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 Post subject: An update and a warning
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:18 pm 
It's been a while since I've posted. Anyone new or interested can read about my taper in my other thread called "My informal and flexible Suboxone Taper" (or something like that) Long and short of the story is that after about a year on Suboxone (back in July) I decided to get a bit more serious about getting off Suboxone. That was always my goal....to get off everything. From the beginning of my treatment with Sub, I was relatively focused on getting my dose as low as I could as fast as I could, without risking relapse. That being the case, I'd say I spent the majority of my time on Suboxone (now approaching 18 months total) on 4mg/day or less. For the last 6 months or so, I've maintained on ~2mg/day or less, until the past 2-3 months which I finally got myself down to 1mg/day or less, with some days not taking any Sub at all. So....I was getting close, pretty close to being off. Physically, there wasn't much suffering at all, in terms of withdrawal symptoms. In fact, a lot of the time, physically, I felt quite good. What was going on in my 'head' was another story. I battled fear a lot.....fear of withdrawal, fear of failure, etc. I experienced some episodes of anxiety as well, but nothing severe.
The biggest problem, however, was C.R.A.V.I.N.G.S. For me, that has been a problem all along. Cravings and PAWS are what led me to relapse after my stab at abstinence-based recovery, and what led me to try Suboxone in the first place. Suboxone, at higher doses (as best I can recall) did curb my cravings. I don't remember thinking much about 'using' during my first few months on Sub, while I was on 8mg or so a day. As I mentioned before, I didn't stay at doses at or above 8mg/day for very long before tapering immediately down to 6mg then pretty quickly down to 4mg. I'd say the cravings returned to a more significant level at that 4mg point. I managed to ignore them or at least, push them down and go on for months and months, all the while continuing to work towards lowering my dose and getting off. I think I decided that this (cravings) was just something I was going to have to learn to live with and overcome somehow, although I had no idea how!
Forward to this current holiday season. Even before my addiction, I am known to become 'a different person' from Thanksgiving until about February! Two of my children's birthdays fall in early January and the third is the first of February. I host the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays as well as two or three evening parties at our home every year, followed by the birthday celebrations. Anyway, it's a busy time and a stressful time and I tend to overdo it all....going far beyond what most would consider reasonable in terms of gift-giving, decorating, cooking for everyone, etc. Okay...sorry...this is gearing up to just sound like a bunch of excuses and that's not what this is supposed to be about!
In feeling the overwhelmed feelings and being on such a low dose of buprenorphine, I began longing for the warmth and comfort and escape of opiates. I began having dreams of 'using' and my thoughts of it were becoming quite consuming. My thinking about drugs was turning almost 'romantic' for lack of a better word. We spent some time with a family member who is no doubt, addicted. She's a pain managment patient with some questionable diagnoses and we have watched her over the course of 5+ years deteriorate in terms of her use of pain meds. Anyway...I found myself feeling jealous of her! She was obviously messed up when we were visiting...a little nodding, slight slurring of words...but 'happy.' And legit (seemingly) in her use of drugs! Why couldn't I have that?! Oh brother.....I should have known right then I was in trouble!
As many of you who 'know' me are aware....my sweet mother is quite legitimately in pain management and very much NOT addicted.....never takes her full prescription, has barely upped her doses even after years of pain management and multiple major surgeries. She and Dad know about my addiction and at first they were good about hiding her meds. Well, we all got overconfident and they began not being as careful with her meds. I spend a lot of time with them. Anyway, she was recently changed to 15mg oxycodone and given a script for #120.
As many of you have already probably guessed.....I relapsed. I won't go into how many or for how long, etc. because I feel that only 'romantizes' this further. Suffice it to say that my being on less than 1mg/day and skipping a day of dosing around once a week for many weeks, had the Sub's blockade effect significantly lessened. I was able to get 'high' if you want to call it that. I did feel the warm blanket of comfort and 'all's well with my world' feeling I had been craving for so long. It was to be a one-time thing! I will say that it did take a pretty good handful of those 15mg oxycodone to get me there....not just one or two. Anyway.....one time turned into another and so on. This did not go on very long....it couldn't, after all. There was not an endless supply. I toyed with scheduling a doctor appointment and trying to get my own script, thought of possible ways I could keep this going. Mind you, I never was completely off the Sub. I wasn't using the oxy every day, not even close. I would still take a tiny bit of Sub many days of the week. But the fire was lit! And burning hotter than ever! My tolerance is so high because of my addiction and because of the Sub....I knew it was going to take a LOT of pills to keep this up.
I was sick inside.....reduced once again to being a thief, a liar, a big fake addict. However, it forced me to face it....again! I am sick! I am an addict! My addiction cannot be trusted to back off and stay backed off! So...I came clean to Mom and Dad and husband. I had enough Suboxone still on hand to boost back up over the ceiling and began taking ~6mg/day again about a week ago. After much discussion and introspection and just, well, facing the facts.....my best option is to get back into my doctor and stay on a therapeutic dose of buprenorphine. That's what I know now. I've already called the doctor and should be able to get in next week....I certainly pray I can, because at the dose I'm needing now, I will be out of medication soon. The cravings have subsided dramatically already. I'm angry and I hate pain pills right now. And I need to keep hating them!
That's the update. And the warning I think, is obvious.....if you're tapering and wanting off Suboxone, be careful...very careful. This is tricky business. I should have been a pretty good candidate for coming off successfully. And I still think I am. I just need much more time at an above ceiling dose and I need more work on my recovery, obviously. I still do not want to be a 'lifer' on Sub, but I've always said there are worse things than that! For instance....relapse after relapse after relapse!
To be clear....Suboxone had nothing to do with my relapse. The drug works as advertised! I've always said that. There are things about being on the drug that I do not and will never like. But it beats the alternative! The thing is....it's just a tool...one part of much bigger picture. But we can't underestimate the power of it. In essence, for me, being on it at high enough doses kept me from abusing opiates. The drug did that....very little of it was me. All I have to do is chose to take the Suboxone and I almost certainly will not abuse opiates. But without the Suboxone, at least for now, I will abuse opiates. It's just a given. And I have to accept it. As to the future....we will see. But for now....Suboxone it is!
I posted this for no other reason than the one given in the title.....to update anyone who's followed my story and to warn anyone who may be headed down the road I found myself on. There will be some who will chime in with "I told you so" and to them....no need to say it. This is something we all learn in our own time and at our own pace. I still don't have all the answers and I don't think anyone else does either, with the exception, possibly of Dr Junig!
Well, that's how my 2010 is ending. I hope all of you are able to look forward to a great new year. I know I am! I'm discouraged, but not defeated. We've all got to do what we've got to do to keep this God-awful disease at bay!


