Monday, February 20, 2012

A Candid Interview in my Son's Own Words About Suboxone, Relapse and Sobriety

My son is sitting across from me, and I am going to type his own words.He just returned, home, from work and he handed me a cash receipt for gas that he put into his car. He says he wants to be accountable for where his money goes.  He has $5.00 left.  He says he is feeling better, and had a good day at work. Here is my son:

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?

Son: Oxy.

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 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 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 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'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.   


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post. relapse is part of recovery. Each step forward, every day that he puts between heavy using and getting clean help. I know, I am 12 months into getting clean. I have relapsed 4 times. I am 300% better today. I have hope. I am not perfect and I hope the last using was my last. I can go 3 days without suboxone today. So I'm getting there, one day at a time

Hope said...

How awesome that your son shared his view from an addicts point of view. Also thank you for the info on how suboxone makes him feel. My son is an addict and will not even talk to us except to say he is clean. It's been a year ago today that he came home for rehab and I'm still finding syringes and small baggies in his room. So much for rehab.
Prayers for your son's continued recovery.

Lisa said...


Thank you for thinking of this interview format to share with others. Thank you also to B for sharing his experience. While I will never understand addiction, I strive to learn everything I can about it. Young people like B are helpful to other parents trying to navigate the nightmare of a child's struggle with addiction. This post has been most helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing -

My son is 32 years old and has been struggling with addiction for I don't know how long.

He relasped and is now going thru withdrawal so that he can begin the suboxone again. He had been taking it illegally. The doctor he is seeing (now that he finally has health insurance) requires you to be off suboxone for a week before starting the legal, managed program. My heart breaks knowing what he is going through. I want to fix everthing for him and struggle to not do so. Thank you for sharing your journey.


Anonymous said...

This article was so helpful to me. Thanks for sharing. My son is on methadone maintenance for pain pill addiction. He has been for about 2.5 years. I think suboxone would be a much better option. Can you please give me advice on how to find a doctor that would work with him and prescribe suboxone?

Erin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I just can not imagine with strong your blog greatly that helped me. Thank you “No one is so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” - Henry David Thoreau

Cindi said...

I have been stalking your blog for several months now. Thank you so very much for this post. My 22 year old son is an addict. He is now 60+ days sober. He too is on suboxone. It has saved his life. It is nice to hear what suboxone does from the addict perspective. My son has disliked the aa and na meetings. And I have been nagging him to attend. He feels like they all "dwell on their addictions". I feel like he may meet young adults that are committed to their sobriety.I am not sure what the answer is. Everyone is different, all I can do pray. I admire your honesty and dedication to this blog. For what it is worth, I would have bought the game console too. You are a kind, caring mom. Does this parenting thing ever get easier? I keep telling myself it will, but being the mom of six (and he is my oldest) it will be a marathon not a sprint.

Jenna Drugs Cause Anxiety said...

My heart goes out to you!
Thank you for sharing your story and your son's struggle. It is so good he is doing better and such a good thing that he shares his thooughts with you so candidly.
You truly have a strong bond.
Your story helps others.

Roe said...

Thank you for writing this wonderful post. I read it with my daughter because your son answered a lot of the questions that she has lately. She has been on the subs over a year, has not relapsed, but she wants to get off of the subs. She is trying to wean herself down to 1/4 of 8mg a day, and the doctor gave her klonipin to take when she feels anxiety. As her mother, I am not comfortable with this, I don't think she is ready to stop taking the subs but she is stubborn. When she read some of the things your son said, she seen it from the point of view from an addict, a person who is going through it with her. I am sorry for rambling, but we had a very emotional day so far, a lot of truth talking and tears. I am so proud of your son for his honesty and his perseverance, he has inspired my daughter, and you as always, inspire me...

Karl Von Schmidt said...

