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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:31 pm 
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If you don't care to hear my story of addiction, and more interested in my Suboxone withdrawals please jump to second paragraph. Otherwise here it goes: I am 29 years old, and have been struggling with addiction to opiates for over 5 years now. It all started in 2004 when I got a prescription for thirty 5mg Vicodin after an emergency root canal. This was not the first time I had received a prescription for pain medication. However due to the company I kept around the time of my root canal, I was now very well aware of the "high" that opiates would give an individual. Between doubling my dosage and sharing with my "friends" I probably went through the entire bottle of thirty in about 3 or 4 days. It is all a blur after this. Within a couple months I jumped to crushing 10 and 20mg Oxycodone and snorting one or two of those every few days. In January 2005, one of my best friends passed away in his sleep after snorting half of an 80mg Oxycontin. Within a few months of the funeral I was a full blown addict, putting between two or three 80s up my nose a day. I was able to maintain as a functioning addict for a little while, worked two jobs, great apartment, traveled, beautiful girlfriend, basically everything I could want. But in 2007 things quickly fell apart. I lost everything. Before I knew it I was back with my parents, broke, defeated, and desperately trying to hide my addiction from my family. I had tried multiple times to quit cold turkey, but broke down after a day or two of withdrawals each time. Finally, some time in late 2007 a friend introduced me to SUBOXONE! These were much cheaper, and since I was only taking a quarter of an 8mg tablet, it would last me four days. From that point on I basically used Suboxone whenever I couldn't find any Oxy, or I couldn't afford Oxy. This went on for about another two years, until I finally found a Suboxone doctor of my own. Unfortunately, after a couple months I couldn't afford the weekly $200 doctors appointments on top of my $75 weekly prescription cost. I went back to finding Oxycontin and Suboxone on the streets for another year or so.

In January 2010, I decided I was going to stick strictly to Suboxone and attempt to taper in a few months. I was successful in abstaining from any opiate use the next four months. Tapering my Suboxone use from 4mg to 1mg a day over that four month period. Some time during the second week of May I decided it was time. I do admit that the withdrawals were quite intense, but much, much, milder than full blown opiate withdrawal. I just kept reminding myself how much better my life would be when it was all said and done. Day one was pretty easy (mostly due to the half-life of Suboxone). Day two was when the withdrawal symptoms started to kick in, watery eyes, hot-cold flashes, crazy legs (I don't know how else to describe it), insomnia, loss of appetite. I managed the diarrhea pretty well with OTC Imodium. Day three and four seem to run together I hadn't slept more than a couple hours and had zero appetite. I tried drinking half a bottle of Vodka to ease the pain and hopefully get some sleep. Big mistake. I felt better for about one or two hours, then it was full blown hangover plus my withdrawal symptoms. As soon as I sobered up many hours later I realized I made a huge mistake. I called the consulting nurse at the best hospital in my area and explained my situation and that I was not looking for narcotics just help. She was extremely understanding and helpful, and explained that if I came into ER that the doctors would do everything they could to ease my pain. After a few hours debating I decided I was going to do it. My girlfriend drove me to the ER and I was quickly given fluids and Ativan via an IV. I asked for the doctor for Clonidine before I was released, but he told me I could only get it if I wanted to detox in the hospital for another 48 hours, because it slows down your heart rate. I was already beginning to feel better and decided to go home and tough it out. After a few hours sleep day five was much better. I was getting out of the house, working out, and starting to feel more functional. By days six and seven I was not yet 100% but I was back to my normal routine. Sometime during the second week, I think day 11, I decided I was cured (when I knew I wasn't), and I was ready to go around my friends who still use, and flaunt my sobriety. My second big mistake. Six days and about 12 80mg Oxys later, I was back to square one. When I woke up on day seven broke and dope sick, I intermediately burst into tears. I couldn't believe what I had done. After a few hours I put myself back together and made a couple phone calls. Fortunately I was able to track down two 8mg Subutex. And started all over again.

