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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:45 pm 
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As some of you might remember I made an ill planned attempt to go off of Sub early last fall. Then my doc and I agreed that I would wait until spring to taper and go off during the summer when my clinical depression is usually at it's lowest. So here it is June and I havent done anything except think about it a lot. My doc actually remembered at my last visit, and usually he just asks how it's going and hands me a script. I told him I wasn't ready, but now I'm conflicted. If I wait I'll be looking at another year, because I really cant see myself getting off of it over the winter. This fall will be 2 years for me (and to think, when I started, I thought Sub was a 90 day program :shock: ).

So I guess I'm just conflicted in general. Part of me knows I still need the Sub, and part of me regrets that I ever went on it in the first place. I had already gotten off of true opiates and had been maintaining on Tramadol. Then i had spent a couple of months tapering off of Tramadol, and was totally miserable when i "discovered" Sub. So I definitely increased my tolerance, and I've had a hard time accepting that for a long time now.

I'm open to anyone that has any input on this.
Thanks,
Lilly


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Hi Lilly,

When I first started sub, i too thought I would only take it for 90 days. Then I felt so good and my doc said I should be on it for "at least a year" so I kept going. Now its been a little over a year for me. I have been on 8mg daily the whole time.

I have days where I am sorry I got on it too. I really don't know where these feelings come from. I am doing well, not using drugs, and don't have many side effects from sub except the constipation. Are you having side effects?

I also suffer from depression and I think sub helps a bit with it. I am on abilify as well to help with this. Sometimes I am still pretty hopless and depressed though. I am working with a psych doc too.

I guess for me, today, I am not upset that I am still on suboxone. It really has saved my life. Yeah, I'm not in the honeymoon phase anymore....but when I really think about it, sub is doing what it is supposed to be doing. I don't crave opiates (most of the time) and I am not using. What more should I expect from it?

