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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 3:50 pm 
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I am new to this forum but have been addicted to opiates for 14 years, and benzos for 22 years. I was first introduced to Suboxone in 2003 when I went into in-patient treatment to get off of methadone and clonopin. At the time of my admission, the facility was just starting to use suboxone for short-term opiate replacement therapy. I went in-patient having done several years of methadone maint. at an average dose of 100 mg/day. My clonopin dose was around 4 mgs/day. Prior to day one of inpatient treatment I tapered the methadone down to 10 mgs/day and the clonopin down to 2 mgs. I went inpatient because I just couldn't get either dose down any lower. During this experience, which lasted eight weeks, I went from 8 mgs suboxone to zero mgs on week 7. The last few days were the toughest when they tried to taper me from 1.0 mg to 0. I had to take 2 extra days at 0.5 mg. The first day at 0 mg was the toughest because of the extreme anxiety/panic symptoms. Had I not had the structure of being in-patient I would not have been disciplined enough to withstand the severe psychological symptoms. The GI symptoms came a day or two later and were managed pretty handily with immodium, given out begrudgingly by nursing staff. I had intended to stay for three months, but the lack of the working knowledge of the docs and counselors with benzodiazepines made another 30 days not worthwhile. Their expectations of benzo withdrawal lasting only 2 to 3 weeks were not consistent with my experiences, and the "tear 'em down so we can build them up" treatment model became an exercise of daily shaming and re-traumatization. Twelve years later, after more relapses, more OD's, more mmt, and more tapering, I'm free of benzos and methadone. I'll be 2 years off of benzos in August and five months into my current suboxone treatment next week.
I transitioned to suboxone(subutex) from 34 mg of methadone in clinic based treatment because my wife got a job in a different state, and continuing mmt there was not a viable option. I am so grateful to Dr Junig's online resources and forum discussion groups for making the tricky induction period a success. I was able to manage my expectations appropriately because of fellow addicts who wrote about their experiences in this and other forums. I was also able to induct at the lowest possible dose of buprenorphine (4 mg) because I was armed with the information provided by Dr Junig about the mechanics of the ceiling effect and absorption qualities of the drug. Having this basic understanding of suboxone before transitioning from methadone was the difference between success and failure. The questions about length of treatment have much less importance when I recollect the near death experiences (both involving benzos and opiates). It also helps me to know that I was able to taper off at least once before, should I decide to again for whatever reason. Because the protracted benzo withdrawal symptoms still play a major role in my life I don't think I'll have to consider that for some time. Chronic anxiety and adrenal dysfunction(slowly improving) from 20+ years of clonopin keep me from having the life I want, but without suboxone I might not even have that. As time goes by and the benzo symptoms dissipate, I can revisit whether or not suboxone is necessary for the success of my recovery. Currently taking 2 mg/day and lowering by another 0.5 mg to minimize some minor side effects. I'll probably stay at 1.5 mgs. Feeling a little better with each day that passes. Struggling w/ nicotine cessation too- using the gum right now. Ugh...
Thanking God every day for my patient and loving wife! The suboxone dr I see monthly is 2 hours from here and charges $300 per visit. Insurance covers the medication and should reimburse for the dr, just haven't found out their decision yet. Keeping fingers crossed.


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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 4:28 pm 
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Congrads on your accomplishments over the years! I have been consuming opiates for going on 16 years so I know what it's like. I never had a Benzo problem, but I can only imagine! I went to a Methadone clinic for 4 years and did learn a lot about addiction from it, but I hated standing in a line for an hour sometimes to get dosed. You got to do what you got to do sometimes! lol
I just wanted to let you know people are reading your post and welcome to the forum. There are a lot of good people here with a whole lot of knowledge!
Happy


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 11:11 pm 
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Congrats! :) keep it up! stay strong and keep your head up! :) looking forward for more of your updates!


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:57 pm 
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Thanks for sharing your story, petpuma! What symptoms do you still have from benzo detox? It seems like that has been the toughest part of recovery for you. Your in-patient "boot camp" sounds harrowing to say the least. I can't imagine that a counseling technique could include tearing someone down to the point of retraumatization. Doesn't sound therapeutic to me.

I hope you stick around to help guide and counsel some of the desperate, new members. Your long experience could be helpful here!

Amy

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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 1:03 am 
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It seems there are not very many people on here that has went through the "Methadone" experience like we have. I was on it for 4 years myself. There is 1 new poster on here that is on 150mgs a day of Methadone and wants to switch to Suboxone. With him being on such a high dose, it will be very difficult because of the long half-life of Methadone. He did have some Morphine tabs so he is going to use them for a few days to get the Methadone out of his system. I thought that would be the best way instead of trying to go cold turkey off the Methadone. Maybe you could give him some pointers from your experience with it. Bluetang60, is his "handle" on here. I am sure he would really appreciate it.
Damn Amy,
You say some awfully big words! I have to get the dictionary out every time I read your posts! LMAO!!
I am just kiddin'! It's great to have someone with your knowledge on here. I'll just keep my dictionary in hand and open! lol


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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