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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:48 pm 
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I have been on suboxone maintenece for 3 years and I've worked a program in NA the whole time too. I have not relapsed the whole time since I've been on maintenece so I've been clean, sober, and in recovery or 3 years. In fact I picked up my 3 years a few weeks ago.

I couldn't afford my doctors appt until a week later cause my pay check was delayed, my doctor is the kind of clinic that can't work with you financially so they told me id just have to go without till I can pay. So I went 7 days without suboxone cold turkey, I was on 16 mg daily. And before that I was 24 mg but had successfully weened down to 16 mg. so during these 7 days I didn't use or have any desire to, my NA program keeps me clean and it did for these 7 days, sub is just a tool it's not my whole program. I did experience major withdrawals though during this time.

So yesterday Is when I got paid and went back to my doctor - and I took my meds last night after not having them for 7 days.

Something happened though, and it's upsetting me so bad.
I feel like I've relapsed. I don't know exactly why. But I feel like I'm no longer clean or in recovery. These feelings and thoughts hit me last night about an hour or so after taking my dose of sub. And it was so scary.
I think part of it was because I physically felt better soon after taking the med and was no longer withdrawing, and then it did something to my mind. I started talking more and then I started getting emotional and every little thing upset me and I felt like crying. This is how I acted when I was on dope.

And today, when i took my dose when I got up I was fine for a bit then I layed down and without thinking about it all of a sudden I felt high. I felt surges through my body a lot like the rush you get from morphine in an IV dose at the hospital.

And then it bothered me because the feeling was relaxing especially after going 7 days withdrawing awfully.

I don't know if any of this has to do with my fiancé or not. But here I'll explain the situation with that. My fiancé and I have been together awhile. He is also in recovery and I actually have about a year longer than him in recovery. He is an alcohol and drug counselor at one of our states biggest rehabs. Where he works suboxone is a drug. If someone comes there with suboxone in their system then they get kicked out. My boyfriend has never liked knowing I take suboxone and while he's always said he knows I'm clean, he's also been my biggest and only critic. He used to encourage me and tell me I'm strong and have more recovery than him. And he still says that randomly. Before I got my 3 years like a few days before he was arguing with me about suboxone because of the cost and saying we don't have the money.
My clean date came and I was like yay baby I have 3 years today and he's like "cool", he made me feel like I want really clean, and I knew he was making me feel that way and it hurt but I didn't say nothin else and kept moving forward. I knew better and knew I was clean.

He's also tried to tell me he knows I'm not abusing suboxone. Then it went to him telling me he thinks I'm using suboxone as a crutch. Because I won't stop it cold turkey , and even though I've explained to him you can't do that you have to ween down and then stop it and he says I'm wrong I just don't wanna stop it and am just lingering it out on purpose and tells me he sees no progress. Even though I've went from 24 mg down to 26 mg since December ! He finally made me say that I agree it's just like the chains of addiction and blah blah and he finally made me admit doctors don't care about me etc. And it's messed with my head. It's like he's said it so much to me that now I'm believing it even though I knew he was wrong about what he says about suboxone and me.

So we had a huge argument when I took my dose last night. At first he started telling me not to feel guilty. Then I told him I didn't feel guilt and asked him why should I ? I told him I knew I was doing the right thing.
And he got mad and said I should feel guilty. He thinks I should feel guilty mostly cause we have to spend money on it and he says it's not worth it. But to me my life is worth it but he thinks since I don't need suboxone to live that it's not worth it. And he tells me I should feel guilty for taking our money and spending it on suboxone.

So, I don't know if i just started to belive he's right and that's why I feel like I've relapse or If I've really relapsed all this has caused me to lose trust in my own instincts and loss of reality and control of my own mind. And it's caused me to question my own perception!

Please help me I have over three years of sobriety and I have come so far. Thank you

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:25 pm 
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Hi Kadyrx,

You might want to print out some information for him to read about Suboxone, what it does and how it works.

No, IMO you didn't have a relapse. The reason you felt the dose so much was because you were off it for 7 days and your tolerance went down. You probably only needed a much smaller amount, but who cares? It's over and done with. How to deal with your BF is another story.

