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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 9:38 am 
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Hey guys...

I'm toying with the idea of going to rehab. There's a few reasons why I'm considering shelving my Suboxone treatment and going the complete abstinence route.. It seems that since my relapse, Suboxone hasn't been holding my cravings like it did beforehand, likely because I pushed the envelope and my habit increased a lot these last few months. I'm also more prone to Sub's side-effects. Even being on the same dose as before, I feel like my testosterone levels are low as fuck. I just don't seem to care about sex, like there's no interest. And I know the Sub is a factor because when I miss a dose, I start to feel normal again.

The rehabs I'm looking at are therapeutic communities. They're a cross between boot-camp and rehab really, and last for between 6 and 18 months. Residents have to work, cook, clean and manage the facility. Residents are also expected to challenge other's negative behaviours. It can get full-on, and it's not uncommon for all residents to be woken up at 3am for emergency house meetings, or to be made to clean toilets. If you leave your coffee cup lying around and another resident catches you and lags you in, you gotta write pages on some topic like "Why is self-responsibility important to my recovery" etc etc. You're also forced to lag in other residents ... if the staff / seniors feel you're not holding your peers accountable, you can get booted from the program.

If I choose to go, I'll be put on an 8-week taper starting from the time I arrive. People on drug-replacement aren't treated with kiddy-gloves either. I'll have to work hard just like all the other residents even during detox.

Reason I'm considering putting myself through the mill like that is because I really want to, or even need to get off opioids. I can't stay on Suboxone for life. It's too numbing. Having experienced recovery without Sub or methadone, I know how it feels to be clean and free of dependence of any kind. I have done a long-term rehab like that before, and only managed to stay clean 13 months. However, that time I made the mistake of going off my psych medication. I then went paranoid at around 1 year clean, and turned back to drugs within a few weeks. I've now reached some peace about the fact I'm bipolar, and need medication long-term.

What's holding me back from going to rehab is the fact that I feel a bit like I've been there done that. I don't really know if it's a step backwards or a step forwards. I'm nearly 30, and don't want to spend 18 months in rehab that I could be spending studying at uni. But I also don't feel yet like I'm ready to return to uni either.

But there's also a sense of hope in the idea that I can use rehab as a fresh start. I'd sell most of my remaining possessions to pay off the debt I accrued, and use rehab as an opportunity to have a fresh start at 30 years old.

Anyway, it'd be good to get some kinda guidance or just your opinions on this ... especially from those who've faced a similar choice in their recovery in the past.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 10:51 am 
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Hi teejay,

Ill start off by saying that ive NEVER done the type of rehab your talking about, so i really dont have advice to offer you. just my perspective. To me, i think that the intensive rehab sounds like it could be really good for you. Long term opiate replacement isnt for everyone, but some people NEED it. So to me it seems like your still on the path of figuring out which road is best for you, and if total abstinance is possible for you to achieve. I wouldnt look at it as taking a step back just because you have tried it in the past. Now you know and accept that your bi-polar will always need to be treated, so you now have information that you didnt have on your last attempt. I think its a trial abd error thing really. Everyone needs to figure out what they need and what works for them long term. I would fully support your attempt to try total abstinance in the proper setting while building character to stay that way. If you find abstinance is not for you, you can always go back to sub/methadone whatever maintenence you have a better quality of life on. Maybe this could be that freash start your looking for. The only way i could see that it would be taking a step backwards is if you relapse. So this is just my opinion of your situation, dont do anything until you've thought about it long and hard and get some responses from people who have more expirence in this than i do.

