15 May My Story: Getting Off Subutex/Suboxone and the Joy of Recovery
Hi my name is Micah and I am a recovering Subutex/Suboxone addict.
My story is unique, but very similar to many others. I was an all-star athlete in high school and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications.
I had a great life, a normal job and a great girlfriend until one day I was in a car accident.
The accident broke my femur bone (the big part of the upper leg) and I had major issues with my spine and neck. I was in the hospital for 2 months. Pain killers became a necessary part of my life, just so I could not feel the excruciating pain.
When I got out of the hospital I was put on Oxycontin and was taking it about 3 times per day. As time went on, the pain decreased but my medication intake increased.
I still remember the day when I decided it was time to stop taking the medication. I woke up and felt like a truck hit me. I was sweating, in the bathroom every 10 minutes, and felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin. It was horrible. The pain was indescribable. I immediately went back on the meds just to live my life.
This continued for the next 3 years. I lied to my doctor about the severity of my pain to continue getting the meds. My X-rays confirmed the pain, but I made it out way worse than what it was.
Suboxone: My Friend, My Arch Enemy
Eventually I heard about Subutex from a friend. I got it prescribed from a doctor and immediately got off all other drugs. This continued for the next year.
I was numb. I could not feel anything. I remember when my brother got married I couldn’t even feel any happiness for him. I was able to live my life without being intoxicated, but could not feel anything else.
I started getting anxiety and was prescribed Xanax, which made everything better. Finally I felt evened out but I know it wasn’t real.
My life took a severe turn for the worse one day when I had a seizure. I was back admitted to the hospital and had what I later found out to be an intervention from my doctors, family, friends and parents.
It was suggested that I go to rehab and get help, so I was sent to Florida. I had to go to detox to come off all the drugs I was on. Detox was hell, but it was made better with medication. All in all I was in detox for 7 days. I was sent down the road to rehab and for the first time in 4 years I felt like I was alive.
We did group therapy 3 times a day and individual counseling 3 times per week.
My biggest problem was that I could not relate to everyone else. These were junkies and crack smoking young kids. I did not have these problems. I never even smoked a joint. My problem was my car accident. I felt as though had more of a medical ailment than an addiction.
Something else happened while I was going to therapy: I came out. I realized that I was gay, and was denying it for a very long time. I told my parents and felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I never felt so great in my life.
Eventually I submitted to the program. I started going to meetings and I got a sponsor which was suggested to me.
After about 3 months the shakes started going away and I started feeling better. I started running and doing yoga every day, which helped me feel better about myself.
My Life Inside a Delray Beach Halfway House
I went to a halfway house here in Delray Beach Florida. Living in a halfway house in Delray Beach, FL is almost cliché. It turns out this is “the recovery capital” of the USA and there are dozens of other halfway houses here.
Delray Beach is an awesome town. It has a great downtown area aka “Atlantic Ave” and a number of meeting houses. 1 is called Crossroads and the other one is called Central House. Both of which have meetings all day 7 days a week. There were 2 other halfway houses next door to us in Delray Beach where I met a number of great people, many of which I now consider to be lifelong friends.
I also consider my halfway house in Delray Beach a new home. I started to get really attached to my halfway house and felt very safe there.
I moved back home after 6 months into my old apartment. I had to have my friends help me get rid of all my old prescription bottles and hidden medication. It was hard doing that, but it felt cleansing.
I kept in contact with my rehab, and went to 3 meetings a week. I told all my friends about me being an addict, and told them that I couldn’t drink or go to bars anymore. They were shocked, but were supportive.
After a year I decided to move back down to Delray Beach from up north where I originally got sober. I got back in touch with my halfway house and reconnected with them. It was great to have an existing network of people to reconnect with.
I now live my life like a normal person. I have a great job, a great partner and am feeling so great about myself. I feel good and look good.
The best part about being sober is the way I feel. I no longer have the anxiety that I was diagnosed with. I still have problems but I deal with them in a normal way. I have a great relationship with my parents and love my life.
I want to thank my treatment center and halfway house in Delray Beach for helping me. Without them, I don’t know where I would be.
Author note: name has been changed for anonymity. Suboxone Illustration by Florida Recovery group available upon request.