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Subutex and Suboxone Saved My Life

Subutex is a touchy subject with recovering addicts. They either think they’re better than you or you're “not clean and sober" if you're using a medication.

When I was a child I had big dreams. I wanted to be a teacher. Then as a teen, I decided culinary arts was my passion. Of course, like most of us, my dreams never come true. Instead, my life became a nightmare from which I could not wake; no matter how hard I pinched myself. In a million years I would have never dreamed of becoming a junkie.

My mother always told me I was, “too smart” to become an addict. After watching my parents struggle with addictions my whole life, I was determined to never do drugs. A medical diagnosis and a script for Dilaudid changed all that; so fast I didn’t have time to think about what was happening.

My name was on the bottle. Those pills belonged to me. I belonged to those pills.

I lost myself in those pills. I drove my kids around, high out of my mind. I lied and stole from the people I loved. I took part in typical addict behavior. If you’re sitting there saying, “I’m not that bad,” you ARE, and there will come a day.

I did things I swore I would never do. Eventually, my children ended up with their fathers, and I lost a man I loved from the depths of my soul.

How could something less than an inch in size control so much of me? At that point, I didn’t understand what was happening to me—what I was doing to myself. For six years I used any pill I could get my hands on. I tried quitting cold turkey and going through the detox from hell. I tried going to 12-step meetings every day for six months. I tried going to rehab. I tried relapsing. I tried getting hooked on heroin. The cycle started over and over again. I could never get past the six-month point. I didn’t understand why I worked so hard just to throw it all away. My dreams were shit. Dreams weren’t real.

Then one day I met someone who changed my life.

In my search for answers, I made an appointment at an outpatient clinic in a town about an hour away from where I lived. I was strung out on heroin and desperate to either die or find some miracle cure.

I participated in an intensive outpatient treatment program. The doctor there was a very intelligent man who explained my addiction to me in such a way that I finally got it. He got me. He understood me. He wanted to help me. That doctor changed my life in ways he will never comprehend.

We had to attend a group twice a week, 12 step meetings seven days a week, and meet with the counselor and doctor once a week. We also got a script for Subutex. This would make me the target of persecution for many years to come.

Subutex is a touchy subject, especially with recovering opiate addicts.

They either think they’re better than you because they didn’t “need anything” to stop using, or they suggest you’re “not clean and sober” if you’re using a medication to aid your recovery. I call bullshit on all of it for a lot of reasons. Type 2 diabetics take insulin for their disease. Are they weak for choosing to take insulin? Addiction is also a disease – a treatable disease. How we, as individuals, choose to treat our disease is a personal choice. What works best for one, may not work for another.

I tried everything else, and it didn’t work. People can judge me and try to say I’m less than, but I know my story. I know that I tried everything to the point of begging for a gun to end my heroin-induced misery. So, when a doctor suggested Subutex might help, I was on board. I did my intensive outpatient treatment along with a Subutex/Suboxone taper.

And I didn’t use. I didn’t get high on my Suboxone.

My life got better. I got my children back and married a man who loves everything about me. He understands what I go through as an addict. I was clear-headed enough on the Suboxone to really understand and process what my counselors and doctor were telling me. I am highly intelligent but try explaining “one day at a time” while I’m in a puking, shitting, insomniac withdrawal, and I will probably kick your ass, steal your keys and purse, and head to my dealer’s house.

Basic stuff didn’t work for me. My outpatient treatment paired with suboxone did—because I wanted it to. I was ready. There’s a certain point reached after trying to get clean so many times, where you know too much to try to act stupid. You know why you are where you are, and you know other people do too.

It makes me outrageously angry to see someone new to a group in a meeting who is taking Suboxone, hanging on by a thread trying to share, met with glares, rude comments and whispers.

Who the hell are other addicts to tell a person what’s going to work for them?

You are allowed to give suggestions.

You are not allowed to tell someone who or what they are.

Judging is not something addicts look good doing. We are all there for the same reasons—to share our experience, strength, and hope. I understand that some people abuse Suboxone; that some people believe it’s trading one drug for another. But not every person on Suboxone sees it that way.

Subutex and Suboxone saved my life. It’s not about the pill. It’s about everything else I get to do because of that pill. It’s about the choices I can make today because I’m not dead. I know Suboxone is not a cure. There is no cure for addiction. But I am alive because I haven’t relapsed. I get to wake up early as shit every morning to see my husband and children off to work and school. I get to clean up after them. I get to worry about trivial things. I get to dream. I get to hope. I get to have peace and faith. I get to feel even when I hate it. And I love every second of every minute of all of it…because I am alive.

Not because of a pill…. but because of what I chose to do with it. So from now on, before you judge someone using Suboxone, stop and think for a second about how far they had to go to get where they are. Think about how what comes out of your mouth could change their destiny. And most of all just love them.