Personally i sometimes feel a general blah feeling on sub, and my sex drive on it is pretty low as well. Im a female so i cant really say if its from low t or not, because women do produce testosterone it just isnt our dominant hormone like it is for men. Maybe for women sub just wipes out what little t we have all together lol idk. Im not knocking sub, i know it saves lives...but for me i want to at least try life without maintenence. If its not possible than i have no problem staying on so i can live somewhat of a normal life

i have read a few different posts from you teejay, and its seems like you have been through ALOT. Your a fighter though, so if you feel this will be your ticket to living a "better" quality of life than maybe its worth a try.....thats all i got


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:58 am 
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beautifully said


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 12:21 pm 
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I would love too go completely without. I am prescribed 3, 8mg strips per day along with 120mg of lyrica. and this is for pain I have in my back. I went in wanting to fight ban addiction problem and ended up with it prescribed for pain. They even write pain on the prescription slip. I know this was done because I wanted To be on a maintenance plan. My pill addiction was very bad, and suboxone has saved me. I just do feel the side effects, and they are a bummer. But I must take the bad with the good and continue to try to be a complete abstainer... good luck with your plan


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Hey Tee-Jay,

In your post you mention how you did a longer term rehab before and managed 13 months clean, but fell because you went off your meds. Like you said, you've made peace with that demon now and you know you need your psyche meds. Because of the rehabs you've already been to, if I were you, I'd go with a shorter term rehab. You already have recovery knowledge in your head, you're just not living it, Bud. I would think a short term recovery would be enough to yank yer head outta yer ass and get you back onto the path of recovery......IF you really, really want it.

Life without Suboxone is possible, TeeJay. Is it hard as hell at times.....hell yes, but practicing even the most rudimentary of recovery skills helps, then if you stay at it, you get better and better at it and life without drugs becomes more and more normal.

Whatever you decide about your recovery, I'm behind you.

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 8:31 pm 
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Cheers for the input guys...

There is another option I didn't mention. I might be able to do a 30 day rehab, one that permits residents to stay on Suboxone through the length of the program. This'll give me a chance to stabilise properly on Sub in a structured / controlled environment. A short term rehab like that will also let me return to uni next semester. It's just a question of whether the place will have me. I hope they haven't put this basket-case in the too-hard basket.

We'll see how we go. For now, just pushing on. I'll go to the long-term rehab info session tomorrow and see how long the waiting list is.


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PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:12 pm 
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Good luck with whichever route you decide, TJ. We're all rooting for you.


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 3:55 am 
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Thanks everyone.

ATM I'm definitely leaning towards the mid-term / long-term rehab option. I've had some success with them in the past, and spending a lot of the last 3 years since that 13-months of clean time has made me cherish abstinence so much more that I know I'll be putting my heart and soul into staying off. Unfortunately in my home city, public rehabs have waiting lists as long as my arms. The ideal rehab isn't even considering adding more people to the list until July.

So once again I'm looking interstate, of which the ideal candidate is a rehab by the name of WHOS (We Help Ourselves). Funny name I know. When I first mentioned it to my family, the exchange was almost worthy of a Monty Python sketch "Where are you going?" "WHOS" "You said you were" "I know I said I was" "So why are you asking who's" "The place is called WHOS ffs" "Oh . . ."

The program itself is called MTAR, MTAR standing for "Methadone to Abstinence Residential". What is it with all the acronyms? Anyhow, it's a program that focuses on getting people off Methadone and Suboxone, and into abstinence based recovery - ie the 12-steps, NA / AA, and getting on with their lives. Tapering is done over the first 3 months of the program, with residents taking on the responsibility of running the rehab over the last 3 months. I guess it just depends on waiting lists how long it'll take me to get in. I hope it won't be too long. Programs like WHOS have a high turnover of residents because of how strict the regimen is.

Will keep ya'll posted. Writing this stuff helps me make it real in my own head, given how foggy I've been lately I've noticed it's good to write things down. I can't remember slabs of March / April. :?

