My addiction was to hydrocodone, oxycodone and OxyContin® exclusively because that was readily available to me, and I liked how they made me feel at first. I was more productive, cheerful and generally a better person – so I thought. After a few years, it was becoming painfully clear that I was no longer getting any psychological benefit from my drug use. I was simply managing my withdrawals from pill to pill. My life consisted of waking up and seeking drugs until I found them and starting all over the next day. When I couldn’t find my drugs or ran short of cash, the world would quickly start crashing down around me.
I am by no means a material person, but everyone has something in this world that is precious to them. All I had left of my grandfather was a gold watch he had given me before he died. No matter how bad off I had gotten over the years, I held onto that watch, as it always gave me great comfort. I had it in my pocket the day I got married; the day I was in a mine cave-in and thought my life was over – every important junction of my life.
About one year ago I found myself low on cash while waiting for my tax refund. I had a chance to score a large amount of pills and save some cash in the long run. I pawned the watch for the pills with every intention of getting it back with my refund. Like a true junkie I never got the watch out of hock. I spent the refund on more pills. I lost more than a watch that day, I lost my self-respect, and I knew for sure that my self-control was all but gone. Addiction makes all of us do things we would never have dreamed of.
Even though it took another year of addiction before I had the resolve to do something, the fact that I had traded the most valuable thing to me on earth for a handful of pills still haunts me to this day. I would give anything to have it back, but I know that it will never be. I became so sick of my life that I cut ties with my dealers in a manner that would never allow me to return. I was determined to put a stop to this or die trying.
Three days into withdrawals I was so lost and depressed. I started searching the internet for anything that could help me. I had used a lot of methadone off the street, I knew that was not a direction that I wanted. In-patient rehab was an absolute last resort that would have destroyed my job and hurt those around me. I was going to beat this thing or take my own life if I couldn't. I then came across the naabt.org forum. People there gave me direction. I found an excellent doctor (neurologist/psychologist (a gift from God for me) with a real understanding of addiction and Suboxone therapy. No games, no lies and no blind enthusiasm. He clearly explained what sub does, and told me, in no uncertain terms, that the success or failure of this treatment was up to me. Suboxone could only help me cure my addiction in the long run if I was determined to do so.
In terms of trading one addiction for another, my doctor explained it like this: ‘You are trading addictive behavior for medical behavior, and this therapy will give you the chance to address the true causes of your addiction’. He was correct about the behavior, if the drugs didn't kill me, then the people and places I had frequented eventually would have.
I was at death’s door when this therapy gave me my life back. I was in withdrawals for almost 7 days before my induction, and I knew that if this didn't work I was done for. I was very skeptical and didn’t believe all the sunshine stories about sub and how it changed people’s lives. Nothing is a cure-all miracle, but sub came as close to that as anything could for me. What it has done is given me the chance to lead a normal life without the ball and chain of addiction while I work on the true causes of my problem. I started Suboxone® treatment in February, 2006. From day one, I have had no withdrawals or cravings to return to opiates.
At first I didn’t care for NA, but I’m now finding more value with every session I attend. It’s comforting to know that you’re not the only person who has gone down this path. I started, as I find many have, purely recreational as an escape from my own anxiety. How easy it would have been to find something else to help me besides drugs.
I’ve realized that even though Suboxone has given me a new chance and I’m on the right path for recovery, there are some things my addiction has changed forever. I’ve been in jail, lost valued relationships over drugs, but that damn watch will be with me until the day I die.
Some things can never be fixed, so try your best to fix those you can. Look around you and see what is important to you, because those are the things addiction will strike at the hardest. Only people who have experienced the hell of addiction can relate to this.
If you’re reading this and have never used drugs, please take it from me "there is nothing at the end of that road but loneliness and heartbreak". If you have just become addicted or have been an addict for years like myself, please seek out the sub therapy and get your life back before you lose the things that are most precious to you. If you have just started or are thinking about starting Suboxone, please give it a fair chance and work closely with your doctor. We are all different and respond differently to the therapy. But I have to believe if it can work on someone like me then it can help almost anyone.
To suppress the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal, enabling the patient to engage in therapy, counseling and support, so they can implement positive long-term changes in their lives which develops into the new healthy patterns of behavior necessary to achieve sustained addiction remission. - explain -