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My Buprenorphine Addiction and Story of Recovery

Buprenorphine addiction is becoming more commonplace in the United States. Every year, this drug is used more and more. It is frequently used to treat opioid addictions. However, it is also given to some patients who experience moderate to severe pain.

Buprenorphine Brand Names:

  • Subutex
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)
  • Buprenex
  • Bunavail
  • Zubsolv
  • Bupropion

It’s always interesting to hear others share their stories about addiction. Buprenorphine can be a highly addictive drug, even though it’s used to treat dependence on other drugs. Here is one person’s story about discovering her buprenorphine addiction, and how she recovered.

How Heroin Led Me to Buprenorphine

I had tried other drugs before, but they were nothing like heroin. Heroin gripped me, almost from my first hit. It was a strong high. It didn’t last long, but it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It wasn’t long before I started craving it. They say that having a craving for heroin is how you know you are addicted to it. I remember that thought running through my mind, but I didn’t care. If I was addicted to heroin, it was a welcome escape from the problems in my life. As time went on, I started using heroin more and more. It became an obsession for me. I had to have it. I started selling furniture, jewelry, anything I could so that I could keep up my habit. I remember looking down at my grandmother’s wedding ring, wondering how much I could get for it. That was when I knew something had to change. I checked myself into a heroin rehab so that I could get help. The first thing they did was put me on Buprenorphine.

The Beginning of My Buprenorphine Addiction

At first, the drug Buprenorphine seemed like a godsend. It helped with my cravings tremendously. I no longer felt like I was obsessing over heroin anymore. I started to see the world differently, and I began to think maybe I had a future. I didn’t realize how long I would need to stay on Buprenorphine. They gave me Suboxone, which is a combination of the Buprenorphine drug and Naloxone. When I went into outpatient drug rehab, I was still on Suboxone. I started to wonder if I would ever be able to get off it. One day, I ran out of my medication, and I wasn’t able to get any more until a few days later. It wasn’t too bad at first, but by the third day, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that drug. At first, I thought it was odd. I thought Buprenorphine was supposed to make cravings better. I wondered if I was having heroin addiction symptoms, or if I had become addicted to Buprenorphine. I’d heard that sometimes that can happen.

Understanding the Buprenorphine High

When I started taking Buprenorphine again, I wasn’t prepared for what I was going to experience. By this time, I was on a pretty high dose of this drug. It wasn’t the same as the dose I was started on. Honestly, I really didn’t think anything of it. I thought life would just go back to normal, and my cravings would go away. What I experienced was a Buprenorphine high. It was a sensation of euphoria that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It lasted a long time too, which made it very different from what I ever experienced with heroin. For the first time in a long time, I felt good. I didn’t want the Buprenorphine high to end. I wondered if I had wandered down a dangerous road by accident.

Buprenorphine Abuse and How it Led to My Dependence

The high with Buprenorphine was so good, and I’ll be honest, I wanted to experience it again. That one high led me into Suboxone abuse. Taking another Suboxone pill didn’t give me the same effects, and I wanted to have that again. I read online that you could crush Buprenorphine pills. I started doing that, and eventually I started snorting them. Those occasional Suboxone highs ended up making me dependent on the Buprenorphine. I started to crave them just like I used to crave heroin. The situation got so bad that I started buying Suboxone on the street. I hadn’t realized that you could purchase Buprenorphine that way. It was even available online, as long as I found the right website to go to. A few times I got my hands on some liquid Buprenorphine. That was an even more intense high.

How to Know if You’re Addicted to Buprenorphine, Suboxone or Subutex

Eventually, I realized what was happening to me. I had gotten addicted to the drug that was supposed to save me from my addiction. These secondary addictions, or co-addiction as they’re often called, are pretty common. I had no idea that this could happen to me. I started noticing some symptoms of Buprenorphine addiction pretty quickly. These became more apparent as I kept taking the drug. They became even worse as I started using more of it, and increasing the dosage. The symptoms of Buprenorphine addiction I noticed were:

  • Not being able to control how much Buprenorphine I took at one time.
  • Constantly thinking about the next time I would get to use Suboxone.
  • Having to use the drug as soon as I woke up in the morning.
  • Purchasing Buprenorphine illegally.
  • Not caring as much about my friends, family or responsibilities.
  • Going to more than one doctor to get a Buprenorphine prescription.