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 Post subject: you are awesome!
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:15 pm 
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You are great - Im here for you, on and off the forum. nothing to hang your head about. Sub is a fantastic drug and dont beat yourself up for using it... I have made several comments recently but was ignored for lack of a better word. just popped by to see if things have changed, and thought I could offer the benefit of my experience (even though it was a different road), but this is not an avenue for me. We will continue to support each other and I am PROUD of you for being honest - with yourself...

Happy New Year!


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 Post subject: setmefree
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:11 pm 
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I have the utmost respect for you. I am a recovering alcoholic and I had to come 'crawling' back so many times after going out and trying to prove I could drink like a gentleman...or woman in my case. It was always so hard to come back and sometimes the thought of having to come clean actually prolonged how long I stayed out. Now, over five years away from my last drink, I see all those slips and relapses as part of what I had to go through to get sober. I can say in all honesty that every time I went out, I learned something really important, and those were things I needed to know to be able to never take another sip of alcohol again. Learn from what you just went through and it wasn't a waste or a big mistake. Pass on what you learned to others, like you are now, and you will realize even more how much purpose you can find in what feels like a negative thing. In the end, I don't think you went backwards. Until I was able to really let go of alcohol and stop romanticizing it, I never lost the craving to drink and the feelings of jealousy when others were drinking. I also had to take Antibuse for quite a while. I see it as similar to how Sub is for opiate addicts.

Welcome back!! Thanks for sharing what you went through. Having to stay on Suboxone isn't admitting a defeat. The hardest things for us addicts is anything other than the extreme. Once we want something, then realizing we cannot have it because it's not the best thing for us can feel like a crushing failure. To me, it shows tremendous responsibility that you were able to say "I really wanted to think I could get off Suboxone, but being clean and living an honest life are the most important thing. So, I will accept taking the Suboxone so that I will have power over my greatest weakness." That shows so much character and you should be proud of that. I hope you see it that way!

