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Getting a disulfiram implant in 2 hours!

Old 10-18-2017, 06:52 AM
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Getting a disulfiram implant in 2 hours!

Hi guys,

I don't know where to start! I'm currently scare shitless, to say the least. For the last 6 months I've been planning on studying Polish for family reasons. When I found out I could get an implant that will make you deathly ill if you drink, I thought it sounded like a good idea. Now in one hour I'm leaving to get it done.

A bit about about the implant, for anyone that's curious. The active ingredient is called disulfiram, most people know it as antabuse. If you drink after taking the medication you will get extremely sick. If you drink enough it can cause blindness or even death. Many people take tablets but the problem is that you can stop taking them and drink after a week or so (which I probably would). The implant is called esperal here in Poland. It's done with local anesthetic and subcutaneous disulfiram is inserted, lasting for about 1 year.

Why would I take such an extreme option? Well, I'm just over 30. I used to be the life of the party, and I've lived all over the world. Drugs and alcohol always made it easy for me to meet people and forget my insecurities. About 5 years ago I drastically reduced my drug intake and became very career focused. I had also met my current wife who hates drug use. It was easy for me to justify drinking every day after working. The drugs are no longer an issue (I can't handle the comedown etc). Alcohol, however, has taken up entirely to much space in my mind. 9 months ago I quit my job, sold everything and planned a year of travel with my life savings. I thought it might snap me out of my rut. Well, my year has been a drunken success. I've been to over 20 countries and was drunk or hungover the entire time.

My wife knows I am getting this implant. She agrees that I need to do it and has agreed to keep it secret (I don't want anyone to know). I actually work in a field directly involved in addictions which has made this experience even more shameful. I can't imagine going back to work next year while drinking like this.

Of course I have tried to stop myself. The most I've made it was around 2 weeks. Otherwise I've been drinking pretty much daily for 11 years. I would always find some excuse, fail at cutting down, make promises to my wife I didn't keep. This implant is going to take that choice away from me for a year. I've heard of people drinking whilst on this medication (in fact I've seen it at work and picked up the pieces) Of course I'm ******* scared! There is absolutely no way I will "test" my implant.

I don't think my wife understands how bad this problem has got for me and I don't really want her to. This is why I am joining this forum. Hopefully I can talk to people who understand. I am well aware of the fact that this a band aid solution and I need to get other support.

I've got nothing but respect for AA. I've seen it save people's lives but it's not for everyone. It's most definitely not for me. My plans are to replace drinking with studying and exercise, as well as work on my relationship with my wife. Ideally, I would like to find other people to chat with that have implants or take disulfiram in order to share experiences.

Times up, guess I'm going to get this bloody thing inserted. Wish me luck!

Thanks for your time and feedback
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:05 AM
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Glad you joined us, soberexpat. This is a great place to get and give support to other people who get it.

I'm taking disulfiram/antabuse and it is a helpful recovery device for my broken brain. I've never heard of this in the US; think I need to do some research! (Part of my Excellence in Procrastination mode.) The daily in-person interactions I have with other addicts is another amazing tool. Having made a decision to be as open and honest as I can be, I'm finding this work to be extremely difficult. And that's ok. Drinking was hard too. I'd rather have discomfort on the way to being healthy than on the way to being dead.

I'm very interested in how you get on - do continue sharing!

O
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:08 AM
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I sometimes wish I had done something like that about 25 years ago. Good Luck! I wish you all the best!
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:23 AM
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Welcome to SR and good luck today with your procedure. I have taken antabuse in the past and have recently started back on it. I unfortunately have tested it- after about a week of being off it- and trust me, it is not pretty. I do like having it as extra backup. I will warn you though, there is no magic pill for alcoholism and having a solid recovery plan is essential. You say now you won't drink on the medication and I believe you and believe that you believe that, but you just never know where this crazy and persistent disease will take you. I never, ever thought I would drink on it either, but found myself "testing the waters" at times while on a full dose (sips here and there) and then on several occasions full on drinking when I knew full well it was not completely out of my system. So yes, while I do rely on the medication at some level I also am making sure my recovery plan is rock solid because I know this disease is not to be trusted.
I'll be very curious to hear how you feel in the coming weeks. I think most people have no side effects, or minimal ones. I have an issue with drowsiness, but think I have found the magic hour to take the pill so that the drowsiness arrives just as I am going to bed. That said, taking the pill each day- in front of someone as it is directed to do- is annoying and cumbersome at times. An implant would take all that off the shelf.

