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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:12 pm 
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Personal Thanks from new supporter:

First of all, I'd like to say thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Junig for creating a place where people in recovery can come and share their stories with minimal judgement. Also, I commend him for having the humility to share his personal struggle and triumph with so many people. I have always found that having the support of addiction counselors and doctors that are in long term recovery themselves is so reassuring and inspiring to their patients.

My story: (Skip to next paragraph for my Suboxone Taper)

Well I finally decided I needed professional help after supporting a 300mg a day Oxycontin habit by selling thousands of dollars worth a week in Oxycontin to friends and fellow users. In retrospect, it was disgusting I went from making thousands a week profiting off the addictions of my college classmates to basically breaking even as I consumed near lethal amounts daily. To be clear it wasn't my financial reversal that led me to getting clean it was the anxiety associated with consciously ruining peoples lives at my personal gain.
Personally, walking into the addiction treatment center for the first time I can definitively say was the lowest point in my life. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to sit down with a counselor with 20 yrs sobriety under his belt that still called himself in recovery. As I sat there in my own personal ocean of self loathing and pity I for the first time in years I vented about my addiction and how it had reduced me to a fraction of a man. Theres an amazing feeling associated with finally coming clean to someone how much you are struggling. Ill never forget that day as I sat with tears in my eyes finally asking for help. In retrospect I am so lucky I stumbled across such an amazing addiction counselor because he listened to my whole story and then began to tell me his. To sum things him up he tells me of how he has been clean for 20 years but before that lost everything, two marriages, kids, a profitable career, throughout his 20+ years struggling with addiction. Before he got clean he literally consumed a case of beer, a fifth of whisky, an 8 ball of cocaine, and copious amount marijuana, just to get his day started. At the end of the story he said well that was 20 years ago and look what I have done since, and he pointed around his office to the hundreds of counseling awards and community recognitions for his work with recovering addicts lining his office walls. I was amazed, inspired, and humbled by his story and from that point on I was sure I was going to get clean, I knew like him I could truly make something of myself in sobriety. So after he assessed my addiction, he dropped what felt like a bomb at the time, he said we will get you in to see the doctor tomorrow but in order for the medication to work you need to be in withdrawal. Being the addict I was I immediately felt this was just totally unreasonable, asking me to stay clean for 24 hours?!?!?, potentially even more?? There was no way in hell I could do it, shit I could hardly go 4 hours without snorting at least 40mg oxycontin. So I left the office just absolutely dreading the coming 24 hours, in fact I seriously intended on not staying clean for ALL that time. Well it must have been the only fight I had left that forced myself to stay clean till the next day. I wont lie, I did not sleep, I did not eat, and I barely spoke to anybody that day because of how miserable I was. But that morning I dragged myself out of bed with cold sweats, full body aches, unstoppable yawning spells, super watery eyes, stomach cramps you name the withdrawal symptom I had them all. I someone got dressed, threw myself down the stairs and made it out the door and into my car and drove to the doctors office for the earliest possible appointment time, 8:15am. Well Im sure I looked like pure hell walking in that reception room because you couldnt have paid me to smile. The five minute wait for them to call my name seemed like another day wait itself. Finally they brought me back to be drug tested to verify that I was truly addicted to opiates, I thought to myself well this will be the easiest test I have ever taken. For whatever reason the test technician asked me what she could expect to see in my urine analysis. Once again, I thought to myself, well its more of a question of what you won't find in my piss. I responded like the addict I am, well it depends how long back its accurate for? To my surprise she said several months so I began my laundry list: Oxycontin for sure, THC, cocaine, xanax, and potentially LSD. I'll never forget the look of absolute disgust on that woman's face after I was done listing off the drugs in my system. Well unbelievably when the results came back I had only tested positive for Oxycontin. I was astonished, for only a few days before that test I smoked marijuana probably 10x daily for 7 yrs , but I was quickly explained that because I was so unhealthy and hence so skinny my absence of body fat and THC's fat soluble nature made it unlikely to show in my urine analysis. Well, so I finally sit down with the doctor after being in a waiting room for 25 min as my withdrawals became exponentially worse. He went through a documented my withdrawal symptoms with a reference list, and surprise I had them all with some to spare. After some explaining of the medication and the process I was to go through he wrote me a script for one suboxone tablet. Once again, I felt like a bomb had been dropped, I was so frustrated that I had to go get the damn tablets myself. Finally after a 25 minute stint with the ever convenient neighboring pharmacy I returned with my suboxone tablets. I was placed in a observation room and given that wonderful orange tablet with instructions to dissolve under my tongue, which I came to understand was to combat misuse and also served to deliver the medication quicker to the bloodstream. Well within 5 minutes my withdrawals had began to reverse, within 10 were nearly gone, and within 15 minutes I felt normal. It was amazing, after an hour observation period I was released with a small perscription lasting a week.