I started Sub because I had uncontrolled pain and I was a recovering alcoholic. Sometimes I get mad because I didn't get to take all these Oxy's and experience all this warm and fuzzy crap before taking Sub. I feel like maybe I missed out on something so fantastic and it pisses me off badly at times!! Right now I'm weaning off Sub and at the moment I do not feel so hot. However, I don't know what an opiate craving feels like. I've never experienced that sensation and maybe I should be a little more thankful for that. I do crave Suboxone sometimes because I know it would make me feel better, but I don't crave the regular opiates or the 'warm' thing. In that sense, I maybe dodged a big bullet. Opiate cravings can obviously be quite bad from what I read over and over.

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:40 pm 
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SMF-
First I want to say thanks for being so honest with us and your family. I think you probably have progressed alot further in your recovery than you think. I was following your thread and feeling very hopeful for you and I still am. Just because you have realized that your disease is very strong and that you have to go back up on your dose of sub to deal with the symptons of your disease- does not indicate failure by any means. You slipped.......you know what happened and thanks to your time on this forum and your recovery you know what to do.

I need to have surgery soon on my elbow and each day I put off going to that surgeon because I know I will require pain meds. I have discussed with you and others about whether I truly want to be a lifer on suboxone and have tapered down to 6 mg. For some reason that dose has really helped me with all the side effects I used to hate about this medicine but I know I would be in such a worse place if I was still using. I have weighed out the pros and cons of staying on or getting off suboxone and of course this is a pro suboxone website and we all have our opinions but at the end of the day I and only I am responsible for my recovery and how I choose to deal with it.

For now I will continue to take suboxone and continue to focus on my recovery. I can always re-evaluate later down the road. Your honesty with us is commendable.....I am glad you are alive to tell us about your experience. You have contributed and helped many of us and know we are always right here for you. There is no "I told you so from me"...I know that could have easily been me.

Please let us know how it goes with your doctor and what your plan is going forward. Maybe to move forward we have to step back sometimes. It certainly isn't a requirement but it happened.......you were honest and you are doing something about it. I am hopeful for you once again in whatever you decide. I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for me......Can I achieve another year without relapse or putting alcohol in my body? I can if I continue to stick around with people like you on this forum. Again raise your head and continue to put one foot in front of the other and together we will continue to fight this disease. Best of luck.

Jim


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:55 pm 
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Hi Setmefree -

You won't get a "told you so" from me for sure. In fact, I still think you did everything right. From reading your posts all along it really just seemed like you needed to know if you could do a taper and if you could get off of Suboxone and how you would feel without Sub, etc. And you did your taper really responsibly, taking your time and paying attention to how you were feeling and all of that.

It sucks that the tail-end of your taper coincided with a super-stressful time of year for you. What you described is almost like a perfect storm - very low Sub dose, stressful holidays, seeing a relative "high", and then access to pills. I'm just glad to hear that you were able to pull back from the edge and put on the brakes before you completely lost control. And now you have a plan to get back on a theraputic dose of Suboxone, and hopefully you'll also find a way to uncover more of your triggers and find new ways to cope with cravings and urges. (I liked the tools for coping with urges on the SMART website, I've found them to be helpful in more than one area of my life....mmmm, chocolate :D )

I've missed your presence on the forum & I'm glad that you came back to let us know what's been going on with you. I'm wishing you the best for 2011 & I hope we'll see you around more.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:32 am 
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setmefree wrote:
It's been a while since I've posted... The biggest problem, however, was C.R.A.V.I.N.G.S. For me, that has been a problem all along. Cravings and PAWS are what led me to relapse after my stab at abstinence-based recovery... I'm discouraged, but not defeated. We've all got to do what we've got to do to keep this God-awful disease at bay!

I've quoted only a few lines of your post but could have written 99% of it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Last night, I slept with a friggin' bottle of codeine cough syrup after waking up craving and then tossing and turning, able only to think about using. I didn't drink any of the cough syrup, primarily because I knew that I would have felt nothing. Had it been hydrocodone syrup, I might have been tempted to drink the whole bottle in the slight hope of experiencing that warmth and comfort and the world being alright. I don't know how I got through the night. I wanted to rip my brain out of my head! I've thought about going back up to 6mg of Sub. But, my doctor is one who requires his patients to taper off. It wasn't fun getting down to 1mg/day. I don't want to have to do it all over again.

