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 Post subject: Social Issues?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:25 pm 
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Hi all,

As some of you are aware, I've been off Suboxone for a good while now and I have noticed one consistent, lingering problem that probably isn't really related to Suboxone, so to speak. I think it's probably due to the years of drug abuse that preceded my Suboxone use, but I haven't ruled Suboxone out completely.

Anyway, have any of you who have quit Suboxone, or who are still on it, noticed that your 'social skills' suck. It's like I'm still having 're-entry' problems as far as life in general is concerned. I was talking to another member the other day and he had mentioned the same thing. He and I have some issues with self-esteem too that we both figured was a result of our drug use.

Does it get better or am I doomed to being a social moron? :?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:30 pm 
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Romeo...I don't think this is abnormal at all!! I too, went off Suboxone right around the time you did, and have noticed this about myself as well, with not having any social problems before my addiction or Suboxone treatment.

I guess the best way I can describe this is this: Do you remember when using (not fun to think about, I know) being social was just one of those things that you had to use to be able to do. Like the first thing you did when you woke up was use, before you called someone on the phone to chat, you'd use, before you went to a gathering, you'd use...etc. I remember doing this, and making sure I had a high so that I could be sociable and chatty. And once deep into addiction, you couldn't imagine doing these things without the drug.

Now, we must learn to do these same things, except without the useing part, obviously, and NOW, without the Suboxone. Just plain old you. I noticed significant self conciousness after coming off Sub. Like when having a conversation I am thinking "Do I sound completely stupid right now?" Or not being able to find the words to keep a conversation going, and finding yourself in dead silence (AWKWARD!). Or fake laughing, or not looking someone in the eye, or feeling uncomfortable with a lot of people around. I know I too, had low self esteem even before my addiction, but I think it has been resurfacing. The best way I have found to deal with it is to talk about it with my therapist and Sub doc (I still see him periodically since coming off Sub, he is an important person in my life!) and most importantly, to keep trying to be in social situations. I am finding, that on the way to a social event I am really dreading it. But once it's through, and Im on my way home, I think, "Wow, I did just fine, and it was actually kind of fun!" It takes practice! I think too, it's important to find the underlying factors for it, just like we had to do in recovery to find out why we got addicted in the first place. Once you know about it, you can kind of free yourself from it, does that make sense?

Anyway, I hope you find things a little easier. Make sure you talk to someone about it. Just another little bump on the road to recovery! Take care! --Sarah


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:59 pm 
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When I was using I wasn't sociable at all - quite the opposite. I always isolated myself and usually used alone. So when I went on suboxone I was so thrilled to be clean and to not have to hide my addiction that going back out into the world was great! Plus without the drugs I was finally in a state of mind to get some real work done in my individual (psycho)therapy. I'm actually more sociable and comfortable with people in groups than I ever was before. I think another part of it is that I know that I made it through the addiction and if I can do that, well hell, I can be self-confident, proud, positive, welcoming and hold my head up high around people in groups - even new people/strangers. For me anyway, I can't say enough good things about therapy and what it's done for me.

This is an interesting topic, Romeo. Thanks for bringing it up. I look forward to here others' perspectives on it.

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 Post subject: Great post!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Excellent post Romeo - glad you brought this up. Speaking for myself, my social skills definitely deteriorated while I was in active addiction. My preference was to isolate myself in my home and to avoid contact with people if at all possible. It was only when I began taking Suboxone that I started to become less of a pajama/sweatpants hermit.

Funny thing is... I've actually always been more comfortable being alone, but at the same time if I did have to deal with people - even in large groups - it wasn't really that much of a problem. It's been about two years since I decided to seek help for my addiction, and my 'affect display' (pretty sure that's the correct term) is still off. Guess I'm just going to have to continue to work on my cruddy interpersonal communication skills. :)

Thanks again for bringing this up.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:14 pm 
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Well, I'm sure I don't need to tell y'all this, but it sure is nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels or has felt this way!! What a relief to know that others struggle with this too.

hopefulsarah, it's so nice to hear from a person who quit sub at a high dose, like I did, AND right around the same time. Your thoughts and words on the subject of social issues rang so true for me. I can relate to EVERYTHING you said. I especially like that you shared the part about worrying about "Do I sound completely stupid right now." That's me to a T. The part about "not being able to find the words to keep the conversation going and the AWKWARD silence" is me too. I was just talking to a friend the other day about how my low self esteem seems to have been resurfacing too. I wish it would un-resurface real damn quick!! :D

