Suboxone and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

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While buprenorphine has been nothing short of a miracle on helping people recover from opioid addiction, it’s really just a piece of the puzzle.

When I started my addiction treatment using Suboxone, I immediately felt like I had “found the cure”. Suboxone curbed my desire to use and completely eliminated my withdrawals. I had come down from 220mg to 20mg of daily oxycodone intake. I did it the hard way by stopping almost cold turkey, avoiding any drugs for almost three weeks, and then caving-in and taking the 20mg daily.

The cold turkey part was a nightmare that lasted the entire time I was without oxycodone. After the initial 13 days and nights of miserable withdrawals, I then felt like a truck had hit me. I had no energy. Getting off the couch was a major task. I’ve never felt that heavy and tired in my life.

The 20mg oxycodone per day was just barely enough to lift my spirits and give me the energy I needed to function. I struggled with wanting to take ten times that amount, but knew I’d simply run out and go straight back to intense withdrawals.

I then started Suboxone, and life was good again.

Suboxone was a miracle cure for me. I remember I was eating lunch when the first film kicked-in. I immediately had more appetite, more energy and even a light euphoria that felt familiar to me, since it mirrored an opioid buzz.

The euphoria only lasted a couple of hours and was never to return again. However, from that day forward I felt better than I had felt in over 13 years. Suboxone literally saved my life. Without it, I would have returned to heavy opioid abuse and eventually either died or run out of money to buy it.

However, there was still something missing. A void if you will. Something inside that was nagging me to find out how and why I got into this mess in the first place. 

“Why had I gone so far? Why did it last for almost 13 years? What was driving my drug abuse in addition to avoiding withdrawals and cravings?”

A friend invited me to group recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous to be specific. I told him I wasn’t an alcoholic, but he said it really didn’t matter anymore, and that most AA groups welcome anyone with a drug OR alcohol problem.

My first meeting was not what you’d call a winner. I couldn’t relate to anyone in the meeting, and felt completely out of place. It wasn;t until meeting number 5 that things snapped nto place for me.

Meeting number 5 was the day when someone in the AA group shared their story. I had heard people’s stories before, but not like this one. This man TOLD MY STORY. Almost identical. It was that very moment I realized I had found another piece of the puzzle.

Interestingly enough, I no longer felt out of place in an AA meeting. Suddenly, everything that everyone said had relevance and meaning to me. My ears had been opened, finally.

Two weeks later I opted to get a sponsor. An older gent with 13 years of AA experience under his belt. Truth is, I was scared of this man. He was one of the people who spoke the truth in meetings and wasn’t afraid to correct a newcomer who was off-base.

Turns out, my sponsor ended up being the perfect person to bring into my life to help solve my addiction issues.

Together, we went through the twelve steps, went to meetings together, shared personal experiences, etc. He became a mentor to me. Not just in recovery, but in life.

He could see what I couldn’t see about myself. He helped me recognize the drivers that started in early childhood that led to my eventual drug abuse. It didn;t happen overnight. It took months to unravel my mystery. And, it worked.

It’s now been over seven years since I got clean and I can say without a doubt, the twelve steps of AA have been a life-changing experience for me. 

When people ask me “what do you get out of those AA meetings?”, I tell them this:

Imagine all your dreams coming true. Not the ones you think you want, but the ones that Gad has in store for you. That’s what AA has done for me. It changed who I am, what I expect out of life, and how I treat the other 8 billion people on this planet.

Suboxone and the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are in my opinion the perfect combination for successful recovery. In my case, if either were missing, I probably would have relapsed if not failed completely.

If you’re in recovery, please take my suggestion – Find a local AA meeting and go to at least 9 or 10 meetings. Give it a chance to sink in and be sure to meet some people. They are some of the finest people you will meet and have become my closest friends.

It’s hard to believe that a 100% free program has become totally priceless to me.

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