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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:32 am 
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Hello all!

After a 180 mg/day (6 #30 IR oxycodone) 5 to 6 year habit that started innocently enough from chronic low back pain, and ultimately got me into legal trouble when I lost control of it, I sought help from an addictionologist locally and he put me on 12 mg of sub daily, suggested that I stay on that dose for a year, and then taper off for one to two years (meaning I'd be on the sub for as much as 3 years to indefinitely). After he insisted that I attend intensive outpatient while on sub (colliding with my selected program policy of complete abstinence), and offered a taper at my request, but then rescinded the notion when I begged for it at three months of sub use, I discontinued his therapy.

It has been and still is a tough ride. I didn't care for the "monotone" flat mood that sub left me in, although looking back it was probably more manageable all around than PAWS that gets dicey around one to two months for me. I tried combating the low mood with cymbalta, at 180 mg per day, and that didn't help, only gave me jitters and anxiety to go on top of malaise (horrible combination when you feel like F**k it all, and then hyper at same time). So after three months of that action, I went cold to nothing/abstinent around last July. I made it for two to three months, when I had an infection to my left foot that required surgery. I took advantage of the situational opportunity, asked for oxy, and BAM, my recovery was basically lost for three months. Meanwhile, I had been sober enough in my mind to know exactly whether I'd commit to a lumbar fusion (multilevel L2-S1). So I sought a couple of neuro opinions, collecting whatever they'd pass my way in the process, and essentially got back into an avg. 40 mg/day oxy habit. This all came to an end when my personal doctor obtained my electronic script (controlled substance) profile in late November, and subsequently parked my usage right at the holidays. I made it through January, how I don't know, but have recently gotten back on 20 mg/day. So I have relapsed, but not to old habit levels.

I was very outspoken and against the sub initially, for the way it made me feel. But now, looking back, and experiencing PAWS without it, I see the logic now. At least while on sub I could think, do basic daily demands, be slightly social with my family, eat and maintain without going completely nuts.

Lets just boil it all down to this. Opiate protracted withdrawal is NASTY. With me, an otherwise intellectual type, I feel challenged somedays to tie my shoes, let alone try any kind of mathematical or general problem resolution, socially silent and scared to interact with my wife, 8 year old boy, golden retriever, and my neighbors. and just generally ANHEDONIC. I've been to group, both intensive and early recovery, and nothing seems to help out. It is a long process, and I've not completed it yet. I can promise you that though alcohol may bring a moment of glory, it makes the following day even more challenging.

So for each person the journey is different. And if you need sub it is the best "medical" solution out there that is some sort of antagonist protection and stabilizer while you learn new coping strategies.

I wanted my critics and supporters to know I am alive, but really dealing with the rock bottom now. A chipper script seems to perk me right up, but doesn't help the longterm sentence.

As far as my back is concerned, I have decided to go through with a 4 disc fusion in a couple weeks. Obviously beyond that I will be taking the same old to get beyond the pain, and have work to do post physical rehab.

It is doable folks, in a number of ways. Take the sub if you have to and have failed in abstinence. The brain really has been rewired and jumped out, takes a good deal of time (and my stubborn pride would have never estimated a year for any type of recovery), and for all those wonderful days of feeling great about yourself, be prepared to pay the price. It is all the cost of doing business, but every addict CAN RECOVER. Peace to all and the mediators as well.

DC

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'If you can't trade a cry for a good laugh, then opiates will rule your life forever'. -me
This is the reason I am ready to walk uphill for a finite infinity, in search of myself at the end of the marathon.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Thank you for your honesty. I hope that the surgery helps dull the pain at least, long-term. Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:03 pm 
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Welcome back! Glad you've found your way back here and hopefully you can figure out the best way, going forward, to manage your pain and your addiction. I'm sure it wil take a little time, but let us know how it goes and what route you choose. Good luck with your surgeries.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:43 pm 
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Thank you for the update! I really appreciate the honesty of your statements. I am a little bit confused about a couple of things I hope you can clear up. You say that suboxone can be useful for people who relapse and haven't you just described relapsing yourself? It seemed like, even though you have issues with your back, you were using your back in order to get on oxy. So, are you saying that the 40 mg you were on until the holidays and the 20 mg you are on now, is not a relapse because you need the pain management? Or was it that your back was a convenient excuse to get back on your drug of choice?

I'm not asking this facetiously. Because I do believe it's possible to need narcotic pain relief and be an addict at the same time. But I also believe that addicts can need pain relief and be abusing their drug of choice at the same time too. You're an intelligent person, so I know you understand the distinction.

Also, are you saying that you think that suboxone is the top medical choice for managing recovery, but that you personally will never go back to it, even if you were to continue to be on oxy and go back on oxy repeatedly? I totally believe that some people on sub, like you, feel a reduction in their emotional life and that makes it very difficult for them to stay on sub. I would also contend that there are plenty of us on sub who don't experience the numbing of emotions, especially to the extent that you did, and therefore sub is a more viable option.

You've been through the ups and downs of addiction, of being on sub, on trying to stay abstinent, etc. So you have a pretty good idea of the struggles in each area. I guess what I'm asking you boils down to a few questions.

Do you believe that you have relapsed or are currently relapsing by being on oxy? Do you foresee yourself in an abstinent based recovery after you deal with your back? Do you think relapse is an inevitable part of abstinent based recovery, but you have to tolerate it as a side effect because going back on sub is less viable for you?

I want to say again that I appreciate your perspective and your honesty. I also want you to know that my memory is not good enough to remember your specific story, and I apologize if I'm asking questions you may have already addressed in other posts. I hope you take the time to answer my questions, because I am curious to know the answers.

Thanks!

Amy

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Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

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