Sorry I really don't have any advice for you, just wanted you to know I feel for ya. Good luck with whatever you decide.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:21 pm 
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I feel for you, Lilly. It's obvious you're conflicted and that's never a comfortable position to be in. Not making a decision right now is still making some kind of a decision. And keep focusing on your quality of life. Yes, your tolerance came up since you went on suboxone, but was it worth it? Only you can answer that question. And hopefully when it's time for you to start your taper off, you'll know it. I'm sorry I can't be of more help, as you know I'm not coming off sub anytime soon. But I do understand your concerns and I understand from where they come. For me, my life was so out of control my only option was suboxone or death. But we're all different and it isn't such an easy decision for some people. I get that. I hope you can get it figured out for yourself soon and get some peace of mind. Hang in there.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:13 am 
Hi Lillyval. I really get where you're at on all this. In another month, I will have been on Sub for 2 years! It blows my mind that I'm still on this stuff sometimes. I never expected to be on this drug for more than 6 months to a year. Now it's been two years and I often feel that I am absolutely no better off than I was when I started......highly frustrating and disappointing!
As you know, by the time I found out about Sub, found a doctor and got started on the drug, my addiction to opiates had already turned my world upside down. Honestly, I started Suboxone very much out of desperation.....desperation to feel just a little bit better than I had felt over the course of the previous 10 months while trying to stay 'clean' via abstinence-based recovery. Like you, I had brought my tolerance way down and was not 'using' real consistently. However, the PAWS symptoms, for me, were so severe that I knew it wouldn't be long before I was full-blown in active addiction again. One difference for me, perhaps, is that throughout my addiction I have never had an easy or steady source of pills, and of course, once I lost my job that 'source' was gone as well. In any case, I could not and still do not foresee a situation in which I will have access to enough drugs to ever go back to daily use, especially with the tolerance I've got now that I've been on Sub all this time! Anyway...I certainly could not imagine, at that time, that I would ever be "comfortable" again without opiates on board. In hindsight, I can't even think of a strong enough word to describe the emotional misery I was in when I started Sub. I just felt hopeless in terms of ever feeling 'right' again. Suboxone changed that for me. I felt a sense of hope and possibility of change that very first day on the drug.
Again, as you know, a lot of that has changed over these two years. I don't blame Sub for my slow progress in recovery. I blame myself and the opiates I was originally addicted to. And I blame the overall situational depression I've had because of the consequences of my actions related to my addiction. Maybe I'm just slow to heal. All I know is that I have to find some healing for the 'brokenness' that I have felt ever since my addiction was discovered. The best way I know to describe it is to say that it feels like someone took a great big eraser to the blackboard of my life. All the ways that I defined myself and that I feel others defined me......All the good I had ever done....My life's work.....My reputation.....My character.....All I felt I stood for.....was just gone. I was not the person that I thought I was or that anyone else thought I was. And I have just had the hardest time shaking that off. This is likely the single biggest hinderance to my recovery. These are the feelings that I want to escape. These are the feelings that I still would like to wash over with a big dose of opiates.
So....I know that I must get that and other issues sorted out and worked through before I'll have a chance at getting off Sub and staying 'clean.' I can't dance around it. I can't bounce back and forth. I can't be an occassional user of opiates. I can't beat this with stubborness or wits or lies, and I have not found a magic wand anywhere. And apparently, God has decided that giving me a supernatural healing today would not be best for me! So here I sit, two years later, frustrated and disappointed.
Lilly, I don't know if this will apply to you or help you at all. But what I have decided to do is to take the focus off the damned Suboxone and off the getting off the damned Suboxone, and just put it where it needs to be.....on recovering from the horror of the last 7-8 years of my life, and on finding enough happiness and peace in my life that I will no longer feel the need to 'cover' anything up with pills. How will I get there? I will need help and I'm finally getting it. I will be seeing the therapist I started with a few weeks ago, every week for probably a long time. I will keep praying and keep working on my relationship with God. And I will not give up on this thing.
I am grateful for Suboxone. I really am. Although I'm not 100% convinced that I'm necessarily in a better place in terms of my addiction, I do feel that if I use the drug properly and stay away from everything else, it can serve me well as I work through this stuff. I don't at all feel like now would be a good time for me to try tapering off again. I hope I can make another attempt at some point in the coming year, but we'll see.
It's difficult to struggle with this, Lillyval. I am sometimes envious of the ones who are convinced that they'll be on bupe for the rest of their lives! But I know that's not what I want and I sense it isn't for you either. I do hope that you will come to a decision that serves you best. For what it's worth, my opinion (that's all it is) is that you should lean more towards resigning yourself to another 6 months to a year on Sub. Since you're sure that winter is a bad time, that just doesn't give you much more time to do a proper taper right now. Maybe you can sort of do what I'm trying to do and use the additional time to work on your recovery and get a firmer footing down before trying to live without the Sub. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this dance! It's do or don't time for me! I've got to quit playing around and get this right! Not that any of us has or is intentionally "playing around." You know what I mean.....I just have to change the way I've been approaching things and get real serious about doing the necessary work to get better.
Sorry.....another novel! Hang in there. I am here for you!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:29 pm 
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I have to echo what you said about winter not being a good time to get off Sub. I'm so serious about this! I was told that winter was a tough time to taper, and it is. The symptoms seem to be worse, you ache more, you cannot go outside and get around as easily, it's easier to perseverate on Sub and tapering, etc. So, along with the fact that you know you tend to get depressed during the winter (very normal), I think you should accept that you need to put off getting off Sub completely until next summer.

However, if you accept that, you have a big advantage that should make you feel positive about the whole thing. You will have time to work on the stuff you still need to work on. Also, if you want to make it off by next summer, start tapering. Do it very, very slowly!! If you know you have a year, you have this luxury!! I cannot stress enough how important it is, IMO, to do this slowly if you want to be successful. It just takes way, way longer than you can possibly imagine, so start now and go so slowly that you don't feel anything. Give yourself lots and lots of time. If you just reduce your dose substantially, it will be that much easier to get off down the line, whenever the time is right for you. I wish I had not focused so much on whether or not I could get completely off. I wish I had been okay with accepting just getting down to a lower dose and holding there. It would have made everything much easier for me!!

Otherwise, keep your head up. I don't think you have time to do a proper taper by the end of this summer. If you aren't emotionally ready to stop Sub and you add w/d symptoms from a fast taper to that, you're setting yourself up.

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. It is greatly appreciated.
I don't have time to really respond properly, but here are a few thoughts:
Smf talked about not making Sub my main focus, and that's what I said I would do after the last time I tried going off. I think I really need to do that, and I haven't since I started Sub. I'm constantly adjusting my dose, changing the time I dose, splitting my dose in different ways, etc. It's a lot like active addiction. So that's definitely a huge issue.

I also wanted to say to smf, your work, your values, your character and everything that you are was not erased because you became an addict. We may have done things that were out of character when we used. But I refuse to believe that using changed the essence of who we are. I hope that is what you get to the root of in your therapy.

