Writing my story about being an addict was harder than I expected. But the outpour of support has been great. So here is part II of my story! If you missed Part I, here it is.
God grant me the serenity to accept the thing I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. The Serenity Prayer is a wonderful prayer that I must say about 20 times a day. There are much things in life that I believe that I need to be in control of. And there are many things that I need to realize that I am not in control. Having a doctor who truly wanted to help me and not throw drugs at me, was the turning part of my life.
The first part was to become sober. I had to go through a few days of heavy withdrawals till I could start on the new medication. But I couldn’t be completely withdrawn from the drugs, I needed to be halfway or the new meds wouldn’t work. Like I said before, going through withdrawal is the worst thing I have had to do before in my life. Having your body withdrawal the meds takes about 4-6 days depending on what the medication is. I needed to be on day 2 and a score of 13-24 on the Opiate Withdrawal Scale that my doctor use. So basically, I needed to be pretty miserable. The Opiate Withdrawl Scale takes everything into account, like GI symptoms, sweating, resting state, and other physical discomforts that you go through and adds them up to come with a number. If you are interested in seeing what the scale looks like, it can be found here.
Now, I don’t want to scare you off this new medication that I am about to tell you about. This medicine is very worth a few days of pain and suffering. And hopefully you can find a doctor like mine, and they will help you go down the road. Anyways, the new medicine is then started in the midst of the withdrawals, because this medicine has Naloxone that blocks the effects of opioid medication, which stops the feeling of the “high” that people get from taking pain medicines. This medicine is listed as a pain-relief medicine. And over the years, has helped me to be comfortable with my pain levels, and not abuse drugs.
The medicine that I now use for pain relief and helping to not abuse drugs is Suboxone. This medicine has buprenorphine in it that is a narcotic, so it helps with the pain that I suffer from on a day to day basis. I have now taken Suboxone for almost 3 years and not once abused it. Even though this medication is listed to help those that abuse pain meds. Methadone, and Heroin, this is now being listed as a pain medication in itself. Having the two components, the buprenorphine and Naloxone work together to help the patient not feel high and still get the pain relief he/she needs.
Over the years, I knew that I felt better being on the Suboxone, but I was worried about the time that came to have surgery and not get the relief from pain medication, or as much as I needed. This was all put to the test this last December when I had my last back surgery. I wasn’t sure how the Suboxone would work with needing to take stronger medications. And the closer I got to the surgery, the more I worried. I finally was able to get into my Pain Management doctor, by the way, the first doctor that helped me get onto Suboxone has since retired. I met with my new PM doctor and he assured me that this was ok to have happened and I will get the relief with the pain medications in the hospital. The plan was, a few days before surgery, I stop taking Suboxone and I go back to Vicodin. The I have the surgery, taking all the same medicines that those who were not an addict took. Meaning in the hospital, I had a pain pump and Oxycodone. I came home on two major pain medicine and since we hit week 5, I have stopped the pain meds and I am back on Suboxone. Pain relief is just where it was before surgery and I don’t have to worry about abusing the pain medications that I brought home.
I realize that Suboxone is a controversial topic in the medical field. I understand both sides, taking care of the addiction versus pain relief. It is such a difficult topic too but when it comes to me, I am very satisfied with the medications that I am on now. I hated abusing drugs and going on the rollercoaster of a life that I was on for a long time. Being stable and knowing that I don’t have to worry about the ups and downs make life a whole lot better. And isn’t that what life is all about? Living life to the best possible extent that we can? And for me, living on Suboxone is the life I want to live.
If you or someone you know is addicted to narcotics and would like more information regarding Suboxone, you can find information HERE. By using Suboxone, you may save your own life or someone that you love.
Look out for Part III which is about “Living life on Suboxone”.2 2