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Old 04-16-2007, 05:42 AM
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Discouraging information

I was at a friends house the other night and we watched an episode of "Addiction" on HBO, I don't have HBO at home and we were looking for something to watch, so I asked him to click on the "Opiates" episode. Anyway, the show was a counselor talking to a group of recovering(?) Heroin/Oxy users. He explained very clearly what opiates do to the brain and he said that heavy use actually shuts down the part of your brain that produces dopamine and after long-term use, that part of your brain cannot be stimulated like a 'normal' brain would be, so basically he was advocating methodone treatment to keep the receptors in the brain 'working' enough to keep the addict from going into depression, losing motivation, and generally to function without the opiate. He said that it takes at least 2 years before the A is even ready to begin coming off the Methadone and sometimes Methadone treatment will have to continue for life!?

This info was very discouraging to me, but during th episode they also put up a 'sticky' saying that the brain has the ability to repair itself in time. I don't see how the brain could get a chance to repair itself if it is drowning in Methadone? It seems to me that continuing medicating the brain with this opiate would keep this from happening. Also scary to me because AS has been doing well lately (I'm not niave enough to think he is being perfect), but his AGF is in methadone treatment and he came off the heroin basically on his own. I know he went through the withdrawal period (I wasn't around, but he told me he went through hell...welcome to the club and I know he isn't using contantly or on a daily basis because he is here with us most of the time and has even spent weekends fishing with his dad. Something that was impossible to do when he was heavily using because he needed to use regularly or got sick. He also has NO money or anything left to sell...So he's made progress at least. He and AGF have even been attending Church with us regularly, which can only be good for both of them...my faith has grown strong since I learned to hand over the 'big stuff' to my HP, and he really does carry us..

What discourages me is the info that he has damaged his brain forever and this counselor basically said that it's not likely his receptors would recover without methadone or Suboxone.

I guess I'm just rambling, but this info really disheartened me and I was hoping someone, somewhere, has had experience with a truly recovered opiate addict who doesn't depend on methadone to function.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:50 AM
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I abused lortab which is an opiate for many years. I went through a period of sluggishnesh and not alot of energy but little depression. Exercise is a good way to get the dopamine flowing it give the natural euphoric high I guess. I watch that show too I didnt agree with it really. Sub and methadone might work for some but I think it should only be used short term like a week to get u through detox then some counseling or some kind of treatment. Where theres a will theres a way. It the cravings that would bring me to my knees and they didnt hit hard until about 6wks clean. Consumes u hard hard hard to deal with. Your brain still wants it and will take over your every thought. thats when most my relapses happen. besides the occasional use for chronic pain not abusing its been almost a year. Until I get my knees replaced its still needed once in a while but only as a last resort. Good luck with your son. Watch for change in behavior. Cravings will hit.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:00 AM
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I have the same feelings as you, hurtbad. My as has been doing opiates for at least 2 or more years. He would stay clean for about 1-2 months then go back to using. I heard about that segment on the lack of dopamine and they need the methadone or suboxone for 2 years and I too was horrified. My as is not living at home right now and supposedly has been clean for about 6 weeks. He did take the suboxone for about 3 weeks but ran out of money to go on.

I too wonder if there is any hope? Now that he's been clean for almost 6 weeks I often wonder if he can get through this. He just started a part time job and will once again have money, which I hope will not lead to abusing again. I know he's been trying to jog. He must have read somewhere that that helps, cause he's never been a jogger.

I pray that he has the willpower this time. Your as sounds like he's doing great. I hope my as can do the same.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:07 AM
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The brain has an amazing ability to repair itself over time and my understanding is that the dopamine levels return, it just takes quite a while.

I believe there is always hope, I have seen addicts who lived in their disease for 20 years or more, find sobriety and learn to live life well again. There is hope because it happens.

Hugs
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:53 AM
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sending prayers and hugs to you and yours.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:06 AM
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hurt,

i saw the hbo addiction series - i really was encouraged by it - especially that doctor that explained opiates - he explained it in a way that really made sense to me - the whole dopamine - opiate - brain thing - i found it to be hopeful - they accept people to their program without insurance or a specific timeline - he explained how everyone was different but that the brain can repair itself - and that there is so much research going on that eventually addiction will be a controllable disease...

i thougth that when he was talking about damage to the brain he was hopeful that now that they understand the whole, dopamine - opiate connection they can focus on replacing the dopamine until your body can make it for itself - makes sense to me - especially for long term addicts - just my opinion...