Ladder, I really understand and appreciate what you are saying, but i don't think I can do a long, slow taper. I really don't think I have the discipline for it. I think on days i felt crappy I wold just take more. Also (and I'm speaking from experience) I feel like lingering at very low doses, and not feeling great, is just prolonging the agony. I understand that that's not true for you, and I am in no way saying not to do what is working for you. But for me, I plan to taper down very quickly and then jump, and just face the consequences. I have a pretty food idea of what I'm up against, having done it before. So part of me wants to suck it up and just do it. I even talked to my husband about taking the kids camping at the end of this month, so I
can just be sick for a few days on my own.

You guys gave me a lot of food for thought. I will post more later.
Thanks,
Lilly


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 Post subject: I'm with you
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:56 pm 
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Lillyval,

Your statement about taking more and not being able to prolong the taper rings very true for me too. I am working down fairly slow and will make the jump in a month or so. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

We are moving at the end of the month and I want to be settled before this happens. It's a good idea you have sending your family off camping to face the withdrawal alone. A week to two will be all that's required for the tough stuff, if you have it.

You never know, it may go easier than you think. With me, I always made more of the w/d's than they really were and I'm hoping it'll be the same with the Sub. Either way, time to pay the piper.

I wish you the best in recovery.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:41 am 
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Lillyval, I don't know that just jumping wouldn't be the best thing for me. Honestly, maybe it would be. I'm just too chicken shit. Bottom line. I'm too scared I will get all mentally twisted and want to do myself in. There have been a couple times I jumped for a week or a little more than a week and I remember the physical symptoms stunk, but I vividly remember the psychological crap was far, far worse. I don't have a history of suicidal tendencies, so that was a shock to me. It was like being at the bottom of a well and there was absolutely no way to climb out, or so it seemed. I guess not knowing if my brain will take me there or how to avoid it keeps me tapering. Otherwise, I'd just jump because tapering is at least partially prolonged misery. It wasn't misery at all until I got to the point where I was low enough that I felt even tiny drops. Maybe it would be wiser to taper and get down to the part where it gets tough and then just jump. At least that would soften the landing and I don't think it would take very long either.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:51 am 
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That's definitely the part that scares me the most, too. The worst part about going off before was the uncontrollable crying, and I've heard a lot of others share the same. Also, Jim said he was suicidal and it sounds like you were close, too. It makes me feel like I went from the frying pan to the fire on this drug. But on the other hand I know I would have been using all this time if I hadn't been on it. One thing is for sure, when the time does come to go off, I am going to increase my dosage of antidepressant an enlist the help of my doctor and my family.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am 
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Lilyval,

I am new to the forum but wanted to share with you that I have done both the long taper to low dose and the short taper and jumped off at 3mg Sub per day. I had multiple surgeries from an accident and got hooked on pain meds due to long term use and ended up with WAY to high doses and realized after my repair surgeries were completed it was time to get off.

The doc I saw said that recently data supported jumping off at 3-4mg rather than tapering down to a super low dose and then jump. he said something in the brain chemestry responded better to jumping at the 3-4 range and I have to say I had a much easier time during this last time on Sub. I was on just for 2 months, tapered weekly and jumped at 3. It is really important to use some meds to help the symptoms> I used Clonidine (still have an issue with high heart rate), Vistaril, and for sleeping used Lunesta. I am now in day 8 and feeling pretty good. My last sub was June 1. In my case and everyone is different, jumping at the higher dose worked better.

good luck to you,
Monkey


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Wow, Monkey, are you serious? Man, I wish my doctor was on it when it comes to new information. I feel like I'm always having to figure everything out myself. AAHHHHH!!! I swear, I am going to be seriously ticked off if I learn later that it would have been better to jump from 3 mg. That was months ago. I could be done and then some.

Lilly, I think upping your antidepressant is a good idea. I'm not on one and I'm kinda leery of starting one, just because there's always an adjustment period and I don't want to deal with anything else, KWIM? If I was already on one, though, I'd up it. Yeah, I kinda have felt suicidal when I jumped or dropped super fast. I find that really embarrassing, but it's true. I remember thinking I couldn't go through with is because I was pregnant and had to wait until I had my baby. Then, once I had her, I felt so emotionally totaled I wanted the nurses to take her to the nursery. It was scary. I don't want to get that way again!!!

