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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:48 pm 
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I'm assuming you are in the USA? You are actually the first person I've heard who was allowed 6 months between appointments. I've been on every three months for about five years now. I've gotten two refills on my script for several years. Prior I had to pick up a script and leave behind a UA. Still if that went to 2 months I'd be asking my doc why? I'm always surprised to hear others don't do this. Have you asked why things went from 6 to then 5 then 4? If not, why not? Also paying once a month but not seeing a doctor? Really? I have to wonder if that's even legal? I'd love to know what billing code is being used or is there insurance or billing fraud going on?

In the end, every 3 months is still reasonable. What is not reasonable in my opinion is going from 6 to 3 with a stable patient. That's backwards! Also not reasonable is charging for an office visit that does not take place. Man that sounds like billing fraud if I ever heard it. I hope you'll clarify all this with your doc - the guy you have HIRED and PAY MONEY to.


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:47 am 
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My doctor has given me the option of coming monthly which is 150 a month or every 2 months which is 300....I stick to the monthly visits because it helps me to talk to him monthly...I pay cash for my sub....its pricey but nowhere near what I was paying for pills!


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:24 am 
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I'm definitely planning on using bupe long term. It controls my mood disorder, depression , joint pain and is insurance against relapse. I was 100% clean and sober for 8 months and just decided to get on it. What a difference. I'm no longer miserable. No more wild mood swings and my attitude is excellent! I've been on bupe in the past vith varying degrees of success. I think getting clean and starting the step process was huge. I don't want to get high anymore but feel bupe is tremendously benificial to the quality of my life. The biggest challenge I've faced being on bupe in the past is haters.People in NA/AA telling me I'm not clean and some groups won't let you have a service position. A lot of sponsors refuse to have sponsees on drug replacement therapy.If these people actually practiced what they preach and followed their traditions they wouldn't have anything to say. Traditions 3, 10, 11 and 12. The sponsor I have now isn't gonna like it but guess what? Too fuckin bad, this is my life!!


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:11 pm 
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You go!!!

You have found what works for your recovery, so who are they to give you crap about it? Isn't their number one rule that the only thing required is a desire to stop using?

I hope that you're proud of yourself, because you have turned your life around!

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:37 pm 
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Thank you Amy.


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:47 am 
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Hi all, and especially Dr. J.
I did my little introduction a while ago, and feel now that I am able to post positively on this thread.
I saw my psychiatrist today, and am now entering my 3rd year of Suboxone maintenance. During which time I have completely abstained from drug abuse, stopped using alcohol and tobacco, and, from my wife's perspective, become a wholely more stable and balanced person. No more "binges" leading to arguments, damage and regrets.
A lot of my new attitude has been due to reading articles and posts on this site. I no longer "resent" this essential medication. I am stable on 4mg daily, and plan to taper gradually to the lowest practical amount, but *not* to stop. I finally accept that this is a medication for life, in all senses. My doctor is happy at hearing this, and has given me a years refill subscription. She is also happy for me to lower my dose, aiming for 0.5 or 1mg as the very lowest, as long as it still does its job, but not to try and stop, because we all know (allthough I had to learn and hammer it home) that abstinence based recovery does not work for everyone, and that the price to pay for taking a small dose of medication every morning is a small one in comparison to the consequences of trying, as a confirmed addict, of trying to go "dry" with the odds of success being strikingly low.
So I thank Dr. J, and all the good people here, for helping me understand better the true nature of the disease and the cure. I am 51 years old, with hopefully a couple of decades left to achieve much more, and without Suboxone I do not believe that would possible.
Yup,Suboxone for life, because life without addiction is definitely worth it.
Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:06 pm 
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I am totally with you on that one friend. Once we reach a certain age if we have not figured out how to keep this disease in remission without medication then there is only one other choice, medication! And thank god we at least have choices now. Once upon a time there were none and a poor suffering addict ended up in a dreary institution or dead.

I'll take medication over those two choices! thank you very much!

Life on Bup can be a good life if each of us take responsibility to make it so.......

