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    Default Sleep Medications

    Anyone who has detoxed and recovered off of opiates, knows how painful sleep deprivation can be. And unfortuanately good sleep is not something that we can get simply through an act of will. We can force ourselves not to take drugs, we can force ourselves to eat healthy, to excersise, to attend therapy or 12 step meetings...but we cannot force ourselves to get a good nights rest. It is true that you will not die from sleep deprivation, but it will hinder your bodies ability to repair itself in your recovery and sleep loss can wreak havoc with your overall mental health. Insomnia, given sufficient time, can induce anxiety, depression or even mania.

    The following is intended to generate a discussion on which medications are available to us as addicts and which are not, in themselves, damaging to our recovery. I should start by saying that IMO, all benzodiazepines should be avoided unless you are suffering from a MAJOR psychiatric complaint such as bipolar 1 or Schizoprhenia. There are roughly fifteen benzodiapenes that have been discovered, these are the most common ones.

    Librium(chlordiazepoxide HCL)

    -if you absolutely MUST take one of these, your best bet is librium. It is the oldest, mildest, with the longest half life, which in this case is a good thing. Benzos will in fact cause rebound insomnia, lead to increased anxiety, induce depression, and are generally considered to be the most dangerous class of drugs to detox off of. Way worse than opiates.

    Also to be avoided are the close relative of benzos, the Hypnotics. This class of drug is essentially a molecule or two away from a benzo, and like benzos works by affecting the neurotransmitter GABA or the related receptor sites. More and more people are showing up in rehabs, with addictions to Hypnotics. They include:


    Also to be avoided are muscle relaxants like Soma and flexeril. they are not only addictive, but they will make you behave like a monkey and then not remember it later. If you're actively abusing opiates AND taking Benzos/hypnotics/muscle relaxants, then you are basically getting down on your hands and knees and begging for an overdose.

    So given that these drugs need to be avoided, and if your doctor knows you're an addict then he shouldn't be scripting them for you. They are meant to be used for very specific forms of insomnia and for people without substance abuse issues. Take them at your own risk.

    So what are your options then, assuming that you are working closely with a doctor, ideally a psychiatrist, there are lots of ways you can go. Some require a prescription and some do not. I will list/describe them in no particular order and please, feel free to add your own:

    1.Trazodone(Desyrel)-Traz is an old school antidepressant. It is rather mild in its effects and nowadays it is rx'ed more for insomnia than for depression. It has a marked sedative quality, and no addiction potential whatsoever. Usually traz is taken for sleep complaints in doses ranging from 50-200mgs. For depression, the doses are higher, up to 600mgs. I was given trazodone soon after a detox, when I was jumping out of my skin, the pharmacist referred to it as "an oldy but a goody" and I tend to agree. This may be a first line option for a recovering addict. And even at the low dose, you may get some minor antidepressant effects. One note: traz tends to have a "window" of opportunity. Much like melatonin, it should be taken about a half hour before bed, with a small snack for best results.

    2.Seroquel(Quetiapine) Seroquel.....ah seroquel. If you've tried pretty much everthing short of a large mallet to the noggin, and you still can't sleep, then seroquel may be just what you need. Officially, seroquel is an Atypical Antipsychotic(AAP) and at higher doses is used for bipolar disorder and Schizoprhenia. At the lower end, its a potent sleep med which works in a similar fashion as an antihistamine. The dosing range for seroquel is enormous, anywhere from 25mgs to 800mgs. For sleep 25-100mgs is all you'd need. Seroquel frankly saved my *** in early recovery, when I was desperate for sleep, and it also has a very pronounced anxiolytic effect as well, and as we know, sleep and anxiety tend to run in the same circles. A note: the first few times you take seroquel it is going to knock your dick in the dirt, so be prepared. Your tolerance to this overpowering sedative effect should be up by day three. In other words, give it a few days, and be prepared to sleep. Other medications in the same class as seroquel, such as Zypexa, Rispedal, Abilify, Geodon and Clozaril can also help insomnia, but should generally be avoided unless you are bipolar.

    3.Remeron(Mirtazapine) is a tetracyclic andtidepressant. Often gets lumped in with the SSRIs, but it behaves differently. Remeron tends to be very sedating and is therefore commonly used when both depression and insomnia are a problem. Also used off label for Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and even Lupus, remeron is reputed to be really helpful for folks who have tried SSRIs but to no avail. It works on Serotonin and Norepinephrine and is generally taken at doses between 15-30mgs. Note: remeron is notorious for increasing appetite, it will make you ravenous, and while seroquel may have this effect also, you will likely gain weight just filling the prescription out for this drug.

    4.Elavil-also an old school AD. And like Remeron has anticholergic qualities. Elavil is generally used for treatment resistant depression, in which there is also anxiety and insomnia. And like Trazadone, you will also be getting the added benefit of the antidepressant. This is not a first line med for insomnia OR depression for that matter and it does carry with it a host of negative side effects. Effective dose 25-100mgs taken at night.

    5.Pamelor(Nortryptiline)-is a metabolite of Elavil, therefore it tends to have similar effects, but with less pronounced side effects. About 25mgs should do the trick, any more than 100mgs and you may need to get blood tests on a monthly basis.

    6.Vistaril-hydroxizine is a powerful antihistamine. So you may think of it like benadryl on steroids. It is used for alcohol wds in many psych wards, has a strong anxiolytic effect and is reputed to be similar to seroquel in its effects. Anywhere from 50-100mgs will do the trick. Vistaril, is a good PRN(as needed) medication for insomnia. Long term use can lead to depression and weight gain in some cases.

    7.Clonidine-one of the detoxing junkies best friends. Clon is a blood pressure med that also effects levels of Noradrenaline. In early recovery, this is prolly what you should try first and foremost. It is entirely non-addictive, knocks out your anxiety and allows you to catch some Zzz's. Long term use can also cause depression for the same reasons it helps in early recovery. So this is really not a good long term option for sleep.

    8.Inderal/Propanolol-basically these are beta blockers, famous for their mild anxiolytic effect. Prop was often taken by musicians and stage performers b/c it reduces nervousness. Also not really great first line or long term options, but they certainly help.

    9.Ramelteon/Rozerem-is the newest sleep aid on the market and is a novel hypnotic, in that it doesn't effect GABA, it works on Melatonin receptors. Here's the thing with Rozerem, it does tend to be safer than the hypnotics, however, it also tends to poop out/stop working faster and most people find that it either works great, or it doesn't work at all. We also don't have any long term studies on how it effects the brain over time. But then, as junkies, that was never really a concern.

    I think we all know the basics of OTC sleep medications. The majority of these like Unisom, Nytol, sleepinal and even dramamine are really just the same drugs: diphenhydramine. Also the sedative drug in tylenol pm and most cough medications. Used long term, these medications will severely impair your ability to fall asleep naturally. IMO, much worse than many prescription meds. So avoid these if possible. And in particlar if you have come to rely on Nyquil or robitussin, you are playing with fire and could actually set off a psychotic episode with prolonged use.

    Melatonin-is a naturally occurring hormone, supplemention does help induce sleep. However, long term use can cause depression.

    Valerian-Good ol' valerian. Go ahead and buy yourself some valerian. It may not work, but it won't hurt. Valerian is a mild sedative and frankly if you can get away with just valerian, then godspeed.

    there are also a host of other formulations of herbs that you'll find at a health food store containing things like California Poppy, chamomille and licorice. No harm in trying. But for some, its just not enough. A good place to start would be Herbal tea blends.

    5-htp/L-tryptophan are also good OTCs to try. They are precursors to serotonin and famously what makes you tired after thanksgiving dinner. They should be taken at night, like melatonin, their effectiveness often wrests on when you take them, as well as how much you take.

    Supplemental gaba: don't waste your money. Gaba can't cross the blood brain barrier. So it ain't gonna to work. A few meds like Neurontin and Gabitril mimic the effect of gaba and are therefore sometimes effective choices for anxiety. But I don't think either of them would be used simply for sleep.

    **a disclaimer: I am not encouraging anyone to take these medications. They are merely options that exist and I have tried to focus on meds without the potential for addiction.

    as with any medication, there is always risk of dependency.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    Posted by Lisa-2/28/08;
    Wow, thanks for that info. I did not know alot of that. I do take Sonata and did not know it was that close to Benzos. Yikes.
    They do give a feeling of impairment I guess. Should have figured it out.

    Posted by Glassbottom-2/28/08;
    what I know of doxepin, is that it is a strong sedative and very usefull for sleep. However, again, we have to weigh the pros and cons. The side effects for pretty much all the tricyclics disqualify them as first line medicatons. And that goes for either sleep or depression. I believe that doxepin gets scripted more over in europe where it is knows as Dothepine or something like that. I'll do some more research for you and let you know what I find. But if sleep is a problem, my first question would be: "what have you tried?"

    Posted by Arlene-2/28/08;
    Rozerem didn't work for me. And quite expensive. My plan didn't cover it.
    I went back to Valerian Root....tried and true. Not always the full answer each and every night....but what the hey....I stick with it.

    Posted by Sluggo-2/28/08;I also tried Rozerem....had the opposite effect on me. I woke every 2 hours....just like when I was pregnant.

    Posted by Moonlite Mile-2/29/08;
    Just curious, what's the word on doxylamine succinate (brand name: Unisom)? It's a little different than the active ingredient in Tylenol PM and most other OTC sleep meds, if I'm correct. I took it nightly my first few months clean and still use it once a week or so.

    Posted by Sluggo-2/29/08;
    okay...lets play HYPNOTIC or BENZO....buzzers ready....Temazepam

    Posted by Jill Clarkson-2/29/08;
    That's gotta be a benzo J.,,,, Yes? The "PAM" at the ned, am I correct?

    Posted by Arlene-2/29/08;
    BUZZZZZZZZ. Restoril. Benzo.

    Posted by Glassbottom-2/29/08;
    sluggo, I listed it above as a benzo.

    moonlight, yeah, dox is the other major OTC sleep med, I guess the key is that you only take it on occasion, which means your not growing dependent on it for sleep. But personally, I've found that the morning after I take that stuff, I feel really depressed.

    incidentally it helpts to mix it up, if you alternate what you take then they may not lose effectiveness. Say one night, valerian, then another melatonin, then another trazondone.

    Jumpingoff, here is a link to a site which lists patients ratings of different meds. Doxepin has gotten a pretty high rating in fact. 3.7. Rozerem on the other hand received a 1.9....this is out of 5.

    and here is the link for the Rozerem reviews:

    Posted by Sluggo-2/29/08;
    Glassman - I know you listed it darling. just quizzing the folks for a quick study.
    game on....Its time for another round of "BENZO or HYPNOTIC"

    (no peeeking) buzzers ready......SEROQUEL

    Posted by Moonlite Mile-2/29/08;
    Thanks for responding, glass. I've never felt depressed or anything after taking it, though sometimes I have a pretty hard time getting out of bed. It knocks me out at this point... I'm a huge fan of Unisom, personally. I feel it's rather safe and effective.

    Posted by Nomadic-2/29/08;
    Trazodone, Seroguel, both of these are prescribed to help for sleep. I'm NOT recommending these just adding to the list.
    Personally I try to take benadyrl to help sleep some nights.

    Posted by Glassbottom-2/29/08;
    so these are two good links to check out patient responses to any mediction. Just punch it in and off you go.
    both are really helpful, remedyfind has a better interface, askapatient is more straightforward. It's always good to read other peoples experiences.

    Posted by Arlene-2/29/08;
    BUZZZZ....unless you're bi-polar or schizophrenic

    Posted by Glassbottom-2/29/08;
    did I see you at a SMART recovery meeting in Silver Lake yesterday arlene, talking about how hypnosis saved your ***? be honest?

    Posted by Arlene-2/29/08;
    No B ~ tweren't me. Although my *** could use a little saving these days.

    Posted by Mic-2/29/08;
    I've had really good luck with diphenhydramine (2 tabs X 50 mg.) The downside for me has been short-term memory loss. The only problem I've had with it is short-term memory loss.
    ~If you really want to do it you will find a way. if you donít, you will find an excuse~

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    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    Posted by Miss Kiss-3/1/08;
    What I have found to be most effective for sleep is Liquid Cal Mag, hasn't failed me yet!!LOL
    1 tablespoon before bedtime.

    Posted by CreativeGuy-3/13/08;
    I've been taking Lunesta for the last two months (probably more often than I should). I'm currently detoxing from Methadone/MS Contin - 12 days in and the insomnia is huge - 1 or 2 hours a night after taking Lunesta. Do meds like Lunesta just stop working after a while - as in keeping you asleep? I've tried a bunch of stuff for sleep every night - homeopathic stuff, melatonin does nothing, Valerian Root just makes me grin sleepily. Nothing helps. I have some Seroquel and I'm trying half a tablet for that. Is Seroquel addicting?
    I know I will have to wean off the Lunesta sooner than later (but hopefully not now while my insomnia is so bad and I'm already detoxing). How fast/what rate would people wean off Lunesta - I want to do that when my sleep patterns improve.

    Posted by Oneis2many-3/13/08;
    Seroquel(Quetiapine) Seroquel.....ah seroquel. If you've tried pretty much everthing short of a large mallet to the noggin, and you still can't sleep, then seroquel may be just what you need. Officially, seroquel is an Atypical Antipsychotic(AAP) and at higher doses is used for bipolar disorder and Schizoprhenia. At the lower end, its a potent sleep med which works in a similar fashion as an antihistamine. The dosing range for seroquel is enormous, anywhere from 25mgs to 800mgs. For sleep 25-100mgs is all you'd need. Seroquel frankly saved my *** in early recovery, when I was desperate for sleep, and it also has a very pronounced anxiolytic effect as well, and as we know, sleep and anxiety tend to run in the same circles. A note: the first few times you take seroquel it is going to knock your dick in the dirt, so be prepared. Your tolerance to this overpowering sedative effect should be up by day three. In other words, give it a few days, and be prepared to sleep. Other medications in the same class as seroquel, such as Zypexa, Rispedal, Abilify, Geodon and Clozaril can also help insomnia, but should generally be avoided unless you are bipolar.

