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Post Info TOPIC: Suboxone and sobriety


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Suboxone and sobriety


I'm new on this forum, more of an old-timer AA person, whose drug of choice was alcohol, and secondarily marijuana.  Been sober and straight 29 years.  So I don't know so much about the NA world and its various addictions and recovery methods.

I have a high school friend whose son went through some sort of rehab and is now on suboxone.  I was asking how he's doing [they don't live nearby, and I've never met him], and if he's been continuously sober/clean.  That's when she told me about the suboxone.  I just did a little bit of reading on the 'net.  It sounds like, technically, I wouldn't consider him to be sober, though I can appreciate that his life is dramatically better.  He apparently goes to some meetings, though I don't know if he has a home group or a sponsor, or if he's doing anything with the steps.  Sounds like he could use a sponser who's been down a similar road and has since gotten off suboxone.

My first question is, would the general wisdom in NA be that he is not, in fact, technically sober/clean?



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Hello and welcome to MIP!! Congrats on your clean/sober time..it is a blessing.We have a pamphlet #29 that gives you all the information on using substitute medications in Narcotic Anonymous.I m sure it would be helpful for you.You can just Google "NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS Bulletin # 29 AND IT WILL COME UP!!There are debates about medication use/and service positions/sharing etc.Each group is autonomous and many proceed differently.I know in this area(upstate New York)some AA meetings shun clean/sober statements and a lot of them are not thrilled about andas(alcoholic and a addict),the "disease of addiction(no such thing)" considered only a symptom of and not a disease and so on.. Taking the information directly from World' leaves little room for misinformation.Remember our 3rd tradition tells us the only requirement for membership is the "desire" to stop using/(AA )drinking( an unmeasurable quotient desire),Hopefully the boy is working his program to the best of his ability and will soon seek to reach'total abstinence' from any mind altering mood changing chemical).Literature tells us that those who think  sponsorship is important get the most out of the program.....Others will stop in to share their views,nice meeting you.. smile

-- Edited by MIKEF on Tuesday 25th of January 2011 03:02:41 PM

-- Edited by MIKEF on Tuesday 25th of January 2011 09:17:59 PM

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      Hello, my name is Gregg and I'm an addict. To answer short and sweet, I don't think anyone who follows the steps and traditions of NA would consider your friend to be clean.  If you think about it, he or she is just substituting.  They are still attempting to fill the hole with drugs.  Granted, methadone and suboxone usually do what they were intended to do, and that is to lower the crime rate and to somewhat manage the addicts intake.  However, the drugs they are taking are still masking their feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc.  From this perspective, they are definitely not recovering. 
      Also, we should remember that we cannot measure someone else's desire to stop using.  We cannot make that decision for them.  If they choose to be at a meeting, whether they are actually clean or not, should be considered a blessing.  However, they definitely should not be holding any service positions. 
      Thanks for letting me share. 

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suboxone has more to it that a substitute for opioids i am a cronic pain suffer and that is what i take to help the pain it acts like anabuse for opiates make an informed decision on it merits i myself cand see how it can help

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I can't determine whether someone is "clean".  It's not for me to determine one's clean time.  I only know that today I am clean.  Remember it's progress not perfection.  It's not for me to judge.  If there's an improvement in one's life, I believe that's progress.

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After participating in many discussions similar to this one it is my opinion that "clean time" is essentially a personal thing.
Many addicts in recovery take prescription meds that have a mind or mood altering affect.
Yet they consider themselves clean and in recovery. Whose to say that someone who used to shoot heroin daily and stole to support his habit isn't clean when now he takes suboxone and holds a job?
This to me is one of the big conundrums in NA vs. AA.
You see there is never a 'good reason' to drink. It's simple ....no alcohol ever.
but in NA there is a whole booklet and many discussions on how you should use prescription medications and still be "clean".....and with good reason.... I mean who is going to suggest that someone who just had an organ removed in surgery shouldn't use pain killers?
So if going on some maintenance program works for you....then go for it.


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We all have our own journey, as long as we are on the path to recovery that's all that matters, getting clean is a process and we do what ever it takes to achieve our goals......

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This is a very interesting conversation for me. It is different from AA isn't it? I mean, the way I view any medication is differently than the non-addict. If I get a prescription for a cough medicine, I always hope there is some mood-altering substance in it. Does that mean I should never take cough medicine? I don't know. Maybe it does.
For me, and remember, I am completely new at this and have like virutally no clean time on my side, it really comes down to intent and desire.

