Thursday, November 3, 2011

Update: Detox and Suboxone

Yes you read that right and I am talking about myself! The fading ups and the lingering dreaded downs of the pain pills consumed me and I had to ask for help. I went to a mental hospital- the one that my son has been to- and they sent me to the ER to get medically cleared with the assumption I was returning. That didn't happen. it was determined that I needed a medical detox from the pain pills, so off to a detox program I was sent. I thank God it was a nice one and they kept me pretty comfortable. I was started on subutex 24 hours after my last dose of narcotics and for 3 days they checked my vitals and asked a lot of other quesions, which determined if I was in need of more subutex. After 10 days, I was discharged on suboxone. (Subutex has only  the active ingredient of suboxone, minus the extra one that deters abuse.) I could not go on to the inpatient mental hospital like I wanted because they cannot facilitate the suboxone.

I have a LOT that I want to share about my experience with all of this. Mainly my anxiety is sky high and it is preventing me from taking an active part in a lot of things, but it is particularly stunting my recovery. I struggle with reality. I have moments where I feel like I am in a dream, sometimes it is a bad dream that I just wish would end. I don't know how I am supposed to be advocating for my self when I can barely get out of bed some days. My son is a whole 'nother story. He is only about 2 weeks clean (he says) and I havent been able to get ua's for him started. Funny how he has needed them and I have been asking for them for MONTHS, but I get out of the hospital and I am now labeled an addict, my counselor drops me and puts me in the program Destin has been in and I get ua's ordered immediately. Wonder what their reasoning is in those priorities?

My substance abuse group is such a JOY. There are 4 other girls. 3 are around 25 and have lost their kids to social services or their parents, and are court ordered to be there, and yet they are STILL in there talking about their latest relapse and their still using boyfriends that are an obstacle to them ever getting their kids back. It makes me sick. Then there is the 34 year old stripper. Now she is really an inspiration. She sleeps all day while she puts her 3 year old in front of the TV, and then finds the energy to go to a hotel wide Halloween party where she proceeds to "do lines (of coke)  in every room and get loaded until four in the morning."

So my counselor at the mental health center that I have been seeing for almost 6 months has dropped me saying that I am an addict in need of an addictions counselor, but they dont have an individual one so I am stuck in the above mentioned group for 12 weeks and I am supposed to drop my private psychiatrist and use their Dr., but if I miss 3 groups, I get kicked out of not only the substance abuse program (the wonderful group), then I also lose their Dr. (who would be my suboxone provider), and I lose access to any mental health meds or services. Way to dehumanize me and give me lots of hope about the future. Just when i decide to make a positive change in my life, they label me and take away my privalages as a mental health client because I am now a substance abuse client.

My private psych., who by no small miracle is a suboxone provider, has already given me my 1st prescription and although he recommended some form of group therapy, offered to bill the usually cash only suboxone visits to my insurance and said if the group doesnt work out, he can help get me some one on one intensive therapy with an addictions counselor. As I am writing this out, it makes me wonder why there was ever any debate as to which route I should go. So even though it takes me some balls of steel to go to group, it is going to take those same balls to quit (I don't like being labeled a quitter, especially at a fragile time like this) and walk away from the mental health clinic. I have not been treated very well even before going to their hospital and getting over medicated back in August, so in my heart I know its the right thing to do. My anxiety on the other hand makes me afraid of the permanency of it all, and my fear of driving and appointments makes it hard to instead commit to the private practice that is further away.

I have days where I am completely frozen by anxiety and fear. It was my Birthday yesterday and I was literally stuck in my chair for hours, sweating and freaking out. I couldn't even go to my ceramics class. I don't  know if this is extended withdrawals or if it is suboxone side effects, which are similar. I see my, MY, Dr. on the 10th and will be talking about my dosing, my debilitating anxiety, as well as the program at the mental health center.

There is so much going on and I wish I could get it all out, but I am lucky for the ability to sit here now and say this much. My reality has changed so much without the pain pills and the label of "addict" feels so harsh. When I was on meth, it was different. I chose an illegal substance and I continued to abuse it. This time a Dr. prescribed me opiates and when I became dependent and wanted off, I was labeled "addict."  Because of my meth addiction, I know there will always be an addict in me, but I don't think this time was the same and I think I should be respected for realizing I had a problem with the pills I was being prescribed and getting off of them. Maybe its the suboxone that says, "addict."

I have to take one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time. I feel so raw and and I desperately need the healing to begin. I must believe that it will get better so that I have a reason to walk in these unbearable shoes.



  1. God I can relate to all of this through my daughter's eyes. You have no idea how much you just taught me by sharing all of this. Thank you.

    I have been thinking about you and wondering where you were. I was praying for you and thinking about your son. I am so sorry you have been going through this. Opiates are tough to get off of. I am sorry they treated you in a way that shamed you. I hate that part of the system. Just experienced it last night as a matter of fact. It is just infuriating and so counter productive. They have a *system* that is one size fits all types of substance abusers. They are mistrusting, skeptical, and rude in so many instances. I am glad that you have YOUR dr who seems to be a practical compassionate person. I am praying for you. Hang in there.

  2. Well, Annette's comment says exactly what I wanted to say but even moreso (if that makes sense). It hurts me to know you are hurting. I disagree with the way they are treating you and why the heck do you have to be in a group that doesn't seem to be very positive? It doesn't matter what anyone labels us, we have to label as ourselves as who we strive to be and be kind to ourselves on the days we don't live up to it. No one is perfect, we are all a work in progress. You are making steps, but on the days you feel like shit, they will hopefully be fewer and further between. I love ya.

  3. Is there someone you can trust to hold that suboxone for you? If someone can help you take it for the first month or so you will be round an important bend. God Bless You and keep on trying.

  4. Hi, When I was prescribed subutex/suboxone I was warned I might feel a heightened sense of reality, increased anxiety and rawness. You have mentioned all of these. I had to go back to methadone to try and get clean (still trying) As methadone provides a protective layer over the still healing wounds. Subbies are like taking all the bandages off if that makes sense. Its a shame they put all of us addicts in the same "box". Even though I did choose an illegal drug I still feel, like yourself, I have very little in common with a lot of addicts I meet here at home. But that's just the way it is. I feel for you as you describe so well feelings I have had on either Subbies or just withdrawing on nothing. This is what makes it so hard to stop opiates. You are doing well to have come so far. Could your Dr. give you something to help the rawness/anxiety to give you a better chance of sticking with it. They need to realise its those feelings that scare us and send most people back to the "comfort" of opiates in whatever shape or form they come. I hope you get the help you need as its clear you are prepared to work with it. I hope you are feeling a bit better. x

  5. Suboxone is seen by many as a substitute drug. And once you have been an addict of any substance, you will be seen as "less than" and you will not get the help you need. You are labeled, that is absolutely the case.

    It is essential you stand up and advocate for yourself. A family member can do this for you if you are unable, but I'm not sure you have someone else. Just as you must advocate for your son, you must do the same for yourself. Otherwise, you will get boxed in, put on the wrong meds, the wrong programs, etc.

    I know this is hard the way you feel. Occasionally, you can get someone in the "system" to work on your behalf, but usually not. It is a difficult road. I'm thinking of you.

  6. I have been thinking about you. I hope you are finding your way. You and your son are in my prayers. Just know that you aren't forgotten here.