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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:12 am 
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I am a female in my thirties who has struggled off & on with IV heroin and IV Rx opiates. I have thrashed and rebuilt my life several times over. After over 4 years clean from heroin, I relapsed over a year ago. I quickly began using every day again and though I remained somewhat functional (kept working, paid my rent), I withdrew from friends and family and sank deeper into that feeling that "life was passing me by," after knowing how good it could be clean. Things started getting harder and some problems at work came to a head a little over a month ago, I found myself making an emergency call to my psychiatrist (I also see him for bipolar disorder). He also happens to an addiction specialist. I felt so terrible admitting to him that I've been lying to him for so long by denying my using. He was so understanding and kind, he is truly an exceptional doctor. I told him I wanted to go on a "Suboxone taper, and then go on the Vivitrol shot, as well as enroll in an intensive outpatient program. He agreed since I had 4-1/2 years clean from opiates in the past, but when he found out that my live in boyfriend is strung out too, he has been pushing longer term Suboxone maintenance. At my last visit, he was irritated that I reduced my dose from 20mg to 6 mg in 10 days off heroin. He asked me to stop meddling with my dose and being my own doctor so I agreed. I decided to trust him. I now have 22 days off heroin and have stayed on 8mg daily since that visit. After doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching I resolved to do long term sub maintenance. All the horror story myths and negative opinions of 12 step members were the voices in my head driving my fear of Suboxone. But it is a stark contrast to my experience. It was a hard transition from H to sub. It didn't happen in one day and it was very difficult. But once I jumped ship and had a few days again, it is like night and day. I have energy, my personality back. I'm doing yoga and running again, I'm even taking up guitar again which I haven't touched since my teens. I think about dope in an abstract way but my cravings are gone!! Even as my boyfriend continues to use!! All I try to do for now is be an example to him of how good things can be. I found myself apologizing for my recovery like "I have X days clean... Well I'm on Suboxone, but X days clean from heroin." That is defeatist talk and was driven by those judgemental voices in my head from other "recovery " people. F@&! that!!! I'm not substituting one drug for another, they don't get me high, in fact I don't even feel the damn things!! I can only think it must be placebo effect if someone with a real habit and tolerance does. I have all these intense emotions and the other feelings of being newly clean that I felt in past recovery attempts in AA/NA etc. Years ago, I took buprenorphine on two occasions with no tolerance and it did impair me. I was puking and nodding out but there was no euphoria, no high at all. It was like the symptoms of heroin without the high. Thorazine will slow you down too but certainly isn't pleasurable. Alternately, there are people in prison who abuse Seroquel and Wellbutrin. Anything is abuseble, but Suboxone should never be considered just a substitute opiate. So what I read here greatly encouraged me and I am learning to listen to my doctor and my experience and F@&% everyone else. My recovery is no less real than anyone else's. And it's just that, MY recovery. If I count the friends and acquaintances who've died, I run out of fingers and toes to count on. None of them were on Suboxone. I don't have a lot of room for error here. Suboxone is the right decision for me. In making peace with that, I've never felt better.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 4:06 am 
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Welcome Gwynn,
I was impressed to read you had 4 yrs clean before relapsing. It just highlights no matter how much time is behind us, circumstance with the right amount of vulnerability can lead us back to darkness.
I think it's wonderful you have accepted suboxone as an effective tool in your recovery. Too many ppl have lost their battle holding on to 12 step dogma. I'm glad you won't be one of them.
Did you feel that a dose of 20mg was too high? Have you stabilised on 6mg?
Different to you, my transition from H to subs went very well. I went from the discomfort of WD to feeling amazing.
The only red flag in your introduction post is knowing the person you are in love with is still using. I can't imagine practising abstinence with temptation lying next to me. Maybe you are just a hell of a lot stronger than me.
I'm not here to judge your situation, I am here to support you I anyway I can.
I love reading that you have your personality back, motivation to pick up a guitar and to keep active.
It's working for you and I'm so pleased!
Take care


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:53 am 
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Hey Gwynn :)

I agree with u on ur views of suboxone also, it's our personal journey and our personal recovery and nobody has the right to judge. I've always said, whatever it takes for one person may be different than the other and I support whatever works. All these ppl who think the only way to get clean is through NA are just making judgements. My life too changed once I entered suboxone treatment. I never thought I'd have a "normal" life again. I'm very thankful.

Like Katipo, I'd think it'd be hard to stay straight with a live in boyfriend still using, just be very careful. I know sub takes care of cravings extremely well and ur not craving opiates, but on down the line when ur really stressed out about something it could be very tempting. I'm absolutely not saying that's what ur gonna do, just wanted to touch base on that. I have no idea how I'd react in a situation like that because I've never had to and have no experience with it.

I'm glad u found us Gwynn and now u can look forward to a whole new future ahead of ya without using....it's awesome.

