(Buprenorphine facts are taken from physician desk reference and the Suboxone.com website and the pamphlet that Subutex/Suboxone distributes. And other various research reference sites online. )
FINGER POINTING AND FALSE COMPARISONS
It has come to my attention that the belief systems running through NA and even AA are that if your on any kind of pain drug from your doctor or even a rehabilitation maintenance type drug such as buprenorphine then your “not clean & sober”. What I want to do here today is take a fair and balanced look at this issue and define what sobriety or clean and sober really is. I also want to take a look at each of a few drugs and point out the differences in how they do affect a person trying to rehabilitate from an abusive and addicted lifestyle.
What is the cure?
Firstly and foremost I want to say, and this trumps anything following that I have written. You have to feel if you want to heal. Therefore in recovery we must be able to do the steps with our entire emotions invested in the process for it to work. When we stop drinking and drugging there is a natural process of emotions in us that surface in perfect order. Stuff comes up from the past that we have ignored or stuffed down and repressed by using drugs and ignoring our emotions. If we are still numbing ourselves out we won’t be able to heal 100% by addressing our underlying issues and processing those issues.
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE BUT A SYMPTOM OF AN UNDERLYING ISSUE OR SICKNESS
Emotional disorder- is the inability to process our feelings. We, I tend to stuff down and put into denial my intense feelings of FEAR in the form hurt, anger, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, and the big one inferiority.
First I want to point out that addiction is due to underlying causes such as emotional and mental disorders. Some people think the disease is in our DNA and hereditary they may be right. But I believe it’s a learned behavior and the sex, drugs, gambling, food, alcohol are a solution to our deep fear, anxiety, and depression. The drugs eventually stop working and our cure becomes lethal to us. If we were emotionally balanced we wouldn’t need the steps the program or even God until our death…then we better have a relationship built with a Higher Power that can deliver us from death because we are all headed that way dope or no dope.
PEOPLE GET INJURED, SICK AND NEED PAIN MEDICINES FROM THE DOCTOR
We can be so sick or injured that if we don’t take our medicine our quality of life will be way worse than if we don’t. We mustn’t judge others for taking pain meds. Come what may some day karma may tap us on the shoulder with some excruciating and chronic pain from a sudden injury. To thine own self be true. We are not martyrs.
I think if a man does have to take pain meds he has a better chance at recovery if it’s later rather than sooner. Once you have six years under your belt sober I personally believe we don’t think with an addict mind anymore therefore we have a much better chance at following the doctors orders in sobriety.
WHAT IS CLEAN & SOBER?
Step One “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol (drugs) and our lives had become unmanageable.”
If there is an absence of un-manageability then ones life is manageable. If there is an absence of powerlessness then there is no issue…is there? Just like a gun can be used for a good purpose to protect our families they can also be used to murder and mame. A product in and of itself is not evil it is mans use of that product which defines weather it is good or evil. Even Heroin, morphine and cocaine are used for good purposes in hospital settings. And don’t think hospitals don’t use Cocaine I had jaw surgery and know better. They put cocaine on a long q-tip and went from nasal to throat cleaning it out.
Heroin; some scientists proclaim is a much better pain killer than Morphine however due to the prejudices and stigmas attached to it they use Morphine instead. If one labels an inanimate object “evil” just because someones use of it makes it evil that is called a prejudice. We can be prejudiced in our minds over any people, places, and things.
If I am addicted to pornography then the computer is my evil catalyst where-as if a scientist posts the cure for cancer on his science blog and it is used around the world then the computer is a wonderful tool that saves lives. These examples tend to apply to anything. Chocolate cake at a 5 year olds birthday party is something he will enjoy and look back on all his life. How his mother nurtured him emotionally with her positive attention. And yet to the obese man a chocolate cake is the evil which can kill him. Sugar is actually poison which WILL kill him.
Pot or Marijuana to some people is their evil. They abuse it relentlessly. Others do not. Hear me OTHERS DO NOT. Just because someone can’t take narcotics without abusing them doesn’t mean they can’t smoke pot responsibly. Pot is a drug that can be used reasonably in recovery in my opinion as long as you are not smoking it abusively and soberly work the 12 step program with a sponsor. Go to meetings 90 and 90 and all the other stuff suggested.