Give them hope…

And eventually, they may fulfill their dreams.

This post was submitted by Jennifer.

**Please consult a medical professional before starting or discontinuing any medication.**

If you need assistance in finding a medical professional or detox facility in your area, please reach out and let us know. Visit our resources page for links to many recovery options.

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  1. HELL YES! Good for you and THANK YOU for sharing your oh-so important perspective! <3

    1. Omg that is exactly how I feel!!!! I am taking Suboxone now as well and it defiantly saved my life as well as AA. Thank u for putting into words what I could not.You r sooo right, I was on my knees after trying many times to stop.The withdrawals n depression hitbu hard. I too, wish more people understood this.
      Thank u again Melissa

      1. My name is Jose, i am new to this forum ,but that post from Mellisa realy got down to the point. I started using roxicottin at 38 never had toched oppiates, but when i started i ended up on heorin, when the pill miils went down for three years i ended up on crisis, detoxed 6 times and rehab never new what anxiety, depression. Insomnia , and all the crazy thing that comes from opiate disease i know you guys know what the opiate disease is for me is exactly what Mellisa is i could not stay clean till i was able to make research and went to a rehab where they offer medical assitant treatment wich mines was soboxone, my life has changed dramaticly since my induction to soboxone i have been clean from full opiates becouse yes soboxone is a partial opiate becouse i withdrawl from it for 4 weeks and its not easy becouse i got cut off becouse of a misunderstanding but from 4 mg to nothing was hell this medication and dedication you could make your life succesful where you could one day just tapper off but sometimes you have to accept that we have on oppiate disease just like a diabetic has a diseas and needs insulin , its like this medication gives my HDMI wich are my receptors what it needs and whats in your heart and mind you put it to work is an amazing medication for who realy wants of the rollercoaster oppiate dissease brings thank you.

  2. I don’t even know where to start. I LOVE THIS! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this and allowing me to read it.

    I’ve heard the old “too smart to be an addict” comment several times as well. People don’t realize most addicts are intelligent, we just choose to apply that trait to feeding our addiction rather than making healthy decisions. Some addicts are geniuses with nearly limitless potential. Intelligence doesn’t ensure immunity from this disease.

    Your realization that even though that prescription had your name on it and you bought it, it was actually those pills that owned YOU, made me mouth the word “exactly” as I read it. I thought, “This girl gets it. She is like me. I am like her.” Is it good to be a slave to a chemical? No. But it is comforting and refreshing to know I’m not alone.

    Your no bullshit, unsweetened sentence referring to the “yets” of addiction was another “Amen” moment for me. I didn’t fathom that I was even capable of doing some of the horrendous shit I did during active alcoholism. But it happened.

    Thank God for that doctor that was able to get through to you and help you understand. Thank God you reached out and that you found that clinic. I’m so happy you found what worked for you. I agree that it was not a pill that saved your life. I don’t think you “cheated” or took the “easy way out”. It’s obvious to me that you have put tremendous effort into taking action to maintain your sobriety. And by reading the blessings you listed above, your hard work appears to be paying off big time.

    Very well written. Very thought provoking. Extremely inspiring. Thank you again for letting me read this. KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK!

  3. Would like for info on this my boyfriend is addicted to lt

    1. Randi,

      Send me an email, and I will be more than happy to help in any way I can!

      julie at sobermommies dot com <3

  4. Oh my gosh that’s how I feel too and I don’t how to stop

    1. Donot be guity becouse your taking soboxone, its like a diabetic taking insulin, for his disease, this medication with dedication you could turn your life around, to the point you are going to be finacialy spiritualy and memtaly, to be ready to come off it, its a greate medicatiom becouse you have to want it. Good luck

  5. I am also on suboxen it it to has saved my life. I was on a path of pure destru0ction. Suboxen has given me back my sences of self . to anyone who judges you i say to hell with them we all have our ways of dealing with this disease. and if it makes you not use then you have one

  6. I did the suboxone for 6 months. The state told me I had to come off of it and be clean without it to get my kids back. I did but they never returned my kids. Used in the right way I have seen the suboxone program help many get their life in order. So glad it has helped you. Keep up the good work.

  7. I too have been on Suboxone for a few years now. I’m Grateful for coming across it when I did. It’s also saved my life! There are Days I wish I could of done it without it, but i also know i wouldn’t be where i am today if I hadn’t turned my life over to treatment with Suboxone. I Thank God Everyday I’m not an Active User Anymore! Thank You for your Beautiful Story!! God Bless G?D

  8. Incredible post. Never got to H, but I swear I was in same exact situation you were. That instance I was hooked. Four years later this miracle cure saved my life. I’m able to love again and it’s fucking amazing.

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