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When I came to Dr. Butkins I was referred by the doctor I went to in order to start taking suboxone in order to taper off of the drugs I was on. It has been a very enlightening 4.5 months and I really feel like he has given me an amazing opportunity to continue living by learning to become a real person through the AA, the steps, and intensive therapy with a group of my fellow addicts/alcoholics. I have to say that when I first came in it was just a mandatory thing I needed to do in order to continue seeing my other doctor but when Dr. Butkins asked me what I was willing to do to stay sober I didn't know so I asked him what he thought I should do. Ever since then I have been shown a way to live and be of service to those around me. This is a way of life and for once I can see a future ahead for myself. I now know that when I finally do get off of suboxone I will be able to survive without drugs or alcohol because of what I have learned and am continuing to learn every day. I do not have to pick up a drug or drink ever again!
 
Date of Posting: 31 August 2015
Posted By: Matt
Its important to understand that the main driving force in my life has been a constant feeling of unease. I've been depressed since as long as I can remember, its a low-level functional depression and I also have horrible anxiety. But in addition to all that there is just a general feeling of not being right, not quite feeling comfortable in my own body. I feel like I came to earth and nobody gave me the instruction manual. There seemed to be "something" that everyone else knew that I didnt knew that kept me from fitting in and made me miserable and self conscious my whole life.
I first tried alcohol as a teenager. My first drink lead to my first blackout. I would badger my friends to drive around and find a place that would sell us some beer. I would go to parties for people I didn't know and steal the beer. If all that failed I would pay the oldest looking student in school to buy it for me. I hid it in my room and drank it warm, alone. I always drank to blackout. I thought thats what getting drunk was. I thought it happened to everyone. i didn't see a point of just having "A" beer. In college my roommate and I would drink a liter of rum or tequila in a night, by the second year we were finishing a "handle" (1.75l?) a night. I never even considered this was unusual behavior or alcoholic drinking. I never considered my desire to get drunk often was 'alcoholic cravings". I thought alcoholics were people who drank 24/7. In college I started abusing drugs as well. At first marijuana but then I began to abuse non-prescription cough syrup. At high doses it produces a powerful psychadelic effect similar to PCP and a opiate like high. I would start taking it immediately after work on Friday and roll until Monday morning, eating nothing , and drinking little except water to wash down more syrup. Even though I spent most of the week thinking and planning about the next time I can use I had no idea I was addicted. I also abused LSD, Marijuana and other drugs regularly during this time, often combined with large quantities of alcohol to balance out the anxiety producing effects of the LSD.
After age 21 I started doing a lot of drinking in strip clubs and engaging in prostitution on a regular basis. I became extremely addicted to this spending thousands of dollars a night on alcohol drugs and women in a night.
All of these things made me feel good but none quite fixed "it" , the thing that had made me feel awkward and discomfort I just couldnt shake.I tried many things, vigorous exercise regimens, diet changes, vitamin supplements, psychotherapy, hypnosis. None worked or even helped. In the case of exercise I ended up feeling worse because despite my hard work I looked in the mirror and still saw a person I hated and despised.
A few years after college I had a hernia operation. After the operation I was administered strong opiate pain killers and sent home with a bottle of opiate pain killers. I took one and suddenly all my anxiety had melted away, the depression was gone. I did not feel "high" like from other drugs I felt incredibly at ease and mentally balanced. I thought for sure I had found a cure for the life long psychological problems that had bee tormenting me. It was around this time that I had become suicidally depressed as well. I could no longer take the grinding torture of the depression and self-hate that consumed my thoughts day in and day out. The opiates cured this and dragged me back from the brink of suicide. I went to a psychiatrist and explained what happened he prescribed me an SSRI which finally cured my suicidal thoughts and depression but not the feeling of unease and discomfort. Opiates fixed it. So I started buying pain killers illegally. I would claim I was only using them to treat my frequent migraine headaches but soon frequent use turned into daily use and daily use turned into twice daily use and so on. One day I woke up and felt ill, like a bad flu,my nose was running and my stomach felt bad. I popped a vicodin and the symptoms went away...uh oh my worst fears were realized. I was addicted. I managed to get myself clean but the cravings were so intense I only lasted a month. My disease progressed very quickly.
Soon I was tkaing so much the tylenol in the pills was getting concerning. So at this time I started abusing dilaudid. These were very expensive and the effects only last a short time so my finances were effected quickly. Soon I found out the most economical way to use them was by injecting IV. Within a matter of months I had a raging drug habit and had drained my savings and retirement and was starting to run up significant debts.
I tried quitting by going on 'opiate maintenance' treatment. My first question to the doctor "how soon can I get off these" , the doctor told me dont worry about it. I would later find out h had no plans to ever taper down my dose. The doctor never suggested my problems were caused by a disease called addiction, or that I had a spiritual malady which drove my using. He never even suggested going to AA/NA or drug counseling. He just told me to keep taking the subutex.
After a few months I began to "relapse" on opiates, painkillers first, then heroin. I had discovered heroin was much cheaper and had a more powerful effect. Soon I had a $1,000 a week heroin habit. I was shooting 10 to 20 bags of heroin a day AND taking subutex. to cover the days when I couldnt get any dope.
I tried to quit many times, I would detox and go through hell only to give in to cravings days later. I thought I was never going to escape this. I thought I was going crazy. I was slowly ruining my life , the life of my wife and my family.
I was at the point where I didnt even want to keep using but I didnt know how to stop. It felt hopeless and impossible. I was debased and hopeless and decided to end it. One day I loaded up 15 bags of heroin into a needle and injected it in an attempt to over dose. Just then my wife got hom and caught me. Fortunate for me the heroin turned out to be very weak and it didn't kill me.
I decided I could not do this alone and my family insisted I get help as well as attend 12 step meetings. I didn't expect much from psychology as I had tried it before to no avail. As I looked at the different options I came across this website and discovered Dr. Pete was not only a therapist but he had also gone thought addiction in his life! I was thrilled to find someone who might actually understand.
I came in for a consult and he immediately put me at ease. He took the time to let me tell my story and really understand what I was going through. He gave me hope that my life could be turned around and restored on the path to recovery.
I joined his intensive out patient program and it has been a life saver for me. His entire team is made up of people in recovery with solid long term double digit sobriety. I found people who were caring and knowledgeable and were living the principles of the program. They gave me hope that all I had to do was follow what they did and I too could have solid recovery. They all made it so easy to understand and gave me clear instructions, goals and feedback on how to work the program.
Within a few months the cravings for drugs which had so terribly haunted me it nearly drove me to suicide were complexly gone. As the "big book' of AA promises I felt happy joyous and free My family was thrilled at my progress and things are very good.
This is not to say life has been easy for me I've had some hardships during this time but thankfully I have finally discovered that I have a choice not to use drugs or alcohol even if I really want to! I am continuing on in the program and I hope with the support of my family , my higher power, and Dr Pete and his team I will continue on the path of long term recovery and be able to pass it on to others.
 