    Remeron(Mirtazapine) is a tetracyclic andtidepressant. Often gets lumped in with the SSRIs, but it behaves differently. Remeron tends to be very sedating and is therefore commonly used when both depression and insomnia are a problem. Also used off label for Fibromyalgia, Arthritis and even Lupus, remeron is reputed to be really helpful for folks who have tried SSRIs but to no avail. It works on Serotonin and Norepinephrine and is generally taken at doses between 15-30mgs. Note: remeron is notorious for increasing appetite, it will make you ravenous, and while seroquel may have this effect also, you will likely gain weight just filling the prescription out for this drug.

    Elavil-also an old school AD. And like Remeron has anticholergic qualities. Elavil is generally used for treatment resistant depression, in which there is also anxiety and insomnia. And like Trazadone, you will also be getting the added benefit of the antidepressant. This is not a first line med for insomnia OR depression for that matter and it does carry with it a host of negative side effects. Effective dose 25-100mgs taken at night.

    Tried all these at one time or another. And they ALL gave me the Restless leg something fierce! Though I was going out of my mind and ready to jump out of my skin. Definetly not a option for me.
    I've found hydroxyzine, unisom2 and the odd imovane to be the best help. The imovane I use few and far between.
    Basically nothing really helps for more than a few days.

    Posted by Glassbottom-3/13/08;
    creative guy, lunesta is definitely one of the "lighter" hypnotics. It claims to be acceptable for long term use ie not addicting. This is debateable. If you find that you are escalating the dose and relying upon it too much...and it still isn't really working, then all your doing is setting yourself up for bad rebound insomnia when you quit or drop off the lunesta. As far as seroquel, well, first off, you should be working with your doctor on this of course. Goes without saying. However, I have taken seroquel and can tell you that it is not addicting at all. As in, taking a seroquel does not make a person want to take more seroquel. There is no euprhoria associated with it. Seroquel has the added benefit of relieving anxiety as well. This is an opinion, however, it is an opinion that I've researched quite a bit. Trust me, I know how elusive sleep is in early detox. It was the worst part of detoxing for me. And not sleeping for long periods time can wreak absolute havoc on both your physical and mental wellbeing. Understand that you are not suffering from clinical insomnia. you are detoxing off of a powerful opiate. Its going to take some time. that said, there are options. Stay away from the benzos and IMO the hypnotics mentioned above. If seroquel below 100mgs doesn't offer you some relief, then you may want to look into Vistaril.

    Oneis2many-RLS is common with those meds. It is usually dose dependent. Meaning if you get RLS as a side effect, then you would want to try a lower dose...or even just the same does, but spaced out over time. That feeling sucks however. Be careful with the unisom, long term use can cause depression. And if you honestly don't use Imovane on a regular basis, then it is a nice med to have around for sleepless nights. It is habit forming however, and so as an addict, I would steer clear.

    Posted by DollaAnMgram-3/13/08;
    I take Klonopin for anxiety and epilepsy, Seroquel for sleep, love both. Seroequel knocks me out no matter what I have been doing. Used to take Remoron but the stuff made me crazy.

    Posted by MtGoat911-3/14/08;
    the information dose say it is for bi-polr and schizophrenia but my shrink gives it to me for PTS (post traumatic stress) and aspergers.
    I wonder why she (my dr.) went with this? have you heard of this?
    thanks for this thread, my family dr. mentioned lunesta for sleep apnea but this drug sounds like a new ambien.
    let me know if you have heard of taking seroquel for pts and asp.

    I have never seen a greater miracle or monstor than myself.

    Posted by Glassbottom-3/14/08;
    Stacey, your doctor is not nuts. There have been plenty of studies and ALOT of anecdotal evidence of the AAP class of drugs working for both PTSD and all forms of Autism, including aspergers. At doses below 200mgs seroquel, which is the mildest drug in this class, works as a potent, but unusual antianxiety medication. Autists tend to suffer from anxiety after puberty as you well know. Generally speaking, the drug that gets scripted most for autism from seroquels class, and has the most proven results is Risperdal(Risperdone) However, seroquel is used "off label" for breakthrough symptoms of autism on a regular basis. As far as PTSD: well, if you've taken seroquel and you know the side effects of PTSD then you can do the simple math. PTSD, leads to increaded anxiety, racing thoughts, depression, substance abuse, irritability and insomnia. Seroquel can and is used for all those anyway. And since seroquel is "newish" and proving itself to have a low side effect profile, you will soon be hearing AstraZeneca advertising it for other stuff besides bipolar and schizoprhenia. They just can't officially state that yet. Bottom line, for high functioning autism, complicated by PTSD...seroquel is prolly a damn good choice to try you out on. If it doesn't work, then maybe give Risperdal a try.

    Posted by MtGoat911-3/14/08;
    thxs, i have been on it for almost 4 yrs, but alot of my NA/network are encouraging me to take kava kava instead,i really dont want to bring up the asp. symptoms in a meeting, that owuld be embarassing, infact i want to change my name from stacey to an a nickname and delete my picture after my last 2 post, but what the heck, these are my issues that will kill me if i dont seek help.
    my shrink told me a while ago to remember i have a disease that tells me to take too much medicine and one that tells me to stop taking my medicince!!

    Posted by Glassbottom-3/15/08;
    I'm adding this link to a helpful message board page about Sleep Disorders/Sleep Meds. Its well worth a look, if you're interested.

    And specifically for StaceyH:

    Here is the page about Autism spectrum disorders

    and PTSD

    Posted by Starlight-3/27/08;
    Hey Glassbottom, Does seroquel make you very drowsy the next day?

    Posted by Glassbottom-3/27/08;
    The first few times you take it, absolutely. I wouldn't call seroquel a first line defense for insomnia. But if your really need sleep, like bad, it is a great drug. And if you take it at a low dose for two or thre days, you will immediately notice that the sedative effect becomes less pronounced. It will still help you to sleep, but its more like it "allows" you to go to sleep than "knocks you out" the way say a benzo or ambien would.

    If you have children, and you want to give seroquel a try for both sleep and anxiety. I'd just have your another adult around for the first couple days until you're feeling comfortable with the effects. But the overwhelming sedation where's off really fast.

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    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    When I was in detox I was given a 'load' of phenobarbital'. It's one of the oldest meds used for epilepsy.
    Since my sleep, or lack of, seem to get me using again, I'm wondering how unsafe that would be to use?
    I'm asking because I don't get a buzz off them-good thing.
    Questions? Answers? Anyone?

    hey one. I've never take phenobarbitol myself, however, I'm quite familiar with its use in detox and as a third or fourth line defense for epilepsy. It's a barbituate and this class is really rather antiquated and only used for very specific situations. As far as sleep, there are a whole host of antipsychotics that would be used before a barbituate. I don't know if you still use, or how far into your recovery you are, but mixing a barbituate with any opiate....or alcohol is deadly. So if you are not under medical supervision, this not really a very good choice for a sleep complaint like insomnia.

    The question we face is: Is my insomnia caused and/or exacerbated by my drug use? Is my depression caused and/or exacerbated by my drug use? Is my anxiety caused and/or exacerbated by my drug use?

    the simple fact is this. More people suffer these problems "because of" their drug and alcohol use, than take drugs or alcohol to relieve them. That is a fact. I always had sleep issues, growing up, I guess you could call it insomnia, but the truth is that clinical insomnia is impossible to dx if you haven't been "completely" clean for 4-6 months. That doesn't mean there aren't medications that are safe to take in early recovery. But if you quit opiates for say a month or two or even three and your sleep still isn't great, then I can tell you that this in entirely consistent with opiate wd. You're brain is recovering and it will be recovering for over two years to be honest. My suggestion is to recognize that if you continue to use, then you are absolutely, unequivocally guaranteeing that you will continue to suffer from the insomnia, depression, anxiety. That's just the way it is. Also, alcohol greatly disrupts your sleep over time, this not a remedy by any means.

    If sleep is a major issue after a month of total sobriety then slowly and systematically look at your current habits with caffeine, alchohol, exercise what have and then try looking into some of the meds that we've discussed on this thread.

    I think it should be noted that anyone taking Seroquel should be aware of the fact that it can cause blood sugar and lipid changes. When I was at Summer House detoxing off sub, they gave it to me after 5 nights of no sleep. It was a like a brick bat to my head-I slept and slept well, and craved sugar like I never had before. I would have eaten sugar from the bowl if they didnt have all the sweets available. They also called trazadone trazadrunk-because that's how you felt the following day.

    i went six months without any sleep meds after that, and found that I was in adrenal failure. At this point I take 2 mgs of lunesta when I need to. Prolonged sleep deprivation is no good at all and can seriously mess up your health. As far as addiction issues-sleep meds were never my thing-and I seem to be able to take them as perscribed and keep the doctor in the loop on any changes. So far it's working well. Sleeping 2 to 4 hours per night was pure hell. If anyone is in this situation, do not let it get out of control see a doctor, please do not get in the situation I did.

    I just wanted to add to this conversation something I posted in an earlier thread.

    I saw my wife for the first time in two weeks, after she walked out with our son becuase of my drug use. I got to hold her again and reconnect somewhat last night. I went home and slept 5-6 hours. Until then I hadnt slept much if at all for 7-8 days and I was doing almost every suggested drug/otc remedy on this site.

    All Im saying is, its not always drug caused or drug cured. The soul needs what it needs. Coming off drugs we face so much guilt, clarity starts to come back, we remember so many wrongs we ahve done, so much wasted, so many hurt. Not to mention issues that got us using in the first place we never dealt with. That is not easy to cope with. Also some wake up to bills, legal issues, repairs, etc that we have put off. The soul is not at rest. Those things must be dealt with and resolved. Looking for external cures to internal issues is what got me where I am. When I lay down I think of all the millions of things that I must deal with and fix, and it seems insurmountable, so sleep wont come. To fix thta with a drug to me is part of the problem. Again, how I got here in the first place. If I was powerless over opiates Im likely as powerless over sleep aids like benzos or other pills. No. My solution is to let this run its course naturally. All things are possible in the natural, without drugs. It may not be easy, but what worthwhile is?

    No. No Rx drugs to sleep for me, not today. Its part of the mighty huge price Im paying for my selfishness and stupidity. The things Im most proud of in my life are the things that were the toughest. This one will top the list.

    I wanted to add Im not disputing John or anyone who has MUCH more experience in this than I. His issues are valid about medical conditions deserving of meds. Im simply relaying my "addict" mentality and the difficulty I personally have controlling anything that affects my mood whether it be alcohol or pills or whatever. Im an addict.

    midlife, thanks for your post. I think the point of this is that we have to keep this in perspective wrt our addiction. And I agree with what you say. Insomnia, is generally attributed to anxiety. My mother is a good example of this. She leads an extremely active life, is not an addict whatsoever, but is a chronic worrier. She suffers from insomnia and relies on OTC meds to help her sleep. The problem is that she isn't addressing the underlying issue. The source of the anxiety may, as you've implied, be shame or guilt or fear or resentments or expectations. Learning to quiet our minds without drugs is extremely important. I should add, that personally, nothing has contributed more to my overall sleep health than exercising and working the steps of AA. They both address the anxiety that prevented me from sleeping. There is a saying: Those that fall asleep easily tend to have simple hearts. And very few addicts that I know are uncomplicated in this manner. So you are right to want to avoid medications for sleep. And part of that is simply b/c as addicts we don't want to take the longer, slower, yet most effective treatment for the problem....we'd rather just take a pill.

    I no longer take any sleep medications personally. I occasionally take valerian and melatonin, or drink herbal tea. In my current position that is all I need. They say that recovery is a journey to simplicity. And that may explain why I don't feel uneasy resting my head on the pillow at night. If I feel anxious, I know that it something that I did or didn't do during that day that is causing me anxiety and I can address that pretty easily be simply turning on the light for fifteen minutes and doing 10th step inventory.

    I will say that some folks have a harder time than others. F'risntance, menopausal women tend to suffer a lot of sleep complaints. And in early recovery, sleep is also elusive and we have to take what we can get. We have to sleep. And I guess the point of this entire thread is to say that while the goal is clearly to not be relying on any pill/medication for sleep, that there are medications that are effective and safe for an addict use, when insomnia is so disruptive that it is perhaps comprimising your health and even your recovery.

    Life without sleep sucks!When I detoxed for the first time a few years ago I didn't sleep for 2 weeks.I thought I was going to die.I tried everything known to man to get sleep other than a prescription and nothing worked.My mother also has sleeping problems,she is going through menopause and is truly miserable.I feel so sorry for her I think she only gets maybe 3 straight hours a night for the past 3 years.She has tried everything and nothing at all works.Come to think of it I know more people who have sleeping problems than people that don't.

    well madison, maybe you could pass on some of the information in my initial post about possible sleep medications that aren't addictive to your mom. Trazadone is a nice one to start with. I agree, poor sleep can really ruin your health. I worry about my mother constantly. And at her age, its causing other health complications.