Are You Addicted to Buprenorphine?

Using Buprenorphine was a little bit different than being addicted to heroin. However, in many ways, they were similar too. It took me a while, but I finally came to terms with what I was doing. It’s not always easy to tell when you have an addiction to a drug like Buprenorphine. People often get confused about what addiction is. If you have questions, or you need to know if you have an addiction, there is help. For example, taking an addiction quiz like this one can really give you some better insight.

Realizing I Needed Buprenorphine Treatment to Recover

I had to come to terms with the fact that I had an addiction. Everyone does at some point. When I knew for sure that I had formed an addiction to Buprenorphine, I knew I needed treatment. What I also knew was that my Buprenorphine treatment had to be different from heroin rehab. I couldn’t go through this all over again. I had to find a different way to recover from this addiction that would actually work. I was scared of going through withdrawal. I remembered what heroin withdrawal was like, and I never even experienced the brunt of it. I did some research and I found a drug treatment program that helped people with Buprenorphine addictions.

Suboxone and Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms

I knew that suboxone withdrawal was going to be difficult. However, I was also determined to get through it so I never had to face it again. Fortunately, the Buprenorphine detox program I was in helped. They took good care of me, and they were even able to eliminate many of my withdrawal symptoms. Some common Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Muscle and body aches, almost like you have the flu
  • Stomach pain and indigestion
  • Anxiety, and even panic attacks
  • Feeling very depressed
  • Becoming easily irritated
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

They used natural methods to get me through the worst of Buprenorphine withdrawal. Surprisingly, it didn’t last as long as I thought it might. Before I knew it, I was feeling quite a bit better.

What Buprenorphine Rehab Was Like

This particular rehab program was different than what I had gone through before. When I was getting off heroin, I was in an outpatient program. I didn’t see my counselor more than once a week. Sometimes it was even once every two weeks. I also didn’t get any other real support. I did see the doctor who prescribed Buprenorphine for me. That was it. I didn’t know there were different types of outpatient programs. This particular one was an intensive outpatient program or an IOP. I went to appointments several times a week instead of just once. When I was there, I spent a lot of time there; a few hours in the evening. That meant I was still able to pick up a job to do in the daytime while I was in recovery. If I had to pick a word to describe it, I would choose the word rewarding. It was incredibly rewarding for me. I met so many great people who all understood me. I learned so much, and most importantly, I got off Buprenorphine.

Suboxone Recovery and Aftercare

Today, I’m still clean. I no longer take Suboxone at all, and I never want to go back to it. Now that I’m free of it, I can see the damage that it did to my life. I still participate in treatment. I’m in a regular outpatient treatment facility now, and I attend Narcotics Anonymous. This experience has taught me so much about what addiction is. I’ve also learned the best way to treat it. I’ll let you in on a secret. The best way to treat opiate addiction is not with more drugs. That’s a way to transfer from one addiction to another. No one should have to go through that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. My plan is to continue my recovery. There is still so much more to learn.

Getting Help for Your Buprenorphine Dependence

It turns out that Buprenorphine addiction is really common when it’s given to treat addiction. I didn’t really know that before I started taking it. If I had, that might have changed what I did to recover. Later on, I found out that there were other options I could have chosen for heroin recovery. I didn’t know that there were holistic that you could detox from heroin. I thought heroin detox naturally involved taking medications to help with cravings and symptoms. I was wrong. The people at The Northpoint Seattle showed me that there are better ways to overcome an addiction. I chose to follow their advice this time around. What I found was that going to an IOP program really worked well for me. I was able to get the type of help I needed for my recovery. Making the decision to go to an IOP program really made a difference in my life. If you’re in the same boat I was in, I’m sure it will help you as well. Do you think you have a Buprenorphine addiction? Are you worried about your recovery? Please contact us so we can assist you.

Sources: (31, May 2016). Buprenorphine. Retrieved from:"" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer external" data-wpel-link="external">