I was able to stretch these two Subutex over a two week period (about 1mg a day). Taking my last dose Wednesday May 26. For some reason, maybe because I knew what to expect. I was much easier this time around. About 2-3 days of crappiness and then it is all uphill from there. Today marks day 13 and I would say I am around 90%. The only lingering symptoms are random yawning and goose bumps. I only share my story because I too would read post after post, and horror story after horror story looking for answers. When all I needed was the truth. If I can kick Suboxone, I truly believe that anyone can. Do not give up. You can do it. Thank you for listening to my story.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Hi wesley and welcome to the forum. I think you'll find this place full of supportive and empathetic people.
I want to thank you for taking the time to share your story in order to counter the bloody horror stories we all have heard. It sounds like you're doing well? What other recovery plans do you have in place to avoid relapse? Do you have a therapist? What about your friends that still use? You must know they are a danger to your recovery. You might want to consider how you'll handle that situation. I wish you the best. Please keep us posted on how things are going for you. I hope this forum can be of some support to you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Wesley - thank you so much for your post. i agree with Hat. be careful around your old friends. that was my problem during my bouts with being clean and going back on the junk. i moved out of town with my gf and its been a great help. i know running from problems is not the best option - but my support from her and on this board have been outstanding. keep up the good work and please continue to update us on how your doing. your story will help more people than you know. for me, i read a lot of posts and they have been a true source of inspiration


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:39 pm 
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Hey Wesley, thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm in the middle of tapering and stories like yours give me hope because most days I feel like Im crazy for even attempting a taper, but if others can do it, so can I. What are you going to do now to make sure you stay clean?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:39 am 
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I hope i dont have to go in ER once i stop Subutex.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:11 am 
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Thank you for the welcome Hat, Fat, and RTL! I'm sorry for not updating sooner. I have been so busy staying busy that I totally spaced. It is nearing the end of day 15 for me and I am feeling great. Basically things are turning out to be the almost the exact opposite of how I thought they would be. Honestly, my biggest fear about getting clean (besides detox) was that was that the cloud of depression that would start to roll in whenever I wasn't high, would now be a permanent fixture in my life. I could not have been more wrong. I haven't felt better mentally or physically in years. I'm back to my morning workouts, I'm eating better, and well...I just feel normal again. Also, something I did not expect is I have gone from a pack and a half to just 4 or 5 cigarettes a day. Has anyone else experienced this? Anyhow, to answer your questions, no I do not have a therapist, but I do have a very supportive girlfriend and brother who keep me grounded. As far as my friends who still use, I have not had any contact with them yet. Not until I can figure out how to best approach the situation with the least amount of condescension. But for now I am just going to take one day at a time, because it is all uphill from here! Thanks for the support!


Blood_Xcalibur wrote:
I hope i dont have to go in ER once i stop Subutex.


Hey Blood I should have included this in my first post, but I thought it might be TMI. I did not go to the ER due to unbearable withdrawal symptoms, they were actually starting to get milder by day 4. I have an peptic ulcer that sometimes results in black stool, which can indicate a GI bleed that can be very serious if not treated. I had already spoke with the consulting nurse, who assured me that I would be treated without prejudice. So I basically just went in for that, and figured why not kill two birds. Besides my girlfriend told me I had to :) I hope that I did't scare you with that. It is NOT THAT BAD. I promise:)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Hey Wesley.....welcome to the forum! I too wanted to congratulate you on your sobriety! The of us who have battled addiction know how good it feels to be free of the burdens that active addiction places on our lives. I also commend you for going back out and living your life (working out, spending time with your girlfriend, etc). I truly believe that a large part of sustaining sobriety is making and living new routines. So, I think you have made several great first steps!