Still, I am not at all certain that tapering like I've done is best. I'm all for trying to jump if you can. The worst thing that could happen is that you have to resume a small amount and then taper. I'm totally sick of tapering and burned out...too burned out to jump. If you have the guts to jump and get 'er done, then get 'er done whenever you are ready. Before you jump, I'd recommend you get into a serious exercise regiment. I think exercise is the answer to getting out of this whole thing faster. However, it's hard to expect someone who doesn't work out to start working out after they are already in w/d. If you're in that exercise mode, you will be more likely to keep it up. I was hopelessly stuck at 1 mg and had to do something, so I decided to drop more, regardless of what happened. The only difference I made was that I started getting some good cardio every day. It's made such a huge difference that I really encourage you to take that seriously whenever your time comes.

Other than that, I'd get lots of happy movies and happy books and tell yourself that whatever tough feelings comes up, well, you just have to set them aside and think about those later. You can't give into the tricks your mind may pull. Knowing that might happen before you go in may be very helpful.

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:19 pm 
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Ladder, thanks for your response. My doc tells me he has had good success with several patients in the past few months where he has had them jump at 3-4mg/day and he reports that the side effects that folks complain about seem to be much less, which is why this time he recommended I try this method. I would say the first few days weren't great, but my withdrawl symptoms were mild, compared to previous long Sub taper and especially compared to trying to go cold turkey off a high dose of pain meds. I felt a bit depressed for a few days, and a bit shaky, but slept OK (with Lunesta) and could function minimally during the day (was not working, which made it easier) It was about day 6 when I really started feeling better.
I had been on very high doses of pain meds for about 6 years, so I was very concerned about permanently getting off Sub, but after talking to my doc and because I was concerned about side effects of staying on Sub, I decided to take the leap and I am really glad I did. I know everyone is different and may have different experiences, which my doc made sure I understood, but he also prepared me well by giving me all the meds to manage my issues. I hope I don't have anything else go wrong with me because I will still be fearful of having to take pain meds again.
Monkey


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 Post subject: My last few days on Sub
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:32 am 
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Saturday- left the house in a huge hurry for back to back events and forgot my Sub. It was all fun stuff a had planned, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get home in between things, so needless to say I was extremely upset. I knew I wouldn't go into wd, but I'm very psychologically dependent, and if I forget my dose it's enough to ruin my day sometimes.

Sunday - had to speak in church. Again left in a big hurry, so I had to take my dose there, which made me feel really weird. I knew I was in trouble in my active addiction when I couldn't get to church without using - felt really guilty about it.

Monday - had sex and couldn't reach orgasm no matter what. NEVER had this problem before Sub, and it's a major bummer.

Tuesday - trying to reach my unreliable Sub doc

Today - still no doc, down to 1 8mg strip. Seems like this happens almost every month. Tempted to just cut it up into 1-2mg pieces, take them over the next few days, then stop.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:42 am 
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Lilly, I hear you that you want to just be done and over with it, but if you have a psychological dependency, do you think it's the right time to do that? I'd hate to see you stop for the wrong reasons and go from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak. Isn't this a similar situation to the last time you stopped and eventually relapsed? (Correct me if I'm wrong - I very well might be remembering wrong.)

I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds by saying this, I just want to see you succeed. And I hate to see you struggling like this.

Regardless of what you decide to do, I wish you the very best. Hang in there.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:38 pm 
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Hi Lilly dude,

I hope you understand what I'm about to say is just my opinion, it's what worked for me and that's all I can really reliably relate to you.

I wouldn't even consider quitting Suboxone until you KNEW you were ready. Hell, I quit when I KNEW I was ready and I still had to deal with the consequences of two lapses, you know the story. Despite those lapses, I still know, without a doubt, that it was my time to quit.

Honestly, for the three years I was on Suboxone I really never put much thought into when I was going to quit. I didn't care if I stayed on it forever? Towards the end of my use, I was getting ticked off at my Sub doctor for constantly raising the price of the office visits with no explanations whatsoever. I was getting tired of the hour drive each way. I was NOT at all excited about the fact that I was so dependent on Suboxone, but none of this really convinced me to quit. I've related this part of the story here on the forum before, I'm not sure if you've read it, so I'll say it again. Honest to goodness, I woke up one morning and I KNEW it was my time to quit. I give God the credit for providing that insight to me. Gosh, this is always so hard to explain how I knew it was my time to quit, all I can do is to say God somehow let me know it was my time to quit. I wish I could explain it better Lilly, but I can't??

