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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:40 pm 
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Very glad to have found this forum of sympathetic people who more or less understand where I'm coming from.

A little about my history: I'm in my 50's, beat alcohol and benzos after a hellish withdrawal along with heavy attendance in AA for 5 years. I use the word "beat" loosely, and with all due humility, but it's been 2 decades and I've not the slightest desire to drink. As for the benzos, they almost killed me. Literally. Even if I wanted to get back on those, they messed up my wiring so badly they now have a paradoxical effect, that is they actually increase anxiety.

About 15 years ago things were going quite well when I became sick with a weird, undiagnosed illness. Bottom line, severe headaches, hypogylcemia, food intolerances. Docs were no help and I got sicker and sicker. After suffering for nearly a decade, I made the wrenching decision to self treat with opiods. I knew the risk I was taking, but it was something to try and I was so sick it often seemed life was not worth living.

Long tedious story cut a little shorter, the narcotics gave me a new chance at life. Almost instantly, I became a good 50-75 percent better. I was able to enjoy life again and never had the slightest problems with the drugs I was taking except of course the standard tolerance/addiction syndrome. Still, even after 5 years the opiod remains effective. I don't get nearly the intense high, but it still mitigates my symptoms substantially and that's more than wonderful with me.

Recently, I've come to realize that supply is going to be a problem for some months. I can either try tapering (I'm already down to about half what I was taking, but the next half is going to be a bear.) The other option is suboxone, I hesitate because I know it will complicate my already complicated enough life. I also worry they'll permanently mess up my tolerance re any future use of narcotics.

So that's the deal. I have no desire to stop taking opiods completely. I just want to struggle through til supply picks up next year. The only change I hope to make after tapering off my drug of choice or getting by on sub., is if I'm lucky be able to restrict my use to "as needed" basis. I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes, but I really think I can do that. I'm not looking to get high so much (as nice as that is), as to be able to continue taking, when needed, the only thing I've found that reduces the symptoms of my illness.

Sorry to be so long-winded. Any and all advice/suggestions greatly appreciated. To be clear, if I go with the suboxone it would be as a stop gap, to get me through to the other side when supply picks up again. I know some say a taper from a full opiod is next to impossible. I figure I can stretch the process out for as long as 4 months. Not the 2 years some say is necessary. I suppose in the worst case if my taper fails I can go to the sub. to get me by. Then I'd have to taper off that I suppose before getting back to using my opiod, though on a hopefully more limited basis. Again, I'm not naive. I know some will say I'm dreaming. Maybe I am. Just because I'm an "old man" doesn't give me some greater wisdom in this area.

Then again, I've had a hard life with much over-coming along the way, so I'm a fairly strong person these days.

P.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Hello poe and welcome. Thanks for sharing your story - I really respect your honesty. I'm no doctor or expert, but I'll give you my thoughts on this. I know that you're getting your drugs from the streets and will withdraw when stopping them; you like the high, but I'm wondering if you can control your usage? Do you take the same amount everyday? Do you take more and more to get the same effect? Will your supply last the as long as it "should" or do you go through them very quickly? I'm asking these questions because I think your situation is particularly unique when it comes to addiction.

Based on what you indicated are your intentions (to go back to full agonists in 2-3 months), part of my wonders whether suboxone is the right way to go. Your tolerance WILL be higher, but not permanently. But it could take more than a month (or more?) for it to go back down. Which means if you do go that route, when you start back up on the full agonist, you'll have to take much more to achieve the same effect.

There is of course one other equally valid possibility. Considering that suboxone is an opiate, albeit a partial one. Have you considered that perhaps the suboxone could also treat your undiagnosed symptoms? If it did, you could get off that roller coaster that is active addiction. Or if you go on sub, you might find that you feel better and you simply like how you feel and your life improves because of it. It will be like going into addiction remission.

Maybe going on subs will be worth any increased tolerance for the shot at improving your life. Maybe you would actually stay on it. Maybe it's a long shot, but it is a thought that I had.

I know I'm not giving you a specific answer to your questions or any clear guidance. I'm just sharing my thoughts on the whole situation with you. Good luck to you and keep us posted.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:18 pm 
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Many sincere thanks, Hat. I actually did not think of that, that the sub. might help with my symptoms. But would that require a different schedule would it not? Perhaps smaller doses of sub at more frequent intervals? I think I read something along those lines when using sub for pain management.

To be a bit clearer, I know sub. is a powerful drug in its way. Would increased tolerance due to usage disappear over time with a regular taper followed by some short period, say a month or two, of abstinence?

Sincere thanks again for the reply.

P.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Poe, I really am glad that you have taken the first step here by posting. The thing is, not only is your situation really is beyond what you can handle on your own, it’s more complex than we can likely address for you. In the most basic terms, you have classically switched addictions. It sounds like you have been addicted to one substance or another for much of your adult life. For a while it was alcohol, followed by benzos followed by your current addiction of opiates. That brings in the concern that if you should find success in getting off of opiates, you are likely to transfer to yet another new addiction.

