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 Post subject: One-on-one counselling
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:16 am 
Hi everyone! I wanted to post an update and a word of advice from my own personal experiences as I will have been on buprenorphine for two years in a few more days.
I remember when I first joined this forum......I learned so very much about opiate addiction, about the drug I had started (Suboxone) and about recovery. A few folks along the way suggested counselling/therapy and I even recommended it for others myself. However, I had never done any one-on-one counselling myself. I had attended 12-step meetings, gone through an intensive outpatient treatment program and participated in group therapy, and I thought I had 'it' covered. I really believed that with a year or so on Suboxone I could forever kiss my addiction goodbye without too much more effort on my part.
What I learned in these two years is that I was wrong about that. After a few brief 'lapses' with pain pills, a couple of efforts at tapering and stopping Sub which were not successful, and a whole lot of confusion and mental/spiritual struggles, I finally decided to give individual therapy a try. I only wish I had done it sooner. After just a couple of months of therapy, I feel that I've made more progress than I have in the whole two years I've been on Sub. It's nothing magical or miraculous or immediate, but it's just something that I feel and I know......With the help of my therapist, I am dealing with the issues that got me here in the first place. I'm learning how to truly let go of all the grief and pain that my addiction brought into my life. I'm slowly regaining my confidence and my self-worth. I just needed help to figure all this out. I needed someone with whom I could be completely honest, leaving nothing out, not sugar-coating anything.....someone who had been there and done that and "gets it."
I wish I could explain this better, but I just want anyone reading this to hear me when I say that if you're still struggling despite being on bupe, please don't wait....go see someone who can help you work through your issues.
I know there has been discussion here about a study regarding bupe patients with or without individual counselling, which revealed there to be no benefit to counselling in regards to sustained sobriety. While I'm not an expert or a scientist and I wouldn't presume to tell anyone to ignore that study, I will say that I wholeheartedly disagree with the conclusions. As I recall, that study was conducted over a relatively short time frame (maybe 6 months?) and in my opinion, that is not long enough to draw such a broad conclusion. I don't say this to downplay the effectiveness of bupe. But again, in my humble opinion, bupe only addresses one piece of the puzzle.....the physiological side. I suppose if one is content to only address that aspect of their addiction and is willing to commit to a lifetime of replacement therapy, then bupe alone could be their answer. Personally, I need to address the other pieces of the puzzle.....the spiritual, the psychological, etc.
I realize that we all have to find our own way through this. I just know how I feel, what I need and what my own goals are. And I read the anguish in posts here on the forum from others who have been devasted by opiate addiction, and I read in those posts the desperation to break the cycle they're in. I wish I could tell them that it's as easy as dissolving a tablet or film under their tongue every day, but I can't say that's the case.....at least not in my own experience.
I consider myself "pro-Suboxone" and I believe that it is a wonderful treatment modality. But if anyone should find him/herself, like I did, on the medication but still struggling with addiction issues, take the advice that I waited too long to take and get more help.
Take care everyone! Don't give up on yourself no matter how difficult it gets!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:39 am 
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SMF - Over the last year or so I know you and I have had our differences, but I hope you'll accept this reply in the way it's intended - with sincerity. I know you've been struggling with many of these issues and I'm very happy for you that you decided to try counseling. I'm even happier still that it's helped you so much. Regardless of that study you referred to, I'm a firm believer that therapy/counseling can have a huge impact in one's life, depending on what one's issues are and how they relate to their addiction. For me, my therapy has changed my life, probably more than my sub treatment. But again, for me, I was years deep into therapy before I started sub. But I digress....

I also know that you've struggled greatly with the shame you felt due to your active addiction. Has your counseling helped you with this as well? I truly hope it has. I don't want to see it hold you back any more.

Again, I'm so happy for you that you've found something to augment your sub treatment that is helping you so greatly. You deserve to let go of the past. And understanding ourselves and what motivates us and our behaviors is invaluable in learning how to change ourselves and be able to move forward.

I'd just like to repeat myself in that I know we've had our differences, but I really am sincere in my words here. It pleases me that you've got so much out of this. Keep up the good work and I predict your chances of tapering off and staying drug free will improve greatly. :)

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


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Oh setmefree, thank you SOOOOO much for posting what you just did. #1---I am incredibly happy and excited for you. I know how you've struggled. I know how those past issues of yours have torn you up inside and I am SOOOO very, very proud of you for making the decision to try one-on-one counseling to try and address those issues AND that it's helping you. I can't find the words to tell you exactly how crazy proud and happy I am for you. You just made my day!!

#2---I've been in a funk for a day and a half. I've been being encouraged to start writing on my steps and I've been resisting. I've been telling people that God will let me know when it's my time to start on my steps, well, He gave me more than a couple of "hints" that it was my time to start my steps, but I'm still scared as hell at the prospect of cracking my head open, once again, and reviewing all of my past. As you know, I've already done the one-on-one counseling, but I've never worked a 12 step program.....didn't know what the hell the 12 step program was......now that I know, it's really been starting to mess with me because I don't want to dredge up the past. I'm terrified of it. Honestly, I was almost to the point of tears today because I was worrying so much about it. I'm so worried about what tomorrow will bring, and the next day and the next day.....I need to get my ass in today and deal with today and let the future unfold as it will. Anyway, reading about how successful you've been with your counselor was the final "hint" that I needed that I need to get going on my step work. I actually wrote on the very first question of the very first step last night, it wasn't bad at all, but I had already kind of changed my mind about doing anymore......until I read your FABULOUS post!!

Thanks for being so brave and sharing your story.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:47 am 
Thank you Hatmaker and Romeo for the kind words. I do appreciate the support very much.
Hatmaker, you're right....probably my biggest struggle all along has been the guilt and the shame regarding having to accept that I let my life get so off-track. Although I am a far-from-perfect human being, there are just a few things that I never thought myself capable of. And to find myself guilty of many of those very things and to have it all come out in a pretty public way, was beyond devastating to me. It's been extremely hard to let all that go. The counselling is helping with that, yes. It's going to be a process, more than a one-shot deal for me, maybe because there's just so much garbage there, but little by little I feel like I'm getting there.
Hey Romeo....I worked several steps while I was attending meetings. For me, it was kind of a forced thing, so I don't think I got as much out of it as I would have otherwise. But I do think there is good there and I'd encourage you to go ahead and get into it and see what happens. You'll know soon enough if this is something that will be of benefit to you or not.
One thing I have come to know for sure throughout all this is that if you're having difficulty with any aspect of recovery....it's time to try something different! If what you've been doing is not cutting it in terms of keeping your recovery solid and strong....do something else!
I do believe that I will come off the Sub successfully and I don't think it will be too terribly far into the future. I have a big vacation coming up in a very beautiful locale and I have a feeling that it's going to be a place/time for a figurative "cleansing" for me. I hope to come home having done the work recommended by my counselor and feeling stronger than ever. It feels good to finally be letting this stuff go....that's for sure!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:52 pm 
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In my personal experience, I have found that therapy is key. I was in a program for a few months, so I got put on Suboxone (huge help for me) and had access to group and individual therapy. 339 days later and I am still clean.


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