Gatewood Galbraith, the gentlemen that was running for Governor of Kentucky gave this much to the people before he died last month (RIP Gatewood , Godspeed) for the "Meth",, "Crack" and Opiates addiction, he said research IBOGAINE treatment, rehab centers won't mention it because they make $10,000+ for just "Detox Week". I've looked it up myself and it is what I would try before ever trying Suboxone...please check it out and if it helps you , tell others , these rehab centers shouldn't be making SO MUCH money off a FAMILY'S misery...God bless ALL those addicted and let there be love and healing..

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dear Roe,

What a very touching comment you left. I thank you for your words. Might I suggest that your daughter goes to the forum link that my son mentions, where she can talk to other addicts. This is where my son seems to get a lot of support, and answers-- from the addicts perspective. I'm not implying that addicts are experts. They aren't. However, they are the ones using methadone or suboxone, and can share their own personal stories. I pray for you and your daughter. Mom, I lift you up that you will find courage and wisdom to help your daughter in whatever way you can. We love our addicts, because they are our own flesh and blood. We just want them to get better. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

If your daughter is trying to get off suboxone, I would say why the rush? If its expense, or your dr. Is not wanting to prescribe any longer then yes, by all means, taper. This disease is never cured, just in "remission". Check out suboxforum, there is a taper method posted that will at least give you a guideline that has worked for many people. 2mg doesnt sound like much, but if you can ween that down to even .5 mg or even .125 mg/every other day i think it will be much easier. You can cut those strips pretty damn small. Do your research, make an educated decision, and good luck. Also are you taking klonopin or clonidine, as klonopin is a nasty benzo that I have a personal history with. Be careful.



Anonymous said...

What kind of doctor gives an opiate addict klonopin (or xanax)??? Obviously, the dr knows your daughter is an opiate addict, or she would not be on suboxone in the first place.
Klonopin is a highly addictive benzodiazepine .When she tries to get off that it will worse than subox.

That dr should be reported to the state medical board.

google it, lots of articles

Anonymous said...

This is the resource I've been looking for.

Thank you!

Theresa said...

Thanks for this information!! My son is also an addict, we've just had a few mths of this.He is in detox but was taking methadone which he has been weaned off after 12 days! This is the first I've heard of suboxone!;I wish he had this!! I am overwhelmed with sadness as my son is soo not my son!& I'm scared he will loose his own little son!Do you think suboxone is available in Nova Scotia? GOD BLESS from Theresa

Anonymous said...

Thank-you - your son is very lucky to hv such a supportive parent. I was on methadone for 2 years at 80mgs - I am day 12 no methadone & completely cold turkey. My parents don't know the agony of wht I'm going through & thy would disown me if thy did knw. I hv no one right now but your blogs hv been a God send <3 thank you for giving us such a candid view of your journey - its beautiful heart wrenching & a wonderful read. Thanks again.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

Dear Anonymous--
I am so sorry that you have to go through this alone. It's so hard for me to begin offering any suggestions, as I don't know your age, your relationship with your parents or what they are really like. If you parents aren't addicts, then it's a hard thing to tell them what you're going through. They say that acceptance is the key to serenity, for addicts. I believe it's the same for parents. For me, I was shocked when my son revealed to me his secret world. Because of my ignorance, I thought I could fix it. When I began to finally learn about addiction, I realized it was too big for me to handle.
My prayer is that you will find someone, somewhere who can support you in this. You shouldn't have to do this alone. Methadone didn't work for my son. He says it helped him chip. I'm sorry for the cold turkey, as I saw my son suffer through it. He is lucky in that I let him live with us, and gave him a safe place to detox. We couldn't afford to send him to a detox center, which would have been better. Please try suboxonetalkforum, which we've listed. There, you can talk to addicts, and it's where my son gets a lot of support.
May God give you the strength to get through this and to find joy in sobriety.
B's Mom

Anonymous said...

Hello, I've been following Ur blog for sometime now. My son is almost 20 and been addicted to opiates since the age of 14, we have been thru some very difficult times, as i am sure u can relate. I am also a recovering addict and so wanted to give my recovery to my son, but it doesn't work that way. I had to learn to love him as his mother and as another addict, very difficult. He is 3 mths clean, cold turkey as we have no health insurance, I'm a single mother so there is no way to get him subs. But I know the addiction is thriving in him but i don't know what to do. I do NA, it works for me, he won't. Do u know how or if there is assistance to get subs for him? I don't want to lose him. Again, thank u so much!