Yet, I am so afraid of failing. It's been suggested that I get an addictions counselor since my doctor is making me taper off. I swear that my area is stuck in the dark ages of addiction medicine. I've gone to the one counselor who "specializes" in addictions (he's a recovering alcoholic). Mostly, he encourages 12-step program involvement. I already have a sponsor who does that quite well.

Sorry to post such a damper of a post to your thread. I'm glad that you have made it back while, at the same time, I envy you your relapse (see, I know exactly how you have felt. My thinking doesn't make sense. It simply is what it is. I hate it.)

Thanks again for posting and letting me know that, despite how I feel, I'm not alone.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:19 pm 
Wow....thanks everybody!
MW - You know you have my support as well! You are so encouraging and I appreciate it!
Laddertripper - You really sound like you "get it!" Thanks for everything you said....you really pegged it! It feels so good to know that there are others out there (whether opiates, alcohol or another addiction) who have gotten into recovery, given it a good, honest shot and still slipped back into abuse again. Only "you" know how this feels. Truly, be glad you never got into a lot of misuse of opiates! Be thankful that you never experienced the euphoria of it! How I wish I could wipe those memories out of my brain forever! It is those memories which are the very basis of these horrendous cravings. So, really...you made the right decision to go on Sub, in my opinion. I really believe that, for me, once I fell in love with the way opiates made me feel, it was all over. No matter how much damage that crap has done to my life, I still wanted to believe that I could have it back, just once. But, as you know, there is no such thing as "just once." Again, thanks for your insightful words!
ReRaise - Thank you. You have been around this forum with me for a long time. You know my story, history, etc and I, yours. I think we see a lot of things quite similarly to one another. Your understanding and encouragement means a lot. I was concerned that you would be particulary disappointed or irritated with my screw up! Instead, you offer complete understanding and support. You're right in saying that this disease is very strong for me. I really feel there is no good alternative than what I have done....get my Suboxone dose back up there and get this back under control. Thanks, also for commenting that maybe I'm further along in recovery than I realize. I've been thinking about that, and I am able to see that I certainly could have let things get way worse. I told the truth and got proactive before I necessarily had to. I suppose that is something! As for you, just learn from my mistakes and don't let the desire to be off Suboxone override your good sense and your knowledge of the disease of addiction! I have a feeling you won't!
DOQ - You know I've always looked up to you, so I appreciate your taking the time to reply and offer support! You are right, in hindsight, there was a bit of a "perfect storm" there. I will be much more aware of this in the future. You mentioned seeing the family member on opiates. You know, I'm glad I mentioned that in my post and that you caught onto it. I hadn't thought all that much about the significance of that event. But it was in fact, very significant in hindsight. Interesting. And of course, the access to the meds. That factor has been eliminated. My Mom and Dad both know now that this disease doesn't go away and they can't get comfortable with me around Mom's meds. My Dad was actually pretty pissed at me, not that I blame him at all! If I had run Mom completely out of meds, he'd probably have ignored the fact that I'm 46, and beat my ass!! Anyway....per Dad, the meds will be "locked up" from here on out. That is something that should have been done long ago. So that's a BIG one....no access. Thanks again DOQ, you're a smart lady!
Christin - My heart aches for you. I feel your pain completely. I don't know if some of us suffer more profoundly than others when it comes to cravings or not, but I sense that you have them super-strong, as did I. Here's the thing I've learned, not just by reading about now, but by living it: We've got to have a reasonable, steady, high enough dose of Sub on board to curb cravings at all. I think, for me, and maybe for you, we will have some cravings no matter how much Sub we're on.....but certainly 1mg/day for someone craving as much as you are right now is not enough, in my opinion. You sound like you'll be headed down the same road I went down if you don't do something soon and I'd hate for that to happen. You probably really need to look into getting a new doctor who will let you go back up and give you more time before tapering. I understand how you feel.....I kept feeling the same way - I had gotten so low and I didn't want to give up all the 'progress' I'd made in tapering. Well, it got me screwed! So just be careful. Hang in there. Don't use anything other than Sub! Trust me...it's not worth it!
Thanks again to all. I will keep you posted on what happens. I'm so hopeful that I can get into my doctor towards the first of the week. He only sees Sub patients one day a week and pray it's not Friday!! I can make until then, but it won't be optimal as I'm low on meds. I'd like to be able to continue taking at least 6mg/day and not go down. I feel I need to remain well above ceiling and remain stable there for a while, so hopefully, I'll get in early in the week. I'm also hoping he's not going to charge me the initial visit/induction fee. I wouldn't be surprised if tries since I haven't been in for so long. But I told his assistant that I do NOT need to be induced. We'll see what happens.
I feel pretty good for the most part. Just a runny nose, which seems to lessen with the passing days. That is always my first and mildest w/d symptom, but annoying as heck....just runs like a faucet! My pupils aren't dilated. I know I'm not in significant w/d, but I think with the Sub and with the pretty big amounts of oxy I was taking for a little while, maybe even 6mg of Suboxone isn't quite enough to level me off. Whatever....nothing intolerable. My cravings are still there, but lessening quite a bit. Amazing, how opiates screw up my life and make me feels so awful about myself, yet there's still that part of me that want them.....makes NO sense!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Hi, It's Lilly, I had to re-register with a new user name because my account was de-activated - but that's another story.

