Remember back when I used to write those ANGRY posts, where I would take people to task for their silly comments about buprenorphine? I remember them. THOSE were the days! I was always ready to go nuclear on anyone who tried to debate whether buprenorphine treatment was ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ C’mon punk– MAKE MY DAY.
I’ve become more circumspect since then (OK, so I had to look the word up– at least I had HEARD of the word before!) I got tired of going to bed with heartburn every night. I also realized that people will do what people want to do. I have no power over them, and don’t WANT power over them. Addicts must find their own truth, and all I can do is provide information when people are ready to ask for it. Live and let live.
I have a weekly radio show, by the way. You can find it on i-tunes by searching for ‘junig’ or ’shrinkzone.’ The show is on AM, but I recently got a small, monthly FM spot, which is a clear sign that I am moving up in the world. I needed material for the spot, and I came across a book called ‘Positivity.’ The book is going to teach me to replace my negative energy with new, positive thoughts. I’m expecting even less heartburn going forward! Isn’t life GRAND! Plus other good things have been happening. I already mentioned the coverage that these pages received in Addiction Professional . I also hope to be mentioned in the Carlat Report , a very cool source for independent information about the field of psychiatry.
So imagine my surprise when I received a note from a doctor describing his interaction with some people from Reckitt-Benckiser. He shared with me that his rep mentioned my name, saying I was a former RB treatment advocate who ‘went bad,’ referring to my earlier post about the company having ‘blood on their hands.’ The note went on to say some nice things about the blog and forum, but my head was already spinning with images from my favorite TV show, ‘Breaking Bad,’ with me as the antisocial chemist. Like the guy on that show (and if you have not seen it, I strongly recommend that you rent the first two seasons and then try to find the episodes that you already missed this year), I don’ have the sense to back away from a fight! Instead, I’ll invite new readers to click on the link to the article, and to leave your comments.
I would like to just close on that note, but I feel guilty now about not leaving any recovery ‘tidbits’ for the few people who read this far. How about this: be careful with resentments! I have shared my thoughts about why buprenorphine is more than just a ‘replacement’ for the addict’s drug of choice– that the obsession for opiates that is the essence of addiction crowds out all other parts of a person’s life, creating character defects at the same time, and that buprenorphine removes that obsession, allowing character defects to be replaced by good relationships, healthy interests, and self respect. I have shared what I see to be the reasons why addicts do not become ‘dry drunks’ when taking buprenorphine. But at the same time, I recognize that addicts who take buprenorphine usually miss out on the intense, life-changing experiences that occur during residential treatment.
My problem with residential treatment as the ‘treatment of choice’ is that relatively few people ‘get’ treatment, especially younger addicts, who rarely get to the level of despair necessary to truly ‘get’ step-based recovery. And it isn’t as if we can just sit and wait for that despair to develop, because the fatality rate is just too great for opiate dependence. In other words, too many addicts will die, BEFORE getting to the necessary level of desperation to ‘get’ recovery.
So ideally, a person should go on buprenorphine and THEN do the step work, right? WRONG. It is true that many prescribers of buprenorphine force twelve step attendance, but I wonder how effective that is, beyond serving as a tool to weed out those who are not truly serious about staying clean. ‘Getting’ the steps requires desperation… and once on buprenorphine, addicts are no longer ‘desperate!’ So intead, I try to use the principles of residential or step-based recovery in an individual manner, depending on the specific stumbling blocks of the addict under my care. For a person like me, I might say ‘be careful with resentments.’ Resentments are a short step away from self pity. And from self pity, we can justify all sorts of things that will lead us in the wrong direction.