Suboxone is J’s best chance…

I know I have been very wishy washy about Suboxone being J’s answer. However, I am coming around to my faithful reader Jeff’s way of thinking. J has been clean for 3 months. I think it is working because he wants it to work. He seems highly motivated not to use and I think the Suboxone just aids in that resolve. We have had a few issues with trying a new substance but even that has been short lived when confronted. Xanax is not his friend. He has a doctor who will prescribe it and I want to hurt him….I mean literally I could punch him.

J has always been able to drink and not abuse it. I know red flags and bright lights are screaming from all my readers but J can drink at anytime…he has access to beer and wine everyday. I have only seen him have a beer or two at a restaurant every once in awhile. I have not seen him drunk since he was a teenager. J seems to be very singular in his addiction and I feel very lucky about that but maybe I am just kidding myself.  My gut tells me alcohol is never going to be a DOC for him. I think Xanax is very appealing to J because he can sleep so soundly. Xanax I worry about. I have noticed that as a commonality between all of our addicts…this inability to sleep easily or soundly.

Jeff left a link in comments to a great article . It is very long but totally worth reading. It certainly mirrors my thoughts on 12 Step Programs and other things. Suboxone can and has been a miracle for some. In the past it was not at ALL effective for J. He used Subs as currency to trade for opiates or to sell for money to buy more opiates. Suboxone is a HIGHLY sought after drug. What’s different right now is that J wants it to work. It’s that simple. So right now I pray every night that he continues to want sobriety. I no longer look at Suboxone as a temporary solution until he can find real sobriety. For J this is REAL sobriety. He is my son…the bright, handsome, intelligent young man I love. Now, if he can find a job or dare I say it: a career. Oh how dangerous this feels. Hope breathes again…hope is scary. Hope is wonderful!

PS…Please remind me of this lovely feeling if this all falls apart….again.

I want to add that there are a lot of bloggers out there going through some very difficult and challenging times. Please visit some of the blogs in my blog roll. Parents of addicts are not always able or willing to communicate what’s going on. I have  total respect for that, but I know it would mean a lot if we supported with some kind words and hope for their addict.


About madyson007

I am a mom of 4 who thought she was home free when my oldest son went off to college. My serious blunder? Genetics and being naive or maybe just plain stupid.
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27 Responses to Suboxone is J’s best chance…

  1. Annette says:

    Ive never understood why Suboxone would be used as currency. I know my girl did it too….would sell her’s to get what she really wanted. But it blocks the opiate receptors so they don’t crave and don’t feel high. So unless you are trying to get clean….what is the big draw? I am SO glad that its working for him. I think that it can really be a turning point for some people. It can give them a good taste of sober life and all that that can hold for them… and pretty soon, they want to continue in that life, enough that they are willing to do the work. Methadone scared me more Suboxone, but now that is my girl’s last resort. She has tried everything else. Let’s hope it works.

  2. Tori Lee says:

    B has been off and on Sub as well – not on for a very long time – but he would always go back to using. He said it made him feel funny and he was taking way less than the Dr prescribed.

    I know someone who has been on Methadone for 10 years on a very small dosage. He is very successful with a beautiful family and two children. His Wife never wants him to get off because she lived the hell his addiction caused. I don’t know what the answer is – is it better for them to be functional on methadone or the alternative.

    B has never brought it up – he is an anti methadone person and believes you are not sober unless you are off everything yet he can seem to do it.

    Oh and B’s old GF that he started using with was on Methadone for a couple of years and now completely off everything well over a year and B still uses.

    So hard to figure it out. I am on the fence about it.

    • madyson007 says:

      I know for J Suboxone was used to take an opiate vacation. Maybe he had probation coming up or was just so strung out that he needed a break. The beauty of Suboxone is you don’t have to feel the intense pain of withdrawals. I could tell when J was going to start using Suboxone because his pupils would get HUGE and he would start telling me he has the flue. He needed to get to that point before he could take a Suboxone but he would never have to go through any hard withdrawals….like the vomiting, pain, anxiety and paranoia.

  3. Jeff says:

    Sadly I don’t think any treatment can work if the addict doesn’t want sobriety. I just don’t see how it could. The problem is for many addicts they don’t want to use anymore. They want to get help only the treatment that is provided doesn’t help them no matter how much they want it. For the addict who wants to get well, Suboxone nearly always seems to work. When the addict wants to continue to use, nothing seems to work.

