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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:36 pm 
Hi Sarah....I just wanted to offer you some encouragement along with the others. I think you will find as the days pass, that you will surely have days or parts of days in which you feel quite overwhelmed with the basics of life, then other days when you feel full of energy and hopeful and happy. I think that is the way life is when one is, as you have mentioned I believe, not on any medications which affect the mood. It's even more true when you're going through symptoms of PAWS. I don't think there is any escaping the fact that you will suffer PAWS to some degree being that you stopped your Suboxone abruptly and at a relatively high dose. I don't say that to speak defeat over you at all.....I'm just afraid it is scientifically nearly impossible for you to escape such symptoms. Maybe if you're having a 'down' day, it will help to remind yourself that this is just part of the process of getting better.....that there's nothing wrong with you....nothing unusual happening to you or anything like that. I think one of the most important things will be to have a plan in place for how to deal with those moments without turning back to opiates.
That was my biggest problem with PAWS symptoms......When I felt low or unmotivated or irritable, the cravings would hit me so hard. Because I wanted to feel better! It's only natural! Even as I taper down on my Suboxone to lower doses, I find myself struggling a bit with PAWS symptoms and it's hard not to want to feel better and unfortunately our brains remember that opiates used to do that for us. I've said before......I wish there were a way to permanently erase that memory from my brain! I know I used to be able to deal with my feelings without turning to a substance as my addiction didn't start until I was 40 or so years old. But ever since my addiction kicked in, that became my first answer to everything.....take some pain medicine = feel better. Of course, we all know how that turns on us eventually, with a vengeance! Really I just wanted to encourage you to allow yourself to go through your feelings, express them to your support people and deal with them in healthy ways so you may avoid relapse.
I also wanted to tell you that I do understand what you mean when you talk about how buprenorphine made you feel towards the end, or made you not feel. You are not the first person I've heard mention that. That over time on the medication you begin to feel different.....muted or subdued or foggy or just not yourself. I think it has happened to me at least to some extent. Now, like you, I am not slamming Suboxone in any way. I am a huge proponent of it. I just agree that it is a drug that can certainly affect different people in different ways. I know I always have felt very 'normal' on it. However, I must admit that now that I am one year in, I don't think I feel as 'normal' as I once did. Now, that may be because I am now below the 'ceiling' level on my dose and it probably has more to do with the unsteadiness of my blood level of bupe at any given time and the fact that I am beginning to get some taste of minor withdrawal and/or PAWS symptoms as I reduce. But I will admit that I am anxious to be off the medication to see what 'normal' really does feel like, but at the same time I am concerned about PAWS as I had such extreme difficulty dealing with it before. As I have said before, the hope is that I will have the experience that many others here have had by reducing slowly and stopping at an extremely low dose and avoid PAWS altogether.
All that to say.....You have my support with what you are doing. You want to be medication free and there is nothing wrong with that. You have not put forth your experiences as a "how to guide," rather as a reference for others who may feel as you do. Your posts seem very honest and sincere....you haven't sugarcoated anything you went through and you mentioned your desire to share your 'truth' of your experiences with buprenorphine. That is a big part of what this place is all about, in my opinion. So thank you for sharing your story. I hope you will continue to post about how you're doing. If there is anything I can do to be helpful, let me know. Again, you have my support.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:00 pm 
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I am not telling you anything that you don't already know. :roll:

There is a lot of patience that goes into handling the daily needs of children, who have very little patience of their own. They always seem to be hungry, thirsty, wet/poopy basically just incredibly needy on the days when your sanity seems to be dangling from a thread.

I can't always be calm and collective when I am being beckoned constantly. It is sometimes just too much for me and then I feel guilty, after all I am their parent and I love them and would do anything for them.
The point is I think it is perfectly natural to have those moments when there seems to be too much to do and you don't have enough time or energy to get the job done. Having those moments of clarity...like seeing your child sitting on the table as if it was the first time...means you are becoming yourself. All those years of emotional numbness and indifference have made seeing things clearly feel foreign. Take the time to read your posts again from beginning to end. It might allow you to see yourself, not just as a recovering addict, but as a person with a full and busy life. If you really consider everything you have going on, aside from stopping suboxone, it can be expected that not everyday is going to be one you want to savor. When you include the absence of the suboxone from your day, there really is a lot that you are expecting from yourself. I've got a lot going on too. And like you I am a parent recovering from an opiate dependency. You are a lot further along than I am but when you look at it one day at a time our experiences are shared.