Setmefree - I really feel for you. You not only did the long, slow taper, but you did all the work that went along with it, the therapy, the introspection, the "searching and fearless moral inventory" if you will. But like DOQ said, you found yourself in the perfect storm... and still an addict.
I've recently been through something very similar, but without the long, slow process you went through. I went down to 1.5 to 2mg/day because of side effects. I felt great for a awhile, but then around Thanksgiving, when the family issues started coming up, I started having cravings. I made couple of attempts to get high on pain pills, but I didn't have enough and couldn't aquire enough (without crossing a line that I wasn't ready to cross) for it to do anything for me. So i decided to up my dose before Christmas. I started at 4mg and went up to 8mg to supress my cravings. I figured I had enough because I had been at such a low dose.

Well, I got cought up in the holidays and found myself almost out of Sub with no appointment. I got an appt. for Jan 3, and I called in for a refill, which my doc approved - but the pharm wouldn't let me pick it up because my dose hasn't been officially increased yet - they won't let me have it 'till Jan 6. So I was faced with New Year's week-end with no Sub - and extremely pissed to find myself in this situation once again, for the umpteenth time - at their mercy even though I'm really trying to stay clean.
So, as you can guess, in a moment of late nite desperation I ordered poppy pods over the internet and I spent all day yesterday drinking poppy tea (which again, did very little for me, if anyone is thinking about it). So now I'm still 2 days away from my appointment and I have one dose of tea left - and I'm disgusted with myself. And if I'm perfectly honest, when I read your story part of me was jealous that you actually got high. (I'm sorry.)

So yeah, even though my situation is a little different, the end result is the same. If I hope to stay clean I have to stay at a therapeutic dose of Sub - whether I like the idea or not. At least for now.

I didn't mean to hijack your thread, I just wanted to let you know that I'm right there with you right now. When I was at the low dose I felt really good, and hopeful that I would be able to taper off completely soon. Now I feel broken.
I hope to see you continue to post. Your experiences, past and present, always resonate with me. It means a lot to me that you are here on this forum.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:31 pm 
The only reason the pods did nothing for u is because of the subox. I used to do oxys and pain pills before I found pod tea and then it was all over, pod tea gave me stronger nods than oxy any day and quickly became my favorite opiate to use. You also may of gotten shitty pods who knows it can happen, i dont know your history with pods but I just didnt want u to think they are somehow milder than other opiates because they are an extremely powerful opiate. They carry the worst withdrawal I have ever encountered due to all the other alkaloids in them besides morphine. Pods are such a slippery slope because of the 48 hour half life, you can develop a dependance on pod tea by using only twice a week. I tried chipping with them early in my addiction and I would have bad withdrawal even when I spaced out 72 hours between doses and soon was dosing everyday on massive amounts of potent pods everyday for 2 years. Sub was my only way out when trying to kick pods, the withdrawal from the pods is said only to be second to methadone in terms of the worst withdrawal and I believe it, it just lingers and lingers and feels like its never going to end. The RLS from them is the worst I ever encountered. Those fucking things are brutal and probably one of the easiest opiates to develop a dependance from due to the long half life. Its a good thing u hadnt been off sub long enough to feel them because if you are anything like me u would of fallen in love with them and probably would of had a real hard time giving them up and getting back on subs. My friend who is Rx'd dilaudid used to use them with me and he said even doing his daily shot of diaudid wouldnt even take care of all the withdrawal from the pods and that realy shocked the hell out of me. I miss them and have cravings alot but man i dont miss waking up sick every morning and having to down a 12oz glass of that super bitter tea on an empty stomach ugh.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:24 am 
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Lilly,