You are NOT addicted to Suboxone! Yes, you have both a physical and mental dependence on it, but you don't shoot it up, snort it, or take too much. You are doing what your doctor told you and that should be good enough for him. If he claims you are using Sub as a crutch, you tell him that he's using his recovery program as one too. It really makes me angry when someone dismisses your accomplishments staying clean. Would he prefer you to relapse on your old drug of choice? You will stop Suboxone when and if you are ready, and not a day sooner.

The good news is that he's your boyfriend and not a husband. Kindly ask him to either support you or shut the hell up about it. Once again, guide him to this site or print off some good information on it.

Be strong and don't take that kind of mental abuse from him. You ARE a success and congratulations on being 3 years clean!

Welcome to our forum!


Don't take yourself so damn seriously

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:21 am 
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Yes-- your issue is at the crux of discussions on this forum. I respect the desire of people to stop buprenorphine, but I do not respect people who try to make others feel guilty for treating an oft-fatal illness with medication (or people who carelessly make remarks that have the same effect).

We are in the midst of a new paradigm for treating addiction. And frankly, it is about time... addiction is still treated the same way that it was treated in the 1920's in most cases. Why do we accept 1920's treatments for a disease as malignant as addiction-- where we would never accept it with any other illness? It would be one thing if 1920's treatments actually WORKED-- but for over 90% of patients, that approach to addiction does NOT work. But the peddlers of the old, crappy treatment have gotten away with offering the same, low-success approach for so long, by blaming the PATIENT when treatment fails. How convenient.... charge a patient 30 grand for treatment, but when the treatment fails, say that it is the PATIENT'S fault. 'He didn't want it bad enough.'

Can you imagine if people were charged $30,000 to treat their cancer, but the treatment only worked 5% of the time? And when it invariably failed, doctors said that it was the patients' faults?

Some people have a mystical attitude about addiction treatment, and others have the attitude that getting over addiction is not really 'medical', but rather a 'willpower' thing. Some people think it isn't an 'illness' at all, for reasons that I don't understand. Once you start comparing addiction to other illnesses, the differences fall away.

I have a couple blog posts about the meaning of 'relapse' in an era of medications that treat addiction, the disease. One can be found here:

Life is long, and challenging. People get all excited for stopping 'everything' for a month or two-- when the real battle hasn't even started yet. Addiction, especially to opioids, is patient. It waits. It waits until you have a couple kids, and you get in an argument with your spouse, who leaves to 'get her head on straight.' It happens when the job you worked so, so hard for goes to the person who is friends with your boss, who is not as qualified as you. Or it waits until you just heard great news while traveling, and you discover that the person who had the room before you left a bottle of Percocet in the safe. Or until you hurt your back, and have to deal with pain every morning for 6 months straight... and then your doc offers you Oxycontin. Some of these things will happen to many people who read this forum, who are convinced, a month off Suboxone, that they would NEVER go back. My career (the second one- the one I started after losing my first one to a relapse after 7 sober years) consists of seeing people who were/are cocky about their own will power, who stop medication because someone talked them into stopping it, and then go on to relapse, divorce, incarceration, or overdose. All of them? No-- but certainly well over half, and in my opinion well over 75%.

Keep yourself alive. If you have a side effect from Suboxone, compare it to the side effects people endure to survive cancer. People with opioid dependence have a pretty good deal these days, compared to when I first became addicted in 1993. My Big Book, from the early AA meetings, is signed by a number of people who died alone, during a period of active addiction. I was drug tested twice per week for 6 years, and one mistake (even taking Benadryl) would trigger the loss of my medical license; I credit that testing to my survival. Most people, though, don't have that type of situation-- which cost me $140 per week during that 6 years. The mandatory counseling and group therapy cost even more--- much more than the cash price for buprenorphine, of less than $3.00 per day in many areas. My treatment--- initial residential at $40,000; urine tests for $140 per week; group therapy twice per week (another $160 per week), individual counseling $170 per week...(my insurance didn't cover the person that the board required me to see). Total was over $160,000. The cottage up North covered some of that... and the rest sat on credit cards for years.

Some other people paid just as much... and didn't get better. And THAT is a real shame.