    Thanks for passing this along to your readers, Mady. I hope J both continues to want sobriety and to stay on sub. Another sad fact is most, at least many, who stop taking Suboxone relapse – even after many years. I believe J needs to be on at least until he is 30.

    • Annette says:

      Maybe it’s called something in your state. It’s welfare medical coverage. We went broke trying to keep her off of public assistance. When she aged out of our insurance we gave her the choice to be a disabled dependent and stay on our health coverage and she said no…she wanted to do it this way.

  4. Annette says:

    Something different*

  5. Jeff says:

    Sadly cost can be an issue and many insurance plans put all sorts of restrictions on it – including only paying for a year or two, etc. Part of that comes from back in 2002 when it was first approved the plan/hope was to have someone on sub for months to a year and then stop. Some still think that’s what should be done. We’ve now clearly seen that for some perhaps many, they need it for life. But change takes time.

    It costs about $8 per strip in many places of the U.S. and some take two strips a day. That gets very expensive – about $6,000 a year just for medication – plus doctor visits, drug tests, etc. sobriety can be expensive. Thankfully we’ve also found that while some patients relapse if they stop, they can taper to much lower doses and still get the same effect and do great. Many do fine on 1 or 2 mg a day rather than 16. That cost is $30 to $60 a month for meds.

    Hopefully J gets a job and. Can then afford it or get insurance to cover it. I don’t want to get your hopes to high but it can be done. Many others have. It’s his age that is most against him now.

  6. Jimsie says:

    Sadly, he is just prolonging his addiction. Subs are not the answer. Mark my words, five years from now you will still be singing the same tune, provided he is alive. Until he gets real with himself, nothing will work. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You can tell yourself that subs are the answer, but replacing one drug with another never works long term. Get real, before it is too late. You may get a few months or years without the drama of drugs, but when it come all rushing back, and it will, it won’t be pretty, and he will be that much older and further behind in life. You are listening to Jeff? Seriously? Why not listen to a recovered addict that really walks the walk? There are plenty like me out here.

    • madyson007 says:

      I don’t believe there is a chance in hell that a 12 step program will help J with his addiction. So umm….the alternative is SUBS unless you have a better suggestion? You walk the walk well thats great but I swear on my grandmothers grave AA/NA will NEVER BE HIS answer. I know this with every fabric of my being. Subs may not be his answer either but it’s better than just existing.

      • Annette says:

        First Jeff…can you explain why subs would be so valuable on the street? They are an opiate blover….why would an addict want the?
        Second….I think lots of people get sober lots of different ways. I personally love my 12 step program. However I am addicted to people, not drugs. My 12 step program HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. My daughter also finds a lot that resonates with her in 12 step meetings….but has not found sobriety there, despite MULTIPLE rehab stints and 100’s of meetings. IF Suboxone or methadone is her buffer to sobriety then so be it. I will happily take it! It’s better than dying in some filthy room, alone, with a needle in her arm.

      • Annette says:

        Sorry….new phone. An opiate blocker…why would an addict want that?

  7. Jeff says:

    Annette, it’s been my belief for a long time and that very long but incredibly well written article in the Huff Post seems to also say that it’s popular on the street because for most addicts the party stopped long ago. No one takes sub to get high with the possible exception of someone taking it for the first time. Sub will not get you high – it simplly will not. It’s really hard to get in to see a sub doc or get the medication legally. Make anything hard to get and an underground market will spring up on the street. Ever hear of prohibition? Sadly the government never seems to learn this. That’s why its valuable and addicts admit this in the article.

    As for Jimsie, I’m so very glad you asked. I AM a recovering opiate addict. I’m now 51 and have been 100% clean on sub for 5 and a half years! Not a single slip. Not one! 5.5 YEARS!!!!!!!! Second, I can’t comment on 12 steps with anything but opiates. It may well work for alcohol and other things I don’t know. What has been clearly proven is 12-steps do not work with opiates. It’s pure science and statistics. The opite success rate with. 12 step recovery is about 10% – which is about the Same rate iof cold turkey just stopping. 12-step programs for opiates are a revolving door. People try dozens of times and when that treatment fails it’s the patients fault! How crazy is that? If heart surgery fails is it the patients fault? If chemo fails is it the patients fault?