Example, I had my gall bladder removed a few years ago. I was in such intense pain for 2 days following that recovery. The air they had blown into my system was up in my shoulders and I felt like I was dying (I have had 3 kids without pain meds, so I do have a high pain tolerance). Anyway, I took the meds every four hours just to survive. When I knew there was a difference was the moment I probably could have gotten by with motrin, and I instead opted for the hydro. Up until that moment, the hydros only purpose for me was pain relief--put me out of my misery.

Now I know this is completely different, as what this boy is going through is detox or rehab so it is incredibly different. I am just processing the topic of using meds of "real" reasons to myself. I think we all know when we are really trying to "fool" ourselves into believing we need something.

Now, I have told my doctors that I have an issue with any narcotic and that they should not prescribe it for me ever. But you better believe if I am in a car wreck and lose a limb, I will not care what they give me, as long as I am not screaming in pain. And I have a feeling that ibuprofen won't do me a bit of good at that point. :)



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Thanks, all.

By way of background: I had little understanding of what sobriety really meant when I came out of rehab in '80. I knew I'd hit bottom with alcohol and desparately didn't want to drink, but thought I was a social pot smoker. So, I didn't drink, went to meetings, and, after a while, dabbled here and there. That progressed beyond anything I ever imagined. So, I hit bottom again with that after 13 months and changed my sobriety date.

So, I know a little bit about substituting. It became clear after while that I wasn't sober at all during that period, even with the nightmare of daily drinking behind me. Things were much better, but I was sort of bouncing along the bottom.

Question # 2: I've also been told that he's attempting to wean himself off of suboxone. With what little reading I've done, it seems that can be pretty risky. Any suggestions on that?

-- Edited by BillW15 on Thursday 27th of January 2011 11:49:24 PM

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Hey BillW15(must have been a kick in the other fellowship huh!!!)ANYWAY ONLY SUGGESTIONS HERE ARE LET MEDICAL ISSUES AND DECISIONS BE MADE BY MEDICAL PEOPLE!.There are always dangerous situations that can occur from improper use or detox from medications!!Thanks for sharing and lettin us know you little better...peace.smile

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Hi,
My online name is metermaid. I am a recovering addict. I have been clean from oxy 15's
since September 3, 2010. The reason that I am off of the oxy's is because of suboxone.
I do not believe one could say that that young man you are referring to in your message is clean, but substituting suboxone for his drug of choice, well he certainly isn't doing that
either. Suboxone is used to ease the withdrawls.  It is also used to keep one from using his/her drug of choice. There is no high, no uphoria, no buzz whatsoever. you just do not feel the physical withdrawls much. Suboxone didn't do much for the mental things going on, atleast that is how it was for me. The paranoia was very very bad, closterphobia was bad, and anxiety was at an all time high, and insomnia was real real bad for quite some time. I did not substitute suboxone for the oxy's I was addicted to, and why would some people writing here be so quick to judge the kid or anyone else as doing so. We do what we have to to to kick the addiction, hoping the suboxone will help ease the withdrawls, even though we know that the opium in it is just as addicting or more as the drug we kicked.The first time I tried to get off I made it 8 days with no medication to help, and did not make it.Ten minutes after I took suboxone again the withdrawls were gone. The withdrawls were the worst thing I ever went through in my life. I have been off of suboxone for three weeks now. I was able to get off with the help of a drug called clonidine. It is a blood pressure medicine also used for heroin withdrawls. With clonidine, there were very few physical withdrawls. The only thing that was really bothersome was the restless arm thing, and for some odd reason that usually always came on at night. I'd say to the kid on suboxone: if you are able to get the presciption available from a doctor and can get on the suboxone maintance program, just go with it. The time will come when it is time to wean off, and you will know it! Then your doc can ease you off real real slow. As for people who like to do God's work and stand up and be judge of us,  I say, take a deep breath, let it roll off and away. Continue to do what is working and at this time, do what is best for you.  


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lorraine heffley


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Hi,
I know several people who are addicts holding service positions, and they do quite well.
Do you think you could pick an addict out of a crowd of service workers, or any crowd for that matter? Addicts are everyday people like you and I, who have jobs, (sounds like you would be really surprised at the positions addicts hold, and can maintain really well)
By saying that addicts should not hold service positions, how have you come to that opinion? Everyday people are addicts! Police officers, lawyers, nurses, doctors, teachers, housewives, barbers, husbands, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, ministers, and that's only a minut example. Some people become addicted because of severe physical pain. Most feel so bad inside, they just want to feel better and drugs can sure do that. People get addicted physically to the drugs and also to the habit of just using. I am interested in how you see addicts and how you stereotype who and what they are? Some would see a dirty,(maybe homeless, maybe not) ragged man on the street, that's had no access to a shower or clean clothes and be afraid and think he must be on the dope or be a drunk. I say B.S.! He could be walkin the street looking for food for his homeless family whose ran into tough times and no option but to live in their vehicle. Looks can be very deceiving! 