Hatmaker, I am so proud of myself that I have made it this far through addiction too. You would think those feelings would translate into self-confidence, holding my head up high, etc. But I can't for the life of me figure out why they aren't? It's not that I have no self-confidence and whatnot, it just seems to plummet to zero when I am in a social situation. I mean my forehead and palms of my hands will get sweaty if I have to do a face to face with someone in a social setting. Funny, when I'm at work I don't have this issue. I guess because I'm in a managerial position work it makes me feel in control? Hell, I don't know.....now I'm starting to confuse the hell out of myself.....or I'm scaring myself because I'm getting close to the truth? :?

bronzebeta, I isolated myself too. The more drugs I took, the less I saw of other people and the less I wanted to be around other people. I've always enjoyed my alone time too, but not anymore!! I don't like being alone now, not one bit. But because I'm not comfortable around people yet I tend to still isolate. It's like I'm screwed either way?

Thank You all for your amazing insights into this isuue. I know I have a lot of work to do still.....piss me off!! I just want this shit to go away!! Grrrrr. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Was always weird. Straight weird. High weird. Still weird. Always probably be weird. Yep I think I understand you romeo. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:23 am 
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Wade,

You have a unique ability to cut through all the crap and get right to the point!! Thanks bud!! :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:48 am 
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I find that I don't like other people as much now that I'm not high all the time.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:08 pm 
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I'm a little late to this thread but thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

Yeah I am ...oh...10 months off sub and still have a little social awkwardness. I wonder if it's because from age 24-30 I was on pills/sub and was a social butterfly. Total confidence , no anxiety, no fear, not a care, etc. Being on pills I was smooth as silk. Being off, not so much!

I really think I just notice it more and, of course, I'm paranoid about it. But I also find that I just can't find the right words sometimes and my mouth doesn't do what my mind wnats it to!

Diary - Totally. People annoy me more now and are no where near as interesting as they used to be!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:55 am 
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great topic..

I didnt start dope till later in life. I was a socail butterfly as my Mom would say till I started dope. At frist when doping I was even more out there. Gave me false pride and I gelled with eveyone. Then I went on sub and it continued for a while. The last 6 or so months on sub it did change for me though. I isolated all the time.. got to the point I didnt even want to talk on the phone to my friends.

I am now three days clean... after reading this I wonder how I am gonna be. I hope I get back to being the butterfly as my Mom would call me. I can see where after being on a opiate for so long and having that drug induced social ability then loosing it for a nearly a yr that re-entering life might be hard. I wont have that false ephoric feeling anymore. Something to ponder about for sure.

I do think this is pretty normal though. I have read at other sites the same thing from folk. Post sub having a hard time finding the right words...socially enept and so forth. I guess it like learning how to walk again after being in a wheelchair. One step at a time. But when you think about it it does make sense. After being under the influence of a opiate we sorta loose who we are, be it street dope or suboxone. We need to relearn how to deal with normal daily stuff. I think this is true for all addicts. I think that is why many addicts stay on drugs... for the comfort of it. GIves us the guts to be out there. I hear folk talk about it in meetings all the time. I did think that I wouldnt have that problem since I was on sub. You know... not getting "high" and all. But still... it a mind altering chemical so why think it would be any different. They say in meetings "practice, practice, practice". The more you practice being around others the more comfortable you will be. It takes time for our receptors to return to normal once the sub is out of our systems. The same for those that are coming off dope.

I am sorta worried about this now. I wonder how I will be once I get back home and back in to life. I dont want to feel inadaquate with nothing. Thats why I stayed on dope for so long I think... to numb those feelings. I guess its got to be easier then how it was before I got off the sub. Dont know for sure but right now I feel pretty good. I am sitting here looking out the window and folks are going about thier day... kids walking to school, parents going to work. I want to be like that. Just a normal day... get up, help get the kids ready for school then get off to work myself. Dosnt that just sound grand! If I began to feel socally enept then it will just be another thing I will work at. I have the feeling I will return to the person I was prior to my dope run. Hoping so anyways. Looking forward to it so I should be. Time will tell.

But practice practice practice will get me there ..... no other choice .. I surely dont want to depend on dope or another medication the rest of my to feel "normal".

Great thread though. I guess it hits home a bit, I bet for many it does so your not alone there and I dont believe any of us are doomed to be this way for life. Just a process that we must go thru.