A loving mother needing info

Anonymous said...

- Hello I have read your blog a few. For those that don't understand addiction they probably will never get it. It happens. Imagine a scale and your one step before or one step over the line. Once you cross into addiction it really unravels itself and its ugly. Its a point where the person you once loved is no longer themselves but a slave to the drug. It could be any drug or alchohol... even sexual addiction. It's where excess is in full form and it overrides most things in the addicts life. If someone you love needs to find a doctor go to the website and search your local area. I found my doc through the site. I also had to travel a hour to meet with my doctor every visit but worth it. Where I was located they didn't have any programs. My insurance fully covered the meds so obviously it is of good use. I am in recovery myself. It's hard work please cut them some slack... I have support from those I trust most. When the person has had enough they are ready for change and welcoming. I went on subutex and I gradually titrated down (lowered doses) Now I am off sub entirely. When you get down to -.25mg crumbs basically your ready to jump off from there. It's not a cure all and people do relapse. I had no desire to use but I stuck to the program for a year. Never did H... Pill user never IV. The withdrawal is kinda long and annoying but very mild compared to full opiate agonist. Delayed in onset! That is a fact. Then the body/mind begins to really heal itself. You have to want it more than anything! Go to alot of useful information there. I am a member. Good luck to the families and everyone in recovery. Go B keep it up you can get it ;)

Anonymous said...

I hope i am wrong, but that interview seemed like a advertisement for Suboxen.

Debby of Oxycontin and Opiate Addiction: A Mother's Story said...

This is not a paid advertisement for Suboxone, and we certainly are being paid. This is my son's testimonial. Personally, I wish he didn't need methadone, suboxone or any kind of meds to get off opiates. It is what it is, but for him, suboxone has worked.

Anonymous said...

He gets it...what a son has been in one outpatient rehab and then we have put him into two inpatient rehabs (two different ones) in about 2 1/2 years. I am exhausted but now I have him live with his dad and we are working together on this....I cant wait for the day my son gets it...if you know what I mean!

Chelsie Charmed said...

It takes a strong soul to quit, and having help doesnt make any less of an accomplishment. Congrats !!

Anonymous said...

My son is an opiate addict. he is now in his 3rd rehab. He tried the bups(suboxone) but they were only a bandaid, too easy to manipulate, didn't work. Then he got the vivitrol shot--much better than subs. Neither worked cuz there's always something else, he turned to benzos and crack when benzos weren't available. There's no easy answer. He's now in a non12 step rehab in a totally different part of the country from his home. He's 22. Likes where he is. The other rehabs were 28 days. Naive me--thinking 28 days would be enuf--no way, he's gone for a long time now and i pray he gets it but I know this could be a longer road.

Anonymous said...

My son is a recovering addict. It took rehab and the right prescibe suboxone to get him on the right path. Years of trying to get clean, then doing well and things were looking up and he ends up in a car accident causing brain trauma, psd, and soft tissue damage resulting in chronic pain. What a nightmare and back on opiates because of the pain .Finally , it was in rehab and suboxone that saved his life. Our Drs. Need to better educate themselves about addiction.If he needs to take suboxone, for the rest of his life, so be it.He finally has a future to look forward to.My worry now is he has just moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia to live in a smaller community and will he find a Dr. to prescibe his medication.Thank you for your blog and bless you.

Anonymous said...

I am a recovering supporter and co-dependent of a heroin addict. It is one day at a time for me as well, as the letting go is so difficult when there is still love. I don't know if it's the loss of control, loss of knowledge (since I have no clue what's going on in his life now) or loss of the chaos that are the hardest.

I do know that I cry so much less now. But I miss him every moment of every day.

Thank you and more so thank B for sharing this - it helps so much having a knowledge of what it really feels like.