onward and upward as they say......megster


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:15 am 
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Hello everyone. I am new to bupe. Only been on in about a month. I have posted in the introduction thread under willowwitch. Thanks to everyone that has offered support. I'm so glad this thread is here. Quick background on my use and sobriety. Started at 11 yrs old drinking. Quickly moved to speed ,weed,pcp,lsd,pills,etc..anything and everything! Plus all the damage that goes along with it. Fast forward to 23yrs old. Got sober for a pregnancy. Well for the most part! Lasted only 5 months and then went on a 8yr run. Had not one sober moment for those yrs. My use and abuse was so bad and I was out of control and miserable. My life was a wreck and my soon to be husband was beating me. But this was something I was used to in life and alcohol and drugs was how I dealt with it. Got pregnant ad somewhat sober till she was 1 1/2 . That's when I got serious and stayed sober for 11yrs. Used AA/NA. But those 11yrs were terrible and great all in the same. At 11 yrs I relapsed with my new man. The last 6 yrs have been only pills and the occasional cocaine. Pills ruled my life. Yes I functioned very well. Raise kids but the cycle of pills was killing me. I wanted to die. I could say a lot more but that would take too long. My point is....I know without a doubt that if I don't stay on suboxene for the rest of my life I will die! I am so thankful this thread is here. I am so afraid my doctor will not be on board with this. I know I have a lot of time b4 that comes up but I can't shake that fear. So thank you for started this thread and dr.j for this forum. Everyone...have a wonderful Monday! !


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Hello. I hope someone responds to this please. I am having a complete freak out at the moment. Long story short version. I pay out of pocket for my subs. I have only been on a month. I am a single mother of 2 and help with my 2 yr old granddaughter also . My ex doesn't pay his court ordered child support so I do this alone. I just found out the money I had managed to keep back for my script on Friday when I see my Dr is all gone but $50 !!! A bill collection took it even though I told them last month ( after realizing it is an error that I owe this ) has drafted a payment from my account! ! So I finally told my oldest brother about my relapse and suboxene etc in hopes of getting a loan just for the script on Friday. Big mistake. Not only do I have anxiety over the money now I get to deal with his "disappointment" over my relapse. Wow really?? I have been back actively using for 6 yrs until a month ago. So why is he now finding out? Because I have been able to hide this. And he lives in another state and hasn't bothered to keep in contact although I have tried for many years. We recently have started talking again and I thought I could confide in him. Wrong. That has just made me feel even worse now. I feel all alone even more in this at least where my family is concerned. Now I want to just say screw it and go out and use. I can't breathe or think of anything other than scoring some oxy. Plus I am hurt by his response. I should of kept my mouth shut. I don't know if I should post this here or where so I apologize if it's in the wrong forum. I'm sweating and my anxiety is so high I can't think straight. I just needed my brothers support . I guess my expectations were too high ! So now my serenity level is very low. Lol. Maybe I should grab my big book huh and read. I'm just so tired of the struggle and have a long road ahead of me. I can't give up but I really really want to at this moment. Thanks for listening .
Willow


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:12 pm 
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And BTW incase you haven't read my intro...I was sober 11yrs went back out the last 6yrs and now on subs about a month. Just to clarify that. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:30 pm 
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willowwitch wrote:
Hello. I hope someone responds to this please. I am having a complete freak out at the moment. Long story short version. I pay out of pocket for my subs. I have only been on a month. I am a single mother of 2 and help with my 2 yr old granddaughter also . My ex doesn't pay his court ordered child support so I do this alone. I just found out the money I had managed to keep back for my script on Friday when I see my Dr is all gone but $50 !!! A bill collection took it even though I told them last month ( after realizing it is an error that I owe this ) has drafted a payment from my account! ! So I finally told my oldest brother about my relapse and suboxene etc in hopes of getting a loan just for the script on Friday. Big mistake. Not only do I have anxiety over the money now I get to deal with his "disappointment" over my relapse. Wow really?? I have been back actively using for 6 yrs until a month ago. So why is he now finding out? Because I have been able to hide this. And he lives in another state and hasn't bothered to keep in contact although I have tried for many years. We recently have started talking again and I thought I could confide in him. Wrong. That has just made me feel even worse now. I feel all alone even more in this at least where my family is concerned. Now I want to just say screw it and go out and use. I can't breathe or think of anything other than scoring some oxy. Plus I am hurt by his response. I should of kept my mouth shut. I don't know if I should post this here or where so I apologize if it's in the wrong forum. I'm sweating and my anxiety is so high I can't think straight. I just needed my brothers support . I guess my expectations were too high ! So now my serenity level is very low. Lol. Maybe I should grab my big book huh and read. I'm just so tired of the struggle and have a long road ahead of me. I can't give up but I really really want to at this moment. Thanks for listening .
Willow


I didn't check in yesterday, so I'm not seeing this until now. I am so sorry that you reached out to your brother and he responded negatively. Please try not to be totally disheartened by his reaction. He is ignorant of what recovery is if it isn't based in abstinence. He is ignorant of this choice that you have made to turn your life around.

I'm going to PM you. Hold on.

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Hi WW,

Sorry you're having so much trouble just getting Suboxone. It is very expensive and can drain an account quickly if you're living from paycheck to paycheck like a lot of us do.

