too. So I have 4+ yrs free from pot of which I used everyday from my teens through to late 30's. No other drugs but subs. A life worth living.
Take care and please keep posting.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:15 am 
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I would absolutely do it again, even though I understand I have to wean and jump off, and I'll tell ya why. We don't become physically and mentally addicted overnight, so the brain is hard to heal overnight. I feel that suboxone is taking me in reverse, and my system tells me when to cut my dose. And I agree with the flick of the switch, that is the only way I can describe how suboxone worked for me, I felt completely normal with no cravings, tears rolled down my cheeks in joy. Good on you for being by his side, doing research, and coming here for advice.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:38 am 
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I stayed clean for around 5-6 months once before relapsing. I was completely miserable, depressed, cravings and horrible anxiety the entire time without any relief. It never got better and I thought about opiates 24/7. I'd been to an inpatient rehab and attended meetings with still no relief. I did relapse eventually and it was worse than the past times of relapsing. If I could have had the chance of taking suboxone then, I'd have jumped at the opportunity and it'd saved me all that misery of trying to fight those cravings and eventually relapsing anyway. So if this is something that ur bf struggles with, then absolutely he should start suboxone treatment. He's obviously trying the abstinence route and it's not working for him. Us addicts are sometimes good at going through the motions of life but inside falling apart. Since ur not an addict, it'd be hard to understand completely. U definitely did the right thing by getting educated and that shows how supportive u are.

I would never change my decision about starting suboxone, ever. Not the money I have to spend, not the fear of coming off of it someday possibly, not the drug screens....nothing is worth going bk out there like I was. Suboxone saved my life and I am thankful for it every single day :)

Good luck!!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:42 pm 
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Thank you all so very, very much for your replies and insight!!! You all have helped me be at ease and more understanding of the turmoil he is in all of the time dealing with the thoughts of using. I do not want him to relapse, and I definitely don't want to see him die from overdose! He said he would not go on sub, if he thought it would cause our relationship damage and I would think of it as him using. After reading what you all have to say, I couldn't even begin to tell him not to do it!!! I've have tried the whole "it is your decision", but if he thought I would be against it, he just wouldn't. I don't want him to feel miserable every day and be at risk of relapse, although I know the reality of dating an addict is that the risk is always there. So thank you for helping me to see that I do not want to discourage him from something that could very well help him.
I was actually using his term as far as risking "everything". He has said that if we weren't together that he doesn't think he would be clean. You really put into perspective that this is him asking for help and I do see that each day is a constant struggle within him. He smiles through it to keep me happy and tries to distract us both from that. I see the Risk vs. reward!
Wonderstruck mom, your comment really touched me and offered me a peek into what he could look forward to by taking suboxone. I too am glad that he is thinking of this direction instead of returning to his old habits.
Everyone's posts have really helped me with my fear of thinking that taking suboxone would make him relapse. I understand more clearly that the fact is he is battling and struggling (hiding it very well though) and if he is asking what I think about him taking this, then he is asking for the help. I won't deny him that and I will always be supportive to keep him encouraged about his sobriety and his life.
I was really just wanting someone to talk to about this to gain perspective from people that have this in their lives. You all have helped me very much. Thank you. He also had the same questions as I did in my first post, so I plan on showing him these replies.
Thank you ! THank you!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:56 pm 
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"Do these pills provide some kind of miracle healing that you can take them for a while and never want to use drugs again?" Absolutely not. Just like going off the heroin, if an addict doesn't continue to work a program of recovery after discontinuing Sub he or she is still at risk of relapse. Sub isn't a cure for addiction, it only keeps it in remission.
I personally went back on Sub maintenance after a period of abstinence and regretted it horribly. Because I didn't have a habit when I went on it, the Sub made me feel impaired. Also, the detox was very difficult for me. But that's just my experience. I can't say what would be best for your BF. I just thought it only fair that you hear at least one voice of dissent.

I wish you both the best of luck.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:48 am 
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Lillyval wrote:
"Do these pills provide some kind of miracle healing that you can take them for a while and never want to use drugs again?" Absolutely not. Just like going off the heroin, if an addict doesn't continue to work a program of recovery after discontinuing Sub he or she is still at risk of relapse. Sub isn't a cure for addiction, it only keeps it in remission.
I personally went back on Sub maintenance after a period of abstinence and regretted it horribly. Because I didn't have a habit when I went on it, the Sub made me feel impaired. Also, the detox was very difficult for me. But that's just my experience. I can't say what would be best for your BF. I just thought it only fair that you hear at least one voice of dissent.

I wish you both the best of luck.
Lilly


Lilly, I am certainly not denying your experience, but your case is more complicated than most. You were on sub for your addiction first. Would you not have done that first stint of sub again that helped you stabilize your life? And you went back on sub to try to treat your depression, not because you were having unceasing cravings, right? Plus you just got through several rough weeks of withdrawal. I do know that people usually have the lowest opinion of sub when they're detoxing off of it.

If I've misrepresented anything about your situation please correct me. I think her boyfriend's situation is more like when you went on sub the first time than when you went on it the second. But that's just my opinion.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:03 am 
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Actually, the second time I went on Sub I went back on a maintenance dose because I was having intense cravings. I was in an IOP and NA at the time. I had been off of Sub for 6 months. The IOP doc was pushing hard for me to go back on Sub, which was enough to make me NOT want to do it. But eventually I decided that going back on Sub was preferable to relapsing - so I totally understand where Confused's BF is coming from.

The low dose Sub for depression trial was actually my THIRD time on Sub, and I don't feel that the WD from that was too bad.

My thought is maybe Confused's BF might want to consider a non-medication treatment plan for starters. I don't think she said (or I missed it), that he is in any kind of addiction counseling, support group or program to help him maintain his sobriety right now. I think the decision to take a med that will result in a fairly high opiate tolerance is not to be taken lightly. If other options don't help, the option to take Sub will still be there.

I commend Confused for supporting her BF no matter what his decision. I wish them both the best.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:48 pm 
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Well his f/u appointment is tomorrow. He will start taking the subs tomorrow. Fingers crossed this helps him.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:47 pm 
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I think it will definitely help him confused. Imo he's doing the right thing. Let us know how it goes.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:21 pm 
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Confused, thank you so much for updating us. A bigger "thank you" of sorts for being open minded about all if this. You came here somewhat against the idea but you listened to what we all said and now, while still cautious, are moving forward. Regardless if what happens, please continue to update here. We'll be happy to answer any questions and help you with any concerns. You may well go on to find this was the best move your BF can make. Either way, please let us know!


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