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methadone, suboxone and brain chemistry
This is my first time here so I will tell you a bit about myself before I ask the question. I am a 59 year old female. I started shooting heroin in 1966 and was an addict for about 10 years at which time I got on a methadone maintenance program. I live in NY and I dont know about elsewhere, but here there was never any encouragement to ever try to get off. So, I ended up on methadone for, I am embarrassed to say, 33 years. I was 26 when I got on, am now a grandma of 2. Time just went by. I was totally sick of the program mentality, rules, needing permission to go on vacation, etc. and since I had not used drugs illegally for at least 15 years, I detoxed myself down to 20 mgs. a day and was at that dose for a few years. Three weeks ago I went 72 hours with no methadone and got switched to suboxone. I never thought it would work but by some miracle, it is working quite well. I hear alot of talk about suboxone being temporary and that people wean from in between 3-6 months. My question is this, and it has been depressing me lately thinking about it: Have I altered my brain chemistry to a point where it would be impossible for me to ever get off of opiates at all? I tend to think this must be the case. After 40+ years of opiate addiction, how could my brain ever get back to normal? I guess I can live with being on suboxone long term, but what happens if I ever need surgery or get a disease which is painful. Will I ever be able to get pain relief? I don't know what I was thinking  for 40 years, but this is all coming to me now and it is scary. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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271792 tn?1334983257
Welcome to the forum!

I was having a hard day and know where I am supposed to be, but didn't go. So I came on here which I have not done in many months...and WOW! Coincidence? No such thing.

I saw your post and had to talk with you. It seems we started using heroin at the same time. The same time the boys were coming home from Nam.

I too went on to Methadone and you are so right….there was never any talk of getting me off of it. I did that myself and only because I had an allergic reaction to the wafers. I ended up back on it 20 years ago and again….allergic to the liquid. I am just lucky I guess because I probably would have stayed on it.

I found myself addicted to pain medication years ago and last summer I went the Suboxone route myself. I did it for 16 days just to get me off those darn pills. It worked for me, again…..awful lucky. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I spent 41 years of my life high on some thing or another. Enough was enough.

I now am coming up on 11 months clean from the pills and 20 years heroin free. Did I do damage to my brain? I know I did but it is still better to function like this than to live in that drug haze. An opiate is an opiate and although my DOC may have changed, the feeling of wanting to be high never did.

Not to try and push Suboxone, because it is not for everyone, but I am a believer that if you had/have a long term drug addiction (and you qualify) then you are going to need a long term recovery. By the same token I gotta say that it is time to get to the root of the problem. Get the aftercare you need to find out why you spent your life high in order to cope. I work on that everyday because if I don’t address it, I am doomed to it.

Lady, I am not promising a bed of roses. It doesn’t work that way. But life is better. You are WELL on your way and I hope you stick with it and follow the program, reach out to other addicts and get all the help you can.

You helped keep me clean today just by sharing your story and for that I thank you. Please take care of yourself.

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OMG---I didn;t even read the post.....I just saw your name and could not stop smiling...
Now i will go read!!!

SO SO SO glad to see you here!!!
hugs
r2r
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401095 tn?1351395370
What a trip!....how goes it ibkleen?
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SO DAMN HAPPY TO SEE YOU!~!~!  
THIS IS AWESOME, JUST SEEING YOUR NAME HERE, LIKE R2R, I NOW HAVE TO GO READ THE POST, JUST HAD TO SEE IF ITS REALLY YOU!!
I LOVE YA LADY!!!
YOUR MY ROCK!!!
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your doing awesome hun...i am going to send you a PM (private message)
'i too am on long term suboxone,  i switched from methadone also...
you'll do great...
talk soon?
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Hi and welcome.I don't have any personal experience with the sub.I was on the methodone for a pain pill addiction for a little over a year.Like where you are,the clinics around here DO NOT encourage you to get off of it at all.In fact most clinics around here encourage you to stay on it that is as long as you have your payment for them every week.It's all about the money.I don't really have an informed answer for your question.I'm still learning more things about methodone.I have a few days over 5 months clean.I went cold turkey off of 25 mgs .Sadinmichigan has a great entry in her journal written by a doctor who treats people comming off of methodone.It's very informative,you should give it a look.I wish you all the best.Peace..............Kim
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OMG, how the hell did you detox from 25 mgs? I think it would have killed me. I give you all the credit in the world. I'm new to this site. How would I find Sadinmichigan's journal entry? You are right about the money thing. Here they start a rapid detox if you don't pay you bill for more than 2 weeks. It's horrible. But its the same with the suboxone. Doctor's charge ridiculous amounts for the visits then the pills are between $5-8 a pill. Thank god my insurance covers it. The meth clinic was only $25 a week so that wasn't too bad. I was just so sick of all the **** but I've been on too long. Don't think I can handle anything without it or some substitue. The sub seems to be working great so far except for this bad depression. Hopefully, it will lift. Thank you for your response. Peace back at you... Bev
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Lets just say it wasn't easy,but I did it.I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I also found all these wonderful people here and they helped me through every step of the way,especially sadinmichigan.She went cold turkey off of 65 mgs ,she just celebrated her 2 year clean date.Go up to the top of the page,under the inbox,and where it says search med help type in sadinmichigan.The entry is in her journal.The clinics work the same way here,except it cost 100 dollars a week,and my insurance didn't cover it.The only time they encouraged a taper was when someone couldn't pay.Then they insisted on a rapid taper and would boot people out within a week.I'm so glad to be done with that clinic.I'm happy the sub is working for you.There are alot of people here who know alot about it and will be able to help you with any questions you may have about it.Keep posting........Peace..........Kim
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I wish I had your strength. sadinmighigan's too. It's amazing you guys were able to do what you did. For me it would be impossible. Im 59 already, have alot of health issues also. But I was so sick and tired of the program. Having to ask some young kid counselor for permission to go visit my kid in another state p''d me off. A few years ago I was having severe panic attacks, strange feelings and heart pounding like I was going to die. A reputable shrink perscribed me klonopine .5 mg. I never took more than 1 at night EVER and still I had to hear her tell me I couldn't take them or risk my pickup schedule. It got to me eventually. Also, the stigma of being on a program was killing me too. I am not putting anyone down but you know that on a meth program you have alot of people buying it, selling it, doing pills. Just your general addict behavior. Don't get me wrong. That was me too 20 and 30 years ago but I'm beyond that.  I just needed to get away from it altogether. I'm too freaking old for that ****:). Thank god for the suboxone. Even if I do end up being on it a long time, I suppose its better than the program, better than dope for sure. Thanks so much for your responses. You are very helpful and very sweet.Bev

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582846 tn?1218644196
i give u credit bc im on 5mgs and i cant quit off it and i tried like 3 times and i always get though the week and i get to sick and i have a child that i have to take care of by myself and i just dont have the energy to get up to take of him so i jjust end up takeing alil sip and it starts right back to where i was and i dont know what to do  about it. im new to this site to and ive been clean from drugs except methadone for 3 years now. so if anyone can help so do i need all the help i can get.thanks
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