I'll keep calling, and if the plan materialises, I'll have to start organising myself. This will mean selling my car and some property to pay off a slab of my debt, and seeing the Quackiatrist to have letters and medication sorted out to get me through the 6 months... etc etc


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 1:56 pm 
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Sounds like a good plan TJ. Hope it doesn't take too long to get you in. Are you still using H, or are you stable on Sub? It's a bit worrisome to think of months going by and you still indulging your doc. The results will turn out better if you enter the rehab alive. :mrgreen:

Humor aside, having to sell your stuff kinda sucks. It does sound like you are ready and committed to the plan of rehab. It's doubtful you'll be able to post from there until a certain amount of time has passed so we won't even know how you're doing. That will make it very interesting to hear your stories when you get out. That is, if you can first get in.

Good luck to ya mate.

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 9:37 pm 
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TeeJay wrote:
Hey guys...

I'm toying with the idea of going to rehab. There's a few reasons why I'm considering shelving my Suboxone treatment and going the complete abstinence route.. It seems that since my relapse, Suboxone hasn't been holding my cravings like it did beforehand, likely because I pushed the envelope and my habit increased a lot these last few months. I'm also more prone to Sub's side-effects. Even being on the same dose as before, I feel like my testosterone levels are low as fuck. I just don't seem to care about sex, like there's no interest. And I know the Sub is a factor because when I miss a dose, I start to feel normal again.

The rehabs I'm looking at are therapeutic communities. They're a cross between boot-camp and rehab really, and last for between 6 and 18 months. Residents have to work, cook, clean and manage the facility. Residents are also expected to challenge other's negative behaviours. It can get full-on, and it's not uncommon for all residents to be woken up at 3am for emergency house meetings, or to be made to clean toilets. If you leave your coffee cup lying around and another resident catches you and lags you in, you gotta write pages on some topic like "Why is self-responsibility important to my recovery" etc etc. You're also forced to lag in other residents ... if the staff / seniors feel you're not holding your peers accountable, you can get booted from the program.

If I choose to go, I'll be put on an 8-week taper starting from the time I arrive. People on drug-replacement aren't treated with kiddy-gloves either. I'll have to work hard just like all the other residents even during detox.

Reason I'm considering putting myself through the mill like that is because I really want to, or even need to get off opioids. I can't stay on Suboxone for life. It's too numbing. Having experienced recovery without Sub or methadone, I know how it feels to be clean and free of dependence of any kind. I have done a long-term rehab like that before, and only managed to stay clean 13 months. However, that time I made the mistake of going off my psych medication. I then went paranoid at around 1 year clean, and turned back to drugs within a few weeks. I've now reached some peace about the fact I'm bipolar, and need medication long-term.

What's holding me back from going to rehab is the fact that I feel a bit like I've been there done that. I don't really know if it's a step backwards or a step forwards. I'm nearly 30, and don't want to spend 18 months in rehab that I could be spending studying at uni. But I also don't feel yet like I'm ready to return to uni either.

But there's also a sense of hope in the idea that I can use rehab as a fresh start. I'd sell most of my remaining possessions to pay off the debt I accrued, and use rehab as an opportunity to have a fresh start at 30 years old.

Anyway, it'd be good to get some kinda guidance or just your opinions on this ... especially from those who've faced a similar choice in their recovery in the past.

Thanks.







DEAR TEEJAY,

I hope you take this well and it may not be right for you , but I must give you my 2cents on this. I have been to 5 rehabs
the last one being the 30 day deal. I will never ever go to another rehab. If you are an alcoholic..they will give you Librium
if you feel the least bit bad...if you are a drug addict....you get nothing...maybe some tegretal to prevent seizures, period.
So you go in and you are sick as shit and they put you in a room and shut the door. They expect you ((while you are
vomiting and having diarrhea, etc, etc, to get out of bed and attend the classes. We could teach the classes???!!
This last one had counselors for everyone, group therapy, classes on addiction, church, all of it. It was based on the
12 steps of AA and NA. It was before i ever heard of bup. So I was sick as shit...did not want to be there..stayed in bed
a lot, and got written up for not participating in classes or going to group, etc...We also had to wash dishes, clean the
living area and generally keep the place up, which I could understand that. I spent a lot of time outside smoking and
talking to the smoking addicts...ALL OF US FELT THE SAME! We wanted to get off our drug of choice but could not stand
to do it. Most of us relalized that when we got out we would go back out to our old ways...My husband was at his wits end
with me and had to pay cash because my insurance had run out on ""treatment centers"" So here I was alone, helpless,
hopeless and knowing I could not live without my drug. ...and...I was doing all this damage to my family...I hated me...these
people were trying to help me and i could not be helped...I still was not ready to stop.