    I have had sleep issues most of my life, but now that I am almost 50 and going through menopause I am miserable. I do take ambien several times a week and I make no bones about it. without sleep I am chicken little, the sky is falling the world is ending and I become the monster from the deep lagoon. so for my sake of my sanity and that of my family I use ambien. I could care less at this point if I am "dependent". if I dont have sleep I wont die....but I also wont work, I will have a headache or migraine the next day, and I get very depressed. It also seems to work on my addiction issues when I go through periods of not sleeping. it is a trigger no doubt. I am sitting her typing at my computer at 5 am chicago time and I have been up for hours. I will try to get a couple more hours and then my day begins.

    it is a difficult issue for anyone, especially those with jobs, families, spouses, business to run, etc and that includes about most of us.
    great thread glass, I have missed bantering with you.

    As far as I know my mother never had a prescription but I do know a few she has tried.Unisom,Valerian root,and melatonin If I remember right I think the unisom worked well but then just quit working and I do believe she had to kinda ween herself off that.So it could be addicting.I will call her later and ask her of the other ones she tried.
    Hi Teri!How have you been?I know what you mean about the menopause,my mother has more mood changes than ever and is constantly too warm along with not sleeping much at all.I am not looking forward to going through this crap.

    hey teri, nice to see you around. The goal with any treatment is to solve the problem, not to just treat the symptoms. It sounds like using ambien several times a week isn't really working for you. If you are still suffering this far into our recovery, then I would say that ambien isn't the drug for you. It's not solving your problem. There are medications that would treat the underlying symptoms and don't carry with them the burden of dependency and addiction. And ambien is addictive, that is a fact. So if you are taking it several, lets say three or four times a week, then you've grown dependent as you've said and the problem with that is, you are going to suffer even more severe rebound insomnia the other 2-3 days a week that you aren't taking it.

    I would suggest asking your doctor about seroquel or remeron. If you want to talk about this further pm me, and I'd be happy to help.

    I can understand everything you said, and agree. I think where im coming from is maybe a different place. We all have our "box" and its hard to think outside of it sometimes, becuase its all we know.

    I work in the fortune 100 world. Many of the C level Execs I know get about 4 hours per night, every night. Its simply all they require to function, and all they have time for. Are they miserable or sick? Nope. They are fine with it. Its normal to them. Research is showing that 8 hours of sleep is actually more than we need. Ive read studies that some of the most successful men in the world slept very little, 2-4 hours per night, and functioned just fine, day in day out. I am currently functioning at work at a high level on very little sleep the last three weeks.

    All Im saying is, what defines Insomnia to some may be not getting the 15 hours a day they used to get while on opies. And while to some insomnia is not being able to go to sleep whatsoever. A wide variance. My intent is certainly not to argue, but to look at it from a different angle is all. If you are getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night, as frustrating as it may be compared to your previous expectations, many function at a high level of energy on this much rest in thier normal lives.

    I dont know the answer. Ive never had sleep issues, even before the opies. But I sure have them now. I just think to use drugs to force something that may not be nessecary in the first place, may not be great. Because I know trazadone, and seroquel, and most all of them, and most leave you feeling groggy and cloudy the next morning. How can you can fix life or work at a high level in that condition? I couldnt. And so the circle of failure continues, now Im drugged and sleeping, but Im sleeping until 10am and cant go for that job interview, or take good care of my kids, or go pay a bill. I still have much to learn about this whole process, and really enjoy the varying views. Mine is just another for your gracious consideration.

    hey glass, where you been lately??? you have been pretty quiet lately!!! i miss our banter!!! maybe next world series.

    I have tried seroquel and remeron and they did not work for me at all. the only sleep meds that have ever worked for me are ambien and lunesta. I have had sleeping problems since my late teens early 20's and I am now almost 50. so this has been going on my whole life. I was a victim of sexual child abuse so the sleep thing I am sure is tied to that, I wont explain why just trust me it is.

    the reason I still suffer is because I refuse to take the ambien nightly. I suffer some nights just cause I dont want to take the ambien nightly. I do take herbs to relax me, such as valerian root, that relaxes me but does not cause sleep. I can usually fall asleep but I can not stay asleep I have nightmares almost nightly and they wake me up and I cant go back to sleep and then I am up for hours in the middle of the night. I am kinda used to it but some days it sucks cause I have appts and things to do and I am super tired. but after this many yrs I have kinda gotten used to the routine.

    I used to smoke pot many yrs ago and that helped somewhat to put me to sleep but I dont smoke anymore nor would I.

    anyways that is the nightmare I deal with. I have chronic daily headaches and 2-3 times a mth I have migraines, which might be caused from the lack of sleep it is a vicious cycle. I am just glad I am clean now, no matter what the pain and suffering I have to go through now it is better than being enslaved by pain killers.

    Whoa!! ended up having adrenal failure?
    Do you feel it was connected to the sub? And can you start a thread or figure out a place to post about this where we would not be hijacking?

    I am extremely interested in this...especially because IMO, it is one of the biggest risks of MMT.

    teri, I miss our conversations as well. I've been busy with life and with AA, though not necessarily in that order. Wow, so seroquel didn't work huh? nor remeron? well that's a drag, There is another medication called Loxapine that is of the same class as seroquel, it is non addictive, perhaps you could discuss it with your doctor. Also, It sounds to me like you may still be suffering from some effects of PTSD from the abuse you mentioned. There is a therapeutic treatment that is being used with much success for survivors of all sorts of trauma. It is called EMDR. I wil provide a basic link for you check it out. I have a relative who was raped in High School and has had certain unresolved issues around it and is finding EMDR to be quite effective. Keep the faith sister. Here is the link:

    hey glass,
    thank you for the links, but to tell you the truth I have been through more theraphy than you can imagine and I am as healed as I am gonna get except what God does in my life every day. It is like it is something that lives under your skin everyday trying to bust through. through the power of prayer and my faith in God I hope back the fear and the depression that lives inside of me since I was 9 yrs old. I have done all the work I can (on abuse recovery, healing, forgiveness, I am exhausted to tell you the truth. thanks for caring and reaching out to me. God bless you my friend,

    I have been taking seroquel for 7 months after detoxing from methadone(10 years on it) it caused a lot of weight gain. I want off, but just lowering my dose from 200/300 to 100 caused withdrawals..this medication may not be addictive in the fact that it doesnt give you a high, but it I s very difficult to come off of. Your body gets addjusted to it for sleep and stopping can cause even physical w/d. it is the best med for sleep yet it is very hard to stop,last night I had chills and nausia and barely slept at all...I dont know if I should come off slow or taper. Ive read that comming of c/t is brutel and that is how it feels. you can definatly become dependent on this drug and if you though you slept badly before, the seroquel being taken away makes it way worse..what should I do?

  5. #5
    spring is offline Administrator
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    Apr 2003
    SW Michigan

    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    hayley, yep, weight gain is an issue with seroquel and most other drugs in that class. Zyprexa is even worse. I'm sorry to hear that you are having trouble dropping. When I took seroquel, I never went over 100mgs, usually 200-300 is used more for bipolar disorder. So perhaps if you have been dx'ed with bipolar then you are experiencing some hypomanic symptoms. Try to reduce your dos by as little as possible, over the longest period of time. If you drop by 100mgs at at a time it is of course going to upset yoru sleep for a couple of days. Be patient. If you want any further help with this let me know or pm me.

    edit: hope this helps hayley. if you have the 100mg seroquels, ask your doctor for the 50s, get yourself a pill cutter. If you are at say 200, then drop by 25/50 every four days. when you say that you dropped off from 300 to 100 then of course you're going to feel a 33 percent drop. With any psych med this is the case. Keep that in mind.

    Sluggo-4/11/08; I don't surprise there.

    if Seroquel is non-addictive....why are folks having a hard time gettin off it, have to taper down, experience w/d symptoms, etc.

    doesn't sound so safe to me. why is this any preferable to ambien or lunesta? thanks for the info Glass.

    I suppose any thing that you take for sleep ends up causing dependency after awhile and large amounts of seroqual are probably more addictive. It is really to me the best sleep aid Ive ever used which was good for a while but now I dont know what to do..Im sure if you stay on a low dose its not hard to come off of...its very confusing

    in hayleys case she is on a dose that would be used for either bipolar or refractory depression. She is dropping much to fast and to far at one time. I had no trouble coming down off of seroquel and I'm capable of abusing tic tacs. As I'm sure hayley could attest, it is a better sleep aid than ambien, b/c is addresses the underlying issue, which is anxiety. It allows you to fall asleep.

    re coming off of it. Think of an antidepressant. Do you consider antidepressants addictive? have you ever heard of someone hitting the streets at night to find a 100mg zoloft tab? prolly not. However, when you come of of zoloft or any AD, you are supposed to do it slowly, to allow your body to adjust. The meds give you breathing room to do the work psychologically and therapeutically to treat the problem, they don't solve the problem. Honestly, I don't know where else you got that info, I've done a good deal of research on this entire class of drugs and when you drop slowly and compliantly I haven't heard a lot of problems. If the person is bipolar, that is another story. But for sleep, the sedative effects actually become less pronouced the higher you go on seroquel.

    yes I definatly agree that its not a drug youd get addicted to..I just thought that when told it was non addictive that meant you could stop c/t without side affects. I read a lot of posts about people getting physically ill when quitting yet as my dad says the internet can be like "the enquirer" times 1000...if you search seroquel w/d you read alot of horror stories of w/d like comming off oppiates yet it may be because they are bi polar which I have to say I am not. My doctor just kept raising me more the more I complained abut awful nights when I was doing really badly and frankly it didnt help that much but he thought since my sleep was so awful then that going higher and higher would be good(btw hes also my old meth doc)but he didnt tell me that by doing so it would take longer to quit. Im not having any mental problems with my cut back(just aggravation over this)just yucky nights. I will say though that I have had obbsesive weight issues for usually 110-115 and after gaining this weight Ive been going crazy in a very unhealthy way. I realize that vanity is very low on the priority list yet having been bulimic and starving myself..I cant get through the day happily knowing Im gaining weight..its stupid I know but I also dont want the deppendency anymore, seroquel to me for months was almost as important as my meth use to be as I knew it was the only thing that gave me peace for a few hours when I was having the worst time of my Im getting better and I just have to be patient and follow proper healthy procedure...I dont want to go backwards.

    This just kills can never die from lack of sleep!...............WRONG!!!!
    Did anyone see the 60 minutes episode a couple of weeks back? They actually gave the segment 40 minutes of their time! A rat will die of no sleep in 5 days. Shorter time then if given no food. A human can go into stage one diabetes within a very short period of loss of sleep. They are even suggesting now that it (lack of sleep) has something to do with the epidemic of obesity here in the states. And as for the folks that say they need no more the 3 or so hours of sleep to function just fine ( of which I am one) they are saying that we as humans really need at least 8 or more. I know that if I don't get sleep, I do become a raving lunatic. People that drive with lack of sleep drive worse then those who have had too much to drink. I know I am not giving hard info here....Hehehe I am tired right now and it is hard for me to recall the 60 minutes episode I refer too. If you have some time and this subject interests you, I urge you to go to the 60minute website and see if you can still see the episode in its entirety. It really was very interesting. Sleep (and lack of) really has a lot to do with our whole healthy selves in ways we can only imagine. Memory plays a large part - if I recall correctly LOL. They didn't go into much (if any) on use of sleep medications, they did a lot of study with interrupted sleep studies and total denial of sleep in medical lab studies. Really very interesting. Once again though I will say this - I HATE WHEN PEOPLE SAY THAT NO ONE EVER DIED FROM LACK OF SLEEP!!! You hear that again and again in the "recovery world" and it is just NOT true. I am surprised I did not die in a car accident because I was so tired from lack of sleep that I was driving all over the road. But hey, I was NOT high when I did that!! EEEKKKSSS - I am in a mood tonight!

    um,, you might want try a little chamomille tea. Maybe pop a few valerian caps. In fact, help yourself to some of my melatonin. light a candle. get the "whale humping" cd going. eat some turkey. have a, you want some seriously, you take it, I insist.

    and just put the automatic weapon down, and step away from the television.
    cokie roberts has been known to do that to people.
    there's always seroquel

    Luvie...good morning to you, babe. It's now 4:48AM my time. I've been awake since 4:00AM. My normal time....7 days a week. I average 5 hours of sleep a night...sometimes 4+1/2. I have no problem falling asleep...just can't stay asleep for any more time.

    Would 60 Minutes consider me sleep deprived?

    The concept in the recovery world of "No one ever died from lack of sleep" is based in the contrary action of not taking addicting sleepers/drinking/smoking pot, etc to counteract sleep issues.

    During my first 6 months of sobriety, while in detox, I averaged approximately 20 minutes of total sleep per night. Then for months 7 to 11..I averaged about 1 hour a night. At the 11 month...I began to sleep 2 hours per night and was elated.

    Was I cranky? Well...yes and no. Yes...I wanted to sleep more. Who doesn't want to sleep? Sleep is a wonderful thing, particularly when you're kicking or going through PAWS. Don't have to "deal" thinking I would wake up "healed" and fixed. The no part was that I realized I had dues to pay for 22 years of active abuse. It was what it was.

    I remember in detox, I was finally offered 50mg Trazedone. I took it greedily...anxious to get some relief. The results for me where fairly horrific. My throat closed up...couldn't swallow....and then...for the next 2 days, was so drugged and foggy I couldn't stand the sensation. I made a promise to myself that I would not replicate the experience ever again. If I were going to be sober...damn it...I wasn't going to rely on anything ever again to take me out of my feelings and reproduce a sensation I no longer wanted.

    Did the recovery community spout those hard words to me? Yup..."they" did...and I hated "them" for it. However, in my experience, they proved to be correct. Still alive and kicking...fully functional...not dangerous on the road...working a full time job...not diabetic...nor obese.