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lorraine heffley


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thank you all for your replies...I am billw15's friend and the mother of the man on suboxone. I appreciate all your comments, as it was a question I was also wondering about. my son is certainly doing better since his rehab last summer, and the suboxone and anti-anxiety drug that are now prescribed to him seem to be keeping him functional in his life and in our family. he is able to get up and go to work each day, help around the house, and hang out with the rest of us in a pleasant manner. all of which is a blessing to all of us. he is also a contributing member of our household, which is something he wants do.

he was a prescription drug addict for ten years, so my assumption is that he will be physically recovering from that for a while, perhaps at least a year, so I am happy the suboxone can help him not be attracted to the lifestyle he was formerly living.

I, too, was concerned about his self-weaning. he has a tendency to think he knows more than the professionals, having lived with and learned the hard way about his drugs of choice, unlike most of them. I think what he is doing now is a lot less dramatic than some of the other things he's done. still, I would prefer he follow his prescribed routine. I think he is trying to save some up in case the program is suddenly unable to provide it for him. (for instance, not that this is his thought, but what if there were a national disaster--I doubt addicts would be top of the list of people to be concerned about. in which case, his current actions could help with his future survival.).

although my preference would be for him to be totally clean and healthy, and I hope that is a goal of his, the relief we feel now that he is alive and well at home is so great, I would gladly accept the suboxone use for as long as he feels he needs it. would that be considered enabling? (since he lives at home with us.)

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No words of wisdom here, I am new to recovery myself. I just wanted to say Thanks for having this conversation, for I am learning much. Peace.

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Hello Lorraine and welcome! As it has been stated BULLETIN #29 WORLD ORGANIZATION OF NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS,bulletin puts this out.  We have not come to an opinion,it is literaure written from the Organization...It has been an issue of debate for a very long time,such as Clarity Statement,versus,11th tradition and many other debates.Each NA group is autonomous and they figure out how they do things as long as it doesnt affect NA as a whole.Check out the bulletin if you havent read it and see the reasoning behind it.I have a 24 year old son who is and has been a hard core heroin abuser since he was 17.He is now on 125 mg's of Methadone after suboxene didnt work for him.Is it better that he is not terrorizing the neighborhood,od'ing,and in and out of jails ,institutions and even ,death(revived from shock) to get his next fix and able to function in a more "normal" manner.I would say yes.Will his (if he chooses detox from Methadone be brutal,yes it will) but we all are responsible for our own recoveries.I didnt see anyone here saying you can't hold positions but I do know what WORLD STATES THRU THEIR BULLETIN.#29....Literature also tells us as times change so will certain things,use of substitue medications,especially with the advent of subs,Im sure will bring WORLD a different outlook compared to the past over oncoming years....We are not here to judge,we are here to help each other in a loving and caring manner...NICE TALKING WITH YOU.HAVE A BLESSED AND PRODUCTIVCE DAY!  smile

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Hi,
Gregg R. stated in his message when talking about addicts: "However, they definately should not be holding any service positions." That is why I included this in my message.
Some can maintain a somewhat normal life as an addict, while others just can't. It just depends on the person. I was prescribed dexidrine for ADHD and it calmed me down mentally. I did not continue with it because I was afraid of the long term effects it would have. Someone else taking dexidrine would have been totally wired. Different drugs do different things to differeent people! Methadone makes it where a person can maintain, but is a hard drug to get off of, it just takes a lengthy amount of time. I have heard alot of people say that methadone gets into the bones, so to totally get off of it and get it out of the system takes time, depending on the amount taken and the amount of time on it.
At a methadone clinic in a nearby city, people would drive an hour or more to get their methadone. Some were taking as much as 350mg. and then driving back home, and this was on a daily basis. I was floored at the thought of them driving. But maybe as the body gets use to the amount, it all adapts. That methadone clinic is big business, cause they only take cash. The suboxone use is big business now, unless one has insurance that covers it. Alot pay $600- $700.00 per month for suboxone out of their pockets.I heard they are doing away with the tablets that can be broken up, and will just have the tongue strips.