My Suboxone Taper:
Well as I began my suboxone program I attended mandatory weekly group counseling sessions which eventually became something I truly looked forward to. It was the one place I could talk about my addiction with others that understood my struggle and would never judge me for my mistakes.
But now for those that need encouraging words as they taper off their suboxone regimen. Firstly, follow your doctors instructions carefully, in terms of the medication they know exactly what they are talking about. Secondly, attend regular group sessions or find some sort of sober support group (NA) where you can get help dealing with psychological and emotional aspect of your recovery. Third, listen to your body and take it slow, it is super important that your body acclimates every time your dosage is reduced. A slow taper WILL minimize withdrawals period. In terms of my personal experience with suboxone I was on it for approx a year and a half. Started at 8mg daily and maintained that dosage for 8 months (in retrospect, I could have kept it to 4 months). Eventually jumped down to 6mg for 2 months. Then jumped down to 4 mg for 3 months. Then down to 2mg for 4 months and in the past month I graduated from college and made the decision to coincide that milestone with graduating from my suboxone program. Determined to come off totally, in the past 3 weeks I began talking 1mg daily and finally started skipping days. In my opinion, skipping days is absolutely crucial as it acclimates your body to having gradually less and less medication. Occasionally, I would skip two days and would succumb literally at the 48 mark. As I neared the end of my prescription and was faced with the decision to drive 200 miles back to my college town where my doctor resides, or come off the medication for good I made my decision. I will make myself proud and I will stop with suboxone to spare just to prove that I had made it. Monday July 19th, at 9 am I took my last 1mg crumb. Tomorrow morning I will be 4 days off. To be completely honest, I am pleasantly surprised how mild the withdrawals. I would be lying to you if I told you that you were gonna have no withdrawal symptoms, but I am glad to report just how bearable they are. In fact, I have been eating regularly, sleeping decently, and yawning minimally. I truly feel that the toughest part is getting your body used to skipping days, because after you can accomplish getting down to 1mg every other day, you can and will get off it. Take my advice, DO NOT scare yourself by reading a million suboxone withdrawal "horror" stories, listen to those that have done this successfully with minimal discomfort, listen to your body, and dont anxiously await the discomfort that may never come. If I can do this, anybody can. Set yourself a schedule and keep the end goal in sight, we all have the inner strength to enjoy sobriety once and for all.

For those of you that are curious how the next days and weeks will feel, I will do my best to keep you updated. Best of luck to you all.


"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise" - Oscar Wilde


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 am 
All I can say is Wow, what a great post. Thank you, soooooo much for sharing your POSIVTIVE experience with Suboxone and your encouraging words regarding tapering.

I wish you the best with your recovery, it sounds like you are working hard. Take care of yourself and keep us posted. I am looking forward to hearing more from you as you continue......Thanks again, Kire


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:02 am 
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wow hope it is still going great for you !!! today is my 6th day off completely ...still having energy issues and no patience for anything...just wondering how u r doing ? what have u felt as far as w/d? I need any kind of positive advice..thanks


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:35 am 
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tallwater,

