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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:11 pm 
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hi.
I haven't posted for a bit...but wanted to give update.
HX: jumped off 75mg methadone...waited for 4 days and started sub. Maintenance dose has been 16mg.
I am so happy I made this decision and I have been doing so well. I feel normal, happy and healthy. I feel I have my life back.
I love being free from methadone. It helped stabilize me but I was not myself at all on it.
I am not sure how long I'll be on Sub but I'm in no hurry to decide. I am going to drop to 12mg next week with ok of my sub dr.
Just wanted to check in and thank everyone for the support.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Thanks for the update. It's good to hear that you're doing so well. Didn't going on suboxone change your life drastically-for the better? I know it did for me. Keep up the good work.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:27 pm 
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Thanks for the update chinagirl, I've been wondering about you and I'm glad you're doing good!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:42 pm 
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It's great to hear that you are still doing well. I'm sure you'll find that you will feel just as good on 12mg as you have felt on 16mg.

I am also very interested to hear about the difference of how you feel on Suboxone compared to how you felt on methadone. If you would not mind, I think it would actually help others here if you could provide some details for everyone. In fact I've read posts from others here who are considering moving to methadone as well as from new visitors who are trying to decide between whether to go on Suboxone or start methadone treatment. Since you've experienced both, along with your previous ability to explain things so well and write so well, I think your thoughts and comments would really be helpful to others here. Hopefully you'll have the time to give us your comparison of the two. I personally would love to hear what you found the differences to be and why you feel so much better on Suboxone than you did on methadone.


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 Post subject: SUBOXONE VS. METHADONE
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Thanks Hat, Donh, Romeo....

I'm def. a Sub convert. I'd be happy to describe my experience on both...I am not trying to convince anyone to not go on Methadone because I do believe when used therapeutically, like Sub, methadone works to put our addictions into remission. So to qualify what I'm going to describe...this is just MY experience and as we know everyone responds differently to withdrawals, and to the medications.

I have been reading recent posts and what struck me the most is the difference between people who only use medication in their recovery vs. people who use medication plus 12 step programs, therapy, SMART recovery or other supportive therapies. For me just stopping my drug use in active addiction is the easy part. Don't get me wrong. Withdrawals and quitting use IS very difficult and challenging in many ways. But once that part of recovery is underway the rest of life hits. The reasons why I used in the first place needed to be dealt with. That took me a long time to realize. My thinking and subsequent behaviors needed addressing. Also for me, going back and dealing with childhood traumas was important...it helped me understand why I did what I did. And what motivated me. Understanding this kind of thing is not important for everyone but for me I had to know why I couldn't deal with life on life's terms. I was tired of feeling 'defective' and like there was something wrong with me. I knew my heart was in the right place, that I was empathetic and kind but I was also in serious emotional pain. I do believe we all suffer this. I had to quit being a victim (and being able to admit to that fact took a few years!) and begin to "man up" to the things I had done. My true healing came when, again this is just MY path, I worked the steps and especially when I did the 4th step..and made amends with the help of a very smart and safe sponsor.
It was after that when I started to believe in myself and to like myself. I struggled for years in and out of AA/NA trying to understand those principles. I found a women's meeting that I went to weekly and it was at that meeting that I started to heal and change. I could safely talk about the things that I was too afraid to tell anyone and that were inappropriate to share at a large, mixed meeting. When I found the sponsor that would be one of the most important people in my life, I was willing to do whatever she told me and to take direction from someone much smarter than I was at that point. I didn't like it at first, but I committed to doing it. Over time I started to change my thinking and new behaviors followed. Honesty, to me, is the MOST important part of my recovery. I am the queen of denial when using...and I am hyper aware now of when I am not thinking correctly about an issue. I also allow the important person in my life to bring to my attention things that might appear out of line with my recovery...I only do this because I trust this person and because I know they won't try to tell me how to work my recovery program...but will just be honest with what they see.