If you are truly ready, maybe it is the thing for you. I got out and went back out and spent several more years playing
jeckyl and hyde...until I heard about this dr. that was giving this pill that would cure you. I made an appt...and i found
bup and the minute I took it i finally felt normal...the first pill gave me a buzz, but never after that. Now, I do not think
about my drug of choice ever...I am finally free and can go and do without having to find enough pills to go and do....

I know bup is an opiate..but i don't give a damn...it lets me live a normal life and I will stay on it as long as I think i need
it,,which may be forever...I am taking 6 mg. and I know i could get by with 4...i am working on that...they started me off
on 16...which of course is way too much..so now i am saving them up just in case my dr. gets hit by a mack truck lol

From all your posts I have read it seems that bup doesn't work for you like it does for me. I don't have an answer for that?
I wish it did work for you like it has for me. I know I am the only one with a different opinion here and I am no rocket scientist!
I just hate to see you sell your stuff and go to one of these places when they have not worked before. I wish you could try
to make the bup work. I think, for us addicts, it is the best thing out there. I do believe AA and NA are great programs
and they help many people, but I just did not work the program therefore I did not get sober.

I put my husband and my family through hell for 29 years...and finally bup saved my life. My husband says he has his wife back.
My children say they have their mother back..and hell I am old...I don't have too many years left. June 27th will be our
44th aniversery...the man stayed with me...most men would have been long gone..I have been lucky there.

I just hope you think about this long and hard. If you really believe that you are 100% ready to change your life, maybe
it is the thing for you...I just think you could do it at home, with the bup. Please don't be offended by this long ramble.
I hope you succeed in whatever you do. I just had to say what I really felt about what you are thinking about doing.
Sincerely,
Slipper

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:15 am 
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Hey Slipper. Thanks for your thoughts. I've taken it on board and did spend a while questioning my decision because of what you wrote.

Unfortunately the suboxone doesn't seem to be holding me like it once did. How much I'd wish 6mg would be enough to stave off my cravings like it did earlier in my addiction. When I first went on Sub approx 3 years ago, it was a choice between that and methadone. I chose Sub, knowing that its relative lack of agonist effect would mean working harder at my recovery to stay clean than if I chose methadone.

Since my relapse, stabilisation on Sub has been a lot more challenging, and there's been times I've been close to switching to methadone. I actually was first scripted for methadone because of the state I presented myself to rehab in.

I'm physically in a lot better shape than I was then, but my addiction is still well and truly active even with Suboxone on board. I have my 6mg in the morning, and am experiencing withdrawals by evening. I know if I had a week or two of only Suboxone and no other opioids this issue would subside, but so far I haven't made it to the point of stabilising before turning back to street opioids. It's been a very stop / start process.

There are options. I can do certain rehab programs that are aimed at helping people stabilise on drug-replacement in a safe / structured environment. With the stability a place like that affords, I may then be able to make the choice of going for abstinence, or choosing long-term maintenance, with a bit more clarity. I do feel that living without maintenance is an achievable goal still, so if I can be referred to an abstinence based rehab from wherever I am, I may end up choosing that option.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:45 am 
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TeeJay wrote:
Hey Slipper. Thanks for your thoughts. I've taken it on board and did spend a while questioning my decision because of what you wrote.