Taken out of context your situation is like that of any mom who had a rough day. But when I read your concerns and picture myself, the way I used to cope with things, you had a successful day because you experienced every part of it sober. So who's a good Mommy.........treat yourself to a day at the spa first chance you get. Sounds like you deserve it and have earned it. :wink:

I hope you're well!!
Cheshire


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:08 pm 
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Setmefree and Cheshire--It felt so good to get on here after a long, hard day, to read your encouraging words and support. Really, both of your posts were very comforting. Why? Because I can tell I'm reading words from sincere women who speak the truth.

Setmefree--Thank you for your encouragment. Honestly, I don't know what to expect from the PAWS. I mean, I know about them, I've read about them, I know since I kicked from such a high dose abrubptly that the chances are huge that they will come. But honestly, this is how I look at it--Any day with out a drug is a good day. Somehow, someway, even through the withdrawals, my cravings have been very insignificant. Even during the worst of my withdrawal, it was just the physical part that was so horrific. As far as I can remember, the only times I felt true cravings, were from day 7 to 10, ONLY around the time when I would normally take my Suboxone. I still have some lingering withdrawal, which I don't know if it is PAWS or not, but they are CAKE compared to what I went through for almost two weeks. And to tell you the truth, when I think of PAWS hitting sometime soon down the road, it seems easier to just push through it than to think about taking a narcotic to ease the pain, only because I KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO ME. I would feel good for two hours, then hell after that, then the whole chasing game would begin again, then that depression would set in, then I would find myself in the same hell that I was in years ago. And it is pure hell. Going through PAWS seems to me, more pleasant than that. In fact, I would go through the two weeks of withdrawal I had from the Suboxone over again, and again, only if I didn't go back to opiates. I work in the Maternity Ward at our local hospital, and I see and hear about narcotics probably 10 to 20 times a day. Right now, when ever I hear their names, or anything that resembles them, I just think to myself, "Good luck to the woman taking that nasty drug." Or when we have women coming in to have babies that are narcotic abusers, all I can do is feel their pain, and thank God I am not there right now. That somehow I got out of that mess, and the best part is knowing that I will never have to deal with that pain again (using and abusing).
Anyway, setmefree, thank you for your encouragment and supportive words. I saw that you said you are tapering from the Suboxone right now. Good luck to you, and just keep on pushing on. You can do this. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Cheshire--Thank you, too, for making me feel like I don't have to feel so bad about feeling so overwhelmed with the kids. I am SO the same way that you said you are---when the kids start to demand too much from me, when I become thinned out, when they need one thing after another, from 6am to 8pm, I CAN'T STAND IT. However, right now, I am left to my own devices. And now it is time to learn how to react to them, and how to treat them fairly JUST THE WAY I AM RIGHT NOW. Right now, the kids are in bed, finally. But by the end of the day, I really felt like I was going to loose it. But I just kept BREATHING, and telling myself that more than anything, these kids need a patient, loving mother, AND ONLY I CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN RIGHT NOW! I work 32 hours a week. When I have to go to work, I have to wake up at 4:30 am, get myself ready, my two youngest ready (1yr and 3 yrs), packed up and in the care. I drive to the hospital, truck them across the hospital in the stroller to the daycare, drop them off, and punch in by 6:53am. When I punch out at 3:30pm, I walk across the hospital to get the babies, pack them in the car, drive to my 5 year old's preschool, take the babies out of the car, pack up my 5 year old, put them all back in the car, drive home, unpack them all, and then dinner needs to be made, not to mention laundry and all the daily cleaning. I do this alone until hubby gets home around 6pm. On my days off, I am at home alone with them from 6:30am (which is sleeping in for them) from 6pm. I know I have to step back, and be proud of myself too, for my accomplishments. Hell, when I was going through my Suboxone withdrawals, I quit nursing at the same time. I nursed my son for 18 months. I have to look at the positives as well. I have made accomplishments despite my setbacks, and today I AM making it. You are right, Cheshire, we are SUPPOSED to feel this way some days.
Most importantly, and I can honestly say this, no matter how shitty I have felt the last 4 weeks, even at my worst, I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE HAPPIER, I have never been more level headed, and I have never been peace with my life, like I am today.