It will work out one way or another. Once you get stabilized again on Suboxone try very hard to build up an emergency account again just for these types of problems. We have the same problems here with keeping that emergency money up to where I want it. It seems like once I get some saved, something breaks or happens. I just did a special job for $600 so I could take my sweet little dog to the Vet for medications. He has a bad spine and sometimes goes into spasms. That didn't wipe it out but now my a/c won't turn on. Same thing last year and the year before that. They sure don't make things the way they used to. I'm looking into a home warranty policy until my e-fund is back up to par.

Bite the bullet with your brother and do whatever you can to get your medication. Please don't consider getting any oxy's. That is the wrong path to take and you know it.

PM me or one of the other mods if you need to vent some more.

rule

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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:24 pm 
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I PM'd Ms. Willow and I was inspired to write an open letter to her brother that can she can use or not.

I want to post it here as well. I'm thinking of changing it a bit and submitting it for publication to see if anyone would use it.

I wrote this only knowing what Willow has said publically on this forum.

Dear Brother,

I would like to tell you about recovery from opiate addiction and the latest scientific evidence about opiate addiction. I am an opiate addict myself, although my time in active addiction was relatively brief. I was fortunate to grow up in a loving and intact family with no history of childhood trauma and no co-occurring mental disorders besides a bit of anxiety and panic attacks. I never did drugs as a teen, nor did I drink a lot of alcohol. My grandfather was an alcoholic, but I never felt a compulsion to drink, so I thought I had escaped the possibility of addiction. Then, when I was 31, married with one child, my mother suddenly died overnight of a pulmonary embolism. My grief over Mom's death and anger at my dad developed in a desire to numb my emotional pain. My poison is percocet. By the time I asked for help in 2011 I was taking 100 to 140 mg of percocet (oxycodone & acetaminophen) per day. My education, family support, and background of resiliency enabled me to ask for help before I got into legal and financial trouble. My relationships, stable to begin with, remained constant. In other words, I am one very fortunate addict! I am now in graduate school for Addiction Studies through the University of South Dakota.

Enough about me, let's talk about your sister. Your sister, like me, is an opiate addict. Unlike me, however, she was not blessed with many of the circumstances that made it easier for me to get help. Still! She has put together very significant periods of not abusing substances. She made it 11 years by sticking to a 12 step program! You should be very proud of her for that! She relapsed on pain medication 6 years ago, but has again, stopped the cycle of abusing. It's time that you know more about opiate addiction and addiction in general.

Addiction is today considered to be a disorder of the pleasure/reward circuits in the brain. There is plenty of more specific information about the brain's role in addiction on the website of NIDA (https://www.drugabuse.gov/). The disorder of addiction is considered to be a chronic condition that must be managed for all of an addict's life. Like type 1 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and other chronic medical conditions, addiction will never go away. The best science has been able to do is to help some addicts put their addiction into remission. Do not mistake your sister's situation. Addiction is characterized by both relapse and worsening over time, so if she were to stop taking the medication she just started, her chances of relapse would again be upwards of 90%.

Let's talk about addiction as a function of making choices. Initially, there is a choice to start taking a drug. Opiates, in particular and in some addicts, quickly become a matter of necessity. When children and teens start on substances of abuse, their brains are still in the process of developing, particularly the frontal cortex which is where we develop inhibitory processes (the ability to say "no") and impulse control. For the developing brain, addiction is a disaster. That is what your sister has dealt with since before she was even a teen. What was initially the choice of a young girl became a compulsion that is incredibly difficult to control because of what addiction does to the brain. There is also a genetic component to who is vulnerable to addiction. This is why siblings, who can be genetically similar, often have different outcomes when they abuse or even use addictive substances.

For many years the only help addicts had were 12 step meetings and abstinence based programming. Addicts would graduate from expensive inpatient programs, relapse, and cycle back into the same type of program. Opiate addicts following an abstinence based program relapse at a rate of 95%. Worse, when an opiate addict relapsed during their program they were kicked out for "not being ready to work an honest program." These attitudes are slowly changing as the recovery industry recognizes that addicts who relapse need additional help, not ostracization. Another change in the treatment industry is that most treatment centers are being required to use evidence-based practices to treat addicts. However, the portion of the recovery industry that still relies on 12 step programs, despite the lack of scientific efficacy, are largely ignoring the evidence based practice that is proven by scientific study to stop relapse in 67% of opiate addicts. That practice is called MAT, Medication Assisted Therapy.

The game changer for opiate addicts like me and like your sister has been the addition of buprenorphine products to MAT. You've probably heard of methadone. Buprenorphine (largely known by the brand name, Suboxone), has several components that make it a near perfect treatment for opiate addicts. I often call it by its nickname, bupe. Bupe is a synthetic opioid medication that is a partial agonist. Heroin, percocet, vicodin, morphine, etc., are full agonists. Bupe binds so strongly to opiate receptors in the brain, that the addict could shoot up with heroin and not feel any effects from it because the bupe is already occupying the receptors. Buprenorphine has some other unique properties. It is safer than all other opiates because it only causes a certain amount of respiratory depression, but can cause no more respiratory depression beyond that even if you took 15 doses of buprenorphine. Because buprenorphine is so much safer than methadone, after the addict stabilizes on the medication, only a monthly visit with their doctor is required.