I don't want to sound like the voice of doom and gloom, but I also have some concerns about your story, as I understood it. To me, it sounded like you were buying your sub off the street (I may have misunderstood). If so, I am always concerned with this behavior because it is addict behavior....being our own doctor, determining what is "right" for us. You also mentioned that you don't have a therapist, and this furthered my concerns. With no prescribing doctor and no therapist, you are missing a really helpful support tool....a medical professional to guide you if you make any mistakes along the way. I would STRONGLY suggest that you get into some kind of counseling or meeting (NA, AA, SMART).....family and friend are great support, but they can sometimes be too involved in our lives to be objective.

I also would SERIOUSLY advise you to stay away from your friends who use.....preferably forever. We have talked about this on the forum, and all of us know how hard this can be. However, many of us have our "friend" to thank for relapses. Misery loves company, addicts are miserable, therefore we want company in our misery. Think how you felt when you were using....would you have wanted a sober friend around ruining your good time? How would you have handled the problem? Just please give this some serious thought before making any contact with these people.

Please understand, I really commend your efforts. People may disagree, but I would rather see someone get sub off the street and use it to get sober than to just continue using. And, you circumstances may be preventing you from getting additional help right now. I am not trying to lecture or judge you, but I think that a big part of support is telling someone when you see a potential weakness in their plans. You sound so good right now, and I want to hear you sounding this good (or better !) 1 month, 2 months, 6months, and a year from now.

I really enjoyed reading your posts, and hope you continue to keep us all updated!

Elizabeth

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:46 am 
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Wow, thanks for the post! I am tapering from originally about 16-12mg to 4mg and now am trying to do 2mg.. I'm scared of the withdrawals but I want this part of my life behind me, and it's nice to hear a success story. I hope your life continues to better and you stay sober. Congratulations :)


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 Post subject: 5 weeks since jump.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:25 pm 
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Well it will be 5 weeks this Thursday since my last dose of sub. I apologize for not updating you guys on my progress. I'm sure some of you thought I relapsed, but I am glad to say that I have not!

The past two weeks have been great. I finally got back to my natural energy levels, and it is not such a struggle getting my lazy butt out of bed in the morning. I've gained around ten pounds of muscle, my skin has cleared up, and my overall attitude has greatly improved.

I really don't feel too comfortable going on about how great I'm doing, so if anyone has any questions about how I tapered, my withdrawals, or any other questions please feel free to ask.

Thank you so much to everyone for your support and advice. I understand some of your concerns about my ongoing treatment. But to be quite honest I cannot afford a therapist (but would gladly go to one if I could). I can't say that my way is the right way or another's is wrong. I can only offer my experiences as reference to those want to live life without Suboxone and are looking for answers.

I hope you taper is going well Kiss and RTL :)


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 Post subject: 80 days...and counting.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:12 am 
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Hello everyone. Just wanted to stop by and give a quick update. I have not counted the days for the past few weeks, and I am happy to say that I am now 80 days sober. I put on almost 20 lbs of muscle the past three months. I try and eat as healthy as possible, take vitamins daily, drink lots of water, and it seems to be working out for me so far. The days go by much faster as the weeks pass, and the fog begins to clear.

My old friends are not so lucky. I'm sad to say I just found out two of my best friends lost their kids, got kicked out of their home, and somewhere along the line graduated from oxy to smoking heroin and meth. These are not friends I made while using, these are people I have known for more the half of my life, to whom I am the godfather of their children. I want to help them, and don't want to sound selfish, but to be very honest I feel like I am doing what is best for me right now, and I just don't need the drama. Maybe I am just a little resentful that I haven't seen my godchildren in over 3 months, ok maybe a lot resentful. But I do truly love these two people and I don't know what I would do if I lost another friend to this disease.