    Valerian Root is what I use. I also listen to meditation tapes before I go to bed. And I'll tell you what really puts me to sleep. The Big Book! Ssssshhhh...don't tell Bill W. I am 5+1/2 years later. 61 years a time in my life when we "seniors" traditionally get and need less sleep. I wake up....put on my coffee...turn on my music...type a my watch the sun come up in all its glory. Its a new sober day. I'm not dope sick nor hungover.

    Originally posted by arlenewla
    During my first 6 months of sobriety, while in detox, I averaged approximately 20 minutes of total sleep per night. Then for months 7 to 11..I averaged about 1 hour a night. At the 11 month...I began to sleep 2 hours per night and was elated.
    Arlene, I know you had a horrific detox. But not everyone has the "luxury" of spending their 1st year of recovery in detox and rehab. Someone who is going to work everyday or trying to raise 3 kids is not going to be able to function on 20 mins of sleep a night. There must be something else to offer them than "tough it out" or "lack of sleep never killed anyone".

    In my experience there very unfortunately is nothing else to offer. It sorta is what it is, and it takes what it takes. I was sleep deprived for years while on OXY..if I could fall asleep I would wake every hour or two, and in order to get another hour I had to take at least 15mgs of OXY. Then, when I finally got up the courage to get off sleep was a complete impossibility.
    The one thing the helped me to cope was acceptance. I knew from trying to get clean so many times that Iwould not be able to sleep whatsoever. This acceptance kept me from getting totally frustrated thru those long agonizing nights. That was the only relief this addict could find. Well, I guess the other thought that I leveraged to keep some kind of FAITH was that everyone kept telling me it would get better, and it has.
    I have not tried the natural sleep aids that are posted all over this board, so, maybe they can help?
    Having a desire to be free from slavery to opiates thus far has proved to be the key to my acceptance of lack of sleep, anxiety, and a zillion other things going on inside me that I can't accurately speak to or identify just yet.
    Many, if not all of us struggle with the sleep thing. As rough as it is, it is a small price to pay to get life back. To become human again, to become part of. My drug habit was not pretty, in my early recovery I have to learn to accept that it ain't necessarily gonna be pretty. Many dayz it is pretty ugly....but the alternative.......You get the point.

    I do get your point, P. I'm almost 10 months out of detox and fortunately I'm sleeping pretty normally now. I still take seroquel maybe 1-2 times a month, but that's falling by the way side. But in the beginining, I found seroquel to be a great help in getting some sleep. All sleep aids are not evil and different people need to take different paths. That's all I was trying to say.

    And congrats on your recovery, P. It really sounds like you are doing an awesome job and you should be proud of every minute that you've reclaimed.

    bottom line for me was that sleep deprivation wreaked havoc with my mental well being more than any other side effect of wds, acute or post acute. reading what arlene wrote, really hits home, and frankly I just wouldn't be able to function properly on six months of and hour or two a night. It would destroy my mental health. I don't believe that I would die, necessarily. And the truth is if insomnia was as deadly as the 60 minutes piece claimed, dontcha think we would have heard that before? dontcha think we'd be hearing of people who died of insomnia at least some of the time?

    The sleep loss was a price I had to pay, but it was also compounding every other symptom. I was making me even more restless irritable and discontent. I used the opportunity I had with trazadone and seroquel to build my sleep habits back to a stable place. I didn't just simply rely on the meds, I worked on improving my habits re sleep. I exercised, I cut out cigarettes, cafeine after 900am. Practiced mediation, good sleep hygiene. In short, I used the time on the meds to establish good sleep patterns. When the time came to get off, I dropped off the already low dose, very slowly. I was completely honest with my doctor the whole time about my condition and about what kinds of meds I personally needed to avoid. Then I began to alternate the trazadone and thee seroquel at the low doses. When I cam off them, finally, I slept poorly for about three days. But I was prepared, and now my sleep habit are basically like a normal person. What saved me wasn't the meds, but the work I did while on them. The steps of AA, have helped me tremendously with that, they have given me peace of mind and solid tools to deal with problems when they come into my life. I don't worry so much.

    This is the path I took, not suggesting for anyone, I just couldn't hold a job, and continue to recover, attend meetings, and live a full life with the sleep patterns that years of abuse had created in my life. If I had the strenght to do it another way I would. Most nights now, I don't even take valerian or melatonin and I'm immensely grateful for how easily sleep comes to me now. The problem of insomnia holds a special place in my heart. When I hear people suffer this malady, it brings me back to my own detoxes, the self induced torture, the endless hours of television and surfing the internet, reading, lying there waiting for the day to start, for the sun to come up to so that I could resume being miserable(first guy at the coffe shop)....just with the rest of the world around to keep me company.

    I didn't just simply rely on the meds, I worked on improving my habits re sleep. I exercised, I cut out cigarettes, cafeine after 900am. Practiced mediation, good sleep hygiene. In short, I used the time on the meds to establish good sleep patterns. When the time came to get off, I dropped off the already low dose, very slowly.

    Sounds like you really could identify the problem and manage a great solution for yourself,that ROCKS!! You mention the idea of Sleep Hygiene and the conscious effort you made to improve that area of your life. That whole concept is really helpful for me. THANX for postin

    Originally posted by BOAG

    Arlene, I know you had a horrific detox. But not everyone has the "luxury" of spending their 1st year of recovery in detox and rehab. Someone who is going to work everyday or trying to raise 3 kids is not going to be able to function on 20 mins of sleep a night. There must be something else to offer them than "tough it out" or "lack of sleep never killed anyone".
    Yes, Boag...I was inpatient detox for 5+1/2. And please also remember that I began working full time 4+1/2 months into the midst of full on PAWS.

    Nor do I think being locked down in detox is a "luxury". I went from 250mg to -0- of MMT in 4+1/2 months flat. It was anything but luxurious.

    So, for me, the tough it out school of theory worked. Abstinence is what works for me.

    Tough it out, in fact, is still something I live by today. Its the same as this too shall pass as far as I'm concerned. If I'm not diagnosed as bi-polar, why would I take a medication for sleep that has it roots as a bi-polar med? If I'm not clinically depressed, why would I take an AD to sleep? Yeah...I can handle being annoyed or irritated about lack of sleep....and for me it's an oh well. I get annoyed at a whole bunch of things in daily life...and I don't reach for a pill to solve or fix it. For me, its a short hop, skip and a jump to reach for something else that will self-medicate. I don't go there.

    I think this goes to perception of what is or is not too difficult. Left to my own devices...I'll opt for short-cuts and the easier softer way every time. Which is exactly why I don't.

    That's why I put it in quotes. Sorry if I was not clear. I meant it is a luxury to be able to go to a facility for that length of time to be able to get the help you need. Most people are simply not able to do that. And have no option but to tough it out at home. And are still expected to show up at their jobs and raise their families. No detox is luxurious.

    my problem is that I still get paws w/d pains at night...when I stopped so quickly I felt them a lot..however it may just be the drastic drop in my seroqual that brout on the awful feelings I felt.. night times were always the worst for paws w/d so when I used seroquel(with clonidene) it seemed to block it so now I dont know what Im feeling, but I suppose feeling the pain at night wont be as bad once i get use to being off of the drug. When I was in pain all day , I would take my 2 meds and it would go away(not for too long in the beggining) thats why my doctor gave me some to take in the night to sum up, I guess I was a bit of a wimp for dealing with nights and would take anything after suffering all day in pain for its time to deal on my own.

    While I understand what you're saying, BOAG, I think there's a bigger picture operating here. Eventually, even those people who went inpatient detox have to come home...for some sooner than later. For others, like me, later than sooner.

    The larger picture is exactly that....what happens at home? Patterns developed are patterns held onto. The phrase "toughing out" seems to be a foreign one to many recovering addicts. In general "we" don't tough out things well. That's not a strong suit for it sleep disturbances, a hangnail, a headache, a backache...or just the daily stressors of not finding a parking spot.

    The usual "go to" source of finding "relief" remain our old standbys....addicting and/or mood altering drugs unless we develop new responses. Hanging in...toughing it out...waiting for it to pass is one of those new responses that is applicable to far more than sleep problems.

    Is it harsh to say, "suck it up"? To some, it may seem so. However, there are a myriad in things in life that requiring sucking up...accepting that which may not be palatable on first blush. I just did a group with new primary women. One of the topics that surfaced again is pushing through feeling "sick." Now, I'm not talking about addicts who are still detoxing. Their detoxes are long since finished...for several months. I'm talking about getting up and going to jobs...showing up for events...just plain being present.

    I used my personal analogy. A very old commercial. A Dunkin' Donuts commercial. Little old baker...with a clock behind him that says 4AM. And he mutters...."Time to make the donuts" as he pushes through the darkness. There are many days that I get up for work...go to the garage and as I walk to my car, mutter under my breath..."time to make the donuts." I'm pushing...taking contrary action...sucking up the fact that I can find a 1,001 reasons that I don't feeeeel well enough to go to work.

    I can always Haley said...a reason to wimp out of life. Its sucking it up....clean & sober...that takes guts.

    Sleep problems are the chief complaint for those detoxing from MMT. Bar none...the longest lasting. Is is pleasant? Nope. Is it a direct result of what we did to ourselves by staying on MMT? Absolutely. There's no free lunch. Does there come a time when we look at in the eye and be it? I believe so. Its 5+1/2 years later for me...and I still say it is what it is on the issue of 4+1/2 - 5 hours of sleep per night...and what is recovery.

    Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

    BOAG -
    I can so relate to what you wrote.

    bottom line...yes, you have to face reality at some point...with all the inherent stressors....sleep issues....whatever. I've gone home with 4 days clean....and with 40 (outta rehab). huge difference.

    Once I was a inpatient options were seriously limited. sucks that I needed it at all. tryin to take care of young children while still detoxing, not sleeping, emotionally trying at best. hell, its a challenge even when we're sober.

    when I've had the opportunity to deal with women trying to detox, or women actively using....the first option is usually inpatient. to can be the easier, softer way. simply to separate from the drugs...and provide and safe and supportive environment. ideal....sure. reality...not always.

    just want to make one point about meds that are "designated" as bipolar meds, or antidepressants....or chemo drugs, what have you. Most disorders fall on a spectrum. We use diagnostics simply to help the clinicians categorize symptoms. Many times, certain meds are discovered for one malady and it is discovered that they work even better for something else. Some examples.

    Adhd: no one would argue this isn't a real disorder, for most addicts taking a stimulant is a bad idea. One of the most effective treatments for ADHD is Wellbutrin, which is "classed" as an antidepressant. So the ADDer who takes wellbutrin for the problem should stop?

    MTGoat has aspergers syndrome which is entirely unrelated to bipolar disorder, she takes seroquel for the symptoms of autism...and it works. Should she stop taking this "bipolar med"

    Aricept: the parkisnonian med is being found extremely useful for bipolar depression. SO here is a parkinsons med that is not a bipolar med, but is helpful for people with bipolar. Should they not take it?

    Trazadone is "classed" as an antidepressant, it works great as a non addictive sleep med, actually better than it works as an AD so ....????

    I'm not really following that one line of logic. If the "classification" of the treatment is more important than the relief, then where are we left?

    Insomnia is a legitimate medical complaint, it is an anxiety disorder. If you have gone out, done the work, quit drugs and alcohol entirely and you still can't sleep, the fact is you're taking years and years off of your life, aggravating other problems you may have, comprimising your overall health and lowering your threshold for disease.

    As I've said, I believe there are legitimate options for those of us in recovery. But I agree with arlene: if you aren't willing to do the work, struggle with the problem, and to a degree acclimate yourself to the same degree of suffering that the rest of the human race endures, then are setting yourself up for a fall.

    LOL! Sometimes I have no logic, Glass.

    Look're far more informed scientifically and medically than I...without doubt. My train of thought is that for addicts of our types, things can get very "iffy" when we start taking different medications off-label. There was a poster a bit back who indicated she was taking Ultram for an eating disorder and to give her energy. There is someone who posted that he was taking Sub for depression. I used opiates to self-medicate for depression and inability to deal in general with life. If I couldn't deal with life, I became depressed...ergo, I took opiates to solve it.

    All I know is that for me I'm highly respectful of all drugs that can be either mood altering and/or addicting. And yes, I understand that Trazedone doesn't fall into the category of addicting. However...every drug comes with side effects...aspirin inclusive. My BP medication and my chloresterol meds have side effects. Valerian Root has the side effect of making me gag when I open the bottle. Clonidine certainly has side effects. Babe...I can abuse Advil. It takes me 20 minutes in the OTC aisle of the pharmacy trying to figure out what to take for a cold. I usually make the decision to pass everything up and just wait out the cold.

    I very careful of what I put into my body these days. If it changes my ability to function...takes me out of me...or has the potential to reawaken the physical allergy...I don't. Have I short-shifted myself out of more sleep by the refusal to take something like Trazedone? Perhaps. However....any medication consideration is done an individual case by case instance and to date, I have found that I would rather take door 'abstinence' than the chance door.

    The heart of the solution for me arlene is stated very simply between pages 416-420 of the big book. And in that segment, he says "I now feel that I have given up my right to chemical peace of mind" I agree with this statement. And hon, believe me, you think I know about meds now....imagine me as a raging addict. I was like the effin macgyver of getting high; give me two blades of grass a baby aspirin and some motor oil, and I'd come up some kind of drug with it. I too have had to be quite careful with over the counter stuff. I avoid cold meds altogether. I find myself roaming longingly in the "pain relief" or "sleep aid" aisle, perusing the backs of the packages:

    "may cause drowsiness?" sign me up

    "alcohol may intensify these effects" I bet it does

    "don't operate machinery" does that include my tv remote?