Good health and happiness to all.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:43 am 
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Thanks birdie,

Your words really hit home. Funny how you mentioned having to learn how to walk again after being in a wheelchair. After my accident, I was in a wheelchair for 3 months. I indeed had to learn how to walk again. At first, I had to use crutches, my legs were so damn weak and my ankles in so much pain that I could not walk unassisted. After a month of that, I took my first unassisted steps, my legs were still wobbly as hell, but there was no way on God's green earth that I was giving up. No way I was going to fail at that task. It took practice, practice, practice.

What I understand now is that not only do I need to get out in social situations and practice, practice, practice....but I may also need some 'crutches' to help me, that's where my wife comes in. Talk about social butterflies, that's her. I need to use her as my crutch for a while.

I have made progress with regards to the social anxiety, I'm just not where I want to be yet. Thanks for helping to remind me that I need to practice and that I may need the help of some 'crutches' for a while until I get my 'social legs' back underneath me.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Romeo,

I do not think this is related to Sub itself....what you describe is what many addicts, including myself, have described....the feeling of not quite fitting in. I've always felt that way and when I found alcohol it was like freedom for me....I could just be me and not have to feel weird, or defective, or out of place....it was like me, but a much more comfortable me! what a lie that turned out to be....
I heard someone speak in a meeting yesterday about going to kindergarten and at that age already walking into a room full of kids his age, plus adults (teachers, parents) and freaking out....feeling like he wouldn't make it. My sponsor talks about how her mother asked her what she could have done to make her life 'better' or 'easier' or whatever (she apparently had really loving, caring, present parents...many of us don't) and my sponsor makes a huge joke out of the fact that she says "Yes mom, what would have helped me immensely is if you would have packed a wine cooler for me in my lunch box." and that pretty much sums it up for many of us....I was super social but it was a facade. Inside I felt out of sorts, like I never fit in, or people were always talking about me, or whatever else....some of us are hypersensitive. And so drugs/alcohol really helped calm those feelings down....and if you spent a long time using alcohol and drugs to alleviate panic attacks, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, or whatever...then it will take some time learning new skills in order to feel "normal". whatever normal is.

That is another reason why I say we can't do this alone....we can't sit in isolation and get better. We have to get out there, talk to others who have gone through it, talk to people who have what we want in their recovery/lives...and learn from them. I've learned a lot by going to therapy, and 12 step meetings (for me I prefer AA), and having a sponsor who understands me. I also believe church can work for some, etc...I mean there are a lot of ways to recover....except isolation. and that is why stopping drugs is only the first part. And in the big picture in my opinion stopping drugs is the easiest...what is really hard is starting the work of recovery...for me that includes looking at my own part in all the resentments i accumulated...looking at why i felt hurt and resentful, and then making amends when appropriate. The growth for me in my years in and out of AA has been doing that 4th step where you make an inventory and then talk about it to someone very trusting (not a spouse!!! necessarily...but someone who you feel you can tell all your secrets to) and then making amends to those I've hurt....and then overall changing how i lived my life....I couldn't continue to live like I did, obviously....
Have you ever heard the term dry drunk? What that means is someone who isn't using any more but nothing else has changed. Feelings are still stuck, behaviors still are selfish, anger is present and it's like you are hanging on by your fingernails...white knuckling it is what they say in AA....and that is a horrible way to live.
I don't know if this is how you are feeling Romeo...but even if you are feeling parts of these things it will get better...you didn't get here over night and you won't change it all over night. But it takes some work, some awareness, finding a recovery program that works for you (counseling, SMART recovery, 12 steps, etc )or making up your own program even....but I do think it takes involving other people in your life, other people who understand what you've been through, who understand addiction, and who have done the work themselves.
that is MY opinion and how it has worked for me...I've done this many different ways...I've worked a 12 step program when i didn't believe in it...faked it, wanting it, but not getting it, then quit doing it and fucked up my life some more, then tried church only, then fucked up some more, then back to AA and finally things started happening that changed me. I still relapsed again and now I'm back working a 12 step program that is working for me. It's really hard some times. I get cynical, I get angry, I get sad, I get uncomfortable...but I have learned how to deal...I've learned how to deal with anxiety and sleep problems without turning to a drug....I've learned how to find out who I am and be comfortable with me. Learning to love ourselves is really hard. I don't mean to sound trite..but I truly believe this is a process and for me its also a spiritual one. But I do believe change IS possible and that things DO get better.
What I always tell anyone, clients, friends, myself....is to hang around people who have what you want....and it makes things a lot better.
This is just what works for me....the fact that you are asking, Romeo, is a huge step...it means you want to make changes and that you recognize the need to do things differently....Staying clean and sober has been the most difficult work in my life. But what I've learned in the process has been such a gift really. I'd hate to think about staying the way I was. and I've learned acceptance...of myself, of others, of circumstances....and realize the only thing i have control over is me.
hang in there...things will get better....I hope you keep going to counseling....and finding the right counselor is hugely important. If it doesn't click, keep looking....