I know I'm rambling-- my point is that addiction treatment on Suboxone is a bargain. Tear your ACL-- insurer might cover a portion, after your 5K deductible and copays, but you are going to still owe a lot of money. Get diabetes, you'll be bled of your savings until you get down to Medicaid, and then you'll still scrip to make the copays. Get Crohns or another IBD and the treatments cost thousands of dollars... per DOSE. I don't know your partner, but I would be tempted to say that your medication is YOUR business, period. If he just can't help making smarmy comments about your illness or treatment, save yourself a lifetime of living with mr. know-it-all and invite him to leave for a permanent AA meeting in another city. YOU do what works for YOU.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:51 am 
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This post should go into the Dr. J Hall of Fame! :D

Great posts from both Rule and Dr. J, I have nothing to add.


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:50 am 
6 Months or More
6 Months or More

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 2:15 pm
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AGREED!!!!!!!...Have a clean and great day everyone..

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:45 am 
One Month or More
One Month or More

Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:06 pm
Posts: 35
Thank you rule and suboxdoc and everyone else who responded. Although I clicked and read your relapse link I don't mean to sound dumb but I didn't quite understand what you were saying. I understand it in a deep sense, but I guess for me to understand I need more simple terms. Blunt answers are kind of more helpful for me.
So if you could explain I would appreciate it.

As far as what my need was, this is how I felt.
During those 7 days I felt normal mentally and emotionally I just didn't feel good physically. I knew if I wasn't in withdrawal I could never have to take the suboxone again and I could stay clean with NA and my will power, cause over the 3 years I've worked on my addiction mentally while also taking Sub. Sub is only a tool. For me anyway.

I got so physically sick I knew I couldn't stop sub cold turkey and knew I had to ween. I even came to the conclusion if a person is going to start sub therapy long term then they got to commit to weaning it at the end and if they can't do that then they probably shouldn't be starting the program and maybe sub isn't for them.

I only went to my doc cause I knew I was physically withdrawing and couldn't make it. So that's the only reason I chose to go back on my meds (sub) was because I knew I had to get it back in my body and ween properly.

I didn't take it to feel anything mentally or emotionally or spiritually, I just took it cause I was withdrawing on it and realized my body can't stop it cold turkey.

It just so happened when I took it it had some effects that I didn't ask for or expect and those effects reminded me of when I used to take opiates years ago, and it confused me badly. But I think it mostly confused me so badly because my fiancée was saying horrible things to me and I got so tired of being beat down by his words that finally I just told him he was right so he would shut up. It seemed to ease him when I told him he was right and he smiled.

I don't like when he tells me I am this or that when I know I'm not. Especially since I have more recovery time than him and he seems to be bothered by that all the time. He has a major ego. And I don't so much anymore. After years of meetings and therapy for my addiction I have learned to check my ego and pride at the door.

So I'm not sure if its actually just emotional abuse and I started believing the bad things he told me. But I don't like it. And I've realized he's a master manipulator and really has a need to control me.

I had no need to escape I just got physically ill and mentally realized I can't stop sub that way that my doc is right it's gotta be a weening process. When you are sitting in a puddle of sweat, running to the bathroom, vomiting almost, muscles moving, and freezing and burning up along with other things it can mess with your head, especially since I sat there in bed for 7 days realizing this was totally physical this time and not mental. And I said to myself I have 3 years clean and I shouldn't be withdrawing , who withdraws with 3 years clean that's crazy , that's what I kept saying to myself. Cause I felt like I did detox years ago and shouldn't be going through it now.

But I didn't realize that sub can make you withdrawal. But I was extremely proud of myself for not taking drugs and not relapsing those 7 days. I honestly mean it when I say my program outside of suboxone is what kept me clean.

It's kinda like when a diabetes patient can't get his/her insulin for a week and they get physically ill. That's how I felt, I felt like it was physical. And my sole purpose I sought to go back to my doctor was because I realized I couldn't stop sub cold turkey. And I have a serious chronic illness and it made it worse withdrawing like that, not to mention two kids to take care of by myself all day.

So I had to not only think about myself but my kids as well, I had to be physically well for them.
And I just don't know, I just knew what was right and what was wrong and I knew it was wrong to be on sub for 3 years and go cold turkey, I felt like it would have been a waste also to be on it that long while putting that much effort into it just to stop it suddenly ... So that's why I say I firmly believe if a person is going to commit to the suboxone program then they must comit to it fully and commit to stepping down properly.

Yes I know I'm strong enough in will power and strong enough in recovery that I could stop sub cold turkey and be ok, I would only feel physically like hell for what I feel would be a Long time. As oppose to weening right and doing this right.