Thank you again for the continued support, any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Here are a couple links that I found helpful:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5601486_reduce- ... rawal.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency ... 000949.htm


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 Post subject: Kudos! I mean it.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:39 am 
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What a great story! Really...
What's your secret? Please. I won't tell anyone. How come most of us have debilitating PAWS that stretch on for months on end, and you were done in 2 weeks? I mean it's not like you're lying or in denial - opiate addicts tend to "exaggerate" their pain, not hide it... (yeah, I know - not exactly a PC choice of words, but I won't get into the whole hyperanalgesia and pain tolerance stuff now. I'm too curious! :) )

I think I might have an idea though. Do you work out regularly - and have you been working out while on opiates? And if yes, what kind of exercise is it - cardio, resistance training or both? Please let me know. My boyfriend is trying his best to taper off a really low dose of methadone, so our concerns are about the PAWS, not the initial withdrawal symptoms, which I'm sure will be tolerable.

Appreciate your honesty (and a timely reply ;))

Best of luck to all.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Hey, so glad to hear u r done !!! but I do have one question did u experience PAWS ?? if so how long , if not was there ne thing that u think might have helped..I think that is what I am going through now !! it sucks the physical wd was hardly ne thing for me but this is the first time I have ever experienced this long drawn out wd..so ne insight would help so much if u can..thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:35 am 
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Response to PM:

Thank you for sharing your story with me. It sounds like you are in a situation that was very similar to mine. It was so hard for me to find the time to squeeze in a full blown opiate withdrawal and keep up appearances. Fortunately I found a sub doctor and life got a little easier, for a while. Then I realized how expensive it was going to be to keep it up. I can tell you that I am one of the biggest suckers when it comes to being dope sick. That is what made it so hard for me to taper my doses for such a long time. What a good friend once told me (who also successfully kicked subs) is to stay busy. I noticed that when I did anything to work up a sweat, like playing basketball, doing some push ups, or just going on a walk I would feel better, and not take that second or third dose of the day that I usually would have. I think another one of my big problems was I got in the habit of taking a second dose of sub at late at night, and then staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning. Instead of just going to bed and getting a good nights sleep. Once I started to get into a normal sleep pattern tapering became much easier as well. I was always very skeptical of people who would say to eat healthier, exercise, and take vitamins to speed up the detox. I just wanted to know what meds to take. But now with research and personal experience I realize I couldn't have been more wrong. The Imodium is a must, the Ativan helped, and I heard Clonidine is good too. But the only thing that really helped the day go by was getting out of the house for as long as possible, and doing something physical, I would usually go hoop or drive down to the beach or park and go for a walk. This gets some of your natural endorphins flowing and gave my damaged brain a nice boost. I have read they are actually the closest thing to opiates that our body creates naturally, and when a person abuses opiates your body naturally produces less of these endorphins. I can say from experience that after abusing opiates for 4+ years the first few times I got my rush of natural endorphins I felt like I just got high, like really high. So I guess thats my secret. It is really just a mind game, the hardest thing for me was convincing myself that it was not ok to use again after I started feeling better. But that feeling faded pretty quickly after I had a couple weeks behind me. My advice to you would be to do whatever you can to get down to 1mg or less by November (write yourself a tapering plan if that helps), and if you feel the time is right, go for it! My girlfriend went back to work after 4 days of detox, and she is way, way, worse with withdrawals than I am. I can get even more specific about workouts, nutrition, dosing, and anything else if need be. Good luck to you.


mathan and tallwater:

I am sorry for the huge delay in my posts! I would say that after the initial 4-5 day detox, there is about a 2-4 week period, that my energy levels were still a little low, and I would still get occasional mild withdrawal symptoms. But as far as PAWS goes. I can honestly it has not been an issue for me. Trust me if it was I would shout it from the rooftops. But I honestly have not had a moment yet where I thought I was experiencing PAWS. I mean sure I feel might get a hot flash one day, but maybe its because the heat is too high. Or I have the runs, it was probably the chili dog I ate. I could feel lethargic or depressed one day, is it PAWS or am I just having a bad day and feel like being lazy? This is something I have tried to deal with the past couple months. I believe that in the years that I have been using I have developed an extreme hypersensitivity to withdrawal symptoms. Every time I would get a little tired, or too hot, or too cold, or anything really I would automatically assume I had some type of withdrawal issue I needed to deal with. I know that everyones body may respond differently to detox and PAWS, but after 88 days I have yet to experience what I consider PAWS. Exercise, family and friends (that don't use), multi-vitamins, frequent showers, a healthy diet, and most importantly determination, have gone a long way for me. I'm sorry if your still not feeling well tallwater, but remember your body is repairing it self every day you do not use. Just hang in there, I promise it will get better!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:54 am 
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Hey thanks so much for the advice !!! really means alot to talk to someone who has gone through what I am . but u have me thinking about what u said..about the wd when u were using I was the same way soooo that might be a big part in this . all I can do is take it one day at a time I guess ..thanks again !!!