For me having that foundation is vital and to continue to work on me is also vital. I try to take a look at my behavior daily and make sure I am not hurting anyone by my actions. I'm not trying to sound self righteous at all...this is just what I need in order to stay healthy. For me recovery is not about just stopping use. It is about changing all the things about myself that don't work any more....all those old defenses I used to protect myself growing up became very problematic later on.
Whenever I start to complain about others around me I remember this one thing my sponsor would tell me over and over....'work on yourself and those around you will get better'. It took me a long time to understand what that meant but i get it now. My perspective changes when I focus only on me. It's the only thing I can change, anyway. And the other piece of wisdom that was given me is 'we teach people how to treat us'. That helped me get out of my victim mode and to take responsibility for myself and to set boundaries with people instead of trying to please everyone. I started to build self respect doing this.

So...not what you asked for exactly, Donh! But I started thinking about all of this as I was reading through the forum. Suboxone is a lifesaver. I believe that. I just know, for me, it is not enough. I have work to do and always will.

When I went on methadone 3 years ago I made that decision based on two things: one was cost of Sub at that time (I had no insurance) and the other was a lack of information about Sub. I was afraid of the antagonist action of sub. I wasn't sure what that would do to me. I thought it would compound some depression I was experiencing. I had clients on methadone and although I saw them nodding in group and complaining about the methadone hand cuffs and other issues about methadone I thought 'well I'm different and therefore I'll do better'. LOL. I was coming off of a 2 year relapse on vicodin and I have no doubt I would have been arrested for dr. shopping. I hadn't written any fake rx because I was just too afraid of going to jail. But I know how addiction works....I am sure I would have ended up doing just that if I couldn't get vic. The online vicodin shopping was expensive and it also became more difficult to do. I knew the DEA was trying to shut that down and I did not want to get caught up in that...I had tried to buy from 2 or 3 sites and I knew I was on the edge.
I ran out of vic and was sick of myself once again and made an appt for the methadone clinic. I think they started me at 15 or 20mg or something....it was fairly low but it knocked me on my ass. I was completely out of it when I started methadone. It took a long time to increase my dose and why I did is beyond me. I was trying to follow the directions of my counselor and physician at the clinic and trusted they knew what they were doing. It took about 5 months before I got up to 50mg and I stayed there for a year. I noticed a lot of changes at that dose: weight gain, moodiness, depression, apathy, and zero sex drive. I thought wow this is a medication they should give child molesters. The thought of sex made me ill. The thought of anyone even touching me, hugging me or holding my hand for instance, made me cringe. It was really odd. I am very affectionate, especially with my kids and so this was a huge change for me. I found that I was really angry on methadone and I wasn't coping as well. Even working my program. I continued with counseling and although I was stable and not in active addiction and still working on things I found that my emotions weren't as steady as when I had the previous 5 years clean and sober (without medication replacement) and the emotions I did have were blunted. I can only see this now, looking back. At the time I obviously knew the decreased sex drive was there but I didn't realize that my coping skills seemed to disappear on methadone. It sounds a bit hypocritical...that I was stable but not coping well at times...But when you compare active addiction to methadone maintenance obviously there is a huge difference...I just see now that it could have been even better for me. But methadone did save me and did stabilize me from active addiction. I think I was lucky in that I had had the 5 years clean previously and had worked a program that I was still working....or back working rather...I am not sure I could have understood what I needed to change had I tried to work a 12 step program on methadone. Now, I am NOT saying it is not possible. I am saying that is MY experience. This is how methadone affected ME. And it was not until I was on Sub that I saw this clearly. Actually it was during the 6 days off methadone waiting to induct on Sub that I saw the way methadone affected me.

