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 Post subject: Second month of Suboxone
PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:55 pm 
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Hello everyone; this is my first post. First and foremost I wanted to thank Dr. Junig for providing such a great place to gather information, learn more about my addiction and just plain start feeling good about myself again. There is nothing remarkable about my story. I'm a 52 year old guy who became dependent on opiates during the course of my treatment for degenerative disk disease of my neck. Things started out as a few vicodin a day and escalated to juggling doctors to keep myself medicated. I experienced full withdrawal one weekend when in my drug induced haze I lost my fentanyl patches. I knew what it was like to feel what the hell of that withdrawal was like. I became terrified of ever having to go through that again. Just reading about others experiences causes me to become anxious about ever having to go through withdrawal again. I am being honest with myself to know that I am not strong enough mentally or physically to think about not taking the Suboxone. In the meantime I will read your experiences and pray that maybe one something I experience might help one of you along. I am a devout Christian and do carry a good deal of shame about becoming so dependent on the medication but I again have to be honest and know it is nothing I planned. It is my problem to fix and along the help and suggestions of others I feel that I can make strides towards that end. As I get to know you I will pray for you as my higher power is Jesus. Thanks for all the love shared on this site. Reading your stories help and I hope I can help you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:13 pm 
Hi Geoff and welcome. I'm glad you are in treatment with suboxone and glad you found this forum for information and support. You will find a lot of kind, well informed people here. After struggling with addiction for many years I have come to beleive that it really is a disease, with it's own progression and treatments like any other disease. Do you feel shame about having degenerative disk disease? Probably not. So please try to get out of the shame mode about your addiction. I know society can be very judgemental, but let's try not to be with ourselves and each other.
I wish youall the best as you move forward.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:23 pm 
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Welcome Geoff!

You seem like a very smart individual. You've come a long, long way just to get to where you are and you're my hero for accepting the fact there is a serious problem and have taken steps to overcome it.

How much sub are you taking now?

If you're not strong enough mentally or physically to think about not taking the Suboxone, then keep taking it. Addiction is a bitch that's not easily (very rarely) defeated in one fell swoop. You didn't become addicted overnight, you won't beat it over night. Take as long as you need, but stay the course and taper - SLOWLY. Go as slow as you think you need. When you feel strong enough to do a reduction, take advantage of that moment, that strength and give it a shot.

I reduced about every two months. In 12 months time, I went from 8 mg/day to zero. WD symptoms were evident after every reduction but very, very mild and didn't last longer than a few days. Stay on task and control it the best you can and before you know it, YOU will be the one in control again. I promise.

I'm on day 8 of zero sub. zero anything. Except Tylenol PM & clonidine to help me sleep.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Thank you both for your kind words of encouragement. The shame I feel is for the weakness inside that led me to this point. It is definitely something I will need to work on. I know there is a side of me that at this point don't trust to fight the temptation to abuse medication again. In essence I'm just plain not ready. I'm not ashamed of my decision to take Suboxone as it is the one real good decision I made in a time of my life perpetuated with bad decisions. So for that I am truly grateful. Currently I take 4mg. once a day. I have done a little tapering of my own to see what the least path of resistance is to a point where cravings begin and then back off. I see my doctor tomorrow for my third visit. He started me on 8mg and dropped me to 6mg the second month and I dropped to 4mg. after reading Dr. Junig's expanation that the ceiling effect would still be there at 4mg. I felt no adverse effects when I did the drop and I am glad I did so. I will see what the doctor says tomorrow. I would like to see what the lowest dose is that keeps me from getting crunchy ( I love that phrase; I read it somewhere else here). I'd like to do low doses and keep moving towards emotional stability and better trust of myself. I will not kid myself and move too fast I'll just take it a day at a time and when things feel right then I'll start to taper down slowly to nothing. I fear all the descriptions of PAWS but have to trust that anything can be done through the strength in my higher power. At this point though I still doubt that part of myself. Thank you again for the kindness; God bless you both. I'll lean on you and maybe you can lean on me someday for some strength.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Geoff, welcome to the forum. I hope you will find as much support here as I have. As addicts, shame is something we all feel, about our addiction, our behaviors, even our thoughts. So you're not alone in feeling ashamed - I hope you realize that. I've found the best way to work to get beyond it is to really comprehend that we can't change the past. We only have today and tomorrow. Once we start focusing on the current and the future, the less shame we will feel. At least that's how I look at it and I have less shame today than I once did. So you can do this and you CAN get better and FEEL better.
Best of luck to you and again, WELCOME!

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


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Shame comes with the territory. I am ashamed to have gone thru what I did. But I also value those hard, painful lessons more than I am ashamed. I can see it this way because I understand that this kind of addiction can happen to anybody and it has crippled and debilitated the strongest of people everywhere and of every kind of social status. We're no different, we're all human.