I am sorry to hear you had such a rough time over the holidays and that you feel so terrible now. I know it is hard to convince anyone of this when they are in your position, but you did the best you could and it is not lack of willpower that got you here. It isn't your fault. It is just addiction. Please try not to be so hard on yourself. I'm glad you have an appointment set up. If you can afford it, my pharmacy will let me pay cash for the sub in those situations. It is only insurance that won't pay yet. So if you have to, you can pick up a partial script like 1-2 pills until insurance will cover the rest. At least that's how it is here anyways.

Cherie

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:42 pm 
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Thanks for your support. I considered calling my Dr.'s answering sevice on Sun. to get an emergency script, but I chickened out, because it was really my own fault I was in the position I was in. (I didn't even consider the fact that the pharmacy might let me pay cash to get it early.) I ended up calling an "old friend" and getting some pain pills, and I guess to be honest I was still hoping for some euphoria, which was not to be. I really felt guilty because I had my daughter with me, and she is super smart, so I'm sure she knew something wasn't right. So I never got high, but I got to waste money and be dishonest with my family again.

I don't know what's the matter with me. Part of me doesn't think I'm "bad enough" to have to stay on Sub. Like I still haven't done enough drugs, or had enough consequences to justify it. But the truth is, I've had probably fewer than 5 years clean since I was a teen-ager. I'm a chronic drug abuser and I have to admit that I'm an addict, that I'm sick and that I have to take my medicine just like I would if I had any other illness. Why is this so hard to accept?

So I went to my doc this morning and he agreed that I should stay on 8mg because of my ongoing desire to get high. (I have to stop and think how grateful I am that I have a doc that won't kick me out, and I have insurance to be on Sub.) He's also planning on starting a Suboxone support group, which would be SO good for me, because i haven't been going to meetings or anything.

One thing I want to add is: if you run out of Sub for a couple of days don't panic. I believe I had enough in my system (after being on 8mg/day) to block everything i took to keep the withdrawals at bay. It was the FEAR of withdrawal that caused me to do what I did, but even before my appointment this morning I wasn't sick - and after I finally took my first dose in 3 days I didn't feel much different, maybe a little better. If I had it to do over I would have cut up the couple of pills I had left and made them last the week-end - just to feel better psychologically. Now I have all the guilt and shame of a relapse, but I had enough bupe in my system that I didn't really relapse.

So bottom line, I'm still here, on my Sub, stumbling along. I'm really grateful for this forum. There's no one in the "real world" I can talk to about these things.
Lilly