Unfortunately the suboxone doesn't seem to be holding me like it once did. How much I'd wish 6mg would be enough to stave off my cravings like it did earlier in my addiction. When I first went on Sub approx 3 years ago, it was a choice between that and methadone. I chose Sub, knowing that its relative lack of agonist effect would mean working harder at my recovery to stay clean than if I chose methadone.

Since my relapse, stabilisation on Sub has been a lot more challenging, and there's been times I've been close to switching to methadone. I actually was first scripted for methadone because of the state I presented myself to rehab in.

I'm physically in a lot better shape than I was then, but my addiction is still well and truly active even with Suboxone on board. I have my 6mg in the morning, and am experiencing withdrawals by evening. I know if I had a week or two of only Suboxone and no other opioids this issue would subside, but so far I haven't made it to the point of stabilising before turning back to street opioids. It's been a very stop / start process.

There are options. I can do certain rehab programs that are aimed at helping people stabilise on drug-replacement in a safe / structured environment. With the stability a place like that affords, I may then be able to make the choice of going for abstinence, or choosing long-term maintenance, with a bit more clarity. I do feel that living without maintenance is an achievable goal still, so if I can be referred to an abstinence based rehab from wherever I am, I may end up choosing that option.





HEY TJ...
I see what you are saying and I get it. I wasn't always on 6...I took 24mg for a long, long time....in fact i still get a refill
for 24mg..just trying to save some up...Sometimes I slip up and take 24 in one day.....so you can see I don't have my act
together either...but I understand what you are saying being in a structured environment...that certainly helps. My problem
with abstnence based programs is I will go right back out there once I am out. I have to take something every day.
I think a lot of it is in my mind and not physical...but just knowing i have that bup pill in me makes me feel safe.

If you are having withdrawals this soon during the day then it is not working well for you..everybody is so different...isn't
that strange how it affects all of us?? I wish you the best of luck whatever you do!
Sincerely,
Slipper

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:12 pm 
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I'm actually on the other side of the planet, so my 24 hour cycle is pretty much flipped. I wrote that post in the evening.

You know what? I'd probably be much more comfortable with the idea of life-long maintenance if I didn't have to go to the pharmacy regularly to pick-up my dose. You guys in the US do have it considerably easier in that regard.

I think the powers that be down here don't want to make people too comfortable with staying on long-term maintenance, hence the need to go to the pharmacy regularly to pick-up our doses.

Re rehabs. I'm not going to isolate myself to just one option. At the moment I'm looking at the interstate option (WHOS) and a local rehab called Odyssey House. Odyssey House is an 18 month TC. 18 months is a long time to stay clean and let the brain re-adjust to living without opioids, and the people who make it to the end of the program have quite a good success rate. But the program is so strict, anyone who makes it to the end has a LOT of willingness to stay on the path of recovery.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:19 am 
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Okay ... it's been a while now and it's time for an update.

I recently left a 28 day short-term rehab program. I spent 3 weeks there and had nearly completed the program before I got discharged for having a female in my room. It was a real shame given I'd almost completed the program. However, I do feel I achieved what I wanted by being there. My only real goal in attending that program was to arrest my cycle of addiction and return to a state of mental and physical health so I'd be in a good enough state to attend an intensely rigorous long-term rehab called Odyssey House. I knew that if I went straight from active addiction into Odyssey House, I wouldn't last long. The program is such that they work you so hard, and expect you to "hit the ground running" when you arrive. Many people leave in the first week just because the system-shock is so intense.

So right now I'm in this "limbo land" between being kicked out of short term rehab and preparing to attend long-term rehab. I'm sleeping in my car, which isn't as bad as it sounds. I'm taking my Suboxone each day (which I've reduced down to 8mg from 12mg). I'm REALLY looking forward to going to Odyssey House. The workers and I have agreed for me to reduce off Suboxone while I'm in there, and to be honest I can't wait to be off Sub and once again experiencing recovery free from opioids.

