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I have a question. I've been on Suboxone for 2 months now after a 2 year affair with Norco 10mg, 15-20 pills daily. I feel much better and the cravings have been minimal, but the psychological cravings are still very much there depending on the day and my frame of mind.
I've been struggling internally with everything I'm reading about suboxone vs. tapering vs. cold turkey vs. rehab, detox, AA/NA.....I've read to stay away from suboxone b/c it's an evil drug that just keeps you addicted and is so hard to get off of. I've also read it's a miracle drug and has saved people's lives. I've read that it's terrible to stay on it longer than a few weeks and that it's fine to be on it long term if that's what it takes.
For me, personally, it's the only way I could have gotten off of the hydro. I was too scared. I had gone thru hydro and ativan withdrawls in rehab, I was in detox for 5 days with a minimal amt of Librium, and it was a nightmare. In fact, up to 3 months post-inpatient treatment, I was still waking up with mind-numbing panic and terror and felt suicidal every day and was terrfied to take anything for fear of getting "addicted" to that and having to go through the whole ordeal again. Well, I did get over that with time and intensive out patient treament plus a change in medication: went from Prozac to Effexor and Ativan to Trazadone which became very effective for the dreaded morning anxiety/panic and was able to get off of the Trazadone easily.
Anyway, back to this time.....so I have a great psychiatrist who's also an addiction medicine specialist who told me about his suboxone program when I finally came clean. I was scared at first but felt it was my only option.
I've been grateful for having it and avoiding the pain and anxiety for the most part. It's allowed me to be at work and function relatively normally. One of the problems I'm having is sleep. I have trouble getting to sleep, jerk awake many times during the night, have intensely vivid dreams and feel like I can't get up in the mornings. Sometimes I've been very groggy and fallen asleep at work and friends have even approached me and asked me if I'm "on something". Funny thing is, when I was on hydro, I was functioning well and nobody suspected anything, now I'm off of it and people are questioning if I'm on drugs! Well, I suppose I am but not the life threatening drug that was robbing me of everything.
This brings me back to the original question. Can I be in recovery or working a recovery program while taking suboxone. Is it really just substituting a pill for a pill? Is it helping to heal my brain? It's definitely doing something because I've cried so much in the last two months and I've FELT so much of the feelings I had blocked out with the hydro for so many years. Those uncomfortable feelings are so hard for me to handle. I know if I went off of the sub now, I'd run right back to my Norcos because I've not yet learned how to deal with my feelings which scare me so much!
I'm also feeling really alone in this....I've been to AA and NA and do not feel welcome once I say that i'm on suboxone. I'm told that I am still taking an opiate and can't be clean and sober or in recovery until I'm taking NOTHING...well, does that mean I have to go off my antidepressants and mood stabilizers for a condition that I was diagnosed with long before I ever even touched an opiate? I'm just not comfortable in that environment with feeling like I'm not in recovery because I'm on the suboxone. I can't do it alone and I know a pill is not enough for recovery but I'm having such a hard time finding a supportive, understanding, non-judgemental group. This internet group is really all I have and a few friend who know what's going on but who have never been through this mess....:dizzy:
I'm curious as to what some of you think as addicts, recovering addicts, suboxone users and supporters and those of you who think suboxone is a crutch and just prolongs an addiction or replaces one. I know that eventually, I need to decide what is right for me but I have so many questions, doubts, fears.....I feel so alone in this journey.....

thanks for listening,;)
kew
Hi, Kew!

I'm on suboxone, also; I'v been on it for about a year now, and am just at the very beginning of my taper.

I've met with the same attitudes at times (that as long as you're on sub, you're not in "recovery"). I agree with reachout - whatever works! I used to take comments like that very personally, and I thought I was a complete failure. I wanted to quit so, so badly. I went into rehab, I stopped using/abusing opiates, my head started to clear, and I was beginning to learn some of the skills I hadn't learned while I was using, but for some people, it just wasn't good enough, because I was on sub. If I let that talk continue to get to me, all I'd do was think, "well, some people think I'm not clean, they think I'm not in recovery or serious about quitting, so...why am I doing this? Why not just go back to using?"