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:01 pm 
Lillyval....In all sincerity, thank you for sharing that you had been going through something so similar as I was. Sounds like we both are in the same sort of boat in which one part of us wants to believe we're "not that bad." We should be able to get off Suboxone and be okay. And we very much want that to be so. But there's the reality that always ends up staring us in the face......Little or no Suboxone=unbearable cravings and an almost certainty of relapse. I wish this weren't so! But I've learned that it is so, at least for me, for now.
All I can do for you is encourage you, as you have me, that you are not alone in your struggles. I relate completely to your feelings of "brokeness." That is exactly how I feel.....broken! And the truth is that we are broken. Once addicted to opiates, we "broke" our brains natural capacity to feel good without chemicals. Some call it that we are "sick" or that we have a "disease" and that's appropriate also. But for me "broken" fits best. I'm not surprised that you tried the poppy tea. I probably would have too, if I'd waited any longer to face up to the facts of my situation. As far as your feeling a little envious that I got 'high,' don't. It wasn't worth it. Because of the tolerance issues, Sub, etc. It took what should have been a near lethal dose to get me just a glimpse into how I used to feel on opiates. Like you, I faced reality pretty quickly that there was not going to be enough supply to meet my body's demands. It's a deadend road, as you know. In the end, all it did was leave me feeling like a failure, a loser, a thief and a liar. And then I got the added pleasure of admitting it to loved ones, leaving them disappointed and afraid and upset with me. Totally not worth it!
So....today I got in to see my doctor! Yea! I spilled my guts to him about what I'd been up to. He was very compassionate and understanding and willing to let me sort of "start over." Thankfully, he did not charge the 'first-time patient' fee, so the office visit was $200 (no insurance.) He wrote me for 2 - 8mg Suboxone per day and said if I need both, take them....basically take as much as you require to get back under control and get rid of the God-awful cravings I fight so much with. He wants me back in in one month. My script was over $400 for namebrand Suboxone. I did ask him if he was prescribing any generic Subutex and if the pharmacy was carrying it and he said 'yes.' He said perhaps next visit he would consider switching me over. I asked while at the pharmacy what the cost difference would be and they looked it up and told me it would be about half of what name brand Suboxone runs. That's really got me pumped...to think that maybe next time I can switch over and save a good amount of money, as that has been a strong player in me desire to get off Sub. I also want to plug my pharmacy....I go to the one near my doctor's office which is a Drug Warehouse about 30 minutes away from where I live. They have always been fantastic. Never even look at me funny or treat me any differently than if I were buying blood pressure medicine. In fact, the pharmacist himself answered my questions and got on the computer to get a price on the generic for me. He was nice as could be. As I paid and prepared to leave, I thanked him and the others at the pharmacy counter for treating me respectfully. My doctor's office is the same way.....always nice. I'm so grateful for that. I struggle so much with the self esteem aspect of addiction, the stigma. This kind of treatment really helps me with that.
Anyway, Lily, I hope you got your appointment taken care of and got your meds. Maybe we can sort of make a pact to take our Sub at well above ceiling doses and get these cravings under control. My plan is to just take my Sub and forget it. I'm going to 8mg and am open to going higher for a while if that's what it takes and will not even think about going down until I've had a good run of time craving-free. I know I rushed it before and I want to learn from that. I know you're in the same boat. We've got to give ourselves a break and know that this is best for now. Right? We certainly cannot give in to this addiction! There's too much left to lose. Hang in there!
Thanks again to those who are keeping up with my thread and pulling for me. I appreciate it! Today is a good day!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:27 pm 
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setmefree, thank you so much for your reply. It really means a lot to me. I was kind of afraid that I had relapsed so many times that people might just give up on me. I am now on 8mg/day and my goal is to get to the point, like you said, to just take it once a day like any other med and forget it. I have never been able to do that. I'm always tweaking my dose, taking it throughout the day, etc. My doc says to take it twice a day, but I really think I need to get to once a day and just level out for a while.
Since I've increased my dose I'm having the sleepiness issue again. My husband got the kids on the bus for me today, so I slept from 9:30 last night to 9:30 this morning. Yesterday I got up early but fell asleep at 11am. It's really a problem. But I have to find a way to live with it, or I'm going to relapse. I really need to be on Sub right now. I accept that for today.

I'm also dealing with the fact that I lied and spent a bunch of money, etc. And this is all for being off of Sub for one week-end! It's insane. Like you, I'm facing the reality of it again. Even if I could legally have an ulimited supply of my doc it still wouldn't work out for me. I would take so much that w/in a week or two I would be at the point where I wouldn't be able to get high because of tolerance. There's just NO WAY I can use sucessfully. I hope this is the last time I have to learn this lesson.
I'm wishing you all the best,
Lilly


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:02 pm 
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I have not been on the forum for a while but I am still plugging away and taking my suboxone. I too experienced something very similar to setmefree my first time coming off suboxone (this is my second go round...almost two years now, no relapse). So I wanted to acknowledge you and let you know that

I know how humiliating it is to go back into that Doctors office...
I know how difficult it is to tell loved ones....
I know how hard you were on yourself....