My detox off of methadone waiting to induct on Sub changed everything for me. I was so afraid of methadone w/d because of all the horror stories I had heard. But after 2 days of no methadone I was awake for the first time in 2 1/2 years. It was an immediate change for me and everything came back for me all at once. I felt clear headed even though I was not feeling in tip top shape physically. My w/d over 6 days were very minimal which was surprising and why I hate to read these horror stories about detoxing off sub or methadone. You just never know how it will be. And although I did take a total of 6-5mg vicodins during those 6 days off of methadone I doubt they made that much of a difference to make my w/d so easy. I was also on a pink cloud getting off methadone and realizing I had made the decision and was actually going to do it. (I thought, while on methadone still, that I'd NEVER be able to get off of it, esp. at 75mg). The decision to go on Sub happened quickly. I had been thinking about it for a year but had not really made a specific plan. I still believe it was a God thing...someone else was directing things in my life at that time I am sure of it. No matter...I still had to do the work myself! and I do think I waited too long to induct. Out of fear of methadone w/d and pwd's starting sub too early. On day 6 my w/d were still not even moderate, they were minimal but I just went for it and took 2mg of Sub. I felt pretty decent in an hour and so another hour later I took another 2mg. I called my dr and he encouraged me to take another 4mg in early afternoon which I did and that was it! My life became completely different. I had a lot of support from this forum, from my dr. and I was and am so happy that I did this.

Being on Sub is like being alive again. I am a type A person and usually have a lot of energy and can get things done. On methadone i did NOTHING but the bare minimum and it was so not me. I never cleaned my apartment, not well anyway, and I was just so lazy. I could dose and then sit on the couch with my laptop and the tv all damn day! I didn't work out and didn't even care. I had stopped doing all the things I loved doing when on methadone. On Sub I started exercising again, have been losing the weight I gained on methadone and feel motivated to do things. I have plans for my career that were basically on hold before the Sub and now I am putting those things in place. I have heard others say they feel Normal on Sub and that is exactly how I feel. I just feel like the real me. On methadone I was a drugged me...not euphporic, not high, but just lazy. And I am sure my thinking was not as clear. Sub is like breathing crisp clean air on a cold sunny day. Methadone is like breathing through fog, cloudy, rainy, depressing. Dramatic, I know...but it is exactly how I feel.

I am concerned about the future of Sub when I read various articles and comments...but I just can't worry about it. I will hopefully be able to continue to pay for this and take my time as I continue to move forward in my life. I am thankful for Sub because I do not crave drugs at all, my obsession to use is gone (even on Methadone I had cravings...not all the time but my cravings were not alleviated on methadone). I have said this before but my Sub dr. advocates for clients getting off sub within about 6 months...but only if they are ready. He is open to what the patient needs...and if I need it in 6 months I will remain on it.

If I didn't have to worry about the financial aspect of sub I wouldn't probably even think about going off of it. I say that because for me, being a relapsing opiate addict in remission that sub keeps me healthy. Why change that? Unless something happens in the next several months I feel that Sub is an important piece in my recovery. It isn't the only piece of my recovery but it is important. I know that if I did use I wouldn't feel it anyway and I take my Sub once a day and don't think about it again. I take 2 other medications once a day so it is not a big deal to me. I have to have those medications as well when I go on vacation, or overseas, and I hope that taking Sub won't affect my ability to do that but it isn't a concern right now.

Well now I am rambling. I don't think i have much else to share about the two medications. Methadone was just not right for me. I am glad to have had the experience even though it cost me quite a lot. I'm glad because it will help me in my work to understand that medication. And to understand sub better.
Overall I just feel alive and happy again on Sub. I feel hopeful and on methadone I felt helpless. I didn't have the hand cuffs of methadone because I had a months take outs...so I am not reacting to that piece. I just believe having a full agonist on board is not the answer for me.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:18 pm 
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Thanks for such a thoughtful and thorough report. I have never been on methadone and frankly am very afraid of it. I did consume a small amount during my "any and all opiates" days but it really didn't do much for me. Also, understanding that the euphoria portion lasted only a couple of hours but the depressive effects lasted 12 or more, always scared me. After all, this is exactly why methadone is responsible for more overdose deaths than just about any other opiate out there. What happens is addicts have the high wear off, take more methadone and end up overdosing because the respiratory depressive effects outlast the euphoria about a factor of about 4:1. I have just heard from many that methadone really turns you into a different person. It sounds like that is exactly what happened to you as well. To be fair, I also hear that some people think that Suboxone turns you into a different person as well - although I have yet to hear anyone say that Suboxone is nearly as altering as methadone is.

Regardless, hopefully anyone finding themselves in the midst of deciding whether or not to start methadone they will find your information useful and helpful with their decision. Thanks again for telling more of your story.


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