    "effs up pregnant women" I'll take two, thanks.

    yep, addict behaviour through and through. To me it is a matter of degrees and I'm woefully bad at recogninzing those degress, that is why I have a sponsor and a therapist. And why, once my sleep was stabilized I worked "with" my doctor to come off the meds and address the sleep thing like a sane person.

    So, um, the point is that I can smell what your cooking here sister.

    Easy to answer...all psyc. meds are addicting, before anyone gets their panties in a wad...let me explain

    I started taking ADD meds in grammer school, then anti-depressants and after i was diagnosed with autism i stated climbing the ladder of crazy meds and every single one of them was a ***** to come off of!!! I have'nt tried all of them, just about 50!
    I think its absolutly hilarious for someone in a meeting to say psyc meds are not mind or mood altering!
    I just smile and remember my experience is my experience!

    So remember folks if you say yes to any drugs long term there will come a day when you may have to detox.
    This also goes with heart medication, blood pressure meds, thyroid hormones...the list goes on!

    Its all about the risk vs. bennifits...By the grace of God,, a midly retarded girl like myself has returned from the depths of complete insanity by working the steps AND taking a crazy pill at night.
    I have a disease that tells me to take too much medicine and an illness that tell me to stop taking my medicine.

    Its really good to talk about this, It is an outside issue at meetings and not something that is accepted in gereral conversation, so I guess here is a great place to talk about it.

    absolutely true stacey. It is all about risk/benefit. Every medication has downsides. And it is up to the person and their doctor to decide that. I met a guy in AA just the other day who was sober for twenty years, dxed bipolar who had compliantly taking his lithium the whole time. He remained sober and sane, not an easy task. Some of us need crazymeds and some of us don't.

    Thanks for this post, and the second paragraph that is quoted above is the essence of why I started this thread in the first place. I'm really glad this discussion seems to be helping people.

    Yup! And right after it says says "acceptance is the answer to all my problems today."
    I lost the privilege for the chemical peace of mind. I'm on overdraft until 2050. I'll revisit the question then.

    Do you believe that people with autism, bi-polar, suicidle depression or schizophrenia should refrain from all medication?
    Good quote by the way, comes from a great story!
    I do have to add this,

    I am a member NOMI and several autism awareness groups,,
    If you live with mental illness and are in recovery,remember you will never graft a new idea on a closed mind! Focus on YOUR health and getting off drugs.

    I had so many people who did not understand my addiction. I was trapped in a cycle of destrution, it seemed few people grasped the exact nature of the disease...they just saw a bad person.

    Now in recovery i also run into the same type people. The ones who do not understand mental illness, laugh at it, act as if it is something you choose or something you can snap out of. What do these people think? That drug addiction is the only mental illness out there?? Not everone is going to get it or take the time to ask questions before forming an opinion. It is an illness as isolating as addiction, left untreated it will cause a relaspe, or I might find myself clean and sober and living in a group home or psyc. hospital.

    I do not know what it is like to live with a heart murmor, my mom has one, what i do know is that i am loving enough to learn about this condition and be open for any treatment out there.

    So many of addicts turn to drugs to mask the symptoms of mental illness. Self- medication. There are safe places to go if you need help.

    And if you dare...check out this site,,and tell me that addiction is the only thing mental health workers need to address.

    and last but not issue discussed

    What is the saying????

    Contempt prior to investigation?? Is that it?

    I certainly don't believe that Stacey. And its not my business whether someone else requires or doesn't require a particular medication for issues as above. AA literature is very clear on this.

    I think there's a large difference between autism, bi-polar, schizophrenia and suicidal depression when compared to taking something for insomnia.

    You made a very good point...risk/benefit analysis. I think that's the key concept before taking any medication. What are the risks if I do take it...what are the risk if I don't take it...and what are the benefits derived?

    Personally, I view my own recovery first and always as an addict/alcoholic. I look at opiates, benzo's, booze, psychotropics, uppers, pot from that of a recovering addict perspective....drugs that are unsafe at any speed for me.

    I mentioned something as simple as cold did Glass. I took a Benadryl about 1+1/2 to 2 years ago...for a lousy headcold. I should have known better. Antihistamines not only don't make me drowsy..they speed me up. I had the heart hands shook. All from 1 freaking Benadryl. So, my considered opinion when I have a cold is that the risk/benefit analysis of cold remedies for me comes up a huge no for antihistamines. I'm also very careful to make sure there's no alcohol content in anything OTC.

    There is no question that certain conditions require a regimen of medication. We had a resident not to long ago who, for whatever reason, became unstable on her bi-polar meds. She had been fine for quite some time and all of a sudden that changed. The result was fairly disastrous for her. And, as an adjunct, almost personally for me. She had become hostile and confrontational while decompensating and when she heard me calling 911....she ****ed her fist and came very close to socking me. Where it not for another resident who jumped in between...she would have connected and I would have been decked. She was 5150'd.

    okay..I feel very confused...I feel torn beetween the idea that taking seroqual was safe and now thinking I was taking the easy way out like a typical drug addict...I have to say that in the first several months it saved me ...however it cant be said that pshy meds arent addictive ,especially for sleep. Alot of people have problems falling asleep who are well,almost everyone goes through this weither stressed etc. when you take seroqual you dont have to worry about it..your out. so what if I was better and just chose to not want to have to try to fall asleep...I beleive any sleep aid is addictive yet in certain cases very bennificial for certain reasons. I dont regret taking it at all. I dont howevr want to have to ween myself off like other drugs, but it served a purpose. I do believe that it is true that dealing with months and months of no sleep would certainly slow down your recovery. I just find it untrue to say that anything like trazadone isnt addictive, you may not jones for it but you can definatly develop a dependency pysically and mentaly, but for some its a small price to pay to get off of drugs...or cure life long insomnia. Were is the line between what is a drug an addict is depending on or symply something to help you in a possitive way(antibiotics we cut those out too and tough out the flu) Some could say taking clonidene is being deppendent rather than being strong. I just dont know the answer regarding anti deppresents for sleep or other pshych meds.

    I totally agree with all that.
    I will tell you that for me, someone with outside issues, when we or I hear someone say "I have given up a chemical peace of mind" we?I start thinking that we/I am doing something wrong,, maybe I should stop my medication because this lady in AA thinks its unsafe.
    Then its the whole go into isolation because no one understands, then it may turn into me deciding to stop my medication without consulting my thing you know I have lost the emotional balance I have found thus far.
    Last summer a guy named steve brought up the topic of depression and medication, so many people started sharing how anti-dep. are bad for people in recovery, steve and another guy got into a battle over it. The next week I went back to that meeting,,no steve, he had killed himself. Not saying that you are going to cause me to kill myself but i am saying that the statement did make me have that brief passing though of,,maybe i should not take my medicine??

    Now that i have your attention, i have tried sending you an email and i asked you in another topic...i will try again

    When you had cancer and went thru chemo did you take narcotics? did it make you depressed?

    I have a freind in na who went into the hospital to get off anti deprresents because she assumes that being in na you should use counceling instead. My mother is sychsophrenic..we went through years of hell I cant even tell you. After over a decade of fading away she was put on resperidal and I now have my mom back..shes my best freind and 10 years ago I didnt even know who she had become. She had had addictions in the past(probably more related to her desease) if someone were to say get off your meds and use counceling shed go phsycotic again. I definatly dont beleive in anyone whose not a dr telling someone to go off any physch my case its just for sleep so if I end up going out of my mind, it will only be out of exhaustion lol.

    Stacey...I was placed on Methotrexate when I was kicking. My immune system went into overdrive...autoimmune. So while kicking MMT, I was put on the chemo drug. It was a rather ugly combination of events. I was kept on Methotrexate for almost 2 years...while I was sober. The effects were not pleasant.

    Last August, I was diagnosed with CLL (chronic lympohcytic leukemia). No meds yet....just a lot of white blood cell monitoring.

    Thats awesome about your mom!!
    I dont get how the same people who are adovocates for valerian root and kava kava say no dont take anything for sleep,,, but then turn around and say take valeiam root?

    stacey, far from it. In fact, I see people in AA all the time who get sober, work the steps and still continue to suffer, the promises don't come true for them, they are not relieved of the mental obsession. Many of them have a legit psych complaint. Not only do I think they "should" get medication, I think many of them "have to" get medication. The best case scenario for that person in my mind is akin to the program that you are working actually. Regualar attendance and involvement/stepwork in 12 step meetings, a solid relationship with a clinician/prescriber who knows your whole story and can treat you accordingly and an ongoing relationship with a therapist. This is what T. Gorski calls 12steps Plus. And it has proven effective for many people. you are living proof of that.

    Hayley, its not worth questioning your decision to take seroquel now. The fact is that you did take it. And it clearly helped. And now you want off it, which if fine, just be patient and lower your does systematically in the way that we discussed.
    ~If you really want to do it you will find a way. if you donít, you will find an excuse~

  6. #6
    spring is offline Administrator
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    Apr 2003
    SW Michigan

    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    I'm an advocate of Valerian or Melatonin...but not Kava Kava.

    Forgive me for interjecting here

    Stacey I came across a thread of yours earlier this morning titled dying inside and you made a specific reference to looking for a reply on HepC thread. I checked and could not find any topic there started by you. Do you have questioins about the treatment?? (sorry for any typos, my delete button is failing me) I would be glad to tell you what I can. I have been through the treatment twice.

    As for taking any narcotics, the second time they RXed me some Xanax to calm me down as I was all over the place. Only to be taken at bedtime so I could get a full night rest. I only took it when I needed it. Not everynight.

    Your second question about being depressed. Yes I had bouts of depression. Maybe a little more than usual for me. BUT, I have alot of issues with home life and when you add in sickness, sickness that nobody can really SEE so they disreguard it, it will get you down if you let it. You have to try not to dwell on the negative. I hope this in some way helps.

    I apologize for taking this thread a bit off topic. Carry on.

    thanks for the post cynderee. So I'm always curious about recovered addicts who take benzos or hypnotics. The main reason is that when they are used mid/long term they tend to make the original problem worse. That means more rebound anxiety, insomnia and of course depression. I could never really keep myself from taking them every night. And when i tried to take them like "half" the week, it was usually more like five nights a week. Obviously when you take them consistently on a weekly basis, we build a dependency and I just couldn't stand to risk that as an opiate addict. How many days a week do you usually take them? What did yo mean by a disregarded sickness? what illness do you take benzos for?

    Glass, I don't take benzos. I was only RXed them once, one bottle of 30, never asked for a refill, when I was doing interferon treatment for hepatitis. Treatment only lasted 3 months for me. It might have lasted longer if my "numbers" (virus levels) had shown a favorable response, but that didn't happen.

    By disreguarded illness I am specifically referring to the Hep C. It is amazing how many people, family members included, that can know that you are infected with it, but they don't consider you sick in any way, shape or form. Because they can't SEE it. Totally insidious disease. The only symptom that may be seen is being tired and that can be dismissed easily. I guess until my skin turns yellow nobody really thinks about me "being sick". Meanwhile the virus is there, slowly destroying my liver, and has been for about 30yrs. now. Now that doesn't mean I go around and go poor me I am ill. I function as normally as anyone else does whether I feel like it or not. In fact I worked thoughout my whole treatment phase which is described as a low dose chemo, until the last week when I became ill with a stomach virus or drug side effect, no telling which it was and I had to miss a couple of days.

    Sorry if I confused you with the benzo thing. My apology again for taking your thread off course.

    cyn...inerfuron is a monstor! full out chemo! I am scared to death!

    aaah...Im so tired and frustrated!! I saw my doc today and he p**d me off. I can handle the drop in my seroquel, but I know when Im off Ill be screwed. Im still not ready to sleep on my own. The serequel helps so much ,but im having some serios physical side effects. Im just so worried for when I come down to nothing. will i loose it mentally? I still have a few months to go before my sleep is restored...I guess i just ride it out. My doctor is just increasing my clonidene..whats that going to do? Im really worried. Ive come so far after 8 months and I dont want to have to deal with another addiction..I really believe that physically, seroquel is we go again..just need to b****h

    hayley, sorry you're struggling. I feel like I'm missing something here? what exactly is the big issue? the difference between taking 200/300mgs of seroquel and 25/50 is enormous. If you need it for sleep you should jsut be taking the lower doses. And I have to ask you, how are you "certain" that you're going to have trouble coming off, when you haven't yet? I understand that the weight gain is annoying, as I said you will find that diminshes as you lower the dose. What are the other effects that you can't handle?

    weight gain on seroquel is horrific...i have found it to be helpfull to work out 2 xs a week at the gym (thats the minimum insurance will pay for), I also walk everyday and go skating on thrusdays with my children.
    Ofcoarse i have weeks when the hep. is kicking my butt, so this is not an option.
    I also have hypothyroidism which causes weight gain..then add not smoking and not taking drugs, it is a daily fight to maintain my weight, as you can see i am chunky.
    I take my seroquel at 7 and go to bed around 11, my appetite kicks in hyper drive around 9 to 10. When it does i try to hop right to bed or i will over eat.
    If you are just taking it for sleep why can the Dr. give you tarazadone? In my area Drs. are slowly learning that seroquel is a bad answer to insomnia!!
    Dont worry so much about the weight thing, find a cheap gym and get in the bed as soon as your seroquel munchies kick in.
    I have struggled for yrs with this topic, i started gaining weight after my first so, being in recovery i realize that sometimes i have to accept me for who i am, i need to love myself at 240 pds just as much as i would me at 140 pds. My first yr clean i became terribly stresses out (no clonidine for me) i could eat bread or saltines and drink pepto, i lost 60 pds. looked great,, I actually like who i am today better than i did then.
    If your weight is becoming a medical issue than that should be address, even then just try to love you for who you are.