    Now let’s look at the stats from sub treatment. That success rate is more like 50% and sometimes more. 1 out of 2 stay clean versus 1 out of 10! There are more studies showing this every day. Yet we keep clinging to the failed 12 step programs expecting different results. I don’t do the research. I don’t make up the results. I can just read and learn from them.

    Jim I would so strongly suggest you read the article link maddie posted. It is all about you and people like you clinging to the 12 step failure. Again, I want to be very, very clear here. I am not saying all 12 step fails. It well may but I don’t know that. It may work for some types of addiction but in opiates it fails 9 out of 10 people. If you got lucky enough to be one of the 1 in 10 that’s great for you. It’s the other 90% I. Worried about. And you say sub will bring death? Oh you could not be more wrong. Areas that have implemented and studied sub programs report death rates dropping in large numbers after a sub program. If a patient takes sub as prescribed it is a near 100% guarentee they will not die if an opiate overdose. Can 12-step make this same claim? Sadly many die with in days of 12-step treatment. J has his best shot at living on sub. He likly will die if he relies on only 12-step for treatment – just like thousands and thousands of others.

    Again, I’m very happy Jim brought this up. I’m happy to further discuss it with anyone. My only requirement is you read the article that this thread is about first. It’s not about what you or I THINK – it’s about the science and research! Argue the statistics and the facts – not what you FEEL.

    Again I’m living proof – 5.5 years without one single slip. I might add Sub was my first and ONLY treatment 5.5 years sober success on the first try. 12-step simply can’t stack up – not with apioates anyhow.

    • Annette says:

      Thanks Jeff. I did read the article over a year ago….will read it again. That totally makes sense. My daughters addiction is no longer “fun” so I can totally understand someone trying to detox or stay clean seeking out subs. Also I will say that in my opinion, my experience, is that 12 steps AND Suboxone or methadone, vivitrol, treatment/therapy would be very beneficial IF the 12 step purists could allow these young addicts to find their way without program guilt and condemnation being slung all over the place. I think the medications help with the physical brain disorder aspect of their addiction and the 12 step work teaches them coping and life skills. My understanding though is that recovery is a process of self discovery. That process looks different for everyone.

    • Annette says:

      Wait, I think this is a different article…..sorry. Heading over to read it now.

    • Sidda says:

      Jeff, are you ever planning on getting off the suboxone? I’m only asking because my son is in drug court and has done well for 2.5 years on the suboxone but is required to be off the suboxone before he can graduate drug court. He should have graduated seven months ago but is being held back because of taking suboxone. Crazy right? I wouldn’t care if he was on the medication for the rest of his life. The county I live in is the only county that will not let people graduate using this medication, the two other counties close to me allow people to and I spoke with them and they feel that it is ridiculous to hold someone back because of medicated assisted treatment.

      • madyson007 says:

        I don’t think it is just ridiculous….I think it is tragic, even criminal. It scares me that a county has that power.

      • Annette says:

        That is a perfect example of the lack of education the “experts” have. That is so awful!

      • Jeff says:

        I hate to keep pushing everyone read this article but again Sidda this exact situation is included. There is also a video where a drug court judge says she won’t allow “Suboxin” for drug court. She seats rehab often takes 10 to 15 tries to work but then says “it’s the best we have” its crazy to have non medical people making these decisions. Hell they even show a sign in the video hanging in the court that’s says “Suboxin is not allowed in drug court” they can’t even spell nor pronounce it correctly! It’s crazy that if you don’t want a criminal record drug court won’t allow you to use sub to do that. It’s crazy. Thankfully the tide is turning in all of this due to huge success with sub. It’s just taking a long time

        As for me I was on a taper to stop sub. I’m down to 1 mg a day and do just as well on this dose and feel much better. The thing is, even as well as I’ve done my risk of relapse hoes up if I syop. So why should i? I’m on a dose that costs $30 a month for medicayion. I see the doc four times a year. I feel great and my life is going awesome. Everything has returned for me. Should I really risk it? I may at some point give it a try. I may not. For now I’m staying at 1 mg a day and have my entire life back.

        Now, finally for all sorts of reasons anyone under 30 should not stop sub. That’s my opinion and it’s shared by many experts. Same with one year of treatment for those over 30. The relapse rate is again huge for those stopping with less than a year under their belt.

        Hope that answers your question.