You are also relaying a story that I have read before - that being the fact that opiates make the person feel "normal" - at least in the early days of using. I have seen instances of people who actually have underlying mental illness that is "fixed" by Suboxone. While in and of itself, Suboxone is not designed nor approved for use as an anti-depressant, it seems to work that way for some percentage of patients.

In the end, I think that you know, and many readers here know, that you have an on-going problem with addiction. The chances of you getting off of opiates on your own are slim to none. Worse yet, if you somehow make it through that slim chance and get off of opiates, it is extremely likely that you'll pick up a new addiction in its place rather quickly. This all tells me that your situation is way beyond what you can address and way beyond what any of us here can address. It really is time to go see a professional about your situation. That is by far the best advice that I could give to you. I'm certain you are sick of living the life you are living. I'm certain you would much rather not have to be on a daily hunt for your next supply. Your health while abusing opiates cannot be as good as it should be. The list goes on and on.

Suboxone might well be exactly what you need. You may be one of those patients who need it for life. You may be one of those patients who feel "normal" while on Suboxone and get anti-depressant properties from Sub along with Addiction remission. It could very well be the ticket to a whole new life for you. It is unlikely that you would need to take it more frequently or in higher doses than the average Suboxone patient. Unlike full opiates that "create" euphoria or provide you with a short time frame of feeling "good" or feeling "better" than baseline, Suboxone appears to provide a more "natural" release of chemicals in your brain and brings your baseline to a higher level.

Will this work for you? I obviously can't make any guarantees. What I can tell you is I have seen others in your situation and they have done very, very well by making this move. I know this for sure: if you are trying to do it on your own, you are much, much, much less likely to be successful. It really is time to get some treatment from a professional rather than trying to self medicate from the streets.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Poe-I'm one of those people who use Suboxone to keep my brain for going into depressed states, Trust me it works just like regular pain opiates but you will not get under an opium blanket ( that feeling we fell in love with).. Find a good Suboxone Dr. for a couple months, he dosent need to know about your future plans. We really dont know whats going to happen next month anyway !!!!!!!


The phrase " opium blanket " is from hawker1............. Where are Hawker, Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Sullimi

I'll definitely consider it. But I would probably go for the short term treatment in order to square myself away as muchand as soon as possible. Again, I know that sounds a bit "tidy," but it would be a working goal.

donh, I knew when I posted I'd run into a lot of skepticism and that's fine. Just to be clear, when I say I got sick, I mean very sick. I came close to dying. When I further say that the drug restored me to a good measure of health, I mean exactly that.
There was a time in my life when I'd have scoffed if someone told me they could live a productive, happy life as an addict. BUt these past 5 years have taught me a lot.

Now of course, that is not to say it's a problem free solution. Obviously. But if my primary goal were to get high, I'd have crashed and burned long ago under this current regimen. I've taken for the most part only what I need, and built a tolerance as slowly as I could. To make my tale sound more convincing, I could have left out the previous history, but real life is rarely very neat, and people's priorities do change. I want only to live as pain-free as possible. If the sub. turns out to be a viable med. in that regard, I'd certainly consider switching, as a few have already suggested.

Once an addict always an addict? Probably so. But shades of gray abound as well. I'm not the same person I was in my 20's. Thankfully.

The painful irony is I was doing so well 15 years ago. One never plans on getting sick.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:53 pm 
Poe, from what you said it sounds like you are addicted to poppy pods am I right? Just wondering because of you saying that the supply will be short until next year. Im a poppy pod tea addict and was addicted for 2 years maybe a little more dosing high amounts everyday. I got on subs at the end of july when the shortage happened because I knew it would be a matter of time before the sources ran out until next year. Its been going good so far, Ive had some bumps along the road but over all going pretty smooth. Im going to be switching to methadone tho as soon as I can get a job, ironicaly the methadone treatment is a bit more expensive than my sub treatment. Maybe methadone would be a viable option for you, if you are in constant pain suboxone just isnt going to help you with that unfortunately.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:01 pm 
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I know plenty of people on here who take Sub for pain, but for ME, and I suffer from Fybromyalgia and arthritis throughout my entire back, the Sub does NOTHING for me. 3 ibuprofen work better. If you really want something for constant pain management, I would recomend methadone, as much as I hate it, but being on it for over 9 years, I forgot how bad my whole body felt till I got to a real low level. Example: I had surgery and was given Fentenal and Dilaudid, and when I woke up was in massive pain. The next day when I got 32mg's of methadone, ALL my pain went away. I was honestly shocked at how strong it is. Some people are lucky with Suboxone to help with pain, but even a low dose of methadone worked miracles compared to all other opiates. Don't go to a clinic though, unless you like to go every day/week. Go see a pain management specialist and ask for this, that way you get a script, and it will help you stop using whatever your DOC is. This is only a recomendation if you need help with lifelong pain. If not, then good luck with whatever you choose to do.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:48 am 
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It's not unlikely for suboxone to help with pain. I know other people in addition to myself whose pain is managed to a degree with sub. It doesn't erase it completely, I'll admit that, but it does make it for the most part tolerable.