Best of luck to you, do check back in!
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:55 AM
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I take Antabuse...not every day anymore, but if I know Iím going to be a really tempting situation (like a holiday, poker night with the boys, etc) I use it as a tool to stay sober. Yes, it is a bit of band-aid solution, but I really donít care. Rather than having to make the decision to drink or not a thousand times a day, I just have to make the decision once which clears up a lot of headspace to focus on other things. Some people think itís ďcheatingĒ or not as pure of a way to be sober, and maybe they are right, but I have a sickness (addiction) and if I can take a pill to help me get healthy then I will.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:14 AM
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I disagree heartily with the "cheating" camp. These folks would also likely see the myriad of meds I'm on for other mood disorders as "cheating." All is fair in keeping the addiction, depression and anxiety at bay while I work on becoming a healthier me.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:29 PM
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I will be in a situation where I might drink in about a week. On a business trip away from home in a hotel. I was thinking of taking half a tablet 24 hours before leaving home. I have some tablets from last year prescribed by a therapist. I never took them. I was wary of the side effects. Might be a tool to use to address my multiple relapses after reasonably sustained periods of sobriety. The after effects of the relapses when I do finally stop are not pretty.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:36 PM
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I'd say start taking them now. That way you'll know you have an effective dose built up - and you'll have started, so you may as well keep on until your trip is over.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:44 PM
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Wow. I didn't even know there was an implant! Of course, that takes the option completely away. I used to play games with Antabuse, moderate with it (holy hell don't recommend that to anyone) and count days until I could drink again...I wonder if the implant is available in the U.S.? I'm over 3 weeks sober now but that sounds like something to consider should there (God forbid) be a relapse.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:58 PM
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A friend of mine who is really struggling has tried Antabuse but ended up drinking on it.

I would have thought the fear of becoming violently I'll would stop me or anyone from taking that first drink but it didn't stop him.

He's back drinking again, I really wish I had the experience to help him.
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:48 PM
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Hi and welcome soberexpat

I definitely don't think it's cheating but I knowI needed to deal with much more than my drinking to fully deal with my drinking if you know what I mean.

I had a whole mess of underlying issues that I self medicated over, and I needed to address those as well.

Study and exercise are good parts of a recovery plan, but I think we really need to address that desire for self destruction too - and antabuse just on it's own won't do that. What it will do hopefully is give you a clear mind & an emotional constancy to work from.

there are some good ideas here:
https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums...very-plan.html (What exactly is a recovery plan?)
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:01 PM
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I took Antabuse for the first three month of my recovery. It was part of going to any lengths, and a very good tool for getting through a temporary rough spot. But it is not a treatment for alcholism. Just not drinking does not treat alcholism.

In my experience, there is only one thing more miserable than an alcoholic white knuckling sobriety, and that is an alcoholic living with untreated alcholism who really wants to drink because it is the only thing in the world he believes will make him ok, but can't because he is in some way prevented.

A man I met drank, had a road accident which broke his neck among other things, hated AA, and all he wanted to do was drink. He was confined to bed, had partial use of one arm, had been that way for three months with no visitors until I came along. Was intubated so couldn't speak. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. And obviously he could not drink.

My friends brother died of liver failure. Same kind of thing, sitting up in bed, wearing nappies, all yellow, and the only thing he wanted was to get drunk. That was the only way he thought he could feel good.

When I took Antabuse I had the AA program of recovery. I worked the steps and by the three month mark my life had changed to such an extent that the Antabuse became redundant. The drink problem had been removed.

Trying to use Antabuse as a stand alone method of recovery could have unintended consequences. It was never intended for that purpose.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:51 PM
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I don't think soberexpat intends to use Antabuse as a standalone; he said he plans to use studying, exercise and bettering his relationship with his wife. But I do agree that if quitting and staying quit is a struggle that additional sober support of some kind is probably necessary.

Sorry to speak of you in the third person, expat. Eagerly awaiting your update.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:43 AM
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I would certainly hope there is something planned, preferably something that is known to treat alcholism. Study, exercise and even improving relationship with wife are really just distractions from the real issue, not treatment.
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:04 PM
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My apologies for not replying or updating sooner.

