Six Months Sober!

I am so happy to be able to tell you that I am now six months sober! To be more precise it is now six months, twelve days, one hour, eleven minutes and seven seconds. I am using a free app called ‘I Am Sober’ to count the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes. My abstinence is that precious to me that literally each and every second counts. I cannot tell you how much the quality of my life has improved since I embraced sobriety. The app requires you to make daily pledges and reminds me exactly why I continue to be clean and sober. Also, providing small affirmations so that I stay motivated and focused on the task at hand. If you are on the same or similar journey then it is definitely worth checking out.

I understand that being sober looks different for everyone but for me it took the form of ‘treatment in the community’. So to give you a better idea of what the last six months has looked like I will detail my journey in terms of key milestones. Although I should note that I didn’t just seemingly breeze into sobriety, I’ll have to go back a little bit further than six months but this is basically how things transpired for me. I’m doing this to really raise awareness around the subject of self medicating and addiction, hopefully help rid the stigma that is very much associated with it and to provide information should anyone else find themselves in a similar predicament to what I was in. By no means am I telling you what to do, I’m just describing my personal experience and how events unfolded and manifested for me.

So I officially went into my local Drugs and Alcohol Service asking for help in September 2018. The records indicate that I underwent the initial assessment but then lost touch for a few weeks. Back then I was increasingly unstable and very much unreliable. My addiction had a hold and I was just not sure that I could do what was going to be asked of me. However, I knew that things were different for me this time, things were really serious. At this stage I was overdosing each and every day, putting my head on the pillow at night not knowing whether I was going to wake up the next morning. I would probably say that at this point I had hit my rock bottom and had nowhere else to go.

After my sporadic hiatus I became reconnected with Drug Aid in the October and since then my presence hasn’t faltered. Thinking back, I’m not sure what did it but I finally found myself calling my appointed caseworker and once more asking for help. Never under estimate the ability and the freedom with which we have to ask for help. She outlined a number of approaches that were available to me, namely, ‘cold turkey’, tapering down, treatment in the community or going in to a rehabilitation centre. Together we decided that the best way forward for me at this stage was to try the tapering approach. Cold turkey was just too dangerous and given my mental health, too hard to tell you the truth. Going into rehab for three months, I just had too much to lose. There was the option of treatment in the community but there was a four month waiting list. So for me tapering down was the best way forward.

I started attending sessions but things were just so difficult, I couldn’t taper down how much I was using, the addiction had a hold and was just too strong. I knew deep down that I couldn’t do it and that I needed treatment and so pressed my caseworker to get the relevant information so that I could approach my family and ask for assistance. It pains me to say but things had really got that bad.  I spoke to my mother and my grandmother about my situation that very same day and we were all in agreement that I needed help. However, if I wanted to pursue this private line of medical assistance then of course it came at a price.

Wanting to furnish myself with all the appropriate information, I called the number that my caseworker had provided me with. The nurse talked me through the treatment process and then I can only note the speed with which everything moved. I made the call on the Friday afternoon, my grandmother and I went to the bank on the Monday morning and the private doctor was sat on my sofa that same afternoon. She described how I was required to go into withdrawal for at least twelve hours before I could commence treatment. The more into withdrawal you are the better the dose of Bupranorhine aka Subutex  works and I was desperate for it to work. I went into withdrawal on the 3rd of December 2018 and was then issued with my first dose of Burpranorphine on the 4th. I started treatment on 8mg but this was then increased to 16mg the following day. A dose that I have now consistently taken every day since and will do for the foreseeable future.

As a matter of procedure I was put on supervised daily prescriptions, taking my medication with the pharmacist each day throughout the week. On a Friday I would take my daily dose and then I was given my medication to take home with me for the weekend. I was required to do this for twelve weeks, within which time I also had to produce three clean urine samples. Fortunately I was able to do this and so the doctor then put me on prescriptions ‘three times weekly’. As time passed and I progressed this was then changed to ‘twice weekly’. I understand that I will pick up my prescriptions twice a week for some time now and that this is just policy and procedure for anyone on this form of medication. Of course I continue to produce clean urine samples and so things really are going very well.

This may not be the right avenue for everyone but it has certainly served me well. Going down the private route has been costly but very much worth it. The medical professionals and mental health practitioners were absolutely amazing. I would say that if it wasn’t for Bupranorphine I wouldn’t be sat here today, it has literally saved my life. Although, I have to note the valuable support services provided for me by my local Drug Aid. My caseworker has been very instrumental in my road to recovery. My family and friends have also been a tremendous support. I realise that I am a very lucky girl and feel very grateful for all of the people who have played a part in my recovery. So yes a big, big thank you to everyone involved.