Odyssey house is a long term program with exit points at 4 months, 8 months, 12 months and even 18 months. Exactly how long I will stay there I don't know, but I'm going to use my time there to get off Sub, sort out housing and basically get my life back together. It'll be good to finally do a long term rehab in my home town. I think one of the reasons I've relapsed in the past when I moved interstate was because I didn't have family support at the time, being so far removed geographically.

I won't have internet access for the first 6 months of the program, so I'll be scarce from ye olde Suboxforum. But I hope that when the time comes that I do have internet access, I'll be a few months Sub free and enjoying a life of recovery once again.

All the best and you'll hear from me soon no doubt.

TJ


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:20 pm 
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Thanks so much for the update, TJ.

I wish you the greatest of luck at Odyssey house and I sure hope you don't get caught with and more chicks in your room!!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:58 am 
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We wish you nothing but the best TJ! You've been a valuable member here and you'll be welcome when you have the chance to post again in a few months!

I've personally been concerned but hopeful for you and I'm so glad that things are looking up for you! We'll miss you while you're gone, but we are glad you are using the time to make things better for yourself.

Hugs,
Amy

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Hey guys. Just a quick check-in to let you all know I'm alive, clean and doing OKAY...

I'm writing from the sunny Odyssey House in my home city of Melbourne. It's quite a rigorous program, and definitely keeping me busy and out of trouble. I've started my Suboxone reduction, now sitting on 6mg after gradually dropping from my maintenance dose of 12mg. So far it hasn't been too difficult at all. I feel some moderate withdrawals with each reduction, but they diminish after a few days. If I keep to the plan, I should be off Sub in about 3 or 4 weeks. I'm looking forward to being off. Already with my reduction some more emotions are starting to surface,
and I'm actually enjoying the company of others again. I'm starting to laugh again, which is a hopeful sign. I won't go into detail about how I felt on maintenance to be sensitive to the people on here who wish to remain on Sub long term, but I will say that I'm heartened by the reduced side-effects that have come with my reduction.

Being back in rehab has been a bitter pill to swallow. With all that's happened this year, my ego's taken a bit of a battering. At one point after a cocaine binge I was so psychotic I couldn't function, my arms and legs kept jerking and twitching, I couldn't write. Two months of the year were a complete blackout. Apparently I was driving my friends all over the place and I have no memory of it at all. I have a real fear that if I choose to use drugs again, I'll lose my faculties. In many ways it's a miracle I'm not one of those crazy people in the street rambling incoherently. At some point with this addiction game there's a point-of-no-return, and I've danced with it no doubt. It's clear now that heroin is no way to manage bipolar, or life in general.

But things are looking up. There are many other people in this program who have gotten off Suboxone in here and have many months, or 1-2 years clean and are doing really well. If they can do it, so can we. I've reconnected with some members of the family I had a falling out with. I still have my car, my license, my computer and my coffee machine. There's some debt to be paid off but that's achievable.

I hope you're all well and enjoying your lives, whether remaining on Sub, reducing or off it. I've realised for myself that recovery is all about quality of life. There's no quality of life in addiction. For many, quality of life is better on maintenance than without, so who can argue with that?

Anyway I shouldn't even be using the internet at this stage of my program. So keep this on the low-down, otherwise I'll get a few extra hours of job functions to work off... and I've got enough as it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Thanks for the update TJ, good to hear from you again and it's so nice to hear how well you're doing.

BTW, you still have your coffee machine, what more can you ask for? :D

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Good to hear from you TJ! I'm glad you're doing well!

Amy

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:31 pm 
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How did I miss an update from TEEJAY!

Glad to hear you're staying busy and out of trouble. It's also nice that you have time to reflect back on what you've been through recently. I remember reading some of your posts about driving friends around to hook up and thinking that you were in a really tough situation. Right smack in the thick of it. Hang in there buddy! Stay away from the ladies.. :lol:

Let us know how you're doing when you can, but don't get in trouble. Take care.


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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