After a few months clean of all drugs including Nicotine; a doctor said to me – wow, something must have really motivated you! What made me want to take control of my life? What was my motivation to take on the struggles of a life of sobriety after addiction? I had to stop and look at myself from the outside. Asking myself – why the hell am I doing this? It’s getting me no where. It’s self-destructive, not to mention, destroying all relationships I had with all other human beings. I was paranoid, suspicious, and on the verge of being anti-social. My thought process was – as long as I have my drugs, I don’t need people. It’s amazing how drugs substantially alter the chemistry of your brain. I was thoroughly convinced that my drug was all I needed to survive. The relationships you have in your life are the only thing that are significant. Everything else is just filler. I was oblivious to this while consumed by drugs. I only cared about my next high. Constantly trying to escape reality, letting life pass me by. It was changing me into something I hated. I had to stop it. I had enough.
I was on Suboxone for a couple of years to get off of the illegal drugs. I say it that way because Suboxone is still a hardcore drug, it’s just prescribed to you. If anyone is unfamiliar with it, it differs from Methadone because you can’t get high from it. They call it a ceiling effect. It basically makes you feel “normal”, well as much as possible while on a very strong opiate. It postponed withdrawal. One good thing I can say about Suboxone is it did help me clear my mind so I had some idea of what I was doing to myself. Although I wasn’t getting the buzz from it I still thought I needed it to survive. I couldn’t go a day without it. I still had the same intense panic if I would happen to lose one and thought I wouldn’t have enough to get me to my next appointment, then when I was using pain pills and was worried about where I could get more. Suboxone was controlling my life just like any other drug.
Doctors don’t seem to have a real clear plan on how long you should be on this drug. It’s up to you, you could be on it for years. Not all insurance companies will pay for this treatment either. It can be more expensive than your original addiction. So doctors will keep you on it as long as you want because they are profiting from it. Not concerned about what it is doing to your body. The long-term side effects aren’t really known because it’s still relatively new. It’s a partial opioid agonist, there’s nothing else like it in nature. It’s unnerving how eager doctors are to put you on it, treating it as though it’s some miracle drug for addiction. When honestly it’s just a replacement.
Remember I said it only postpones withdrawal. You’re supposed to taper down eventually but even on the smallest dose possible you’re going to go through withdrawal when you stop. I felt as though I had these invisible handcuffs and there was no way of escaping. I got down on as low of a dose as I could, not even telling my doctor. I’ll admit that wasn’t the best idea but when I did tell him I wanted to lower my dose he would say not to do it so fast. I had to, I had to get off this drug! Finally I just got fed up with the humiliation of having to take a drug test every 2 weeks, the toll it was taking on my mind and body and just stopped going to my appointments. Thinking about the withdrawal now still causes me anxiety even as I’m almost 6 months clean from it. The week or two after stopping was an incredible battle. Part of me just wanted to take something to take away the pain. But I knew if I did take something, I would have to start all over again. I had to start the process of stopping. I stayed strong and it was worth it. I feel so much better, I have this confidence now that I can accomplish anything. The relief I feel is indescribable.
I’m still going through post acute withdrawal. Most days I feel fine but my brain and body are still recuperating. I could be in post acute withdrawal for up to 2 years. The longer you are on the Suboxone the harder it seems to get off it. I wish I would have stopped it sooner but I’m just glad I could stop it at all. There are people who have been on it since it came out. Maybe that’s better for them because they know they’d go back to using illegal drugs. Not for me, I had to figure myself out. That wasn’t who I wanted to be. You just have to stand up to what you’re running from. It’s not going to go away, it’s only going to intensify.
So what was I trying to escape from? What would make me choose a life of a deranged drug addict? My parents were divorced but my childhood wasn’t that bad. That wasn’t what I was trying to hide from. Why am I so unhappy with myself and what do I have to do to change it? That’s when I started to realize I was Transgendered. It all started making sense. It gave me a completely different outlook on my future. It gives me the motivation to stay clean. I can be happy! I don’t have to live with a body that I hate. If I don’t like something about myself, I’m going to change it. Even if someone doesn’t agree with it. Why should I live unhappily just to make other people comfortable? I’m not going to go through life cowering in the corner, thinking of ways to make myself numb anymore. I want to feel! Not only feel the pleasures but feel the pain too. I want to know I’m alive!