First of all I would like to give some info on my experience going for the implant. I had the best experience I have ever had with a Dr. The doctor was around the same age as me (low 30's). He spoke english well, but brought a friend/colleague along who spoke English perfectly and was actually a psychiatrist.

The first thing they did was breathalyze me before engaging in any conversation. When I blew zero both doctor's were very quick to point out the same thing that many people here have. The implant would not be a cure. They spoke to me for almost an hour about patient's they had treated and their experience with the implant.

Apparently almost every patient would be back year after year to redo the implant if they didn't get another form of treatment. The psychiatrist that was there spent 15 minutes on his mobile phone finding a colleague that had room for patients and could practice in English. Both doctor's then went on to normalize my experience with addiction at length, and talked about how common the problem with alcohol is in Poland.

They went on to explain to me that there is no antidote for disulfiram and that once implanted, there was a chance it would become dislodged, meaning it could be impossible to remove. I was really worried that I might experience side effects having never taken the medication.

When I asked about the possibility of taking oral tablets they went through all the dangers and wrote me a script. Because I don't have a polish Social security number the Dr's were worried the pharmacy wouldn't fill the prescription. Both of them walked to the pharmacy with me in order to make sure I got the tablets.

There is no way they did this for any kind of financial incentive. I paid about $150 USD for the consultation and a two year supply of medication (a fraction of the price of an implant).

The next day I started taking the tablets. Unfortunately I don't have health insurance here and was put off by the price of seeing a therapist (I've also worked in therapy which makes it extremely hard to find a therapist who I find competent). I decided to commit to using what I know and found that keeping busy with study, moderate exercise and my wife have definitely helped. I also found mindfulness exercises particularly helpful.

So....... I made it a month sober. I really struggled during this time with my mood. In the span of a few hours I could go from happy and content to depressed and anxious. Of course the main thing I used to moderate my mood is now out of the picture, and I am struggling to understand whether what I feel is normal in recovery or something more sinister. My brother, my father and my paternal grandmother were are all genuinely bipolar. My sister recovered from a 6 month episode of drug induced psychosis. I have never had a psychotic episode but my recent sobriety has left strong patches of depression and anxiety that I wonder about. The best strategy I have for now is being willing to accept that negative feeling and emotions are a normal and a part of everyone's life. I have certainly realized that fighting them makes them worse, as does trying to avoid them with short term solutions. In the last 6 weeks I've definitely grown a lot.

It was initially really hard for me to go out when I knew other people would be drinking, especially when there is a language barrier (although my polish is improving). After going out a few times I realized it wasn't that bad.

One thing I am finding really hard is my (percieved) lack of something to look forward to. After a month of studying like crazy I took a break and went for a weekend trip to a tourist city with my wife. It REALLY bothered me not being able to have a drink with dinner and afterwards. I found it really hard to enjoy the trip so I decided to stop taking the medication.

I waited about 10 days and drank for two days over the weekend and it was not a good experience. It was like a switch had flipped in my head and I found it really hard to stop. I didn't even enjoy the experience. On Monday I started taking the medication again. I never experienced side effects and it does seem to make the decision a lot easier.

I think I've finally accepted that I am one those people that just can't drink. Life seems pretty grey without booze but then again it seems pitch black with it. One of the things that makes me anxious now is when people ask me if I want a drink, I always hyper analyse any way I refuse and imagine what people will think of me. I realize this is a distorted thought process but sadly its a persistent one.

Overall I feel very committed to staying sober, but I'm definitely struggling to adapt to a sober life. Luckily things have improved greatly with my wife. She's a massive support and I'm really fortunate to have her. So far the pros of not drinking outweigh the cons by far and this is going to be something I stick with. I'll take the medication as long as I feel I need it. Now that I know the medication doesn't give me side effects, I'll consider the implant again before I return home.

That's it for now, any feedback is welcome and appreciated
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by soberexpat View Post
Hi guys,

I don't know where to start! I'm currently scare shitless, to say the least. For the last 6 months I've been planning on studying Polish for family reasons. When I found out I could get an implant that will make you deathly ill if you drink, I thought it sounded like a good idea. Now in one hour I'm leaving to get it done.

A bit about about the implant, for anyone that's curious. The active ingredient is called disulfiram, most people know it as antabuse. If you drink after taking the medication you will get extremely sick. If you drink enough it can cause blindness or even death. Many people take tablets but the problem is that you can stop taking them and drink after a week or so (which I probably would). The implant is called esperal here in Poland. It's done with local anesthetic and subcutaneous disulfiram is inserted, lasting for about 1 year.