My fiancé thought I was crazy when I told him I would have wasted 3 years if I just am gonna quit cold turkey taking sub now, and he looked at me as if it was drugs and the money was a waste anyway.

I didn't see it like that and still don't, cause sub is part of my recovery program, it's not my dope,

People man, smh.

I feel weakened by this man and its made me realize that I have to entertain the thought that he may not be right for me even if I don't like it.

I am not one to tolerate abuse, and I didn't realize just how abusive he was until I found myself believing the lies he was trying to get me to believe and then I felt controlled and then I said OK that's it, no more.

So he saw I upset and kinda had hit a wall with his behavior, and I told him how he made me feel like those past 3 years I hadn't even been clean. And he felt bad and apologized but still didn't say yes hun your clean so I realized that's just a form of his continuing manipulation. And I'm not gonna tolerate it anymore.

He's been super chill since then and I can tell he's knows he beat me down and he knows I'm at my wits end with his behavior to me.

So we've just been talking and being normal with each other and not arguing.

I appreciate every one taking the time to write me back and to read my story and post. Everyone offered good words and advice.

I'm just a bit confused as to what suboxdoc is trying to say.

If it could be put simpler I'd appreciate it.

My goal now is to just ween off suboxone properly and I'm thinking I should have started at a lower dose. I didnt know than my body wouldn't need my normal dose. My doctor told me to immediately go back on my original dose in order to stop the withdrawing. And I felt like he was right but my mental part of my brain didn't need that much, while my physical did.

I will be posting some more and I found this forum during my 7 day withdrawals and I am going to continue to come here daily. This place is much needed for sub patients. It's a life saver, and I appreciate the welcome.

I think docs should educate their patients to take it slow when starting back up their dose. For reasons like I experienced. And I laugh at myself also because 3 years ago if I had taken sub I would have known it wasn't a drug to please my high lol. Sub didn't make me "high" like when using drugs, it just effected every aspect quite strongly where I had been off dose and you combine that with the words of a negative know it all boyfriend whose a martyr against suboxone then it's only understandable to feel the way I felt.

I am strong but even strong willed people with recovery time can be beat down if they hear something enough from the same source.

My fiancé wants me to agree that we have diff views but he wants me to know he's just saying he's not paying for my treatment and doesn't want me to spend money anymore and tells me I need to just stop taking it cold turkey or ween myself with the 58 strips I get a month, and that's wrong,he doesn't understand!

That why he got so upset with me when I went back to my doc because he said "you're detoxed from it why in the hell would you go back on it now unless your just using it as a crutch"?

He just doesn't get it. It's because of the wothdrawals and even after 7 days sub is still in my system and its still a part of me right now. I have to do this right and finish this properly.

If it helps right before I started thinking I had relapsed my fiancé told me "kady, you have a serious problem" get your active addiction ass off me" that's when I started crying and got away from him or awhile and wouldn't speak to him.

Lots of love

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:08 pm 
6 Months or More
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Wow, GREAT post by Dr. J! It was pretty easy for me to understand, but then again I am of the very same mindset when it comes to buprenorphine and its use in the treatment of opioid dependence.

From what you describe, your boyfriend sounds like he could be a dangerous guy mentally. You might want to take a serious look at that dynamic while the relationship is still relatively new. Maybe have an open, honest talk with some healthy, supportive women you know in step recovery about the situation? The fact that he's likely using training in social work/professional counseling/psychology/addiction counseling/whatever to manipulate the way you choose to keep your addiction in remission is pretty bad, albeit not totally unusual, in my book. Many people suffer and die because they were trying to live up to a false ideal of what 'recovery' should look like (often someone else's) and couldn't, like Dr. J said, he very likely might have encountered these people and considered them the 'unfortunates,' or people who 'didn't want it bad enough' within his treatment center setting (an attitude that was likely reinforced by the center.) Pretty sad, but the norm.

If you really feel like you want to maintain your remission without medication and instead rigorously commit to/work the steps of Narcotics Anonymous that's absolutely your prerogative (just make sure it's totally yours!), you've clearly shown that at least in the very short term it is possible for you to do that, keeping in mind that recovery without the aid of medication to reduce cravings and normalize body functions is largely a 'one day at a time' or less thinking model. This model is effective for a small percent of people, if you don't find your current plan (buprenorphine plus step-based meetings) effective that's essentially the other popular option.

You said blunt was the easiest for you to understand. :)

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