Monday, February 20, 2012
Mom: Can you briefly explain why you feel suboxone is going to help you with your sobriety?
Son: The main reason, #1, it fills that void...that craving. It stops the craving. It makes me function, just as I would on opiates or as you (mom) would.
#2. It's a "leash" with a blocker in it. It gives me a minimum 12-hour window to consider whether to use or not.
Mom: So, what happened? Why do you think you relapsed?
Son: There are multiple reasons. First, plain boredom. I had lost my X-box. I hadn't worked in a while. I had too much time on my hands and I hadn't taken my sub for over 12 hours. Just being in a dark place, at the time, just added up.
Mom: Why hadn't you taken your sub?
Son: That was accidental. I just fell asleep and I normally take my sub before bed.
Mom: What happens if you don't take your sub?
Son: By that morning, it had been over 24 hours, so I was feeling withdrawals and cravings and knew that I could technically use.
Mom: Can you describe that deciding moment to use.
Son: Two Words. F**k it.
Mom: What did you use?
Mom: How did you feel?
Son: About the same. I had enough of the suboxone left in me, that it didn't really have much effect at all.
Mom: So, why not stop right then and there?
Son: I guess since I had already messed up, I wanted to get loaded one more time and then stop.
Mom: How long did you use?
Son: A good month, off and on. I kept trying to get back on to suboxone, but could not wait the 36 hours induction period. I kept getting precipitated withdrawals and would immediately run for an opiate to counter-act it.
Mom: What are precipitated withdrawals?
Son: It's when you still have an opiate agonist in your system... I guess that's what you call it. And, the active drug in suboxone basically boots out and empties out all the opiate receptors, which puts you into maximum withdrawal, times 10. Absolute hell. You won't die from it, but you wish you had.
Mom: What did it feel like when you took a sub too early?
Son: Imagine ice water being poured over your head...your entire body...frozen. All the hairs on your arms, legs, neck standing on end. Your muscles in your legs and arms start....just.... like creepy crawly...like you have bugs under your skin. You cannot sit still. You vomit, uncontrollably. Shivering, shaking, panic. The panic is the worst part, by far. Knowing you can't do a damn thing about it. Then you (mom) would come home, and I'd have to put on a facade that everything was okay, or go to work.
Mom: So, what was the turning point to come clean again?
Son: I was burning through my cash, with no explanation. My lies were getting...just, I couldn't keep track of the lies. I could see it in your (mom) eyes. I was really getting dark. My mood was getting very dark, every day. And... you confronted me. And, I saw my chance.
Mom: How are you feeling right now?
Son: Optimistic. Hopeful. Ashamed. Scared. But, I feel normal again.
Mom: What did you learn from this?
Son: I learned that I got no enjoyment from using, like I thought I would. I romanticized it so much, thinking it would ...you know.... help me work better, give me confidence like it used to when I was younger...but, the truth is, it did nothing. Subs are the way to go. I wish I had never done them (oxy). They say you learn from your relapses, and I've had a few, but this one was profound for me....how much work it was to be in that lifestyle. It took everything from me, in a manner of weeks. Money, friends, trust and for what?
I used to function. I lived to use and used to live. Subs negate the living to use and using to live, and instead give me back a normal functioning life.
Mom: How long do you plan to use suboxone?
Son: Honestly, I'll stay on suboxone as long as I need to. There is no downside to long-term. Like Dr. Junig says, if it ain't broke, why fix it? If these work, then why not? You know...
Mom: What do you say to people who believe you should just quit everything, tough it out and go completely clean and sober without suboxone, methadone...or any kind of medication?
Son: I'd say hold your breath and see how long before you have to inhale and that panic sensation kicks in, fight or flight. That's what it feels like when that craving is gnawing at your brain. That's what I feel every day-- and if all it takes is a suboxone to stop that, why wouldn't you? It's either that or risking jails, institution and death everyday. Or, how about a diabetic? Could a diabetic keep the sugars down without insulin? Could they just do it with diet and exercise? Back in the day, that's how they did it. Now there's insulin which takes away all that hardship. The point is, is it wrong for the diabetic to take the insulin because it's the easy way out? There's no side effects, is there? Suboxone is the same thing-- it's insulin for opiate addicts. Why wouldn't I take my medicine?
I guess if you've never been there, you just don't know-- especially opiate addiction. It's a 24/7 nagging at your mind...consciousness and for me subs turn that off and give me a chance at a normal life.
(Mom's note: My son has Type 1 Diabetes and is insulin dependent. What an ironic analogy)
Mom: Those are the only questions I can think of, for now. Is there anything else you want to say to this reader audience? Or to me?
Son: I'm sorry for all the lies. All the Bull Sh**. But... I hope I can learn from this and do it right. Thank you for all the support you give my mom. I know how much you all mean to her, and for helping her through this and in turn helping me.
Mom: Thanks, son.
Mom: I just thought of one more question. What advice would you give a parent who is going through this, at the beginning of this horrific journey?
Son: It depends on the addict, obviously, if it's a long-term addict... I think suboxone is the answer. To do an induction at a doctor's office. To at least give them a shot at it. I think that everybody deserves a chance. I know I've had more than one.
Mom: I just thought of something else? Why didn't methadone work?
Son: Because you can still use on methadone, and most people do. The problem with methadone is...it's a drug that allows you to continue using, care-free. In the end, it's near impossible to kick. Harder than the drug you were trying to get clean from in the first place. I met more drug connections at my methadone clinic, than I did anywhere else.
Mom: What do you say to those who believe that NA (12-steps) is the answer to sobriety?
Son: I say that I met my best drug connect, ever, an NA meeting during my first stint at sobriety. It can work for some. Most, even. But, it's not a one size fits all program.
Mom: Would you ever try NA again?
Son: Probably not. Honesty has always been a huge struggle of mine. I need to learn to be honest with myself, before being honest with another-- sponsor and such. NA is the program that demands brutal honesty.
Mom: What's wrong with brutal honesty?
Son: I've been an addict since I was 11 years old. Lying, manipulating...something I was good at. I did it for half my life and it's something that's not easy to break.
Mom: How can you learn to be honest?
Son: With practice, I guess. They say "one day at at time". I gotta realize that you aren't my enemy.
Mom: Anything else?
Son: I want to thank Dr. Junig and Subox Forum for their support, without which I would not be here right now. Clean and sober. Again.
Thank you, son, for your candid answers. I hope that this interview will touch people's hearts, and educate them from an opiate addict's point-of-view. Your comments/feed back are appreciated, and my son will read them.
Coming up next, articles from Dr. Junig, of Suboxone Talk.