i found the whole addiction series incredibly well done, infomative, hopeful and entertaining - i never thougth i'd want to sit through hours or information regarding addiction - i can't wait to get the dvd and watch the three additional dvd's with information they didn't use in the televised series - just my experience with it all...

s
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:17 AM
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Just a real world experience - my best friend from hs became a junkie and was addicted for 7 years. She finally kicked ... not becauseof rehab but because of prison. She was told one more mess-up and she'd have to go away to prison for four years. She got it together and no longer abuses opiates at all. Sometimes these recovery experts make it seem so impossible to recover when recovery actually happens every day when people are determined enough to take their lives back.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kj0975 View Post
Good luck with your son. Watch for change in behavior. Cravings will hit.
Thanks for that, and you can bet I will be watching him closely...he knows the boundary for living at home is no drugs. I can't watch him 24/7, but I can make sure there are no drugs in my house..and I will. I do know he's smoked pot at least a couple of times since quitting, not in my house of course (that I know of), but in a weird way (funny how thinking changes) it's a relief because I know when he was shooting the H, he wasn't interested in smoking pot...weird and wacky way of thinking I guess...

Originally Posted by Louise54 View Post
I have the same feelings as you, hurtbad. My as has been doing opiates for at least 2 or more years. He would stay clean for about 1-2 months then go back to using. I heard about that segment on the lack of dopamine and they need the methadone or suboxone for 2 years and I too was horrified. My as is not living at home right now and supposedly has been clean for about 6 weeks. He did take the suboxone for about 3 weeks but ran out of money to go on.

I too wonder if there is any hope? Now that he's been clean for almost 6 weeks I often wonder if he can get through this. He just started a part time job and will once again have money, which I hope will not lead to abusing again. I know he's been trying to jog. He must have read somewhere that that helps, cause he's never been a jogger.

I pray that he has the willpower this time. Your as sounds like he's doing great. I hope my as can do the same.
It's scary Louise, and I know what you mean about the money...AS is looking for work right now and as much as I know he needs the structure of a job, not to mention making a living and being a productive member of society, it scares me to know he will then have money...for the last year every single cent he and his GF earned went to the drugs...everything and then some. What happens when the cash flow starts back up again? We have talked about me handling his money for a while, but we'll see how that goes when the time comes... I'm hoping that he will want to get out on his own and then won't have a choice but to pay his rent, etc...

Originally Posted by Ann View Post
The brain has an amazing ability to repair itself over time and my understanding is that the dopamine levels return, it just takes quite a while.

I believe there is always hope, I have seen addicts who lived in their disease for 20 years or more, find sobriety and learn to live life well again. There is hope because it happens.

Hugs
Thanks Ann, I believe this too...but this guy was so articulate and explained so very clearly the affects on the users brain, then proceded to say that without 2 years of Methadone treatment (or a life-time) an addict will likely never recover and his brain might not either....I'm not really buying into that but it scared me.

Originally Posted by itiswhatitis... View Post
hurt,

i saw the hbo addiction series - i really was encouraged by it - especially that doctor that explained opiates - he explained it in a way that really made sense to me - the whole dopamine - opiate - brain thing - i found it to be hopeful - they accept people to their program without insurance or a specific timeline - he explained how everyone was different but that the brain can repair itself - and that there is so much research going on that eventually addiction will be a controllable disease...

i thougth that when he was talking about damage to the brain he was hopeful that now that they understand the whole, dopamine - opiate connection they can focus on replacing the dopamine until your body can make it for itself - makes sense to me - especially for long term addicts - just my opinion...

i found the whole addiction series incredibly well done, infomative, hopeful and entertaining - i never thougth i'd want to sit through hours or information regarding addiction - i can't wait to get the dvd and watch the three additional dvd's with information they didn't use in the televised series - just my experience with it all...

s
I agree completely that it was a well-done program (I've only seen the one episode though, so that's the only one I can comment on). I was just more hopeful before that the brain and it's ability to regenerate was stronger than he made it out to be. He really did make it sound like once you killed those receptors, they were pretty much gone and if you don't take Methadone to regulate, you're NOT going to recover.
Oh, and I agree that replacing the dopamine with Methadone made sense, but it also seemed to me that the Methadone would keep your brain from doing the work it needed to do to regenerate...
AS can't afford any type of treatment at the moment and doesn't qualify for any state assistance. We exhausted our financial help for him during his last stint with Suboxone, his girlfriend is under 21 so qualify's for treatment through the state and they have told her 2 years also...at least...
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:40 AM
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I've heard similiar things about meth, not that you need to be on methadone, but just about the brain and dopamine. I do believe what they say about dopamine and the brain, etc. I'm almost at a year and a half, or wait maybe I already am , lol, and can't wait to get past the 2 year mark.
But the last year and a half has been a roller coaster.