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Jennifer


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:06 pm 
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gwynn- good for you, it is your recovery, and YOUR life. Until the addiction environment changes it's collective thought process, abstinence based group will continue to "look down" on sub users. I think the problem is that so many of us went to our first rehab facility, and were so desperate to get clean, that we ate up everything 12 step programs were telling us, I mean while in the safety of the rehab center is was working after all. This was my experience at least, I did love AA/NA for the good meetings and fellowship, and so the AA experience became my benchmark for sobriety, I tried and tried, but after years of continuous relapse, I had to find a different solution to the problem, and it was suboxone. I have 2 years of non addict life, and I'm actually happy with myself, I stopped AA/NA, since there was too much negativity about subs. I had to think about my life, get out of that group think cycle, and I finally understood that suboxone is the answer for my recovery...I mean if it wasn't working, then I'd be in the same constant relapse cycle, and possibly dead by now. Once you stop comparing your recovery process to the AA standards, and start enjoying life again, you'll realize that while AA has good intentions, and obviously works for some people, it also painfully obviously doesn't work for everyone. Fortunately, you made a choice to think about yourself and your own well being, and get on suboxone...and probably saved your life. Living with someone who is using can be very trying, as the temptation will generally always be around, but please take care of yourself.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:21 pm 
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You guys are right about the BF, I know in my heart I'm gonna have to leave, I'm just not ready to do it yet. It breaks my heart. He was on Suboxone maintenance when I met him and I want to at least give him a chance to get clean again. Maybe I need to let him go do it on his own and call me if/when he stops using. One of his friends uses it to chip and I have no room in my life for that kind of thing. We were doing really well until we moved back to our hometown to help take care of his dad who was dying from Alzheimer's.

I have some questions:
How do I know if I have "stabilized."
What is a typical starting dose and why? I was using about a gram a day of Mexican tar H.
I have been on 8mg a day, taking 4mg in the morning and 2mg twice later or 4/4 twice a day.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:50 pm 
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I would say you know when your stabilized, when you can get through the day without any w/d symptoms, and you don't feel any serious cravings. Mentally, it will probably take a while to not "crave" to use, but for me, that feeling of getting up and wanting to go use left within a week or so. I've read plenty of posts where people generally stopped that obsession of craving very quickly, once they were on subs.

Typical dose truly varies across the board, depends on doctor really. I see a lot of people start off at 24 mg (8 mg/3 times a day), others 16mg (8 mg/twice a day), and 8 mg (once a day, or split up twice in the day like myself). Someone please correct me if this info is wrong, but I think it has to do with what each state will allow. Meaning, I believe there is a "max dose" allowed which differs by state, and some doctors just put people on the max. If you take the time to read on this forum, you'll see a common thread about "less is more", meaning as addicts, we're used to taking more of everything, but bupe products have such a long half life, that the medication stays in your bloodstream for over 24 hours, which is why you can wake up the next day, and not feel sick (the medication fends off the w/d symptoms). This medication is very strong, and you'll read on here how people get by just fine on 2mg, 4mg, and they come to realize that 24mg is really too much. Now everyone's body reacts differently, so the other advice generally given out is, work with your doctor, communicate, and find out what works for you. Some people need to start off at a high dose, others get inducted at 2mg, then if they still don't feel stable, they get 2mg more. It completely depends on the doctor, for me, I was given a prescription of 30, 8mg strips, and just told to take one a day, and I induced at my house. It's about being honest with yourself, and your doctor, to determine what dose you should be on.

Sorry about your BF's dad, my grandma has had Alzheimer's for the past 10 years, but at 92, she's still making it. Honestly, you increase your chances of success (remaining sober), if you're in a safe environment, and your situation unfortunately leaves the door to temptation open. At least you're getting help, and you CAN be a good example for him, but he has to want it. It's hard when you love someone, but H is no joke, and you have to take care of YOU.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:19 pm 
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Hello gwynn, Todd is pretty dead on with his post. Dosing can very from state to state,dr to dr. but for each of us we have to find out just what dose works for us. So what does work mean? Well, for me and how ive learned it from others and DR Junig, getting stable means there is no wd, and most importantly No Cravings. If you are indeed feeling well on 8mgs now, then you are stable. Cravings can pop up anytime and the best thing we can and need to do is to distract ourselves with something, anything . By doing a simple chore for 5 or 10 mins the craving most likely goes away. Hope that helps some. I always put in a word for the Talkzone and the Users Guide to Suboxone here. Both are written by our founder here< Dr.J Junig. His blog is full of the right info and very helpful. please take a look. Also you may download the guide by simply googling suboxforum.com/guide./pdf. Glad you ve found us and im sure your experices with your 12 step program will still come in handy. I spent my first 3 years there, but alas, the sub issue finally did me in. It did give me faith in my recovery on a few differect levels.. keep posting were all here for you. Razor.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:24 pm 
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Hey Gwynn,

Todd's comments are the best.

I get the emergency call to your psych doc. Glad you did and got on Sub. For some, it does get to be an emergency. I got on sub after 30 days in rehab. I liked my NA home group except for my sub secret, which became not so secret when I never went up for chips. I took what I could there, learned a ton from NA, got my life together on sub and I was able to find other recovery work besides NA. Sub + recovery work were my successful recipe. I’m now a few yrs off sub but am very aware of the need to be wary of danger zones (I pirated Tee Jays word), which you’re aware of as regards your BF. I know its hard to let go of someone you love, it was hard for my then spouse to do it to me, but it later saved my life. Best wishes to you.


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