I guess I'm venting, again. Thanks for all your support. I sincerely mean it. I am glad I found this forum. My parents, my husband, and my friends are supportive through this all for me. But no one, NO ONE, understand eachother more, than addicted people do.

--Thank you, Sarah


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 Post subject: UPDATE
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Hey everyone! Just wanted to get on and let everyone know that I am still doing wonderfully. Tomarrow it will be 5 weeks off Suboxone. Yay! Both physically and mentally I feel great. Still am having a hard time sleeping some nights, and still struggling at some points on how to deal with life on these new terms, but even with these struggles, I haven't felt this good in years.

I hope everyone is doing ok. --Sarah


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:38 am 
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hEY sARAH,

It was good to hear your story. I related to heaps. Here's a summary of my impulsive jump-offs of maintainence:

- Jumped off 80mg methadone after an ugly relationship breakup. My rationale was I wanted to be "free" and start a new chapter of my life. (3 months of bad wd's. sneezes stopped about 6-9 months later)

- Jumped off 16mg suboxone about a year ago while on cymbalta treatment and attending NA.

- Jumped off 70mg methadone after I forgot to get my script refilled over the Christmas period (early 2000's) and I couldn't get a new authorisation until govt offices re-opened mid-January.

- Kicked off the suboxone program after spending too much time @ a bush rave party.

Worst of all : - Took 50mg Naltrexone while on 80mg methadone. DO NOT DO THIS.

Anyway my point is I know a bit about making impulsive emotional decisions about my treatment. And yeah it feels good to be free at first. Be wary though. I know for me it was the same impulsive decision making behind jumping off all those times as was behind my choosing to use drugs in the first place. And as you can tell, it wasn't long before I ended up back on the opiates.

What I'm trying to do this time on suboxone is train myself to think more clearly and rationally about the life decisions I make. As geeky as it sounds, pro's / con's lists are becoming a part of my life. And I tell you now, if I filled in a pros/cons list about jumping off 16mg suboxone it wouldn't look good in black & white.

That being said, you've come out the other side and you appear positive and motivated which is a good sign. The main thing from now is support, and it sounds like you have that. Will you start attending meetings? SMART, NA/AA? Being completely abstinent from all opiates is difficult, especially for the first 2 years, and I'd encourage you to look at every avenue of support you can. Counselling, meetings, outpatient programs. Self care is huge too. Meditation (mindfulness can really help with the flighty trains of thought and anxiety common in the first 2 years of abstinence). Exercise is a huge one too and can reduce the length and severity of PAWS for opiates substantially.

The other thing I related to was the anti-depressant thing. I've had a real touchy relationship with SSRI/SNRI's. They were always really good at their role of pulling me out of a depression. The thing is, the only emotion I seemed to feel on them was happiness. I wouldn't even call it happiness. More like a constant anti-depression. However when I'd see a movie that's meant to make me feel sad, or my dog died (yes), all I'd feel was this numb anti-depression. I too missed the whole spectrum of emotions and jumped off them numerous times. Recently I got depressed again, and I've found that a supplement called SAM-e has really helped. Its works (imo) better than even the stronger pharmaceuticals like Effexor (mainly because it lacks the side-effects the mind altering feeling of the meds). Anyway, if you feel like your blues are coming back, maybe check that out as a part of your treatment. Exercise too is a big one.

Good luck with it and I hope you stay on the path.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:08 am 
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Thank you, tearj3rker, for your support and adivce.