  8. Jeff says:

    Yes, the article is new and only came out about a month ago. I very much agree that some form of support and counciling is needed in addition to sub. 12 step may be a good option for that but as you say not if they will be forced or guilted off of sub. I’m not sure if counciling, etc., helps as much after the first year or two but most certainly early on its huge – especially to teach and help addicts learn about addiction. It is interesting, however, that especially after some sober/clean time while on sub, studies seem to show that sub patients also getting counciling or doing 12 step do no better than those doing sub only. In other words sub alone seems to still result in sobriety – where 12-step alone does not (EXECPT for 10% of patients).

    • Annette says:

      The article was so informative. I have shared it with several people and really appreciate Maddies posting it. Really an education into the science behind the addiction and recovery. To address your comment about people on Sub’s not doing any better with or without counseling…..that makes no sense to me. I am not trying to be argumentative at all….but the drug use is a symptom of something else. Rarely is it solely because someone is “just” an addict. There is almost always some precursor to the addictive use. Be it mental health issues, lack of positive life skills, abuse, poor self esteem….on and on I could go. There was a reason that first time picking up to numb ones self was initiated. Until they learn new ways to do life, be comfortable in their own skin, cope and manage and take personal responsibility for their own happiness and life….it seems to me that relapsing would look pretty comfortable and easy to fall back into.

    • Mary says:

      Since subs worked for you I have a question….My son was on them and I think they helped him get started and then I would say he pretty much went cold turkey….. so where one ‘treatment’ starts and another begins is blurred. I think he was on for maybe three or four months, but along with that script he was given ones for Atavan and Florazapan…… and seemed incredibly ‘high’…. more than when he was using. I counted his pills and doled them out which I think sort of pushed him along. Its all just academic now….. but for my own knowledge would like to know if that seemed a good way? I know since he is an adult we were not privy to all the medical information but it did seem to us somewhat odd and in retrospect I cannot help but question the method even if I am happy with the outcome.

      • Jeff says:

        Mary, What you are describing is not common and sadly very much the opposite of what many doctors do. If all of this addiction stuff is not bad enough, there are docs out there that have little clue what they are doing. Do you know what they call the guy who graduated dead last in his class in medical school and barely passed but somehow did graduate? They call him DOCTOR!!!

        Many docs will not even allow a patient to be on a benzodiazapine while taking suboxone. Ativan is a benzo as are Valium, Klonipin, Xanax and others. Sub is a very safe drug nearly impossible to overdose on by itself. Where there is danger is when other drugs like benzos are taken. It can be dangerous and is very likely why your son appeared altered. It was not the sub it was Ativan with the sub. Not a good idea.

        It’s also not a good idea to only be on suboxone for only a few months. Many feel one year is minimum and or until the patient is 30. I’m guessing your son didn’t meet either of these.

        Is he clean and sober now? Does he have drug tests to prove it? I’d be surprised if he is. If so, that is great and he has really beat the odds. He also remains at huge risk for relapse. That’s just pure statistics. I’d have him take a drug test to be sure if you can. As most here and certainly Mady can attest to, it’s hard to stay sober from opiates.

        Hope that helps!

  9. Mary says:

    Nothing builds on success like success….I am so happy that Suboxone is working for J and every day the scales tip further and further in his favor.
    I wish I had kept a journal of my sons experiences… so much of it is a blur….. and they are not memories I care to revisit if I do not have to. He was on Suboxone for several months, I would absolutely say it was the catalyst for him to be able to move forward. It is somewhat convoluted in that along with the Suboxone he was given Atavan (2mg 4X’s a day) and 2 Florazapans for sleep “as needed”….LOL… the crazy part was for the first weeks he was more drugged out than I had ever seen him…… the doctor assured us that was normal, and he would probably be on Suboxone for life. The cynic in me questions the whole medical process and profit making… but that is an issue for another day…. Since he was living in our home I was in control of the medication. I think he weaned off it more because I was in the picture…… meddlesome mothers can be a major pain in the ass.
    Flash forward a year and things are good….our story is quite unusual but isn’t everyones?

    So… I give a big vote for the use of Suboxone…it seems to work for so many. And then everyone has to determine when they want, or can, cease using anything.

    Hopefully J will find things in life that give him joy and begin to value and use his abilities.

    Take care

  10. Mary says:

    I came across an article on a book and wanted to pass it along ….but silly me closed the page and now I can’t find it. Basically it was a review of a book “Chasing the Scream” by Johann Hari. You can find information on it with a quick internet search. It is a new and interesting take on addiction and since, in my humble opinion, the current model is such an abysmal failure it is one that might hold promise.

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