What I DO know is that they say meth addicts don't recover or the ratio is low, that they rarely recover on their own, that 30 day treatment centers don't work, etc.... Which I agree w/to a point...

But it can be done.... I recovered, as many other meth addicts have, I did not go to treatment, and I found my own way to recovery....

He explained very clearly what opiates do to the brain and he said that heavy use actually shuts down the part of your brain that produces dopamine and after long-term use, that part of your brain cannot be stimulated like a 'normal' brain would be, so basically he was advocating methodone treatment to keep the receptors in the brain 'working' enough to keep the addict from going into depression, losing motivation, and generally to function without the opiate.
I've heard the same thing about meth. I've been on the rollercoaster that has made me think of going back to meth often, but I won't....
That's why I personally believe you have to find "Your Own" recovery road,
whether that be NA, Smart, Counseling, whatever it is, but "Find it and work it". It bothers me when I hear people constantly say that the only thing that works is NA and the steps, that's not true for everyone. I did counseling and some other things, and still work my recovery in the way I need to.
So the times when I do go into depression, lose motivation, etc.
I have learned other ways to deal with it rather than going back to meth.

So yes, that may happen, but given the right tools, you Can make better choices, but if you are not given or taught different ways you probaby will go back to your old ways.
It's up to the user to find their own way of recovery. If the 12 steps aren't working for you, then find something that does, if your not working the 12 steps and you haven't tried, then give it a try, don't cry and whine about opening up to a counselor when you've never tried it or you've had one bad experience, or one bad NA meeting, If you keep looking for your own way to recovery you will find it, and you will make it through the trying times.

So don't give up hope is what i am saying.

Have you seen The Secret? If a man laying in a hospital bed told he was going to be paralyzed for the rest of his life can walk out on the day he told himself he was?? Then how can an addict not repair his life?

My grandpa was told he was going to paralyzed after a Horrible Horrible accident, first they said he wouldn't make it, then they said paralyzed,
he's a stubborn man, he wouldn't not accept that, he does more in a day than most people do in a week.

It's all in how you manage yourself, IMO. I just don't believe that addicts can't repair their lives, I've seen too much in my life for that to be true.
Addicts are Not that helpless, but they do lack the self esteem to believe that they can do it, that's where recovery comes in.

JMO
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:56 AM
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I also saw that episode last week and was very discouraged by that information. I am recovering and have been clean for 15 months from an opiate addiction. Needless to say I did it without suboxone or methadone. I also know that had I been put on either medication I would surely abuse them, I have not doubt in my mind. I disagree with the replacement therapy theory, I am no expert but I know if a drug has an potential for abuse, I am a drug addict and I would abuse it. I know not everyone would agree with this but this is only MY experience.
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:30 AM
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I watched my ex go from using any & all drugs to get high to finding recovery, working his recovery & turning his life around. But it took a few years. When my 1st husband was in rehab in 1987, I was told it takes 5 years sober for an alcoholic/addict to "be totally free of the drug". The HBO programs are just one more idea of recovery. I have heard the whole dopamine thing myself, but I have also been taught that the brain just begin to heal itself in time. Bottomline to me is that an addict has to be willing to go to "any" length to recover. And it's NOT easy. And there are no guarantees.

Somehow, though, seeing the recoverying addicts I've seen with long term clean time, there is always hope! In fact, I read somewhere that there is hope until the day you die. And somehow that made me feel better.

Lynne
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:03 AM
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That's why I personally believe you have to find "Your Own" recovery road,
whether that be NA, Smart, Counseling, whatever it is, but "Find it and work it". It bothers me when I hear people constantly say that the only thing that works is NA and the steps, that's not true for everyone.
Thanks Done,
I'm so glad you shared this because I agree that what's important is what works for a person and it's the _addict's_ choice and decision to make about that.

It's not up to me what plan of recovery my son chooses.

I've been around many who have recovered in a 12 step and out of one as well. The BB (I think) refers to this- that some may find another way that is better for them.

So, hurtbad- please remember that there are many who _do_ recover and they do so in different ways. I've known some people who have abused themselves with drugs to extremes and come out without all the damage- and some who have. This is not an exact science. I prefer to have hope.

It does 'me' no good to think of all the negative things that I have no control over, and like you- I prefer to hand it over to my HP too. It's too painful and too heavy a burden for me.
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Old 04-16-2007, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Done-With-It View Post
So don't give up hope is what i am saying.