Thanks for your support. congratulations on being 6 days off! your 2 days ahead of me, so I feel like I should be asking you for advice. In terms of withdrawal symptoms mine have been quite mild. Mainly I have some interrupted sleep, stomach discomfort & irregularity, minor body aches, some occasional yawning, and at times I feel a tad lethargic. I apologize for not mentioning this is my prior post but after having trouble skipping dosage days I notified my doctor and he called me in a clonidine script. Although clonidine is an older medication designed for lowering blood pressure tests have shown to help alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms. Partially because blood pressure is raised during the earlier stages of withdrawal as our body acclimates to an absence of suboxone. By no way is it going to eliminate all withdrawal symptoms, but I have used it successfully to achieve a more regular night of sleep, simply for how drowsy it makes me. Furthermore, it has helped to combat the occasional restless leg I experience at night. In addition, I would suggest a solid multivitamin to supplement nutrional value if you are eating less then usual. Futhermore, B vitamins will help give the physical and mental lift necessary to see this thing through. Unfortunately, nobody ever said recovery would be easy, but in comparison to the withdrawals from our full agonist drugs of choice this is so much more bearable. It is my opinion that at day 6 you have been through the worst and it is all uphill from here. Finish strong, suboxone was your means to an end. Be proud of how far you have come in your recovery.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:43 am 
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Good post..especially the first paragraph. The only thing I'd say is I don't necessarily agree with complete trust in your doctor. Some people's sub docs don't know what they're talking about. Cross reference what they are saying with posts like this and you'll get the info you need.

I'm 51 days off. Back to normal.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:15 pm 
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hawker1,

I can absolutely understand your comment regarding certain doctors inexperienced with prescribing suboxone. As I have seen many people describing being prescribed outlandish amounts of suboxone, I suggest that if in doubt cross reference with pharmacists or trained nurses with experience with suboxone patients. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone considering going on suboxone or just starting a program is the importance of having addiction counseling whether it be one-on-one or group therapy. Like my suboxone doctor always told me, "I am just the medicine side of things.. the group therapy helps you deal with the mental aspects of recovery so that you are mentally prepared for when you come off". So my disclaimer is be wary of doctors who don't MANDATE/ REQUIRE you to attend addiction counseling to be part of their suboxone program. Having a comprehensive support system of NON-USING: friends, family, mentors, and significant others will be crucial as you progress in your recovery. Furthermore, I caution those that circumvent the supervised medical process and acquire their suboxone on the street. This is dangerous because it places you in using environments, surrounded by users. NOT TO MENTION IT's F'ING ILLEGAL. Like my addiction counselor always said, "If you hang out in a barber shop long enough....your bound to get a haircut". Also, those taking suboxone outside of a medically supervised environment could be tempted to use it in combination of other drugs, for example Xanax, which has been found in some cases to have lethal interactions. I was fortunate enough to attend a strict outpatient program that required monthly urine analysis just to see my doctor. Also, my group therapy experience helped me in ways I cannot put in words. Hawker1 congratulations on being 51 days off, that is truly something to be proud of. For everyone else, best of luck with your suboxone experience and I hope you find my words somewhat helpful and encouraging.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:58 pm 
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Hello saved and welcome to the forum - a place that I consider a great forum/community - because we really are a little community. I hope you find as much support in your recovery here as I have. This forum has been invaluable to me and my recovery.

Thanks for sharing your story. Sometimes it's difficult to open up, but like you said, it's almost always helpful to do so. It's terrific to see a healthy, positive story, especially your taper experience. It's always hard when people come here after having read the ridiculous horror stories - "Your eyes will fall out when you stop suboxone!". So thanks so much for your input.

Again, welcome. We're glad you found us. I hope you stick around and keep posting. BTW, we have meetings in our chat room on Monday nights and Thursday afternoons - see information under the "Meeting Announcements" topic. Hope to see you there.

HAT

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-As I have grown older, I've learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

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


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 Post subject: My success story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:05 pm 
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My experience was similar. I was quite addicted to opiates especially oxycontin. I started Suboxone with the intention of doing a slow taper. I bet it lasted 2 years from 8mg down to .5 mg to crumbs to nothing and that was about 2 years ago. I do remember being depressed for like 5 days after it was all over but not nearly bad enough to ever want to get back on the opiate train again. I have been opiate free for 2 years, own my own business, got married, and well that's about it. Good luck. It's very possible.


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

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