“I understood myself only after destroying myself. And while in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.”
For over 10 years now, I’ve been on Suboxone therapy—not exactly much of a “therapy”. I will say, I’ve found Suboxone to be somewhat of a cure for the physical symptoms. However, it does absolutely nothing for Rehabilitation!
This medication is a crutch to get by with—a temporary solution to a permanent problem…. Meanwhile, The DEA & FDA refuse to deal with the Opiate Epidemic! having no issue misusing their authority to
When it comes to the DEA & FDA, I believe there’s major flaws and corruption within the task force, or organization. The Food & Drug Administration places far too many unnecessary restrictions. However, these organizations haves track record of authorizing clearance on dangerous and toxic substances.
Unfortunately, for some people the hurt lies in the help, the temptation in the treatment. While this therapy has helped many, it’s also hurt many as well. Let me begin by telling my story of addiction, and explain how I believe Suboxone is a double edged sword. Having some thin lines between crutch, cure, and cause…
As the saying goes, “Sometimes, you have to fight fire with fire.” In this case it would be fighting addiction with addictive. Anyone who has struggled with addiction, especially opiate addiction knows firsthand how terrible it is! I can’t think of a word that could even sum it up into just one, because opiate addiction comes with many words to be labeled as.
My addiction began without Internet or understanding what was to come, only taking a little over a week of recurrent methadone use to become physically dependent. Before I even had a chance to begin understanding what was happening, it was too late!
My habit began back when I was about 18 years old, now going on about 12 years ago. I began dating a guy who was prescribed “Methadone” for pain management due to a severe car crash he suffered on his way home from work a few years prior. Well, the guy happened to be a longtime friend of my aunt’s, he was about 10 years older than me, making him 28 at that time.
After a long, messy breakup from the mother of his 2 daughters, he had returned back to Michigan from Arizona, and dropped in to see say “hello” to my aunt. As he dropped in more frequently, it became apparent it was more about seeing me, and less about catching up with an old friend.
One night, out of boredom, my aunt and I decided to hangout with him, and after some heavy drinking he’d offered us a couple of his methadone pills. This had been the first time I’d ever taken an opiate that strong , but was already so intoxicated that I couldn’t tell you much about the effects. The next morning i had a hangover, and a severe headache, waking up at his apartment.
Because of my headache, he had offered me a couple more methadone, which is when I first realized it’s overly strong effects—as I was nauseous, puking in the toilet, and soon enjoying my first time ever sleeping so sound! As someone whose struggled with depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, a little OCD, and bipolar—sleep had never come the easiest to me, often experiencing mania or restlessness. However, taking methadone, I could sleep for hours!
The first time I took methadone, I wasn’t thrilled about it other than the ability it gave me to sleep. Over the course of the next couple months, I’d developed a relationship with this guy, eventually moving in with him.
My opiate addiction started out with an intense want for methadone due to it’s effects I enjoyed such as good sleep, somehow a spike of energy it gave me, and an overall sense of feeling good. It was because of how good it made me feel that I began asking for it more. And within the course of taking it daily for a couple week period, is when the horror began!
It all became noticed this one time when he had ran out, and I found myself unable to take any methadone. During this time, I also found myself more restless than ever before, becoming extremely agitated that I was unable to get comfortable or fall asleep.
After an agonizing night of restless legs and body, tossing and turning without being able to sleep, still I had not put 2 & 2 together. It wasn’t until later that next day, when my ex gave me a couple “Morphine” pills he’d gotten, and I suddenly felt okay that I realized what was going on. I had become a unknowingly but willingly participant in my own opiate dependence!
Once I began to realize this, I was completely disappointed with myself because I knew this wasn’t going to be any kind of ordinary fight, or easy battle! Although, once I had experienced just a taste of not having opiates, I never wanted to be without them again! So it became a habit due to the enjoyment I felt when taking opiates, but also due to the discomfort I suffered when not taking them, and to avoid feeling that awful feeling at all costs.
As time began to go on, I was enjoying the high before ever considering the consequences. After being with my ex for a little over a year, he ended up going to prison for murder—which is a long story I will have to get into in another post—but once he went to prison I lost access to having opiates, and this is one the realization of what I’d gotten myself into had become apparent.
So here I was, not really chasing just a high anymore, but trying to subside the symptoms of opiate withdrawal—the sickness and pain that comes with it. Finally, I’d decided to join the “Suboxone Program” to avoid the sickness. And just like most addicts do, they’ll still continue to use when they can, but resort to treatment when they can’t. For about 2 years into Suboxone treatment I still continued to use opiates when available.
Then I’d been faced with being kicked out of my Dr office due to failure to comply with the program—maintaining clean urines, and keeping appointments since you’re only prescribed enough to last up until your following appointment. Not showing up to visits is pretty obvious you’re using, because when you feel that way you’re going to avoid it in any way you can—by keeping your Dr appointments when your medicine is due.