Why would I take such an extreme option? Well, I'm just over 30. I used to be the life of the party, and I've lived all over the world. Drugs and alcohol always made it easy for me to meet people and forget my insecurities. About 5 years ago I drastically reduced my drug intake and became very career focused. I had also met my current wife who hates drug use. It was easy for me to justify drinking every day after working. The drugs are no longer an issue (I can't handle the comedown etc). Alcohol, however, has taken up entirely to much space in my mind. 9 months ago I quit my job, sold everything and planned a year of travel with my life savings. I thought it might snap me out of my rut. Well, my year has been a drunken success. I've been to over 20 countries and was drunk or hungover the entire time.

My wife knows I am getting this implant. She agrees that I need to do it and has agreed to keep it secret (I don't want anyone to know). I actually work in a field directly involved in addictions which has made this experience even more shameful. I can't imagine going back to work next year while drinking like this.

Of course I have tried to stop myself. The most I've made it was around 2 weeks. Otherwise I've been drinking pretty much daily for 11 years. I would always find some excuse, fail at cutting down, make promises to my wife I didn't keep. This implant is going to take that choice away from me for a year. I've heard of people drinking whilst on this medication (in fact I've seen it at work and picked up the pieces) Of course I'm ******* scared! There is absolutely no way I will "test" my implant.

I don't think my wife understands how bad this problem has got for me and I don't really want her to. This is why I am joining this forum. Hopefully I can talk to people who understand. I am well aware of the fact that this a band aid solution and I need to get other support.

I've got nothing but respect for AA. I've seen it save people's lives but it's not for everyone. It's most definitely not for me. My plans are to replace drinking with studying and exercise, as well as work on my relationship with my wife. Ideally, I would like to find other people to chat with that have implants or take disulfiram in order to share experiences.

Times up, guess I'm going to get this bloody thing inserted. Wish me luck!

Thanks for your time and feedback
Best of luck to you. I have an experience similar to yours.. In March 2007, I underwent R&Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. I was morbidly obese and had to do it to take back control of my life.

Like those you mentioned taking a pill daily, I too was presented with alternatives to the drastic surgery I was to have. People told me about the Lap Band, oral meds that fill your tummy, etc.. I knew those would not work for me. If I COULD cheat with food, I would.. I was ADDICTED to food, you see...

The #1 thing my doctor told me was that if I EVER ate sugar AFTER I had the surgery, I would be sick as a dog!!!

Just as you have been told you would be sick as a dog, if you drink alcohol!

Let me tell you, you WILL test it sooner or later! I admit that I did, ONE FRIGGIN' TIME! That was the one and only. All sugar free for me now..

Just know it is likely going to happen! Your curiosity is going to override your common sense. But, you will snap right back and have an even stronger will to quit.

I applaud you for what you are doing. It is a HUGE decision to make. But, you know what you are capable of, as did I.

My support is all out for you, my friend!
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Old 11-22-2017, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AM100 View Post
A friend of mine who is really struggling has tried Antabuse but ended up drinking on it.

I would have thought the fear of becoming violently I'll would stop me or anyone from taking that first drink but it didn't stop him.

He's back drinking again, I really wish I had the experience to help him.
Sadly, it is human nature to test limits! In his situation, it seems that when he tested hi personal limits, he knew he could deal with it. THAT was a serious down fall and (not sure if possible) but time for a larger dose that WOULD provide a negative outcome.

I firmly believer, if you know you can cheat you will. You just tell your brain, "hey, I am taking the meds.. but apparently I can tolerate this little amount..."
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:08 PM
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Hi everyone. I just started taking antabuse today. I just plan on taking it every 2 weeks because the only time im triggered to drink is when my kids go with their father every other weekend.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:19 PM
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isn't Antabuse a daily dose regimen usually LLG?

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Old 11-22-2017, 11:40 PM
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Hey Dee- Yes, I was told by my Dr that some take it daily to form the habit, some take it 3x a week, but she said in my case every 2 weeks is enough because it stays in your system for 14 days. Plus, my anti-anxiety meds which I'll be taking up to 2x a week are also contraindicated by alcohol so I absolutely cannot mix alcohol with it. But most importantly I am really working towards a solid recovery plan that will be my long term solution, because I dont want to be on these meds forever.
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