dope sick again (long)

…or at least, I soon will be. :frowning:

Some of you know a bit about my ongoing struggle with Rx drugs (although for some reason I can’t find any of those threads or posts right now).

Quick summary: I’ve struggled with both opioid and benzodiazepine addiction since at least 2004. (Before that, it was booze.) The opioids (mostly Vikes and Percs) became a problem after hospitalization for viral meningitis, and the associated pain-med therapy, in 2004. The benzos (Xanax and Restoril) were given to me in 2005 by my previous shrink for generalized anxiety conditions. With the help of a better shrink, I finally got totally clean from benzos in spring of 2009. But the opioid problem is ongoing.

Ironically and rather sadly, though, I haven’t been using opioid painkillers or anything illicit, for a long time; I’m now–and have been for at least 5 years–addicted to Suboxone, a partial-agonist opioid medicine that is meant as kind of a replacement/diversionary therapy for opioid dependent/addicted patients. It’s a tightly controlled, safely administered medication that has saved the lives and careers and marriages of thousands; I’m one of them, and I’m deeply thankful for this medicine.

But the problem is…it’s still an opioid, and I’m still an addict.

And the addictive behaviors, including compulsive dosing, are still there. True, Suboxone doesn’t get you nearly as high as Vicodin or Oxy, and it has a strong “ceiling effect”, but it’s still self-reinforcing as a drug of physical dependence and psychological addiction, because of its mild euphoric effects. What’s worse, because of the component of physical dependence, when you stop taking Suboxone, you go into opiate withdrawal.

And this week–yet a-fucking-gain–I took too many of them and have run out early. I don’t get my refill 'til tomorrow around this time, and the prospect of having to spend yet another sleepless, anxious, agitated, painful, lonely night in the throes of withdrawal hell, are weighing heavily upon me. If you think only ~22 hours is not a long time to go without meds or in pain, you’ve never been in opiate withdrawal.

The seconds pass with leaden feet, the hours at a glacial pace. I sear to God, sometimes I think the clock goes backwards. Time slows to a geologic crawl…




…and so on.
Besides the physical discomfort, the psychology of it is extremely difficult to bear. It’s a hard thing to be the only one awake in the house, in the wee hours of the morning, trying desperately to rest, and knowing that it will. not. come.

I can comfort myself a little with ibuprofen, hot baths, reminding myself that by this time tomorrow, I’ll be feeling great again, but in the meantime I can only suffer through it. And be angry at myself for being an addict in the first place, and failing yet again to adhere to my doc’s prescribed dosing schedule.

Addiction fucking sucks.

(The good news in all this, I guess, is that I’m moving towards being off Suboxone, totally. When I started this most recent treatment cycle in spring of 2008, I started out at 12mg/day. I’m now down to 1mg/day, about to move to 0.5mg, and then off completely. But it’s a hard row to hoe, to get there. :frowning: )

Good luck, man. I’ve never been addicted to opiates, but I’m a nicotine addict, two weeks into weaning myself off the drug. I know how difficult this has been for me, and imagine that opiates are 10,000 times harder to kick.

Thanks. You hang in there, and I will, too!

Sounds like you’ve come a really long way already. Congratulations on that. Good luck tonight.

Thanks. Only 17 hours to go, heh heh!

You could use this thread to occupy your time. It may not help you get to sleep, but at least you will have a distraction.

I weaned off heroin using Suboxone, and wound up staying on it for maintence for about a year. It’s not that hard to get off of, but maybe I’m just speaking for myself.