After enduring withdrawal for a few weeks, I’d finally found another Dr accepting my insurance for their Suboxone Program. However, being pregnant with my second child—high risk as it gets, especially with my first being born at only 23 weeks due to a hemorrhage, and incompetent cervix—this required me to take all preventative measures to avoid premature labor, which opiate withdrawal can cause.
With my first pregnancy, I was placed on the other brand of Suboxone, called “Subutex”, which is Buprenorphine, the main ingredient in Suboxone, along with Naloxene—the antagonist, an opiate blocker which is combined with the opiate, Buprenorphine to prevent it’s high-like effects. I was told there wasn’t enough research conducted on pregnant women taking Subutex. However, with Suboxone, the opiate blocker is said to have potential long-term effects.
Speaking of long-term effects, Suboxone carries it’s own list. Some effects aren’t listed on the drugs side effects, or they weren’t at the time I began taking Suboxone, since this medicine had been fairly new on the market. I will list the side effects in order of which they occurred, or were noticed…
- Severe headaches—told the “Naloxene”, the opiate blocker can cause this from the way it enters the pain receptors in the brain.
- An increase in acid reflux, which I’d had prior to taking the medicine but it became more frequent and severe.
- An extremely premature labor with my first child, said to be the result of an antepartum hemorrhage and incompetent cervix. However, having to take a medication like this during pregnancy to avoid fetal withdrawal will always raise questions in my mind.
- A sudden loss of enamel, and beginning of regular tooth decay. The decay begins from the inside of the tooth, starting at the gum line or root of tooth. This isn’t a reported side effect, but there’s many people dealing with the same consequences after taking Suboxone for a year or longer.
- Weakening of your bones, joints, and muscles. Not sure if this is a reported side effect, but it seems to have been one for me.
- Last but not least—chemical dependence. This is often given as a treatment to opiate dependence, but can also lead to physical dependence—because of it’s opiate properties from the Buprenorphine in it.
I’m sure there’s plenty of other side effects not listed, but this is what I’ve personally dealt with, or I’m dealing with now. Suboxone is similar to snake venom in the way that it possess the same chemicals—consisting of an opiate to treat opiate addiction. A way of treating withdrawal since methadone was first introduced for heroin detox and withdrawal.
Coming from someone whose taken both, I can’t really say which is worse because they’re both bad in the same way. However, Suboxone is advertised and pharmaceutically considered as a safer method to opiate addiction than Methadone. It’s said to have fewer side effects, but honestly I don’t notice a difference in neither. They are both long acting chemicals for the purpose of avoiding withdrawal.
The difference is that methadone is a synthetic opiate, while Suboxone consists of both an opiate protagonist and antagonist. With the combination of an opiate and opiate blocker, it binds to pain receptors to block out other opiates from being used in combination—leading to precipitated withdrawal if taken with an opiate. Since it basically blocks receptors, it will combat with any other opiates either taken before or after a certain time frame of taking the SUBOXONE itself.
It’s because of Suboxone’s long half-life in your body that makes it so effective, but for this same reason it also has it’s lasting side effects. Personally, it comes down to will and war—are you willing to wage war against your addiction? Only if you’re truly willing to stop using opiates. It comes down to a personal decision and a lot of soul searching.
Having an addiction is the biggest war you’ll probably ever face, because aside from the uncomfortable physical torment you experience, there’s a mental one, too. These substances cause so many chemicals in the brain to change, which is usually what leads to the addiction in the first place—that feel good kind of feeling, which leads to emotional warfare, extreme depression, and a disturbance in the brains chemistry.
Every poison has it’s purpose, but just remember; venom is toxic for a reason, because it’s deadly, but in the right hands it can become lifesaving in creating an antidote. Please, anyone who reads this, if you still have the chance to avoid chemical dependence, do it! One time of fun will forever be my biggest regret, and if I could take it all back then I would.
So please, learn to be a little more understanding towards those battling addiction—it’s not a choice, it’s a consequence. People don’t just wake up and decide to be drug addicts, things happen that lead them down this path. For most, it’s too late to take it all back, there’s no coming back because it took their life! If you know anyone who is battling addiction, my prayers go out to them. For those who sadly lost their battle, my heart goes out to their loved ones, and may they R.I.P
I will be attaching some links to this post about Suboxone, and some resources for those seeking help with their addiction. Be strong while you still have a chance to be, be willing before it’s too late for you!
Sometimes, it’s good to know you’re not alone, because having a support system can be the difference between help and hurt. I’m going to list a couple quotes I’ve found helpful during my struggle with addiction that helped me restore my faith.
- “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
- “I’m grateful I struggled so much. Because if I hadn’t, I might never have become the empathetic and courageous person I am today.”
- “The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” -Russell Brand