    I love that Stacey. Thanks for sharing.

    see I dont over eat at all...In fact the past month ive been eating better than ever and exersising more than ever..and All i can so is just barely keep more weight off.if you search about serequel wheight gain, youll read about people who have gained so much weight and eat right. They say youre lucky just to keep more weith comming on , but loosing it , ya right. Its not just appatite ...there are other connections(beleive me..Ive searched every site ..this is comming from someone who has serious obbsesive weight issues and Ive never been over weight. Regardless, I know weight is not the priority right now(read my old posts and youll see, all i cared about was making it through the day) But weight is not my only problem...Im having gastric and mental side effects...the scray thing is,is that we dont totally get the whole info..If you search ser. quitting youll see many people who have said that if they quit c/t they get w/ds comparable to opiate w/d. Also when I was taking 200 at night and in soon as the ser. kicked in(before sleep) the pain went away..what does this mean..obviously its not an oppiate, but it may act on the reseptors like muslcle relaxants.. this is imo, but
    i really wonder about a drug that can take away my w/ds...dont you ever what goes on in your body or brain once you swallow them or any other type?
    and Stacy, i do need to love me for who I am..thankyou(btw cant take traz, bad side effects) just give me a horse tranquilizer until this is over lol!

    Me too Haley...and I really struggle with feelin good about who I am ... I am over a month clean and still really don't like me...I am a blind man in a world where my eyes should be able to see. One day I hope to see me in a VERY different light. I wish the same for you...Sincerely.. GOOD LUCK

    I just read my post from yesterday...god you can tell how tired I was ..I can barely read it(well I am known for bad spelling) but I slept well last night, so Im feeling more human.One day at a time.

    Was watching the History channel this afternoon; a show called "Hooked: Drugs." The topic was cocaine and the inception of the Food and Drug Act in the early 1900's. It traced the discovery of cocaine, the separation of it as alkaline...the medical uses...and the way in which it was buried in all sorts of "home remedies" during the turn of the century. It also discussed Freud's experience with it as well as racism that was fueled by claims that "lesser" races were more dangerous than the white population from its use.

    And fascinatingly...directly after the segment on benign home remedies (which weren't)...came an infomercial for something called Alteril; ostensibly a non addicting sleep remedy which is supposedly a combination of Tryptophan, Melatonin and Valerian.

    Sounded interesting to me. So I googled it. Here's what I found:

    When I googled the actual Alertil site...sure enough...there was an advisory in very small letters that alerted the purchaser that they were signing up for a "maintenance" order.

    That did it for me. I don't do maintenance no mo'...been there...done that. Caveat emptor.

    you look great arlene..whos baby? And me there is no non addictive sleep medicine...even if it isnt a benzo or hypnotic..Im having one freaking hell of a time getting off the "non addictive drug" seroquel.. and I am dependent mentally too..because some nights after being down to 50 ..I wimp out(out of dependence) and take 100mgs..I m just going backwards...obviously its got me. Its just so easy to use when youre used to having it. I find it harder to get off of than a sleep benzo. I just hope to hear that Ill be ok and that I wont go backwards in terms of recovery....being so use to taking such a large dose and not having to worry at all...and now my doctor says, its better to get your sleep back on its own..well thats all good, but why give it to me in the first place or why the f***** put me on meth for 10 years..god those doctors think they know everything!!!!

    Sweetie...what I meant is that the infomercial was addicting. They were using a "hook"...a promise. And the promise was built on the fact that you end up paying for "maintenance doses" that are mailed...and charged to your credit card...regularly. Nor, apparently, do they refund money.

    Valerian Root and/or Melatonin aren't addicting...and no dependency either.

    The baby is my new grandson...Jake Ryan (taken @ 2 hours) 18 days old.

    And more thing. "They" didn't put you on MMT for 10 *bleep*ing years. You took it for 10 *bleep*ing years, remember?

    Arlene, this isnt a question about sleep meds, but I have been on 50 milligrams of zoloft since I was in treatment 4 months ago. I would really like to stop taking it cause I feel like it makes me kinda "flat" if you know what I mean. Do I need to taper down, and if so, do you have any suggestions as to how? It may seem like a silly question as compared to tapering off of opiates but I dont want to put myself in a place I dont need to be. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

    Hi Teach...I think its great that you asked the question. I'm just not savvy enough to give you any direction here. A far better source would be Glass and since this is his thread...I have no doubt he'll be along. Or you can PM him.

    hey teach, first things first. see the little disclaimer that appears every six says none of us is a doctor. remember that.

    So my first bit of advice is that whatever you decide you need to do it with the aid of your doctor. And I would add that ideally that is not a GP but a pdoc. Personally I think getting psych meds from a GP is a bad idea.

    As far as zoloft tapering: first off, you are already at a low dose, so that is one thing in your favor. Zoloft is a rather heavy hitting SSRI that hits dopamine as well as serotonin. so the best thing you can do is to discuss a slow taper with your doctor. I think the easiest way to do a taper off of ADs is alternate day dosing. This method works for methadone and bupe also. So basically you are playing with the half life of the drug.

    an example for coming off of 50mgs of zoloft might be:

    for three weeks, take fifty then twenty five every other day. this will mean that you are taking 37.5 for three weeks. Then drop to 25 for three weeks. Then alternate 12.5 and 25 for three weeks etc.

    the first few days of each drop will be awkward but this method will lessen the difficulty.

    you may find that one of those lower doses works and doesn't give you that AD zombie/flat effect. you may want to stay there.

    As always, the slower and more incremental the taper the easier it will be. And you and your doctor need to weigh the costs and the benefits and decide what is best for you.

    Glass, Thanks so much for the info. I will talk to my Doc this week and see what she thinks.

    Ahhh,,wonderful,wonderul sleep!!,,cant live without it!,,I have had trouble with sleep most of my life and right now there is no way i could sleep without help(meds). I have been on seryquel (200 mgs) for a few yrs now and never thought about it as addictive. I guess i compare the way drugs make me feel as to how addictive they are,,and since i dont feel a high from it then its not so addictive.,,,I know thats wrong ,,sub has taught me that much.
    but getting back to sleep i once told my wife i got the best sleep ever while i was in prison!,,i know that makes me sound institutionalised but now when i think back to the time i slept so well , i can kinda figure out why.,,at first i didnt sleep well for obvious reasons,,(gettin killed in your sleep and general stress),,once i finished my state time the feds picked me up at the gate and took me to a federal prison where i was soon up for parole and i stressed about not getting into trouble so i could make parole.,,so i wasnt sleeping too well then either,,
    Then about a month before parole hearing i was in the wrong place at the wrong time,,someone was hurt and i was put in the hole and it was put into my file that i was a gang member.,,I wasnt,,,didnt matter though ,,i was guilty by association.,,,needless to say i didnt make parole.
    so ,,now, fast forward a few years and no sleep but also no write ups so i became eligeble for what was called the quiet unit.,,It was a regular three tier cell block with regular open bar doors like you see on tv., but it was quiet because everyone that was there wanted it that way.,,instead of like most other cellblocks were noisy, with a tv on the flats(bottom tier)and everybody bein loud.,,,so i got real comfortable there,,,went up for parole again and didnt make it but i got a release date for a couple yrs down the road,,the prison i was in was a max sec. and alot of lifers so in comparison i was considered a short timer with only a few years left.
    with mostly oldtimers in the block i was in and it was mellow.,,,so now i get to the point,,,,for the next year and a half i got the best sleep ive ever had in my life.,,And now i can look back and figure out why?,,well, for one thing i had my date and didnt have to see the board again,,so i quit trippin on that,,and it was kick back in the unit i lived in and i didnt have any fears there,,,i was working out hard in the gym,,you know wantin to come out lookin all tough guy and stuff with the tattoos and buff and all that common criminal sh*t.,,
    Anyway,,exercise was my valium,,,and very addicting,,if i didnt get my workout i felt really messed up,,Ok,,with the exercise done and when the cell door clanked shut each night i would relax and think to myself ,,hey,,i dont have to worry about anything,,everything that i needed to do that day got done,,and now locked in my little box i couldnt do anything about anything so i had nothing to trip on and asleep i went !!,,
    This went on for a year and a half,,and when i think back my attitude was simple,,during the day whatever i had to do i would do to the best of my ability( my prison job wasnt much of a responsibility,,i just swept and mopped the third tier everyday,,,but i had a thriving tattoo buisness goin on behind the scenes),and that WAS stressful,,,no fun puttin a needle in some big monster who tells you he's gonna throw you off the third tier if you mess up the tattoo!!
    Anyway,,that was the main 2 things that gave me that wonderful sleep!!EXERCISE,,,and taking care of any buisness in the day to the best of my ability and not bringin it to bed with me.,,And like i said , being locked in with nowhere to go even if i wanted was kinda like sayin to the rest of the world ,,Hey,I have No responsibilities and dont have to do Anything!!!So ,GOODNIGHT!!
    so that worked for me for a long time,,,right up till the guy on the second tier got set on fire while he was locked in his cell!!!Yup,,screwed my whole sleep deal all up!!!!!

    wow..i never realized how mind altering high levels of these phychiatric drugs are ...especially when you arent suferring from a phsychiatric problem...I feel like yes these drugs do help, but when over prescibed for long term on high doses , they lead to dependabitlity and change in brain chemistry..just wanted to say that , yes they can help , but be were the long run they can be vrery damaging and addictive...I know this because Im going through this right now...they should come with more warnings.

    You are right! I was put on this drug in ICU during methadone detox (long story) but in very small doses, then they sent me to anax and raised the dose.

    No one explained the side effects or anything that went along with this class of drug. Antipsychotic are not generally prescibed for mild issues.
    And should not be taken just for sleep!!

    The Dr. that originally prescibed it for me had tried atleast 30 meds before going to this drug. She actually did not talk to me about any of the stuff she tried me on.She would only say, "this may help, lets try this"....(the steps aliviated most of the preoblems she was an addictionoligist why did'nt she mention that?"

    So fastforward a few months...(august 2004) I am out of treatment and make an appointment with my new Dr. who is wonderfull. She explained all the side effects I was required to sign a release given to all patients who take antipsychotic's. The main problem with this class of drug is tardive dyskinesia after long term use. 7 yrs ago I gave a patient Haladol (911 call for schizo off meds) she was spitting on me, young anyways she just locked up. quit moving, jaw and mouth became deformed,,, Freaked me out!!! . Not fun. After signing the release I was worried that this would happen to me one day. Thank God it has'nt. Weight gain is the only side effect I have. I am sure I would not like to detox off this med. I have detoxed off so mant anti-depressants and adhd meds, i could write a book about it. I wish Drs. would stay away from using seroquel for sleep.

    Drug companies do list side effects, it is up to us to read them, talk to our Drs. and see if the medication is worth possible complications. My new Dr. treats me with respect (faint) and is willing to have in depth conversations about all meds.

    Early in recovery I would run into her office crying because people in my network were saying it was a narcotic and that I was unwilling to get clean. It was a difficult time. Having people question your recovery and then have your Dr. tell you to stay on your meds.

    I am now wondering how many people have been asked to sign the release? I thougt this was common. Even when I was in the looney bin they took the time to make me sign that form. Now I am sure that is not standard of care for all patients, but all that are able.
    I also wonder about all those members who have similar issues and are told they are not being responsible participants of their recovery?

    life gets complicated to me some times....yeah, i know, Keep It Simple.

    just wanted to say that yes my doctors didnt"put" me on meth for 10 years,YET everytime I came in there despirte in w/ds because my dose too low(and I refused to go up) they always pushed me I had to try to come up with away to come down lower on my own...until I realized I couldnt do to without feeling sick and took the plunge into detox..I had blood test taken for years saying I was matabolizing it too quickily...but I never gave in to going higher, but I couldnt get lower..and no one would take the time to help and thats why im pissed... not everyone has fun or feels well on meth..I chose to feel like crap for ages while raising my daughter and doing evry thing with her...time just passed until I realized I had been in survival mode for years and needed a new solution and that was detox...and 6 months of hell(not knowing about it) Ive had so much help on this forum, but not everyone is the same and I do feel neglected as a patient...especially since I got on it a just barely 18...I had no clue. Perhaps I did wrong in taking it , but I was a hurting niave teen...they should have known better!!

    dont judge a book by its past addictions

    I really wish people would stop assuming they know all about peoples methadone problems or sleep meds etc..I know its principals before personalities, but if anyone knew about the daily w/ds i went through daily for years (I guess I got use to it) while busting my *** at the park ,sweating nose running aches WITH MY DAUGHTER and never asked for a raise... just delt with it and forgot that It was the meth..and when Id see my doc hed do nothing ..I got stuck physically for years(didnt get high or even felt somewhat normal for years) then I counted the years and realized I needed different help...beyond my doc and beyond myself...I didnt choose it at all!!!

    ok..I came off sounding really b***y, Im sorry .I just hit a breaking piont..tired sressed and comming off another drug..Im really sorry because Ive had so much help here...I always try and aprreciate that and thank the lord daily...I guess the sweetest of girls can be rude lol!!!!! But I will say that I wasnt treated right by my matter how much I begged and cried!!yes I let tome go by..but it wasnt because I was having fun. sorry to get off topic

    reducing my seroquel is making me very nausious...doing it slower though...i hear sick stomach is common..has any one else had this?

