Discussions that mention methadone

Addiction & Recovery board

Dear Fishermen:

You asked to hear from someone who had successfully gotten off suboxone, so here I am. I have read these boards for years, but you pulled me out of the back ground. Sorry in advance for the length of this post; I teach English at the University level so I cannot resist my love of words.

I started on the opiates by popping a few Vicoden or Lortabs here and there. A few quickly became many. Evening and weekends quickly became all day every day. It wasn’t too long before the hydros just weren’t cutting it anymore and I needed something much more potent to get me high. And then I found oxycontin. By the time I entered treatment, I was snorting at the minimum 400-480 mg of oxycontin each day and had been for years. I would “spice up” my cocktails whenever I could with morphine sulfates, dilaudid, methadone, heroin, and any other hard narcotic I could get my hands on. Talk about a love affair; talk about an emotional attachment! I loved opiates more than I loved my family, husband, children, and obviously myself. I could not and did not want to imagine a life where I wouldn’t be high all day every day. I truly believed I would die an addict and had just resigned myself to the fact that I would most likely die with a straw up my nose. My addiction cost me almost everything and completely brought me to my knees.

I was forced to enter treatment after yet another trip to the emergency room for an OD. In rehab, I was started on suboxone treatment. During the first week on suboxone, working within the clarity the suboxone allowed me for the first time in years, I saw the devastation that was my life. I saw in the clear light of day what my active addiction had cost me. And I decided with a resolve that could only have come from God, that I would give anything to be free of opiates. I wanted out of my prison more than I wanted anything, and I decided I would go to any lengths to get sober. I wouldn’t even listen to the idea of “lifetime maintenance.” I let them keep me on my maintenance dose for two weeks and then started my taper. It took 90 days to taper to one 2 mg tablet per day. And then I stopped.

Yes, the withdrawal sucked, as any withdrawal does. An opiate addict cannot stop taking opiates all together and not withdraw - it is inevitable. But I accepted this and braced myself for it. And the withdrawal from suboxone is a cake walk compared to the alternative withdrawal. Nevertheless, my legs ached, my back ached, my skin crawled, my legs jerked, insomnia, my head hurt, lethargy, heavy arms and legs, and after years of constipation, my digestive tract violently unloaded for weeks. And good God, the depression and anxiety! I felt pretty crappy for a little over two weeks after my last dose of suboxone.

But then I noticed a funny little thing - I started to feel better. Just a tiny little bit each day at first, barely noticeable, but still it was there. And then my healing gained momentum and after about 45 days I felt a lot like I remember feeling before I became an addict. I took ginseng, St. John’s Wort, Vitamin C, and a B-complex three times a day, with a fistful of other vitamins in the afternoon. I drank lots of clear fluids. I made myself take walks. I carried a heating pad wherever I went. I soaked in the bath every night. I used benadryl to help me sleep. I meditated and deep breathed to relieve some anxiety. I stayed away from all of the tempting pharmaceutical drugs that might have made me feel better. I gave and received hugs. And no matter how bad I felt, I made myself go to work each day.

Since I had no idea what it took to get clean, I did exactly what they told me to do without question - Intensive Outpatient Program, NA meetings, one-on-one therapy, and above all I didn’t pick up no matter what. It is called surrender and I did it completely. When the cravings got bad, I just focused on the gratitude I felt. I focused my thoughts on all of the other addicts still in the dark suffering, many of whom would die alone in that dark place. How grateful I was that that did not have to be my fate. How grateful to be out of the cage.

Today, I am opiate free, and every single withdrawal symptom was worth being able to say that. I am in prison no more, and I have control over my life. I live without shame and guilt and can look my children in the eye again. When I look back, I am confounded by the fact that I was a slave to a pill – what a strange circumstance. It is like walking out into the sunshine after being in the dark for many years. It is the hardest thing in the world, but the feeling I get when I remember that I beat this monster makes me feel incredibly powerful. I feel all of my emotions now, and while sometimes that can be tough, when I look into the eyes of my husband or children, it is the best thing in the world.

The whole point of this long drawn out story is that right now you are paying the piper. It is okay to pay your dues, they must be paid sooner or later. However, you are better and stronger than these pills. You are more powerful than you know. It is simple, do not use today. When tomorrow comes, tell yourself you will not use then either. Literally grit your teeth and just get through. Use the suggestions and tools your friends on this board have offered to you, just do not use. Listen to people who have overcome life threatening addictions and do what they do. Surrender. Keep reaching out to other addicts. Focus on the life that is so close to being in your grasp right this very minute. Believe me, it is a life you want and deserve. You can absolutely do this. You only have a little longer to go before it starts turning around, what a shame to throw that away. This is a critical time where your addiction could quickly switch on you, do not put anything in your body that has addictive properties. Remember that doctors are just people too, and ultimately you are the best person to decide what is best for you. Trust me, the cravings go away, the withdrawal depression and anxiety go away, the pain goes away and you are strong enough to wait this drug out.

If you squint your eyes and look closely, I am betting that you will be able to see that light in the distance. It is waiting for you. Good luck!