Date of Posting: 30 March 2015
Posted By: Emanuel P.
All my life I thought alcoholism was controlled. I could not understand how anyone could be so irresponsible. Growing up in an alcoholic family, my father being an alcoholic, I could never imagine me ever having a drinking problem. I married alcoholics and divorced because of their drinking. At age thirty-six I found myself alone and began the bar scene. It didn't take long for me to become the person I didn't like. I began having blackouts every time I drank, which became very frightening for me, not knowing what I was doing nor where. I was arrested and charged with a DUI while in a blackout. Luckily for me, I didn't kill anyone, At this time, I still didn't believe drinking was my problem. After all, I had only been drinking a short time. I didn't drink at home or alone. Only drinking at bars when the band started or at parties with other people, I knew I was just a social drinker. My life was quickly falling apart and I became irresponsible as my ex-husbands and my father, which I labeled as alcoholic. Yet, I still couldn't see me as bad as them. Today, I am so grateful to the court system ordering me to substance abuse treatment and Alcoholic Anonymous. With this process I was able to learn about this deadly disease, about myself, and God. I was able to learn a new and better way of life without drinking, I recently celebrated twenty-four years of life filled with the peace and serenity. By the Grace of God, I was stopped in my tracks and guided down a new road I was meant to travel. If I can do it, so can you. Written with love. Vickie K. Apopka, FL.
 
Date of Posting: 24 February 2015
Posted By: Vickie K

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