I also have to mention the couple of years of work I put in with my addiction counselor. He helped me understand a great deal about addiction and that has helped me quite a lot in gaining the total number of clean days that I have.

Lilly, whatever you decide, we'll be here to support you.

Oh Yeah, you still have THEE best avatar ever!! Mine is pretty awesome, don't get me wrong, but yours is clearly the best!! :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:21 pm 
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OK, so the doc called in a script for 10 8mg, which is about a week supply for being on 12mg/day. It has *make an appointment* stamped on it, but I've been trying, they never answer the phone or call back when I leave a message. In fact I don't even know what made me call the pharmacy, because the doc never called to let me know he called it in.

Anyway, I decided to use the 10 to make a reasonable, but quick taper. I've been taking 6-8mg the last few days and I figured I could go to 4 pretty easily, then 3, 2, 1 a week at a time. This, however puts me at zero the week I go on vacation with my IN LAWS. This is the same position I was in when I was tapering myself off of Tramadol 2 years ago. It's like history is repeating itself, and I feel like a fuck up. The outcome of my previous plan was ending up on Suboxone.

I feel like I'm in a constant brain fog. I'm sleeping 12-13 hours a day and not doing much else. I did up my Lexapro by 10 mg. I really don't feel depressed (although my doc always attributes my Sub side effects to depression). I just feel like I have to give this a try. I'm actually hoping to get in with the doc and taper with his support this time. I'm not going to make it do or die. The worst that can happen is I end up staying on Sub a while longer.

I really appreciate all of your input. And yes, Mel, your concern is justified. Although I didn't actually relapse the last time I tapered off, I have relapsed several other times. They weren't ongoing relapses, but isolated attempts to get high. But I know it is all part of the same slippery slope. And I really do need people who aren't afraid to remind me of that. So again, tank you for your replies. There's no one in the real world who has a clue what I am up against.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:57 pm 
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Sheesh, Lillyval, everything you said is stuff I've gone through and it's so disheartening. As far as the mental obsession with Sub, I am not in recovery for opiates, yet I absolutely became mentally obsessed with the Sub and have been fighting it forever. I would do the same thing, as far as worrying about not having it with me. My doctor always attributed the side effects of Sub to depression. Being so reliant on a doctor sucks. I have hated that part. The fear associated with when/whether the doc will call, the horrible feeling of waiting for that call and not getting it and realizing that doctor went home and left you hanging....I hate that stuff. It's torture. When I was on seizure meds, the pharmacy would give me a few loaners if my script wasn't called in. Not so with Sub. You just get left out in the cold.

The taper you are thinking of doing is quite a rapid one, and I am worried for you. I'd continue harassing that doc, if you have to, to get in and get another script. That doctor owed you the respect of returning your calls! It pisses me off royally to hear that people are this neglected by their doctors. Shame on him!! Can you go into the office and talk to his staff, versus calling and leaving messages that don't get returned?

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Thanks ladder, and those of you who PM'd me with your concern. I'm not going to do anything crazy. What sucks about my doc is that he's horrible about running his office, but he knows a ton about Sub, and thats why I've stuck with him. He even told me very early on that people struggle under 1mg, unlike another poster's doc who told her anything under 2mg is a placebo! I mean, what an idiot.

So, I'm sure I'll get in at some point (and yes, there have been times I just showed up there). And I'm going to go slower than I said in my previous post. I was just very frustrated when I wrote that. I'm at 6mg now, and I know from experience I can get to 2 very painlessly. How to proceed from there I will talk to my doc about. I jumped from 2mg before and know what it's like, so I can't see putting myself through a long arduous taper. But I'm not going to set myself up for failure either.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:15 pm 
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Also, Monkeydog, I wanted to thank you for your input. What your doctor is saying is very interesting. When I jumped at 2mg I kept waiting for the horrible withdrawals to kick in, and they never really did (I did use some short acting opiate, however). It's good news to hear that you are feeling pretty good at day 8. Just knowing myself, I think I would rather know I'm not going to be well for 10-12 days, than to keep going through low levels of withdrawals for weeks and weeks. But that's just me. Others have reported that a long, slow taper was very successful. I wish there were one easy answer, but there is not.


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 Post subject: my doc said
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:21 am 
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my doc always said, jumping off 2 or 3 mg sub is not that bad. gee'" . is he right! he always says 2 or 3.
this is true.


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

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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