Obviously, that kind of self-talk is stupid and self-defeating, and it wasn't "those people" who [I]made[/I] me think like that, it was [I]me[/I], trying to find some excuse to give up and walk backward, back into active addiction. I decided to only listen to myself, and those who were giving me positive support and ideas. It works so much better!!! ;)

I love the way reachout said that our recoveries are very personal experiences. No two people recover in the same way, using the same methods, but I sure wouldn't criticize [I]any[/I] method that is working for someone. I may be biased because I'm being maintained on sub right now, but I'm not using Norco, vics, etc., so to me I've taken a step on the road to recovery, maybe "pre-recovery?" Who knows, as long as it works.

So you numbed out, too, huh? Boy, that seems to be a common thread amongst us opiate users (maybe users of other drugs, too, but my only experience is w/opiates and opiate addicts). I'm on that road, too, learning how to deal with all the feelings and emotions I've been running from for so many years. Heck, sometimes I can't even [I]identify[/I] what a certain emotion is, and they can be overwhelming, but I'm getting through it, as you are.

Keep updating, and my thoughts are with you as we go down this road of [I]recovery[/I]. :)

rose
Kew,

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you.

Yes, part of the reason I'm starting to taper is because it just "feels" right. Part of the reason is because my doc suggested that this would be a good time to start (I'm very early in my taper, not down where a lot of the other people here are - it's probably not even considered "tapering" yet). I have an appointment this afternoon, and I'm going to ask him to cut my dose again. I think the [I]doc[/I] has a plan, but he won't share too much with me (I'm not really crazy about him, but not too many docs in my area can prescribe sub). He won't really go into the "nitty gritty" part of the tapering with me, at least at this point in time.

With my doc's ok, I wanted to get my cravings "stabilized", and my "emotional wake-up" a bit under control before I tried to taper. I didn't want to get off sub when I was still craving a lot, or still in my addict mind-set, because I knew I would set myself up for failure. I guess, in a way, I used sub as a "crutch" while trying to straighten myself out a little bit. I still have "issues", but I feel I can deal with them better now, so now is time for me to taper. Oh, during my year on sub, I've also been getting intensive individual therapy to help me learn coping skills I never learned while I was using. I agree with you, if I was still taking handsful of Norco, I wouldn't be considering straightening up my life at all; for me, the sub has made it possible for me to take care of some things that would trigger me. It's like a safety net, so I know if I run into a difficult part right now, when I'm not able to deal with things on my own, I've got someplace to fall that isn't opiates, if that makes any sense.

No, I'm not familiar with EMDR, but it sounds interesting, especially for the severe issues you are dealing with. I totally understand your inability to get at your [I]feelings[/I], as I have that problem, too. I bet there are lots of adddicts that have the same thing. I always thought things like "happy" and "fearful" [I]were[/I] "feelings" - I get what my therapist means about "feelings" vs. facts, descriptions, that "rational" stuff, but it's still very hard to touch my feelings, especially the horrible ones, the ones I don't even want to think about, but I have to deal with them because I don't want to go back to using.

Confusing, sometimes, right? I guess that's life, and at least now I remember [I]what[/I] I'm confused about, rather than being so fuzzy I can't remember my own name half the time.

Keep on riding that rollercoaster with the rest of us...and let me know how you're doing.

rose

edit for PS: Another reason I've stayed on sub for so long is that I was on the opiates for 12+ years, and my doc said he'd like to have me stay on sub for a "long-ish" period of time, based on how long I used and how much I used (I was eating them like M&Ms). He wanted me to have enough time to at least start addressing the things in therapy that I used as an excuse to start on the opiates to begin with.

(Sorry for the length of this post)

[I]edited for spelling correction[/I]
I often wonder the same thing I've been on soboxne for about 4 months and was addicted to opiates for 3 yrs. I have slipped up alot a few times that the doctor didn't want to see me but he gave me another chance. And like you the cravings are miniumal now but I still think about it often. I always have been active and now I can't roll out of the bed without a piece of soboxne it's like I'm still depending on something to make it thru the day. So I'm like u will I ever be done fir good with everything