    I actually didn't know about this nausea issue. I just know that while on it, most of the people I know who used seroquel developed a voracious appetite and had major weight the huge appetite seemed to be accompanied by some sort of alteration in their metabolism.

    I'll see if I can find anything about this for you.

    But I can totally attest to what you said about your experience on methadone. One definitely CAN just feel like total crap on methadone....get not one good feeling but just horrible side-effects and misery. And if addiction isn't bad enough, getting on a long-acting opiate that is just SO difficult and takes SO long to detox off real HELL when you are not even getting one single good feeling at all from it. Then you are literally trapped on something that's like poison for your physiology but too darn terrified to get off of it....just totally trapped in hell.....even worse than you were before using methadone.

    thanx dee...ya I know about the weight gain...yuck its the reducing or w/ds that can make one feel sick among other things...definitly a drug you can go c/y.
    well I know a few people have tapered from seroquel easily...however I seem to be having some problems..I came down 50 a few days ago and Im getting some w/ss...itchy, nausios , dizzt etc...does anyone know how long it will take until this passes and my body gets used to it?

    hayley, I sense a general impatience in your taper off of this medication slowly. I know that you have been dramatically jumping around in your dose and that is not what is recommended. you should be dropping slowly by no more than 25 mgs every four or five days. I believe you were just at 150. Drop down to 125 for five days, then down to 100. Going up and down is going to cause much more trouble ultimately.

    I can only relate my experience. And I am by no means invalidating what you are going through. However, if you want to know how to successfully come off of seroquel with the least amount of side effects, then just follow the taper plan that we discussed.

    You need to be working closely with a clinician here. If you have a legit anxiety disorder, then that will complicate your getting off this any drug actually. Lets just set a plan and stick with it. It feels like the plan is changing every few days and I'm not altogether sure why that is?

    dont worry I waited 7 days to go down from 200 to 150...and im staying there until ready ,im just adjusting to the mistakes i made before...thanx...i am listening ...promise!since I had gone to 50 so fast and started feeling horrible(didnt have a good docs advice)my dads pharmasist suggested going back up since it was too much of a shock to my now Im going to go with the plan..unfortunatley I have no physichian ..but Im going to speek with my moms phsychiatrist to get extra help...since hes suppose to know thank you dearly

    btW plans not changing...I was just instructed to get higher to prevent further complications and subside the shock...i agree I was being ignorant,but now i just want to do whats proper.

    well glass...I want to thankyou dearly for your help..I know i can be annoying...for some reason last night i got a very sick stomach and was up all night..its been a few days getting adjusted to the 50 mg decrease(I know we disscused 25 , but you had sudjested 25 - 50..any how I seemed to feel even worse on the new dose(which I did slowly) as the days past..I thought I would was my daughters birthday...after an hour of throwing up..I took a seroquel(I would have dealt with it had it not been my daughters I dont know what to take tonight(200 to be safe) or stick with 150 and end up more sick...I read that some people are more suseptable to w/ds(sick stomach etc) Ive been raking my brain for a realistic taper plan...can you help?

    has any one heard of trytophan(bad spelling) my doctor says its a prescription drug with melatonin and things natural for serotonin, valarion( elements in turkey etc) Im suppose to try this if I have problems when I get of sero... seems hard for an addict to comprehend going from a horse tranquilizer to something natural lol.

    hey hayley, thanks for calling, really did a great job in the play

    I do have experience with this medication, i have decreased my dosage several times
    spring break i left my make-up bag at the beach and my seroquel was in this bag
    i called my Dr. for samples (insurance pays one month at a time)
    she gave me a few 200 mg pills.I have been on this for almost 4 yrs @ 200 mg every night, i needed the sample to last for 2 weeks, I remember taking 150 for a couple of days, 100 for one day and 50 for the remaining days. I did not throw up. I did feel anxious and it was hard to sleep well.
    then one time i went to visit my parents and i forgot to bring them, no vomiting, just extreem anxiety

    Maybe some of the wd feelings are paws
    it took me a 2 years to get that dope sick feeling completly out of my head.

    it would be ideal for you to wait until you had a year clean before you did this
    and i would like to have your dr. behind the taper
    however i will stand behind your decision

    L-Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is a precursor to serotonin. It is available in supplement form. And yes, this is the substance that makes you sleepy when you eat turkey or drink warm milk. Generally 5-htp, a similar supplement is used instead. Do not take either of these if you are on an Antidepressant

    Melatonin is a naturally occuring hormone which is activated by our bodies relationship to light and dark. It is a potent sleep aid. But taken regularly it can cause depression.

    Valerian is an herb which has an effect on Gaba and is therefor a naturally potent anti anxiety herb.

    none of these are going to help you sleep like seroquel but then the side effects will be much less. So again, its a trade off.

    coming off opiates and benzos.

    After talking with Jana-on the benzo site here, I'm to believe I need to be on some benzos to do a weaning or titration.

    I don't want to keep any monkey on my bank, yet at the same time I don't want to add insult to injury. Going cold turkey off benzos is not considered a wise or safe choice.

    Unfortunately, my dr. knows nothing about this process and thinks I can come off them in a matter of days/weeks.

    Since becoming a medication addict, which has been years, I am constantly surprised at the ignorance of drs. across the board on how to prescribe and/or help someone get off medications.

    One, the truth is that there are lots of great and informed doctors out there. Its our expectations of them that supersedes their abilities. I have said this many times, but you should not be getting psych meds, and that includes benzos, from a general practitioner. You should be seeing a psychiatrist. And ask yourself, have you been "completely" honest with your doctor anyway? I guess my point is, don't blame anyone but yourself for this. It just makes matters worse. And remember that 90 percent of the people that doctors script to are compliant med takers. They aren't addicts, looking for an angle. We often take advantage our doctors by lying or obfuscation, then we get angry when they aren't experts on how to get us off the drugs that we didn't bother following directions on in the first place.

    Re the benzos. You need to do a taper. That is true. What dose and what med are you on? And are you currently in active addiction to any other medications/opiates? as that will further complicate things.

    did any one have any bad experiences whith trazadone (my doctor mentioned a knew drug like seroquel oover the phone, but Im not going that roote again...unfrotunatly hes not the best of the best being an addictions doc and meth doc but I have no go)

    hmm.. I DO NOT want anyone to take this as an endorsement!! Trazadone is a better option than seroquel in my opinion. I do think that Trazadone is usually prescibed in conjuction with a daily anti depressant. One to get you up and the Traz to get you to sleep so you can see the very bad cycle it can cause.

    I do think Trazadone by itself is the better option and short term. But to a addict is there anything known to be "short term"? Just be careful.

    To answer your question. I had a good experience. It was very short term and have no need or desire to use it again.

    I concur with paul. Trazadone is a much more benign medication than seroquel. I believe that I have been clear that seroquel is by no means a first line defense. trazodone is an old medication. It effects serotonin. However for the dosages that you would take for sleep it doesn't offer that much in the way of antidepressant effects. And as pauls stated is most often used in conjuection with an ssri or some other primary medication.

    Overall it is safe and I found it effective, though to be fair, it isn't going to sedate you the way seroquel does and won't touch your anxiety. What is the medication that he suggested to you hayley? the one from the same class as seroquel? Zyprexa? just curious.

    no its a new one thats just came out(maybe been out longer over there because canada fda aproval takes longer) he talked to me on the phone and said he had reasearched it and it has a lot of side effects and Id have to get a cardiogram thanx ..he said it aks kike serequel but doesnt make your appatite increas..big deal!1seroquel deosnt do that to me anyway...but my moms phychiatrist is going to see me for extra guidance. I would like to be off all meds and sleeping on my own..unfortunatly the meth paws will still effect my sleep..which I can handle, but i feel like crap the next day an d go backwards in my recovery...Im just worried that no matter how slow I taper off of the ser. It will have effected my ability to sleep on my own...add that with the sleep issues from meth...god I need a break from my so sick of feeling fearful and not feeling myself I could cry..I slept pretty well last night , but I still feel off.

  7. #7
    spring is offline Administrator
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    Apr 2003
    SW Michigan

    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    Trazadone is BELIEVED to effect serotonin. I would like to coment on the Dr. issue before i begin on tarazadone. Drs. treat symptoms, most of the time when you goto a Dr. they ask your symptoms, then go in to their office and look up in a book ways to treat your symotoms. This is not every case. My Dr. also brings in a palm pilot that gives all drug inerations. Drug companies are putting out new pstc. drugs before knowing exactly what they do. 9 out of 10 people who seek help for depression or drug abuse will be given one of these drugs.

    There are in my opinion acurate studies that show people who are addicted to opiates respond better to certain drugs and people who suffer from cocaine addiction respond better to certain drugs. (not going into specifics here) my neighbor is an obgyn, he gave me a medical journal on this because he new addiction and treatment is a passion of mine.

    My experience on tarazadone is this, it knocked me out, made me feel hung over, brought back intense back pain, it did not treat my symptoms. Now if sleep is the symptom you are trying to treat than go for it. To find out exactly whats going on with you, a health care professional needs to give you a few test/evaluations. Like I said if sleep is your ONLY problem then it is definantly a cure for that. I have taken this drug on and off since I was 16. Last time was 2 yrs ago. I did not experience a horrible detox when i quit this drug.
    I do know several people in the program that have pts and take it to help them sleep. I respect their recovery.
    I have also pumped someone stomach as a result of an over-dose.

    Just to add a thing or two. It's my belief after some time that depression, sleep issue come about from our addiction. More often than Normies because we have abused our brains.

    The ideal situation is to let ourselves heal and then after time then add antidepressants, sleep medication or what have you if it's absolutely nessecary. It makes little sense to treat an addiction with medication as time is the best cure. Lack of good sleep and/or depression are the two main reasons for relapse in my opinion. To me as hard as it is, it's best to try to tough it out and let yourself heal. Be good to yourself and it will pay dividends. Not everyday and everynight is going to be perfect. Life just Ain't that way, nor should it be. Oh, such sage advice from an addict.ha!!

    I do think there does come a time when sleep must be part of the solution in healing. We must sleep and it must be recouperative sleep. Now that we are all confused I will take a nap.

    Benadryl is the safest that I've found for those sleepless nights.

    Sleep clinics are big business now and people are being overly diagnosed with "Sleep Apnea." I had an Internist laugh about how the industry has grown. Of course it is wise to have testing done but after some clean time in my opinion. My Signature should have "in my opinion" in it.

    Sleep is a very interesting subject. Since the advent of the light bulb we have gotten less and less sleep. So we can blame the light bulb.

    Most addicts or soon recovering addicts sleep like babies. We sleep some and then wake up and cry and then go back to sleep repeatedly.

    Elavil,(Amitriptyline) would be safer than Seroquel also. Actually, Elavil worked better than(Trazodone)did for Me, as far as sleep goes.

    hayley, take a look at my first post on this thread again. I list "most" of the pharmaceutical options available to you for sleep problems. remember that in your case your doctor is also treating an anxiety disorder as well.

    unfortunatly my doctors an idiot(hes an addictions doc but as you know my old meth doc) hes of no real help at all...and unfortunatly it takes up to a year to restore your sleep after 10 years of meth. I would love just to do it naturally but Im conserned because when I dont drastically slows my recovery...Ill just stay with the taper and see how it goes..and yes Ive read that first page over and over.

    Originally posted by Nomadic
    The ideal situation is to let ourselves heal and then after time then add antidepressants, sleep medication or what have you if it's absolutely nessecary. It makes little sense to treat an addiction with medication as time is the best cure. Lack of good sleep and/or depression are the two main reasons for relapse in my opinion. To me as hard as it is, it's best to try to tough it out and let yourself heal. Be good to yourself and it will pay dividends. Not everyday and everynight is going to be perfect. Life just Ain't that way, nor should it be. Oh, such sage advice from an addict.ha!!
    Amen, Paul! It is very sage advice....and I believe dead on.

    The idea of "time" is a difficult one for addicts in early recovery to embrace. Its basically not something we do well. Harkens back to the using days when instant gratification isn't fast enough.

    By going through the feeling of some sleep disturbance and not being instant reactive by taking another pill, we learn how to sit in the moment of uncomfortability.

    Haley, how was your sleep before methadone?
    Are you ready to deal with the re-occurrind anxiety once you quit your psyc. med?

    In my experience...... it is best to do things like stopping psyc. meds, quitting smoking, well all major life-style changes until one is a year clean.
    This gives the adict time to adjust to his or her new life and acccess where they are and what is really needed.

    my sleeping on the last few years on meth sucxked..but I didnt have to worry about healing...and i was really starting to heal...big time, I dont mind not sleeping, that I am use to, but when I end up feeling like I did 2 months ago because my body is so fragile..its really very upsetting.
    and Arlene obviously I do want my body to restore itself naturally , or I wouldnt be doing this... its just hard going backwards a bit physically when Ive been able to do all these things with my daughter..and now cant barely focuss.
    And I agree Stacey about waiting until recovered before adding more stress on, however the ser. never helped with anxiety and just depresses the he** out of me. And theres no way in hell Im quitting smoking NOW lol! thanx for your support!

    Haley...I understand. You are a very different case. Yes...unique. I rarely use that term in addict parlance, and yet your history is exceedigly different.
    Honey...again...and came off of 10 YEARS of MMT! Saturated.

    And while I know it seems like 70 years since you got clean, its "only" 7 months. The "reset" is very slow for us MMT long-termers. Maddeningly slow. And, again for us, the "reset/heal" doesn't happen in a straight line. Ebb...flow....flow....ebb...flow...ebb. Ad nauseum.
    Have you gone to a doctor (NOT your Methadone doctor) for a full check up in the last month.