That said, methadone is known to be better for pain, but I'd say it just depends on the person. For me, I couldn't take methadone because I'd likely use it to get high and go right back into active addiction.

I hope you find something that will help you and you can get out of this crazy roller coaster than is addition.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:39 am 
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Hello Poe:

I was wondering, how do you plan on obtaining suboxone? Will you also get that off the street? What if it ends up working for you? You know, as in relieving all of your symptoms the same way illicit opiates have relieved all of your symptoms? Will you stay on the suboxone or are you determined to keep using the opiates and just want to use the subs to get you through a lapse in your supply?

I wouldn't be so close-minded about the suboxone. Perhaps it will have the same net effect for you as whatever you are taking now, right?

In any case, good luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:39 pm 
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as everyone has said your story is very different. I do understand multiple addictions as i was addicted to benzos, mainly because i was prescribed them at a very high dose for years, they were not my DOC. Benzo withdrawals suck too, they are diff from opiate w/ds. anyways, if i were in your place i would go talk to a doctor. I think it would also be good to talk to someone like a drug /alcohol counselor because of your past history with addiction. It seems that it might be, if nothing else, easier on you to get a drug prescribed to you, i.e., subs or dones, and not have to buy as much as you can off the street then taper and wait for more to come around. I know you probably have doubts about change, as do most people, but at least seeing a doctor and getting on a stable dose of either dones or subs, may help you to lead and fyuller more stable life.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Hey all,

Many thanks for the encouragement and advice. Just to bring you good folks up to date a bit, I've an appointment at a sub. clinic in a little less than 4 weeks. That should give me plenty of time to see how I continue to do with my taper. I'm down to a bit less than half of what I was taking and can see cutting that in half as well by appointment time. Or at least by an additional third.

As to the taper itself, the thing I've discovered over the decades is that strong decisions lead to more strong decisions. Once you become sufficiently invested in recovery, or even getting cleaned up temporarily, it becomes more and more likely you'll see it through. I'm taking my main dose in the a.m., very first thing at around 5 a.m. By that time, I've started to get that edgy, restless leggy feeling, along with those adrenalin type shocks in chest that are my first symptoms. That dose holds me til 3, when I take another, smaller dose . . This holds me til about 8 pm. when I start getting symptoms again. I've learned to live with these until about 11 when I take another small dose. If I didn't take this last dose I'd be thrashing all night. This way I get to sleep somewhat decently, though not particularly well. Then I repeat the process the next day. EVery 4 or 5 days, I cut my daily amount by about ten percent. So far, this has been working well.

I'll see where I am in a month. If I need the help to get totally clean, I'll definitely consider the sub. at that time.

One good thing, I still am somehow getting a therapeutic effect even on my much smaller current dose. Not much, but enough to help. Bottom line, I'm feeling more optimistic I can do this than I was when I started reading about suboxone and as some have written, "the near impossibility of self-tapering." It helps that I've really no choice in the matter of course, and it also helps when I look down the line some months and realize if I can get through this I'll have an opportunity to try medicating on a selective, as needed basis, needing far less drug with far less tolerance.

All that said, I remain appropriately humble. I can't say for sure if I can do this on my own. I realize the hardest part is yet to come. Just as hard, if not harder still, will be controlling my use down the line when I pick up again as planned.

But again, strong decisions breed strong decisions. Once you get a certain way into a process you don't want to blow it. I've learned also that it helps to look at things as personal challenges.

Thanks again each and every one of you. I especially appreciate no one's sneered or jeered, but for the most part taken my little story at face value. It will be a hard few months that's for sure, and it's comforting to know this place is here.

Will keep you all posted.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:29 pm 
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It sure sounds to me like you've got your bases covered. You're allowing yourself to try tapering on your own for a month before seeing a sub doctor. I think I've said before that when it comes to being an addict, I think you're in the gray area (many may disagree with me on this). You very well might be able to do this alone. I just know that you've already done something that I sure as hell couldn't have done. So kudos to you for coming as far as you have.

Please do keep us posted on how you're doing. :)

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Hatmaker,

Thanks very sincerely for the encouragement. As to whether I'm an addict, I was pretty much born one and will remain an addict til the day I die. But I'm an old addict, with the pain of much experience and many mistakes to draw off of as I make decisions going forward. I think that with sufficient age, one begins to lose that, "screw it, I'll worry about it tomorrow" m.o. It's just much harder for me now to act in a way that's clearly not in my best interest for short term gratification.

I don't know that there have been any studies done, but I''d be willing to bet older addicts on the whole do much better than young ones when it comes to recovery... for some of the reasons above.

That said, as an addict one of the very poweful inducements I'm using as I taper down is imagining how nice it will be at some point to be able to use narcotics again with a relatively low tolerance. That's going to be the real test down the road, finding a way to medicate only when needed. At this point I think I can do it, but we'll see.


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