There is often an under-lying cause as to why many attach themselves to opiates/narcotics. Mine in particular really took off just after a surgery which occurred just a few months after the death of my father. They helped numb me & I became dependent. That's a good part of it, anyway.

You've obviously been thru some serious, serious pain with addiction. I think you're going about it the right way with a good (and cautious) attitude.

From what I've read, the most difficult reductions are when dosing under 2 mg. I don't know where you're located but subs only come in tabs of 8mg or 2mg here, in the US. My doc believed I shouldn't have had problems jumping off from 1mg every other day. Ridiculous, if you ask the people who have gone off of sub successfully and with minimal WD's. If I were in your sub situation, I would do exactly what you're doing - find the lowest possible dose you can get away with and save what you don't use for a longer taper in case your doc takes you off prematurely or if, for whatever reason, you lose your ability to get the sub before you can properly taper. My doc took me off before I could get to around .25mg or lower. I went against his advice and split my last two scripts to roughly .25's before jumping off altogether.

Even if you can get down to doing 2mg one day, 4mg the next - alternating until you settle into the lower dose. Just keep trying. Keep up the great thoughts, they're very inspiring & thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:09 am 
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geoff77077 wrote:
I am a devout Christian and do carry a good deal of shame about becoming so dependent on the medication


This really stood out to me and I wanted to comment on it, because I think this is a very slippery slope to get on, even if you are qualifying it to some extent. There is NO shame in being an addict. You did not choose to have this illness. No one chooses it, just like no one chooses to be a diabetic or epileptic.

The shame is in knowing you're an addict and NOT doing something about it.

You are doing something about it. So give yourself a break, man.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:59 am 
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I agree with the others and also understand the shame. But they are right about this. I don't have a whole lot to add except regarding getting off of suboxone. When I started suboxone I expected myself to immediately begin tapering off. There was no question in my mind that the ultimate goal would be to be suboxone free and drug free. It took me some time, and stopping the suboxone to start doing the research. I highly encourage you to research this disease and to research statistics pertaining to recovery methods and relapse rates. Once you have done that and have seen the reality, THEN I think you can rationally make a decision about tapering and getting off suboxone. Don't get me wrong because I do think it is ok to make that decision and to taper off of it. I just think people can't really do it for the right reasons until they are informed on the statistics and relapse rates. I also think it is somewhat dangerous to go off suboxone without doing that because many people at that point are still expecting their will to keep them clean and when they relapse they feel even more shame for being unable to do something they had expected themselves to do. Don't expect yourself to have all the answers right away. Don't expect yourself to be your own doctor and therapist. Do the research and then make a plan. This is just my opinion.

Welcome to the forum. Take care, best wishes, and congratulations on the beginning of your recovery.

Cherie

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:52 am 
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Thank you for all the advice. I know the advice comes as a result of pain and I truly appreciate that you would share with me times when life was at its toughest. I don't have any answers now. The shame is fleeting. Now that things have leveled off for me and life has settled back into a predictable pattern I know it is time to dissect my behavior to try to find the root cause or causes that led me to emotionally become so dependent on opiates. As you all probably know when using I couldn't imagine going through the day without the relief that opiates brought. After struggling with pain of disk disease for years and just the stress of life itself the introduction of the large quantity of opiates opened a key to escaping reality. I was able to relax and feel that intoxicating rush when taking and snorting the pills. It became the greatest part of me; all else was secondary. I know moving forward that I have to find something to put in its place. Whether it be faith or service to others there has to something to fill the void created by the use of these drugs.
I wanted to comment to Chesster that his story mimiced mine in a lot of ways. Opana was my downfall. It wasn't until I snorted that for the first time that things started to get real bad. I knew I was hooked when I snorted that first pill, felt the rush and threw up later. I hear the throwing up is a key to know that you are really getting off. Any way. Chesster. I wanted to offer my congradulations on your quest to stop using Suboxone; I hope it works well for you. You showed tremendous resolve and strength in your efforts to overcome the withdrawals. You are my hero. I wanted to offer some encouragement in your dealing with divorce and the custody of your children. Whatever you do stay strong for you kids. They need you more than you could ever imagine. If you believe in it pray for them. I hope I don't offend you with my religion but when I was first seperated from my son I had to believe that when I prayed he some how heard me or that God would speak to his heart and let him know that I loved him tremendously even though I wasn't physically present. Once the divorce proceeds I pray that you receive joint custody so that you get the time to spend with then. My weekends now with my son are so gratifying and I pray that you get to that point soon. Once you get to hug them you'll know it was worth it all.
I try to use this analogy when I think of me and my recovery. I picture myself as a road. Over time the addiction created a huge and dangerous pothole in my soul. I can fill it in and try to make it pretty again but it won't ever be as strong as before and tiny cracks in the repaired part can let thing in that could erode the road and lead to further deterioration. So I have to give it maintenance all the time so that the little crack don't grow into something could destroy the road again. It my sound hokey but it works for me. God bless you all.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:57 am 
There is an excellen book entitiled "Addiction and Grace" and unfortunately I can't remember the authors name. It is really insightful regarding the shame issue. If I recall it is written from a Christian tradition (or maybe Judeo-Christian) but I think it is geared toward anyone who beleives in a higher power. It really helped me a lot when I first had to admit I was an addict. (I should probably read it again).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:26 am 
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Thanks Lilly, I will get on amazon.com and look for it. I appreciate the tip. Anything to strengthen my defenses in dealing with my addiction. Have you seen that show on TLC called Addiction? The person know is featured Christina Wolniziak (spelling is probably wrong) wrote a book with her mother called "The Lost Years". It is very good. It is written by her and her mother and gives gut wrenching accounts of her spiral down the path of addiction and gives views from both sides. Very well written and realistic. One benefit from my addiction is that I've met good people like yourself that truly care about people other than themselves. I'm a very soft hearted man who carries is heart on his sleeve and is easily hurt. I think that is a big part of my addiction but that is me. It is refreshing to find persons that will take time out of their day to share their hearts with me. Most persons never have time for anyone but themselves so in some ways I count my addiction as a blessing. It has opened my eyes to some truths about life and myself. Have a blessed day Lilly and thank you for your kindness.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:55 pm 
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Ok, so, the resident agnostic (that would be me 8) ) is now going to offer a quote from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous because I think it's a good one and believe it or not, it's helped me quite a bit over the years. And it seems appropriate in the context of this discussion......if you just substitute the word "alcoholism" for "addiction" it works.