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lorraine heffley


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metermaid wrote:
Hi,
I know several people who are addicts holding service positions, and they do quite well.
Do you think you could pick an addict out of a crowd of service workers, or any crowd for that matter? Addicts are everyday people like you and I, who have jobs, (sounds like you would be really surprised at the positions addicts hold, and can maintain really well)
By saying that addicts should not hold service positions, how have you come to that opinion? Everyday people are addicts! Police officers, lawyers, nurses, doctors, teachers, housewives, barbers, husbands, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, ministers, and that's only a minut example.
I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing:  When we say "service positions" in NA/AA, we're talking about inter-group positions within the fellowships, such as GSR [General Service Representative], that, by their nature, "affect other groups and NA/AA as a whole."  We're not talking about everyday service-oriented jobs, such as police officers.  I'd say the cited pamphlet gives sound advice, and I'm sure I could find a similar quote in an official AA publication.  It's a guideline meant to protect the integrity of the fellowships.  It would be risky to have people of questionable sobriety representing an individual group to other groups, or representing NA/AA to non-NA/AA entities.  You wouldn't want someone considering coming to NA/AA to get an unfavorable or distorted impression of the fellowships, nor would you want someone considering coming to your particular NA/AA group from another group to get an unfavorable or distorted impression of your group.

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Being clean I would define as freedom from active addiction. Or so thats what NA literature states. Suboxone gets you high. People on suboxone don't have any idea what being clean even feels like. They have been high for so long that narcotics only make them feel normal. They have no idea what it takes to stay clean because they are not clean. 



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I know this thread is a couple years old, however, it was the first site that popped up when I searched "suboxone and sobriety" and I wanted to post in case anyone else reads an old thread.  While I realize I am about to be somewhat hypocritical in taking an issue with people being judgemental, while also being judgement, I need to say something.  The people who say suboxone isn't recovery have no idea what they are talking about.  These people are pointing fingers and they have no right to do so.  Furthermore, none of these people have any idea what they are talking about, at least that is my impression.  Basically, it sounds like a bunch of ignorant people making judgement calls for something they know nothing about.  This includes that bulletin #29 that some people, or the same person, keeps mentioning.  I am sick of this superior attitude that people who aren't on replacement therapy have "real suboriety" which translates into "better sobierty" because they aren't taking a perscribed medication.  Granted some people who are on suboxone aren't free from active addiction because they aren't taking the medicine as perscribed or are getting it on the street instead of from a doctor.  Unless you have actually taken suboxone you cannot say, with any credibility, that subxone is just subsituting one drug for another, blocks feelings, people are still trying to fill a hole with a drug, and whatever other nonsense people have been spewing.  Suboxone doesn't get a person high, there is no euphoria, it doesn't block emotions and feelings and it isn't substitution in traditional sense where a person simply changes their drug a choice and still have the same behaviors.  When used correctly, suboxone allows a person to stop using, stop withdrawals, change addictive behavior, learn how to have fun and make friends while not under the influence of drugs, and a variety of other positive changes.  Suboxone also isn't an easy way out because it is not nearly enough.  If people want to stay sober while taking suboxone they need to work hard at changing themselves.  There is a HUGE difference between physical dependence and addiction.  Diabetics are physically dependent on insulin, people are physically dependent on blood pressure medicine, on heart medicine, and on mental health medicine, most of which has mood altering chemicals.  Furthermore, just because something is an opiate doesn't automatically make a person using.  It really is no different than any of the other medications and conditions I listed.  Is a diabetic not sober because they are physically dependent on insulin?  I highly doubt anyone would make such an outragous claim.  How about people who are on Benzos, pain killers, and ADHD medicine, never abuse those addicting drugs, take them exactly as perscribed, and have changed their addictice behaviors still using?  How is Naltrexone any different than suboxone.  Even though Naltrexone doesn't contain any opiate combonent it helps with cravings and it blocks opiates, just like suboxone.  Despite what some people in 12 step programs want to think, there is no better way to stay sober and people need to stop being so superior by looking down on others who choose different tools to stay sober.   



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I think that the important thing to keep in mind is that NA literature states "drug replacement" is not clean. It may work for people and they are free to go do whatever they need to. Its just not considered clean in NA According to the literature. NA is offering a solution that starts with complete abstinence. They welcome people who are still using in their meetings because abstinence is not a requirement for membership. However they consider being on drug replacement still using. You can lie to yourself, you can lie to your doctor, you can find other people telling the same lies but deep down we all know suboxone is not clean. It may save your life or make it better and thats great but you are still in the grips of addiction and your still getting high period.




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If you don't agree with 12 step programs approach like NA which is complete abstinence then don't go to the meetings. Its a choice. Duh...

 



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