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:15 pm 
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Great reply. C girl

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:58 pm 
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Yeah. I know what you're talking about Romeo. If you go to a newcomers meeting of NA it's pretty rampant. While it happens on coming off all drugs to a degree, I think with opiates it's really uncomfortable. Really, it's part and parcel of the whole PAWS thing. It does go away, but it takes time.

I remember that when I would get clean off opiates, I always got this pervading annoying thought in social situations that people were paying more attention to me than others, observing me & my mannerisms. I was always paranoid I had a booger hanging from my nose perpetually for the first 3 months I was clean.

This mild-paranoid / self obsession, which fed into an unconfortable social anxiety, did go away eventually. When I started going to the gym things got rapidly better. I got big, I got more confident but at the same time I lost the uncomfortable "self-obsession" of early recovery off opiates, probably because I turned it into a more comfortable obsession with my body.

But in the early days, reminding myself that I was just another person in the room, one of many - no more important, yet no less - it would help me find my element. I would try and imagine what it would look like to see out of the eyes of each other person in the room. If one was talking to another person, I'd try to imagine seeing the other person talking. Then I'd swap and view the room out of his eyes. If I was alone I'd try to remind myself of how big the world is & how many people there are, each with their own values, issues & insecurities. Then I'd try to imagine what it was like to see the world through their values.

While this didn't cure the problem, I think it did bring some relief and also sped up the process of finding my feet.

Or you could just go on Effexor like everyone else! :lol: (actually some people blame their relapse on this move so maybe not)

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:55 am 
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Thanks tearjerker,

I can identify with what you're saying and have had many of the same thoughts....maybe minus the booger though!! :lol:

I like the mental exercises you did, dang, you were really getting after it!! It makes me proud for ya.

Anyway, I've improved too. In my first post I was worried about being a social moron for eternity, I believe I have climbed the ladder of success a bit to where I may just be a social imbecile at the moment....progress!! Actually, I think I have the words moron and imbecile backwards....oh well....point is I'm doing better.

Thanks for the words of advice tearjerker!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:00 am 
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tearj3rker wrote:
Yeah. I know what you're talking about Romeo. If you go to a newcomers meeting of NA it's pretty rampant. While it happens on coming off all drugs to a degree, I think with opiates it's really uncomfortable. Really, it's part and parcel of the whole PAWS thing. It does go away, but it takes time.

I remember that when I would get clean off opiates, I always got this pervading annoying thought in social situations that people were paying more attention to me than others, observing me & my mannerisms. I was always paranoid I had a booger hanging from my nose perpetually for the first 3 months I was clean.

This mild-paranoid / self obsession, which fed into an unconfortable social anxiety, did go away eventually. When I started going to the gym things got rapidly better. I got big, I got more confident but at the same time I lost the uncomfortable "self-obsession" of early recovery off opiates, probably because I turned it into a more comfortable obsession with my body.

But in the early days, reminding myself that I was just another person in the room, one of many - no more important, yet no less - it would help me find my element. I would try and imagine what it would look like to see out of the eyes of each other person in the room. If one was talking to another person, I'd try to imagine seeing the other person talking. Then I'd swap and view the room out of his eyes. If I was alone I'd try to remind myself of how big the world is & how many people there are, each with their own values, issues & insecurities. Then I'd try to imagine what it was like to see the world through their values.

While this didn't cure the problem, I think it did bring some relief and also sped up the process of finding my feet.

Or you could just go on Effexor like everyone else! :lol: (actually some people blame their relapse on this move so maybe not)

Good luck!


Exactly how i feel some days, to focused on whats going on in other peoples head - and the times i feel anxious im like trying to cover it up, dont want people to notice it.
I could imagine that the feeling of being fragile allso might have something to do with serotonine slowly building back up in the system(might explain the common use of ssri as you mentioned, which seems to be more and more accepted in the NA community where im comming btw) - maybe doing things which makes you feel good, going to the gym for example or running helps this proces naturally?

Allso on related note - on the good days, i can actually get high on being with people. Dont have a better word to describe it, because i can feel the "afterbuzz"- im sort of having a difficult time getting down again, when i come home and should rest; dont want the day to end.

Really good and helpfull thread, thx.


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