I’m going to leave it there for now as I appreciate this piece is quite lengthy and I do want to keep things light and upbeat. But now you know a little bit more about my sobriety and what it has entailed for me. Always curious and forever intrigued I would love to hear your thoughts on my posts and page. Please do say hello and drop me a line, I would love to hear from you!

R x

12 Comments Add yours

  1. You seem well educated on your issues. I appreciate your tenaciousness in tackling it head on, and realizing what you must do. They are right when they say “one day at a time”. Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know about tenacious but I certainly do try my best! You know what… this comment has actually made my day! Thank you so much, you really are too kind 😊

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      1. The only advice I have is stay busy. Your mind will wander less. Keep after it RB!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you and yes I am trying to stay busy. The devil makes work for idle hands! I certainly will do, your encouragement means a great deal 😊

        Like

  2. nikhop320 says:

    I’m so happy for you sweetie! I know how difficult that must have been. Quite a milestone. God is so good. I love how you learned and researched, that will serve you well.

    I’m on the other side of this, my husband has struggled with his drinking and I was raised in alcoholism. I’ve used my experience to be able help and encourage so many other women on my journey. I went to Alanon for years and I was a Life Issues leader with Celebrate Recovery for a few years as well and it was there in those rooms where God changed my heart towards my husband and his drinking.

    Those ladies would come to my group and pour out there hearts much like your doing to help others, and I saw there suffering and it looked very much like how my husband was suffering but my heart was broken for them. Over time, I became compassionate to his illness and I completely changed.

    So proud of you! One day at a time, one moment at a time! Keep coming back it works if you work it!! Big hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to comment. Your husband and the community you serve are very lucky to have you! As I said in my ‘about’ piece… a sympathetic ear can be hard to find when it comes to issues such as mental health and addiction. So many people have that in you and that cannot be praised enough. Likewise, thank you for the work that you do and good luck with your future endeavours. Big hugs right back at ya x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce S says:

    Great post keep it up, thank you for following my blog. What do you mean by private doctor? It almost sounds like he/she made his calls. Is that true?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and you’re welcome. When I say private doctor I mean one who works independently and is not funded by the NHS just for example. I just know that I had to pay them privately up until I was eligible for funding off my local drugs and alcohol services. I paid privately also to avoid a four month waiting list… I hope this helps 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bruce S says:

        In the U.S. everything is private, any public funding and the care is poor. How long did you take benzos for and how did they taper you off? In the states they generally want to take you off benzos within a week. Which I know for me is to fast.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ahh so you’re from the US… a completely different health care system all together. Well hello my friend 😊 To be honest with my anxiety and depression I am still on certain prescribed medication, one being diazepam. I am allowed two 5 mg tablets per day but they are prescribed and taken as per the doctors instructions. I do not abuse them in any way, not anything like I used to before I embraced sobriety. I bought them off the street for many years, sometimes binging on twenty tablets a day. What I was doing was just so dangerous and bad for my body. The dramatic cut down has been harsh but I did what I needed to do. But this is just me and the set of circumstances I found myself in. I would not recommend it for anyone else, I would just say keep in close consultation with your doctor. Like I said sobriety looks different for everyone. I completely understand where you’re coming from though when you express that tapering is difficult! I mean to do it in a week is intense, I completely get that! But tell me how are you doing and where are you on your journey? x

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      3. Bruce S says:

        Thanks for responding, and thanks for sharing. I have never shared my story. Essentially I have been prescribed benzos, Klonopin for almost 40 years long b4, there was any negative publicity about them, and the dosage prescribed was much higher than today. Unlike in other countries its very difficult to find a U. S. doctor, that #1 will switch you from in my case Klonopin to Valium (diazepam) and then taper you down. Much easier on diazepam to taper, because it’s long acting and comes in much larger mg. and#2 if I admitted to a doctor here I was abusing benzos there is no way in hell they would prescribe me any amount like they are you. More later…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You are absolutely welcome… it’s just so nice to be able to talk to someone who knows what you’re going through. Ahh so you basically started taking them before we really had any insight into how addictive they are etc etc I really feel for you in your current situation it’s like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard one place! Like, really what’s the best thing to do? This is what infuriates me about our respective health care systems… not being able to go to a doctor and talk honestly about what we’re going through. How are we supposed to get the help we need if we are forced to hide our problems? Looking forward to hearing more when you’re free 😊

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