[What, nobody liked my haiku? Okay, maybe I'm not a poet after all ...
Finally have a moment to do an update and respond to a few of your great, supportive posts. Iâ€™ll start by sounding like a broken record: I am very appreciative of all your support and advice!
Iâ€™m a couple days into my third week on sub. The past 5 days Iâ€™ve taken 2mg every other day and have been okay with that, some cravings, some discomfort, but nothing unbearable. Iâ€™m hoping that by the end of week 3, all the hydro and its metabolites will be gone from my body (Iâ€™m very skinny right now, nearly 25% under my ideal weight, an unfortunate byproduct of my drug abuse and depression, but on the plus side, have virtually no body fat for the hydro metabolites to hide in) and then the remnants of hydro w/d symptoms will be gone and Iâ€™ll only be dealing with future w/d issues for sub as I continue to taper.
I took slipperâ€™s specific worries about sub underdosing and variable daily intake very seriously, and have closely and honestly consulted with my psychotherapist and now two
addiction doctors about my sub use. In essence, theyâ€™ve all said â€œgo for it!â€ and have given the green light for me to take as little sub as I can tolerate. Now that the physical hydro w/d symptoms should be in their final, weak stages, theyâ€™ve all agreed that itâ€™s going to become a mental battle for me and that, as long as Iâ€™ve got my warm, fuzzy sub â€œblanketâ€ within armâ€™s reach and thereâ€™s no hydro in the house or quickly available (all true in my case â€“ I lied to my hydro supplier and said I had liver damage and canâ€™t take hydro anymore), I should feel free to battle my addiction on those terms. So to slipper and the rest of you who have so kindly expressed concern, things look good and Iâ€™m not doing (and will not do) anything that hasnâ€™t been blessed by my doctors.
I am taking this recovery very seriously, and like I said in an earlier post, am quite prepared to take as much sub and stay on it as long as needed. Simply put, if I am able, I want a 100% opiate-free life. As all of you know, bupe is an incredibly powerful narcotic, apparently between 25-40 times stronger than hydro. Yes, itâ€™s difficult to make a firm comparison because of the different bio-equivalencies of bupe (â€œimperfectâ€ molecule fit with the brainâ€™s opiate receptors) and hydro (â€œperfectâ€ fit
), but even when I was taking 4mg of sub per day, if we use the bottom end of the strength multiplier, that was roughly equivalent to ingesting ten
10/325 hydro pills, or 100mg of hydro â€“ thatâ€™s a very strong daily opiate dose! Bottom line: given my psychological makeup, my therapist agrees that itâ€™s important for me to struggle to be opiate free as part of my recovery plan, so thatâ€™s my goal. Time will tell. I am taking things day by day and making no assumptions about my future, other than planning to try hard every day in the future to continue to recover. Iâ€™m no warrior like VariTech and many others here. In fact, Iâ€™m pretty much a wimp. But I gather great strength from your experiences, struggles, victories, love and support (thanks again!!!
â€“ My depression has alleviated a bit, but Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s the sub, a currently more civil relationship with my (ex)wife, or merely that because Iâ€™m on a firm course to regain a healthy life, I thus feel better about myself. Maybe itâ€™s a combo of all three. My doc is ready to prescribe anti-dâ€™s, but since Iâ€™ve experienced some depression relief, Iâ€™m not going to start them quite yet. My hope is to climb out of the depression with exercise, a drug-free, productive life, and a resolved domestic situation (either amicable divorce or reconciliation). My estranged wife has agreed to counseling, so thatâ€™s a plus.
â€“ As I hope you can see from my earlier comments, I am totally okay with using sub for however long it takes. Itâ€™s clear that in certain areas of my life, I know very little and need help from trained professionals, but I do know this: using sub is a far superior way of life than where I was even only a month ago! Couldnâ€™t agree more with your observation that willpower alone is not enough to beat addiction. My therapist is very good, and heâ€™s been spot-on with his predictions and analysis thus far, and has helped me a great deal already. Whether or not I successfully taper off sub, I will be seeing this guy for quite a while, and wonâ€™t stop until both he and I are absolutely confident that Iâ€™ve developed the tools, self-awareness, attitude and understanding to proceed with life, however long that takes, years if need be.
â€“ I know you donâ€™t expect a reply to your posts, but I want to thank you so much for your concern and compassion and tell you that Iâ€™ve accepted your comments completely in the spirit in which you made them, and know you care very much about my progress. In fact, it was you who prompted me to consult a second addiction doctor to make sure I was getting good medical advice, so I hope that convinces you that I took your comments very, very seriously. I am indeed an addict, and in a very relevant sense will always be. I accept that and will always have to accept that if Iâ€™m to avoid a relapse. Iâ€™m also aware of the higher relapse rates for short-term sub users, and seriously discussed this specific concern in detail with both addiction doctors and my therapist. I told all of them up front that I would happily take and stay on whatever sub dose they thought was best for me.
My posts are already long enough (
), so I wonâ€™t repeat what Iâ€™ve already written. I just hope that, disagree or not, you can understand why Iâ€™m doing what Iâ€™m doing. Every addict is different, every addict is a unique individual with his/her own story, but one thing does seem universal for all of us who are deadly serious about our addictions â€“ we all want to be free of full-agonist opiates. To sum it up, it just may be that Iâ€™m taking a somewhat unusual path towards that goal. At its first level of importance, the sub is doing exactly what I need it to do: keep me off hydro. Secondarily, by using a sub dose that doesnâ€™t 100% relieve my cravings and hydro w/d symptoms, in my therapistâ€™s opinion I am directly attacking the core, non-depression-related issue that led to my addiction: the belief that I could use/abuse hydro without adverse consequences. Such dangerous arrogance must be totally destroyed, and given my psychology and mental makeup, I must pound away on it every day, and for me the effective way to do that is to force myself to live with the consequences of my deluded conceit: to have to cope daily with cravings and physical discomfort (the now-waning hydro w/d symptoms). I donâ€™t like experiencing cravings and discomfort, and being the wimp that I am, would far prefer to relieve all those feelings and symptoms. But it seems like a very low sub dose (considering the level of my DOC abuse) turns out to be the most therapeutic way to use sub.
Hope the foregoing makes sense. Even if you still disagree with my approach to recovery, I hope you will continue with your support. It means a lot to me!
â€“ Thanks again for everything. Itâ€™s impossible to adequately convey what your support has meant to me.
In closing, a word about scruffy. I know some concerns were initially expressed about his sincerity with all his PMs to members, but IMHO he has nothing but the best of intentions for all of us who want to recover from addiction, and I think his thread about the ABCs of induction prompts a very important dialog about the intended use of sub at the time of induction and the need for the patient to be well informed in advance of inducting.
SI (aka Mr. Idiot)