This is from page 449 and it talks about "Acceptance"

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could no stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes."

I posted that quote for you, geoff77077, because we are all in the same boat here. Doesn't matter if we are religious or not, we're here to help each other through this problem. I hope this quote provides some insight to you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Junkie, I'm not quite sure what it is that you're getting. Is it that you think that my religion will in someway make me think poorly of another or not help someone because they don't share the same beliefs as me? I assure that my choice of a higher power is solely a personal decision based on MY beliefs and would not let it get in the way of recovering or helping another recover. You are entitled to your beliefs. I haven't always turned to God but due to some overwhelming perosal loss in my life I needed to cling to something other than this world. I found comfort in something bigger than myself and I choose to call Him God. I won't apologize for my beliefs and again won't let it get in the way. If I offended you I'm sorry but on this issues may be it is best to agree to disagree. When I say God bless to others it is a heart felt wish for the best of all things to come to them. God taught me to love others when I couldn't love myself. This isn't my first go round with recovery. Along with opiates I am a recovering alcoholic. I had 20 years sobriety and medical conditions brought me to the point where I comprimised that. Before alcoholism took me to the brink of death, living homeless. It was the love of God that helped me get back on my feet and brought me back to a productive life. Opiates created a detour. The Big Book says everything in God's world happens for reason. Maybe something I can bring to this forum might help bring some healing to another. As addicts and alcoholics we need to be open minded to ALL things. I hope my choice of higher power doesn't throw you off and make you think I care less about any other person because of what they believe. Thank you caring enough to share your opinions about recovery. Obviously you are very passionate about it and that is to be admired. There are many paths that lead to the same destination and that is abstinance from the substances that try to kill us, as long as we make it there it shouldn't matter which path we took. Take care brother. Peace be with you.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:06 am 
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The original post here was removed because I clearly made a mistake by saying religion should not be discussed. It was MY mistake and I am sorry for any confusion I may have caused.

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Last edited by shelwoy on Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:30 pm 
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Before this goes any further, please realize that any posts relating to one's religious beliefs are off limits! Do not debate religion here. Thank you.

Now where in the heck is this coming from? Are we now making up new "rules" as we go along here? Perhaps there is a set of guidelines or rules that I am not aware of and if that is the case, please provide them for all of us to review. Otherwise, here is what I have been aware of, as posted on the main page of this web site:

-This forum is for people who have made their choice whether it be for Suboxone, for Methadone, or for meetings and no medication. While I recognize that some readers are not yet at the end of that choosing process, I ask that they read the information and make their decision without encouraging debate on the forum.
-PLEASE Do not get into debating which is better-- such debates never change minds, and often introduce false information that clouds intelligent decision-making.
-Show the respect for the decisions of others and avoid personal attacks.

I see no mention of religion anywhere in there and frankly have never read that "posts relating to one's religious beliefs are off limits." It would seem to me that both Junkie and Geoff have stayed within the published "rules" and have both been very civil and mature in their posts.