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 Post subject: Thank you.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:00 am 
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I never really wrote the date down or anything, so I guess this thread is basically the only record of my sobrieties existence. I haven't checked in while to see exactly how long it has been since my jump. I knew I had a least 3 or 4 months behind me, but I was quite surprised that it has been 150 days, or around 5 months! I just wanted to thank everyone again for the support and advice that was given to me, and give a quick update on the past couple months. I have remained opiate free, still partaking in the occasional beer and a doobie (I have a green card). But besides that Ive pretty much gone back to my (pre-oxy) athletic-hippie ways. I haven't bought a pack of smokes in over a month (smoked over a pack a day before that), my relationships with my friends and family are improving everyday, my prior stomach issues are now a thing of the past, and most importantly my overall outlook on life as a whole has changed for the better.

I have come to believe that Suboxone can be both a gift and a curse. There are those of us with a good Doc, and the disposable income to pay for the visits and meds needed to maintain a unaffected and functional lifestyle. In this case it is a true gift. And then there are the those of us like me. People who cannot afford regular visits, but who may know someone who knows someone with a doctor. We usually attempt to self-medicate either in an effort to wean ourselves off other opiates, or just to curb withdrawals between fixes. Then, there are also the few of us that are lucky enough to have the resources to afford Suboxone therapy, but have a Dr that prescribes 32mg a day, or tells you that you shouldn't experience any withdrawals symptoms for 72 hours, because of the half-life, if you miss your dose. In these instances I believe it to be a curse. However, this curse can be broken, and I am proof of life.

This is only my opinion, and I hope I have not offended anyone. I just hope to encourage anyone that is now in the position that I was, to know that it is possible to break the cycle. Thanks again to everyone. Wes :]


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 Post subject: Way to go!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:19 pm 
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Wesley, great story!

I can relate to what you said:
Every time I would get a little tired, or too hot, or too cold, or anything really I would automatically assume I had some type of withdrawal issue I needed to deal with

For me, the first few days off suboxone were the worst, MENTALLY. Everytime I felt anything at all, I was afraid it was withdrawals. What a joke! The only withdrawal I had was a little restless leg in the evening the first 3 days, which went away immediately with a .2mg xanax.

It was also hard to feel normal again. In the past, feeling normal meant I was out of pills or soon to run out and had spaced out my dosage, and I was going to feel worse and worse. So feeling normal was scary for that reason. By Day 4, feeling normal was, well, normal, and I no longer associated it with withdrawals.

I am now on Day 8. I quit smoking a few days before stopping the buprenorphine, and I have exercised daily for over 10 years, so I am doing well. My husband says I am nicer and funnier than he ever remembers. He says it every day. I no longer need laxatives, and sex is better too. The bupe did desensitize me a bit, even at .1 mg/day, which I took for over 30 days. It is a powerful narcotic! Even .1 mg/day (1/20 of a 2 mg pill) I needed laxatives and I had to really concentrate to be able to have an orgasm. Who knows what else it did to me? But without it, I would still be using hydrocodone, so I am very grateful! It is a miracle drug, an opiate that actually makes an addict want to use LESS and LESS and leave it behind! What a miracle drug.

Wesley, thanks for encouraging us that it gets better.


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