Have you seen The Secret? If a man laying in a hospital bed told he was going to be paralyzed for the rest of his life can walk out on the day he told himself he was?? Then how can an addict not repair his life?

My grandpa was told he was going to paralyzed after a Horrible Horrible accident, first they said he wouldn't make it, then they said paralyzed,
he's a stubborn man, he wouldn't not accept that, he does more in a day than most people do in a week.

It's all in how you manage yourself, IMO. I just don't believe that addicts can't repair their lives, I've seen too much in my life for that to be true.
Addicts are Not that helpless, but they do lack the self esteem to believe that they can do it, that's where recovery comes in.

JMO
Thx, Done! Wonder how many of us are using "the Secret"?
I have seen so many science type shows about "irreparable" brain damage, where the brain just created "new" neuropathways on it's own, bypassing the damage, and the people led normal lives, despite the medical prognosis.
Nothing is impossible and everything is possible with trust in HP and ourselves.
Sending prayers, Hurt!
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Old 04-16-2007, 11:58 AM
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If you haven't seen The Secret, I recommend it. It works extremely well for me. I really like it.
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:07 PM
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I have been wanting to see "The Secret" for a while now, I've heard a lot about it, I've also been bidding on the book on Ebay, but haven't gotten it yet. Interesting that you should bring it up today, I was just looking into ordering it from Amazon also...Thank you..
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:14 PM
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From all the research I've been doing, the damage to the brain from opiate addiction is really, really scary. It's also frustrating to me because I'm so aware of these issues, and it feels like every time he gets through withdrawal and starts to do well, my husband uses again. He isn't ever going to let his brain get better.
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Hurtbad2505 View Post
I have been wanting to see "The Secret" for a while now, I've heard a lot about it, I've also been bidding on the book on Ebay, but haven't gotten it yet. Interesting that you should bring it up today, I was just looking into ordering it from Amazon also...Thank you..

Ha Ha, that's the LAW OF ATTRACTION!!!

I have a link for the movie, pm me if you would like it.
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hurtbad2505 View Post
I have been wanting to see "The Secret" for a while now, I've heard a lot about it, I've also been bidding on the book on Ebay, but haven't gotten it yet. Interesting that you should bring it up today, I was just looking into ordering it from Amazon also...Thank you..
Definitely worth it, Hurt...
I have 2 DVD's (one for sharing) and the book and watched it several times with RAS in February. Something came up recently from last year while he was using that could potentially ruin everything that he's worked for the last 3 months.
I was going crazy with worry and RAS totally freaked me out by saying "everything will work out fine, no matter what happens". I felt truly humbled....I've studied this stuff my whole life, but he has learned how to really USE it in less than 90 days.
If you would like to PM me your address I can send a DVD for loan, but it's the kind of thing you might want to re-watch over and over again. Worth the $25. Let me know.
Hugs, Barb
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Done-With-It View Post
Ha Ha, that's the LAW OF ATTRACTION!!!
Done, it's amazing, isn't it? I know of one or two SR members that are using it quite successfully. I'm not that good yet, but have used it for certain things my whole life...like what book I want to buy in a bookstore...I feel an attraction toward a book and it's ALWAYS exactly what I need at the time. I don't even read the back stuff, just trust my intuition and it's never failed me, mainly because I have learned to trust it. (or "know' it)
Oh, I did the $1 bill thing, adding 5 zeros and sure enough, I got $100,000...not the way I would have liked it, in other words I have to pay it back, but darn if it didn't work!
BTW, that's where I got my user name :-)
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by thejunkyswife View Post
From all the research I've been doing, the damage to the brain from opiate addiction is really, really scary. It's also frustrating to me because I'm so aware of these issues, and it feels like every time he gets through withdrawal and starts to do well, my husband uses again. He isn't ever going to let his brain get better.
according to the hbo show - THAT's exactly what the replacement therapy helps with - when and addict stops using the drug the brain makes NO dopamine (it's used to the addict chemically feeding his body with dopamine) so the replace ment methadone, suboxone? helps replace some of the dopamine so that the addict doesn't feel 100% less than a normal person who isn't producing dopamine - it makes it a little easier for some - gives them the extra help they need - the dr. was pretty clear that all things don't work for all people - and i came away with a different conclusion that hurt - i think they were hopeful that with each new thing dr.s discover about addiction they come up with 10 new ways of treating it - the addiction series shows lots of different kinds of therapy besides replacement therapy - you should watch all of it - you can watch a 10- 20 minute overview of all the different episodes on hbo.com...

just my opinion...

s
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