I have perused this forum and tried to find where I thought might be the right place for my post but couldn't really decide so here goes. If there is a spot specifically for those needing advice who love/support those in treatment etc please let me know so I can post appropriately.
This post is long only because it has pertinent history involving 3 related issues that I am seeking advice about. Thank you in advance for reading all the way through. I love my man and want to see him through his recovery to a happy, healthy relationship for us on the other side but I am starting to really suffer because I can't tell if his behavior or lack thereof is suboxone treatment related issue or coming from another place that needs to be address. I am working to be very respectful and not be all up in his business about his recovery. I ask when he has a doc appt otherwise I let him open up to me. He stared this journey without one word from me and he was well aware of my concern about his opiate addiction so him taking this iniaitive was huge.
I am a newbie to this site and newbie to the world of suboxone. I am the person who loves the recovering opiate addict. I was thrilled to find this site and am hoping to educate myself so I can get some answers and a better understanding.
I desperately want to gain and to learn more so I can be more understanding and supportive to my BF (will refer to BF as Gman) as he comes through this time in his life/our life. Even though it is something he is going through it is very much affecting us both. I ask him the nuts and bolts kind of questions only. I can tell he is having to navigate new territory on all fronts knowing this I don't believe he is capable of helping me with many the answers I need that requires a perspective from someone who has been an addict in the past and who has been successful with suboxone treatment and thus gained some perspective and experience of being down the road a bit from having done both.
Gman and I are in our 50's not married but happily co-habitating (for the most part). I say for the most part because since he has been in treatment, I can see a marked difference in his mood as in he seems "flat" where as when he was on the opiates he was more euphoric, more animated and more affectionate than I see now. Being off the opiates he seems more clear headed - he can see how bad they made him feel mentally, emotionally, and physically except for the fact they did stop his physical pain. We both have had our share of life's hard knocks i.e. ugly divorces, vindictive ex's, career failures, family crisis, etc. so we each have our share of baggage.
I see a hint of depression or at the very least a "numbness" in him on an emotional level now that I didn't see before he started on suboxone. We have been together for 3 years living together for 2.5 of the 3. He was already abusing opiates when we met and continued until 2 months ago when he told me he was going to do the suboxone treatment. His reason - he was tired of chasing the pills. Up until now I have only known the addict side of him. Does being on suboxone numb a person down emotionally to where they just kind of go through the motions in life? In a relationship? Lack motivation - have no spark for living? If I can get him started doing something or talking about something about 80% of the time he gets into it and gets engaged but it takes me getting him started to get there. If the answer is yes this happens, does it last forever or does it dissipate at some point after being on the suboxone for a while? He is not doing any counseling, support groups or taking any other meds for depression or anxiety. He is of the mindset that counseling/support groups are for "pussies" (pardon the verbage Gman's words not mine). His suboxone doc is really leaning on him to get involved in a support group but so far he says no dice. Can you give me some idea of if/when this emotional "numbness"/difficulty engaging subsides/gets better? Does it require counseling/support group/medication? What can I do? Should I do nothing let him sort it out just stand in the trenches beside him?
This next question is kind of in the same vein. Does taking suboxone make you have a shorter fuse than normal or at least than you did when you were taking the opiates? Does the suboxone make you ride an emotional roller coaster? His doc is really pushing for him to get involved in a support group but he wants no part of it. The majority of his addiction according to him was all physical. He says he has not had any issues arise from a mental/emotional craving. I know that the suboxone is not taking care of the physical pain he is in on a daily basis scale because on a scale of pain of 1 to 10 on a daily basis he is between 8 and 12 this man is hurts a lot (needs dbl knee replacement, shoulder issue, 25 yrs of hard, fast living catching up w/a 55 yr old body) kicking an 10-20 pill/day opiate habit, 60+ over weight, and working 50+ hours a week. I know being in pain and high stress will make a person have a short fuse already is suboxone going to intensify that issue?
He is amazing in my eyes but he doesn't see that when I tell him in fact when I tell him anything positive about himself he can't hardly stand to hear it. I know there is a self-esteem issue there. It was there before suboxone treatment (another issue for another day). Is depression/short fuse to anger exacerbated while taking suboxone?
One more question while I have your ears. I have experienced how using opiates diminishes one's sex life. While still on the opiates our sex life had pretty much stopped because he had no desire he had stopped initiating sex over a year ago so I have been the initiator for a while and right before starting suboxone treatment while still on opiates he refused me several times. Hard blow to my desirability as a woman, I was devastated. My sex drive is very healthy, I could have sex, give or take 5x a week. I did bring it up he said it was him not me. I left it at that. I have done my due diligence learning about the testosterone issue with opiate abuse and how it accompanies suboxone as well. His second suboxone appt was last week, I asked him to ask his doc to check his T levels so he know the sex is an issue for me without me saying " I need sex". I asked how his appt went he said fine only mentioning that he talked to doc about constipation issues. I did not prod about if he asked about T level testing.
When he started suboxone treatment I gave him a TON OF SPACE in all parts of his/our life. Those first hard 10 days I cared for him if he asked or left him alone if he distanced himself, I made it all about his needs and not about my need to be the nurturer. I have not made any sexual advances nor made any comment or request for sex at all. I have been a loving companion. Side note he has never been a lovey, dovey cuddler in bed so I don't get the benefit of that either. Another side note, his sleep is horrible. He wakes up multiple times a night and I have come to realize the he will masturbate without cumming to soothe himself to relax to go back to sleep. He doesn't know I know the he does this several times during the night in short bursts (less than 5 mins never climaxing). There have been 3 times since he has started suboxone treatment that he has been mid 'short-burst' and has realized I have seen him and he instantly stopped and tried to act like he was not doing it. Each time I stepped forward at the moment said let me help with my offer of oral he did let me take over. I gave him great oral which he has said he always loved and knows I have always loved doing and he gets great satisfaction. This actually happened last night (which prompted me to seek this forum for advice). What I noticed last night was he seemed to have a hard time getting mentally engaged once I got the action going. I had to encourage him by reminding him of times before. He got more into the rhythm of things mentally but here again he seemed sort of numbed out. I surprised him by taking things up a notch. I know he liked and appreciated it but he didn't acknowledge it after he fell asleep instantly. These last three times there has been no reciprocation to me (me giving him space but it hurts leaving me feeling very disconnected from him).
We sound like a train wreck but I don't think we are. I love this man and want him in my life. I am just starting to struggle that he is not plugged in the relationship and me (duh?) and that it must be my fault (my baggage surfacing).
I haven't changed since day one. I am the same in most respect having improved in some areas, some areas are unchanged, and none have gotten worse. Looking for advice giving me a glimpse of what effects the suboxone has on mental, emotional, sexual responses. I know everyone is different. Our situation has never been fairytale but I am starting to feel somewhat defeated. Thanks for reading all this. I want to get through all this because I love him. I know without a doubt he loves me. We battled past the opiates can love bring us through the suboxone treatment?