I wanted to get on and update as well. It's been 7 1/2 weeks off Suboxone, (and narcotic free as well!). I am doing great. From week 4-6 were hard. Physically I felt ok, but emotionally I felt numb, couldn't get happy, couldn't get sad. All I could get was IRRITATED! This past week I am starting to feel more now, and feeling better emotionally too. Either way, I have tons of support and have found that these things work well for me:
--3 main meals a day. Eating healthy too. Drinking lots of water.
--Jogging 3-5 times a week.
--Writing in my journal EXACTLY how I feel. The good, bad, and the ugly.
--Still seeing my doctor whom originally prescribed me the Suboxone. He wants me to keep seeing him for probably the next year, just for the support, advice, etc. It is so funny to go see him and not get any prescriptions!
--Still seeing my therapist (whom works in the same office as my Sub doc. whom actually is his wife) and this is HUGE.
--Being real with my friends and family about how things REALLY are going.
--Keep thinking of the good things to come ahead. My kids are getting bigger (5yrs, 3yrs, 1yr) and will be getting easier (less exsausting, anyway). And starting school up again in a month.

So, yea. I haven't had ANY cravings, however. Thank god. And to be honest, I know, for a forsure fact, that no matter how terrible I feel, I will never take another narcotic again.

Thank you, everyone for your support, hope everyone is doing well. --Sarah


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:28 am 
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Thanks for the update! It is so good to hear you're doing so well. Even though you're off sub, I hope you stick around and keep posting. I think you're really smart to be continuing to see the doctor and especially the therapist. I predict you'll continue to do just fine! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:29 pm 
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Sarahsweet, please keep us updated. I really want my son to go off of Suboxone at some point but he does not have nearly your maturity. I am afraid that once he starts feeling bad he will start abusing drugs again. He really does not have any responsibilities right now other than going to school so it would be so easy for him to relapse. We have decided that he will stay and go to our local community college for one more year just because I think he needs our support right now (and maybe some accountability) and I can make sure he goes to counseling. I hate having to treat him like a child at 22 but he really is emotionally more like a 16 yr old. I have heard that oftentimes maturity levels stay at about the age the person started abusing and I can sure see that in our son. It appears that you have moved way beyond that and you should be very proud of yourself.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Sarahsweet wrote:

And to be honest, I know, for a forsure fact, that no matter how terrible I feel, I will never take another narcotic again.



I don't want this to come out the wrong way, and I don't want you to misunderstand me, so I'm going to qualify what I am about to tell you a bit first:

1. I am extremely happy for you.
2. I think it's great that you've been able to get off suboxone and stay clean for this long
3. I wish you nothing but continued success

Now, with that out of the way, I want to tell you, as a guy who is pushing 50 years old and who has been a drug addict for well over 30 years, that the statement I quoted above is an extremely dangerous way of thinking that could eventually lead to the type of complacency that results in relapse.

If I had a dime for every time I knew as a "forsure fact" that I would never take another narcotic again, I could retire right now and never work another day in my life.

PLEASE do not believe that you can just make such a proclamation and it's going to be true just because you say so.

Look, again, I WANT you to succeed. But don't be cocky about your recovery. Take it from someone who has been down this road several DOZEN times before. It's not a good way to think at all.

I would urge you to confine your confidence about your ability to stay off drugs to ONE DAY. You have a much, much greater chance of relapsing when you convince yourself that you'll "never take narcotics again"

Don't box yourself in like that. For example, are you going to refuse narcotics if you break your leg? Trust me, you won't. I don't know anyone with a higher threshold for pain than me, and my broken leg had me BEGGING for drugs. And that's just one example of many.....

It's a really really slippery psychological slope you're putting yourself on with that kind of statement and I don't want you to have to make the same mistakes I made, that's the ONLY reason I am even mentioning this.

Congratulations on all you've achieved so far and I hope you will stay strong TODAY and thanks for letting us know how you're doing.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:22 pm 
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Sarahsweet,

Good luck to you!! I truly believe that everyone is different and comes to their recovery by different pathways. I know it can seem very liberating to quit taking pills every day. However, keep in mind that if you ever need it, Suboxone is always a future option for you. It's not like you have to go off of it forever. I hope you don't see taking Suboxone and/or antidepressants as "weak", because both are very important tools for us to use to our advantage. It sounds like you are a strong person, and self-sufficient, and I just wanted to tell you that while your new path may be very successful, you haven't burned any bridges yet.

Recovery is a lifelong process. Whatever may happen, be good to yourself first. I certainly wish you well....
Peace,
J

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