What in the heck is going on here? This is now the second post like this today that has left me scratching my head. Perhaps its me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:37 pm 
Geoff - I think you might have misinterpreted Junkie's comments. I didn't take it that he was cricizing your beliefs or religion - I think he was simply offering support from his own non-religious standpoint.


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 Post subject: "off limits"
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:10 pm 
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I agree with Lily, and with Dohn--I think Junky was just trying to say that even though he is agnostic he has been helped by the prayer he quoted which DOES refer to God. That seems to me like he was tying to simply mention that although he is not religious himself he can see and respect how there are helpful aspects of religion that can sometimes even help non-religious people like himself. And I think Geoff was just asking Junky to clarify because maybe Geoff wasnt' sure why Junky mentioned that he is agnostic. Geoff just asked Junky why he brought up being agnostic and also went on to assure Junky that he respects Junkys' spiritual (or lack there of) choices and mentioned the area that they are in agreement on. And Donh is right, the forum rules don't say "dont' mention religion." Spirituality is important, and just because a person isn't religious or is agnostic or atheist doesnt' mean they don't have a spiritual life.

My understanding of the rules is that it should be ok for people to discuss issues even if they have areas of disagreement--as long as no one attacks anyone else or their beliefs, and as long as everyone treats everyone else with respect. As Don pointed out, Geoff and Junky both wrote their posts with carefully worded respect and the intent of their posts seemed very clearly positive to be--simply expressing their hope to share information, experience, and support with the common issue at had--our addictions and our experiences with suboxone.

that being said, I can understand why Shelwoy would worry about how a discussion regarding religion COULD go in the wrong direction and end up as a argument that could never be resolved and ending up with strong words and hurt feelings. I don't think Geoff and Junky were headed that way though.

Clearly, religion is not an off-limit subject, many people mention something about their churches and/or their spiritual beliefs in how that relates to their recovery issues. What would be off-limits would be trying to argue with someone about their choices of religion or spirituality or dissing/attacking those choices.

Am I right?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:29 am 
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Sorry guys, I forgot to mention that this thread was edited for abusive comments. You may have read it after it was edited thinking nothing was wrong.
The comment about religion being off limits was because of the removed comments that were not appropriate for this forum.[
/b]


From the words of the doc,
Quote:
# Show the respect for the decisions of others and avoid personal attacks.


[b]Personal attacks and disrespect were a part of this thread and it was taken care of, please understand these things are done for the well being of all members.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Geoff,

I'm here for you, brother. And anyone else who has any questions/concerns about subs and/or addiction. I can only relate with my experience.

Opana - yeah, I hate that word with everything in me. I guess it was discontinued back in the 50's for being too addictive. People were shooting it in their veins. Then when it came out again a few years back, they formulated it so if someone tried to shoot it, it would end up killing them. Un-shootable, I guess. The 20 & 40mg ones were, anyway. Not sure about the 5's or the 10mg immediate ones. I'm sure all the die-hard alchemist-addicts with access to opana have probably figured out work-arounds by now. Sad, sad, sad...

Hey, if Jesus works for you, run with it and don't bother looking back. I'm not ashamed to say that Jesus works for me, too, and is a very important part of my healing process. I think any reader/moderator with half a brain can distinguish between someone spamming a post with their religion vs expressing what helps them battle their addiction. I mean come on, we're adults here talking about the things we experience thru our addictions, often some terribly bad things - stealing from loved ones, shooting up, snorting, puking, sex-for-drugs, and someone gets a hair up their sensitive ass over the fact that Jesus helped someone out? Oh My Frickin Gosh. That's only been happening for 2,000 years. But heck, there goes the world & this forum is all shot to hell now.

Call the mods! Someone used the damned "J" word!

Damn, now nobody will read or take things seriously here - it has the "J" word in there. lol


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:07 am 
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Thanks everyone for the comments. I didn't mean to open up such a can of worms. I shared my personal feelings toward my recovery and I guess it rattled the cage. I never meant disrespect to anyone and would never question anyone's method of recovery. Recovery is such a miracle, such a defiance of odds that when we recieve such a wonderful gift I would never question its source. I would thank the source and hold that source near and dear to my heart as I did and do. I would be excited and as one in recovery would want to share that excitement with others so that maybe they too could capture the same energy. That was my only intention. I never menat to Bible thump; I don't believe I did, and in the future I will be careful to word anything I share. Chesster you are still my hero and with your insight and wisdom I truly believe all will be well with your impending divorce and child custody issues. I'll be (dare I say it) praying for you Brother. As I said earlier we are all in the same boat looking to get to the same place and that is a life where drugs and alcohol and whatever else controls us becomes so minimal that it no longer intrudes on the things that make life worthwhile. What does it matter how we got there. I thought we were here to share the strides we make on the way to that place. I thought it didn't matter how we got there, but apparently it does.


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