It takes courage and strength to come here and tell your story, it takes courage and strength to correct the situation and get right back to it. This is a lesson for us all.....if we slip it is NOT THE END! BEGIN AGAIN!

Be proud of your strength, your resilience, your humility, your sheer tenacity to stay in the fight......I know I am.

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Promise me you will always remember...You are braver than you believe, you are stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!

*Christopher Robin to Pooh


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Setmefree....I was taking some time away from the forum when you wrote about your relapse. I just read your story today and want to say i think it was providential that I read it today.
First, I want to say I am so proud of you for coming to the forum and being vulnerable with us. That takes courage. Then going to your family, and upping your Sub dose most likely feeling like you were going backward after all the tapering work you've done. And I know how hard you probably beat yourself up....There is no room for that, however. Once we use it is VERY difficult to overcome that thinking...the justifying, rationalizing, minimizing....you were able to kick that addict thinking in the ass and get help. I am so proud of you. And that you have not lost any of what you've learned about yourself....if nothing else this has allowed you to learn more about you and what you need in your recovery.

Recovery is kind of like a switch back trail....it is not a linear straight up shot to success....we all have different paths. Mine has been very much a switch back trail, and I've gone backwards quite a few times....but I don't look at it that way....the relapses are opportunities....and we aren't going backward because we don't loose what we learn in recovery...sometimes we might get away from it for a while...and hopefuilly if that happens we make it back. We never know....will we even make it back from a relapse? My fear for myself is that I have no more recovery's in me.

So a couple of things popped out and besides being on a Sub dose that abates cravings (hugely important) what else do I do in my recovery to keep me safe? One is I have to deal with my thinking issues, my behaviors...and be open to hearing some hard truths from trusted people. otherwise I stay stagnant and that stagnant thinking could lead me to using again. I know, I've been there several times as a chronic opiate relapser.

I've put together five years of sobriety and another 3 years now and I know what I need to do. For me, its working the 12 steps, talking to a sponsor, not going off in my head by myself for too long and being open minded, willing and honest. Willing to do what it takes to stay not only clean and sober, but happily so. Contentedly so.

That all said...for the most part I do these things. I'm attending 3 meetings /week, working steps, talking to sponsor, writing to process my feelings, working out, eating pretty healthy....good things. Yet I'm having depression and anxiety that I am not used to. So there is my first red flag for me.

My second red flag is I have a tooth abscess. I started using opiates due to migraines and dental issues...I have found the right antibiotics luckily as I have no insurance to see a dentist or buy meds, and am taking Advil every four hours. Its helping but I know the abcess is huge and it is painful. I found a sliding scale dental clinic as I am not making much money yet as I've recently moved.....So, trying to remain hopeful that this can be taken care of. I can only imagine them saying fork over 1000$ or get outta here....I'd be like Nick Nolte in Affliction and pull the tooth myself. NOT!
God that hurts just thinking about it.

I don't have cravings to use at all right now (I'm trying to live at 8mg....a jump from 12 and Dr ok'd it). It's weird because at 8mg my pupils are not constricted at all. Hmmm....I was kinda shocked to realize that today.
But I've gone through some personal stress and with the anxiety and depression which is better today by the way as I upped my wellbutrin dose (I am someone who responds to antidepressants within 24 hours which is very strange)and now the abscess I am worried.

So, I just want to put it out there as a way to be accountable and get support. I cannot afford to relapse and my fear is I wouldn't come back from it.

I've had a really rought 6 years and this last year was the worst of it. Things are still not all together for me yet and I find myself having some self pity instead of taking action. Although I am doing things I need to do to move forward I get caught in the why did this happen to me place. Or, "I didn't do anything to deserve this" place. Which is crap. it is what it is...now I have to deal with it. And I'm pissed off about it.

Im rambling now...I just wanted to tell you Setmefree that I'm really impressed by how you thought through what you went through in Dec. and your story is helping me right now....your wisdom, your strength...it's made me think things through...and to remember how cunning this disease is. This is life and death. We have to be on guard. and that for me means having people in my life who will tell me the truth about myself no matter how painful it is. Because even if I might react initially, I know the truth, too, and I'm grateful that I've gotten to a place where I can take it on and own it and then do something about it.

So much for my taper on Sub! LOL....I wanted to try...but I'm not ready.


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

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