More unique properties of buprenorphine: it ceases withdrawal symptoms, it eliminates physical cravings and obsession for your opiate drug of choice. Let me stop right there. Bupe stops the obsession the addict has for their drug of choice. Non-addicts don't realize what that means for an addict. It means that the addict can now pay attention to their family, their employment, their relationships, their health, and their recovery. The obsession is no longer in the way of existing like a normal human being. Even among the most addicted people buprenorphine is successful in putting opiate addiction in remission for 2/3 of opiate addicts. That's a 35% relapse rate as opposed to a 95% relapse rate for addicts in abstinence based programming. The last unique quality is that buprenorphine does not cause euphoria in people addicted to opiates. There is no high. Believe me. If I were high from this medication, I would not be able to sustain a 4.0 in my graduate program.

Your sister has made the decision to go to a doctor with specific training to prescribe this drug. Unfortunately, the brand name drug that doctors are prescribing instead of generic buprenorphine, called Suboxone, can be prohibitively expensive, especially for an addict getting back on her feet. Some suboxone doctors only take cash even if you have insurance, and less ethical doctors charge exorbitant fees. Even ethical doctors cannot help patients with the cost of the drug. The drug company that makes Suboxone added another medication, naloxone, to the buprenorphine to make Suboxone. The naloxone is supposed to keep addicts from injecting the medication, which some addicts who aren't in recovery do.

Your sister just joined the ranks of addicts who are living full, complete, ethical, hopeful lives because of this medication. I have been on suboxone for 4.5 years. Since I started taking this medication, which put my opiate addiction into remission, I have started working again, and I am in graduate to become an addiction counselor with a Masters degree. My family, supportive to begin with, is so proud of me. I have worked through the issues that made me personally susceptible to addiction with an addiction counselor. I am honored that I will soon be helping people like me, people like your sister.

Let me make a couple of things clear. Your sister has taken a bold step toward recovery, whether you think so or not. The fact that she is an addict does not make her a bad person making bad choices. The time for choices was many years ago when she was not old enough to make better decisions. She will never stop being an addict, so she has taken proactive steps to ensure her recovery.

Many family members have a narrative in their heads that they are superior to their addicted family members. The truth is, they are luckier than their addicted family member. The way genetics were passed down in your family makes you the lucky one, not the superior one. The same genetic process that gave one of you blue eyes and blond hair and the other have green eyes and brown hair was at work making your sister more susceptible to addiction than you are. Maybe it makes you more susceptible to cancer than your sister is. Right now genetic expression is a craps shoot. As we learn more about the brain and genetics (especially epigenetics), we may find a way to turn off a gene that predisposes a person to one disease or another.

Your sister is responsible for making sure that she follows her doctor's rules and can pay for her expensive medication. I drew much better cards than she did. I have a suboxone doctor who takes my insurance, I have a husband whose job provides us insurance. Even if I didn't have that I have numerous family members and friends who would immediately help me financially if I asked them to.

Apparently, your sister does not have the same resources that I do. She has a brother who has kept pretty distant from her, and perhaps, understandably so. Her life has been chaotic and troubled. However, knowing what you now know about opiate addiction and the choices she has now made to get into a recovery, perhaps you could suspend the judgement and go with love and grace instead. I don't personally know your sister, but I know her disorder and I know how we can put it into remission. I hope you consider what I've said here and give your sister another chance. Right now she is too devastated by her conversation with you to advocate on her own behalf.

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:05 pm 
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Thank you Amy and Rule , I appreciate you responses and I did get your pm Amy and just replied. Rule you are so right.. oxy will not help and I am holding strong. I will keep trying and I know it will work out. Have a great day
Willow.


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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:12 pm 
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Hey all, I just wanted to mention something about the "open letter" I wrote in the above post. First of all, I posted the entire letter in order to let our members use it to educate friends and family of their own.

I am asking, however, that no one tries to pass the writing off as their own, given that I may seek to publish the letter in one way or another in the future. I think it would be easier to publish if no one else has put it out there in a public forum without my name. Does that make sense? I'm not trying to be greedy, just to cut down on confusion if I ever try to publish my words.

Thanks guys!

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: New Lifer's Forum
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:45 am 
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I really liked the part about genetics Amy. Even though I'm pretty informed of addiction obviously, there's still things I don't explain very well when it comes to non addicts. U do it well! Thanks for taking the time to write this, I could sit and read things like this all day :)

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