Say Johnny smokes some weed at night and then he goes during the day to meetings and works the steps. He is also seeking God with his heart and getting group therapy. He doesn’t smoke pot during or before his recovery appointments. He has stopped crack smoking and every other hard drink and drug he was doing. Please don’t tell Johnny he is not sober he is doing great and so much better than he was. He is a father to his children he is home at night. And don’t forget he has been on dope pretty much all his life. Having a cushion to keep his rage in check till he can work through his emotional issues is a plus. Don’t ask Johnny to go on anti-depressants just so he can be legal. Pot works for Johnny and is soon to be legal where he lives. Do you think that smoking cigarettes is a healthy recovery thing to do? Yet cigarettes are accepted among NA and AA members and don’t cancel out your recovery. Why would pot cancel -out your recovery if Nicotine doesn’t? Why would we judge Johnny as “not sober”, he doesn’t smoke cigarettes which are a drug also. Cigarettes are an unfair status-quo in the rooms. Cigarettes will kill you quick and are far more harmful than Marijuana if it’s smoked occasionally and not abusively. Most cigarette smokers smoke way too much but yet they are considered sober. And they are sober just not perfectly sterilized sober. Bill Wilson our co-founder of A.A. died from cigarette addiction as a matter of fact in the form of He died from emphysema and pneumonia. Why am a telling you this? To point out that even the best of the best have secondary addictions. For me it’s the internet and food. None of us are truly qualified to harshly judge others.
BUPRENORPHINE (SUBOXONE, SUBUTEX)
I have know people that used buprenorphine when they started recovery and weaned down and people who have had to start med well into their tenth or more year. Firstly if your on Suboxone which is buprenorphine and Naloxone combined don’t bother shooting it. The Naloxone is only effective for relatively 20 minutes just long enough to block your rush and initial effects. When the Naloxone wears off your drug works the way it is supposed to so as to reduce pain or cravings. Secondly they have developed both Suboxone and Subutex (both buprenorphine) with a ceiling…if you take more than 3 pills don’t expect to feel the fourth one BUT you can still OD on them. you just won’t get any higher than if you took 3. YOU CAN NOT GET ANY HIGHER ONCE YOU HAVE HIT THE BUPRENORPHINE CEILING.
Thirdly don’t expect Buprenorphine to get you high like an opiate the scientists have developed this PARTIAL OPIATE AGONIST so it won’t have the effects of a full blown agonist or “NARCOTIC”. Put simply the chemical Buprenorphine does go to your opiate receptors. However, picture your receptors with a closed door in front of them. When you take an opiate the door swings wide open and your receptors are drenched with the effects. With partial opiate agonists such as Tramadol or Bubrenorpine the door to your receptors only opens half-way so the receptors only get half as sedated.
Methadone works to keep Heroin addicts off the street, keeps them from having to steal and rob to get heroin however it is very strong and will stop the natural process of healing and recovery. So if methadone is used in the beginning of recovery it should be a temporary thing to ween off of eventually. Then it can be considered progress.
Alcohol is a drug. If you can sit down and drink 2 or even 3 drinks and stop every time. If drinking doesn’t make you want to use crack or shoot dope etc. then your obviously not an alcoholic. Personally I don’t know nor do any of the people I have asked know one dope fiend who is not also an alcoholic.
So as a rule if you want recovery you will have to stop drinking.
Bottom line we do the best we can. If we are working the 12 step program and our lives are manageable then we are clean and sober if we have not picked up our drug of choice and abused it basically.
“NOT ONE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICT WORKS A PERFECTLY STERILE PROGRAM WITH NO VICES”
Whether it be food, sex, sick relationships, gambling, cigarettes, weed, non-narcotic pills, wrath, violence, serial killing, wife beating, every addict in recovery tends to fall back on some vice or another. We all humans commit sin of some sort. We are human and I think we were created imperfect. Perfectionism will beat us down if we don’t get it in check. We will never be perfect and it is futile to struggle with ourselves relentlessly in a cycle of guilt and self-floggings that originated in our first addiction. When we get into that cycle we go to a meeting. “MOVE A MUSCLE CHANGE A THOUGHT”. WE MUSTN’T JUDGE OUR OWN INSIDES BY OTHER PEOPLES OUTSIDES OUR FELLOWS ARE SELDOM TRANSPARENT.