I have a question. I've been on Suboxone for 2 months now after a 2 year affair with Norco 10mg, 15-20 pills daily. I feel much better and the cravings have been minimal, but the psychological cravings are still very much there depending on the day and my frame of mind.
I've been struggling internally with everything I'm reading about suboxone vs. tapering vs. cold turkey vs. rehab, detox, AA/NA.....I've read to stay away from suboxone b/c it's an evil drug that just keeps you addicted and is so hard to get off of. I've also read it's a miracle drug and has saved people's lives. I've read that it's terrible to stay on it longer than a few weeks and that it's fine to be on it long term if that's what it takes.
For me, personally, it's the only way I could have gotten off of the hydro. I was too scared. I had gone thru hydro and ativan withdrawls in rehab, I was in detox for 5 days with a minimal amt of Librium, and it was a nightmare. In fact, up to 3 months post-inpatient treatment, I was still waking up with mind-numbing panic and terror and felt suicidal every day and was terrfied to take anything for fear of getting "addicted" to that and having to go through the whole ordeal again. Well, I did get over that with time and intensive out patient treament plus a change in medication: went from Prozac to Effexor and Ativan to Trazadone which became very effective for the dreaded morning anxiety/panic and was able to get off of the Trazadone easily.
Anyway, back to this time.....so I have a great psychiatrist who's also an addiction medicine specialist who told me about his suboxone program when I finally came clean. I was scared at first but felt it was my only option.
I've been grateful for having it and avoiding the pain and anxiety for the most part. It's allowed me to be at work and function relatively normally. One of the problems I'm having is sleep. I have trouble getting to sleep, jerk awake many times during the night, have intensely vivid dreams and feel like I can't get up in the mornings. Sometimes I've been very groggy and fallen asleep at work and friends have even approached me and asked me if I'm "on something". Funny thing is, when I was on hydro, I was functioning well and nobody suspected anything, now I'm off of it and people are questioning if I'm on drugs! Well, I suppose I am but not the life threatening drug that was robbing me of everything.
This brings me back to the original question. Can I be in recovery or working a recovery program while taking suboxone. Is it really just substituting a pill for a pill? Is it helping to heal my brain? It's definitely doing something because I've cried so much in the last two months and I've FELT so much of the feelings I had blocked out with the hydro for so many years. Those uncomfortable feelings are so hard for me to handle. I know if I went off of the sub now, I'd run right back to my Norcos because I've not yet learned how to deal with my feelings which scare me so much!
I'm also feeling really alone in this....I've been to AA and NA and do not feel welcome once I say that i'm on suboxone. I'm told that I am still taking an opiate and can't be clean and sober or in recovery until I'm taking NOTHING...well, does that mean I have to go off my antidepressants and mood stabilizers for a condition that I was diagnosed with long before I ever even touched an opiate? I'm just not comfortable in that environment with feeling like I'm not in recovery because I'm on the suboxone. I can't do it alone and I know a pill is not enough for recovery but I'm having such a hard time finding a supportive, understanding, non-judgemental group. This internet group is really all I have and a few friend who know what's going on but who have never been through this mess....:dizzy:
I'm curious as to what some of you think as addicts, recovering addicts, suboxone users and supporters and those of you who think suboxone is a crutch and just prolongs an addiction or replaces one. I know that eventually, I need to decide what is right for me but I have so many questions, doubts, fears.....I feel so alone in this journey.....

thanks for listening,;)
kew[/QUOTE]
Hi Jenna,
I know it can be a difficult struggle questioning if we're doing the right thing, if we should be trying to go off the suboxone/subutex or if it's truly helping us. I did mean what I said in that I couldn't have gotten off of the Norco if it weren't for the Suboxone. I believe that is how I got clean and for now it's how I am staying "clean". whether I am truly "clean" or not, I don't care anymore. I've stopped analyzing that and worrying about it. It doesn't help my recovery to focus on whether it's right or wrong to be on an opiate substitute. I'm on it, I'm not on other painkillers and I'm not out of control in my life right now. I'm sure not at the happiest and best place I've ever been but there is still alot of healing to take place. I would suggest you stop worrying about if and when you're getting off of the sub. I've now been on it for 15 months and have gone from 16mg to 12mg but feel like I need to stay here for awhile until I stable out and start feeling less depressed and more like myself again. I've been going through some other medication changes, switching from one anti-depressant to a newer one which very well may be why I feel kind of funky and sad all the time. Try to look at what the positive things in your life are. You're no longer addicted to opiates, right? Is your life more in control? Are you working a recovery program of some sort? Do you feel better now than you did when you were using? If you can answer yes, I believe you are on the right path.....we will deal with coming off of our suboxone/subutex when it is time and I now trust that I will know when it is time. Take care!

Karen





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