Sweat poured off my body and I lay curled in bed, shaking uncontrollably. Physically, I looked like I’d just come back from a long-term stay with Bear Gryll’s in the wild. The “unabomber zodiac” became a nickname of choice for people who knew me during that transitory period of my life. Late that night, a nurse practitioner walked into my room and said, “We haven’t seen heroin withdrawals like this in years.”
Opiate addiction is an American epidemic. Maybe you didn’t know that; maybe you did. In this article, I will try to raise awareness of the American opiate dilemma and offer some advice for those beginning the initial stages of treatment, specifically detox. I persevered through a nightmare detox from opiates and heroin, and I’ve been continuously sober from the day I checked into detox at a hospital on May 24th, 2012. The grim words uttered above by the nurse practitioner stay with me to this day. It’s a reminder of where I came from: hopeless in the bondage of opiate addiction and heroin addiction. Follow my advice and join me in a life of liberty from opiates and heroin. Your life or the life of your loved one probably depends on it.
- Your life is not ending when you begin detox; it is just beginning – but it may feel like it is ending.
One of the most common things I hear from my friends in recovery from opiate addiction is, “I felt like I was dying when opiate withdrawals began.” Having been through it myself, this is true. But you won’t.
Withdrawals will be incredibly uncomfortable. Detox medications like Suboxone®, Subutex®, and clonidine can alleviate some discomfort; however, you’ll eventually have to “pay the piper.” Some in the treatment industry argue that detox from long-term use of medications like Suboxone or methadone is more painful than detox from oxycodone or heroin.
Few treatment centers and recovery centers recommend long-term use of Suboxone®. It can be a very effective detox medication, but no medical professional I know who operates in addiction treatment recommends Suboxone “maintenance.” It is swapping one addiction for another. Many active addicts I knew would sell their Suboxone® medication too. Opiate addicts favor Suboxone® because it is cheap to buy on the streets when opiates and heroin are in short supply.
Anxiety, perspiration, restless legs, insomnia, feeling like I had the flu, vomiting and diarrhea were some of the primary symptoms I battled during my heroin/opiate detox. More information on heroin/opiate withdrawals.