    This is my gut instict as well. And I believe your hearing it from one of the few people on the board who intrinsically understands what reovery means for someone on MMT for that long.

    Usually we say it takes about six months to get a "baseline" meaning that large portion of the chemical/physical recovery is completed and so a docotor can effectively dx you for other problems. But with long term MMT and BMT, it just takes longer.

    So where does that leave you "now?"

    The anxiety and the insomnia are most likely still related to or at least aggravated by your PAWs. So be wary of any new drugs for the time being and try to focus on your habits. Like smoking, exercise, diet and of course sleep. You need to sleep, so why don't you just keep lowering the seroquel at the proper pace By the time you get down to 25mgs you will notice that most of the side effects are gone and you will still get some of the benefits.

    well i talked to my moms phsychiatrist today for extra help(and Im going to see my parents gp for a physical) it was difficult because he didnt want to get inbetween my doctor and me..(if he only knew)however he did understand the importance of sleep.I KNOW my insomnia is paws related..thats whats scary is because It will be awhile before I can sleep well and I dont mind being tired , but my body and mind are still adjusting so it takes some suffering when I change sleeping patterns..I am going to continue going down on the seraquel and see what happens..thanx so much..everyone in my family tells me Ive been so strong...but I dont want to be strong anymore!!!! I dont feel like an addict just looking to not have to deal...I just want some peace in my head and I know set backs(or what feel like set backs) happen, but I just dont want it!!!Im just , tired confused and frusrtated right now..sorry

    Originally posted by glassbottom
    But with long term MMT and BMT, it just takes longer. The anxiety and the insomnia are most likely still related to or at least aggravated by your PAWs. So be wary of any new drugs for the time being
    Frankly, its one miserable experience, G. Its the never-ending dues.

    Which totally explains why there are so few of us who have made it off long term MMT and lived to tell the tale...sober.

    Its also why I literally cringe when I see another addict talking about going on MMT. Its a very deep pit from which frequently there is no exit.

    Haley...babe...go to the GP. Be very straight forward about your addiction. You'll have a challenge. You both want to explain what you're experiencing and, at the same time, let him know that you're first line of defense in not to look for new/more drugs to fix you.

    Don't throw in the towel, sweetie. You can do this! are doing this!!

    thanx arlene...I just wish I never started taking anything in the first place...I guess Im just afraid...I dont feel well right now from lowering my bed meds and its been 2 weeks...I just worry that Ill keep feeling worse...last night was so bad with the pain that I had a huge panic attack this morning...but I pushed myself to go outside and play chalk with Shayla which helped and made me realize that I could pull through....Im just exhausted ..physically and mentally.

    I read this, Haley...and I remember. The very length of this is how it gets you. It sucks you down...on a daily basis. It saps the strength mentally and physically.

    So,'s I approached it during the same time period. Instead of viewing it as sapping...see it as life affirming. You never have to do this again, Haley. Never.

    And I renew a promise to you...a promise which I made to you before...when you come out on the other side, when you come out of the darkness of the'll never look back. It will be the most empowering experience you've ever encountered.

    Those of us who have come off of long term MMT are a different breed, Haley. We've developed a positive type of toughness for the fortitude it takes for recovery.

    I'm here with you, Haley. We continue to do this together.

    thanx arlene!! tonight I was lying with my daughter in her bed and she asked what my bed time is...I said well mommy has to go to bed at a certain time..she said ,is that because you take your medicine to sleep since youve been sick(shes very aware) I said well yes , soon I will get to go to sleep with no problem whenever I want...then she says "what about cuddles?..will that work?" that made me cry and cry...Im so glad to be off meth....but god I miss the little things like, falling asleep with her...I cant even have my husband in my room now...I wish I remembered life before meth..17 years old! I guess Ill feel being normal soon..I had no idea how much the past months would really get me...cant wait to feel normal again..thats all I truely be free of drugs to exist!!!!!

    Do you believe that this promise will come true if she does not work the steps?
    I have detoxed several times ... until I went throught the healing process of the steps... I continued to feel bad.
    To feel better we all must work at it. After I got the methadone out, I felt horrible, and I continued to be this way until I started doing the work it takes to get better.
    We cant expect results if we do not do any work.

    I believe Your right Stacey,
    I believe thats why I am back in active addiction again.
    When I was working the steps, and surrounding myself with folks
    in, and with long term recovery, I had no problem staying clean.
    Its when I shied away from the program things went bad again.

    C'mon back in Sean....I saved a seat fer ya

    Thats right Shawn, as you know from experience we cannot promise anything to those suffering addicts who come to this site, and choose not to take our approach to recovery. Its terribly difficult to help someone feel better when they are not going to meetings or working the steps.

    well I am working the steps and going to meetings...but its like a double edged sword..I have the mental addiction to drugs(NOT METH) and still the physical..its difficult to focuss on working the steps when youre in pain physically and then metally, but I know that will help.

    Haily, the 12steps are the only cure for drug addiction
    if i stop practicing the program i will relaspe
    i will go as far as this..i promise if you get a good sponsor and work through the will be mentally and emotionally free
    you know i care about you!!!!! me later.

    I believe in instilling hope, Stacey. I think that's why any of us who are in recovery are here. To offer the message; experience, strength and most of all hope. I also don't blow smoke.

    Could I have personally done this without a 12 Step Program and working the Steps? No, I couldn't have. Take away my drugs and I'm still there.

    Is "my" way, your way, Glass's way, Janice's way, Ariel's way, Bobby's way, Parachute's way, Jay's way, Teach's way, Twan's way, Rip's way and hundreds of thousands of others way the only way? Well, its the only way for me. Its the AA/NA way. I live and work in a recovery environment. I see what happens on a daily basis to recovering addicts/alcoholics who balk and for whatever reason, either refuse or stop working the Steps.

    Are there recovering addicts and alcoholics who have done this without 12 Step work? Yup.

    Personally, I was and am still willing to do anything to increase of my odds of maintaining the gift I've been given. I believe that the Steps are my foundation to living so I will go to any lengths to live well. I haven't got any second go arounds left in me. I won't make it back. That's the great fact for me.

    'Sides which...looking at the picture next to my posts, it's going to be one cold day in hell when I would ever want to tell my grandchildren that Nana's an active junkie....again. If it ain't broke...I don't *bleep* with it.

    I have to remember that other people get help without 12steps
    few and far between, but your right it happens
    and yes, we definantly dont need the nana junkie HEHE

    Really? I've actually heard statistics that far more people get clean and sober without working any kind of program. Although I don't know if it's statistics, actually, since the people who do clean up without a 12 step program don't have a national registry. I suppose it's rather an estimation.
    I'm not saying anything against 12 steps. But I think saying that people who get help without 12 steps are "few and far between" is a misstatement.

    Statistics in the field are highly unreliable because active addicts and alcoholics are unreliable. Any census taken can be fairly flawed.

    And I can only speak from the "I". I think there's a vast difference between "getting helped" and "staying" helped.

    No doubt there are other protocols that can and do aid in getting sober...staying sober. What I do think is the common thread is that its a rare day (although its certainly possible) that an addict/alcoholic can do this on their own...and live well in sobriety...with a complete psychic change. Can this be accomplished by therapy, counseling, Rational Recovery, Smart Recovery? I'm sure it can.

    However, for me, that psychic change came via Stepwork and a conscious contact with the G-d of my understanding. Without that, I'm stewed, screwed & tattooted. I had a spiritual void the size of the Grand Canyon. I needed to fill it with something other than opiates, opiate replacement therapy, benzo's, booze, uppers, pot, etc. I wasn't great a charting my own course when it came to living sober, so I require a guidebook and guides.

    My guidebook happens to be the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. My guides are within the 12 Step recovering community. They aid me in "staying" helped.

    I use to think I was one of those people that could get C and S without some type of program. But after numerous attempts to do it My Way, failing once again, I choose to do it thru a 12 step program.

    Take away my DOC, I still have me, and me was not getting any better. So today, I am actively in recovery via a 12 step program, a sponsor and meetings.

    I have known many people who did not use a "program". Some made it, but they were never happy, joyous or free.

    I turn the big 50 in a few days. I now have hope for the future. I am turning half a century old, with alot of help, I am turning 50 C and S. A year ago I would never imagine life without active addiction. I also could not imagine life fulfilling without getting comfortably numb.

    It all started with this site and a desire to get C and S, and a willingness to get honest, open minded and willing. Not easy for an addict use to lying, cheating, being constantly angry and very close minded...Jane

    Arlene and Jane, GREAT posts. I feel like I just left my 3rd meeting of the day. Its those kind of messages that keep me coming back for more. I am all for keeping it real and keeping it positive!!!

    Two meetings and then coming to this board is what I would call a woman who is very proactive in her recovery. Working it like your life depends on it. Bravo, sweetie.

    Edit: Teach...I meant to tell you. You helped me this morning via your PM on the subject of drug stashes. When I was writing the original thread about looking in all the familiar places before starting a CT or taper, I actually had a hard time remembering where those familiar places were. Fancy that...I couldn't remember. I forgot the rolled up socks and the bottom of boots and in old handbags at the top of the shelf, the bottom of full coffee cannisters, in bowls of potpouri. I remember now that I always used to worry if I really needed to pull out a tissue from my handbag for fear if it was a "real" tissue or one with wadded up pills.

    So, I thank you. Your note to me this morning helped me and I hope others on the site. Look everywhere...and flush 'em.

    I'm pretty much doing everything I can think of. I see a therapist once a week, I see an addictionologist once a month, I practice SMART techniques, I go to NA, and I just got a sponsor (as in yesterday) (who is different from my therasponsor).

    As you may or may not remember, I have some problems with basic 12 step tenets. That being said, I do think there is a lot of good to be had from the steps. Whether you're an addict or not.

    It's just that a lot of times here, 12 steps seems to be promoted as the "only" way or the "best" way. And I'm not knocking 12 steps, I'm really not. But it is not for everyone. There are other ways to recovery and happiness. That is really all I'm saying.

    Of course I remember, BOAG. It had to do with powerlessness as the main stumbling block. I think you also touched on saying that your life was not unmanagable, as I recall.

    Okay, so let me ask. Do you find a comfort derived...the happiness... from the therapy, SMART and seeing the addictionologist? The addictionologist is for Sub? You indicate that you just got a sponsor...a different sponsor. Had you begun your stepwork?

    And sweetie...please do not perceive that I'm beating up on you. I'm solely asking how these things are working out in your life to support your ongoing recovery. I guess what I'm asking is do you feel different than before...better equipped to deal with life without drugs as the solution?

    No, I am not on sub. In fact, tomorrow is my 5 month mark, drug free. I see the addictionologist because I am on naltrexone... and there are other issues.

    Yes, I now have a different sponsor... as in no longer my therapist. Someone who is in NA. I had gotten to step 2 previously, but I think I will start over. I'm pretty ok with unmanageability these days. I look at it like this... that when I started taking drugs on a regular basis, I knew what was happening, that I was becoming an addict. But I seemed to be completely unwilling or unable to stop it. And no matter how many times I tried to quit, it was generally a matter of hours before I would start up again. So, to me, that is unmanageability.

    As far as powerlessness, I'm actually ok with that too. I do have the power not to put drugs in my body. But once drugs are in my body, I am powerless over the effect they have on me. I can't just take a couple pills and be happy. The HP issue has been my big bugaboo. But I believe I'm finding a way to reconcile that. For myself.

    The 2 things that have helped me the most in staying clean and attempting to live a happier, more fulfilled life are the help from my therapist and the help from other addicts. I know it's not mandatory to figure out why you used, but it has helped me enormously.

    So yes, I feel much different than I did a few months ago. I do feel like I can live a life without drugs and be a happier, healthier person. But I have to work at that. A lot.

  8. #8
    spring is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    SW Michigan

    Default Re: Sleep Medications

    Okay, I'll add my two sense worth......When I was in Detox/rehab I was given the first step to ponder over and answer....I finished half of it, since it was tough to do while de-toxing.
    Since then I have read the 12 steps and realized the 3rd step is what got me started on deciding to quit this addiction to opiates once and for all.
    I said a prayer for help in quitting and an hour later the prayer was answered in the form of waking up with the room spinning like a merry-go-round....never happened before. I knew and really believed that was my calling to cease and desist.

    For me, I never hid anything about my life, I always pondered the past, so I could learn from my mistakes or any other relevant scenario. This way I worked to be a better human being and enlighten my spirit, so to speak. Even during my addiction to opiates, I never hurt anyone but myself, thank God for that.....let me correct that...when I was quitting and going through WD's, I watched my wife lose 8 pounds and much sleep worrying about my health and well-being. It was then I realized I also hurt her. She is a huge part of my recovery to this day and always will be.

    I do attend NA meetings, but not as much as I used to. Through prayer do I keep my Conviction to stay drug free strong. Through prayer do I keep my desire to stay drug free strong. This way I will never let my guard down again God willing.
    Do 12 steps program work? Damn right they do....I have seen many people in my life stay C&S through the 12 step program and I still witness that today at my meetings with many individuals. Like I mentioned previously, I have read the 12 steps many times and in my heart and mind have I answered the questions, and have come to realize that all is well in my spirit and in my heart......I am finally at peace with myself, knowing that God never gives us more then we can handle!! God Bless!!

    Boag, this is something for you to think about and perhaps discuss with your new sponsor. Just remember, the steps are not something that we sit around and read over and over and think about, or ponder endlessly. Just please move on to doing a fourth step as soon as you can. The first three steps will reveal much more to you as you take the action steps. When you start making 9th step amends you will look back at most of your "issues" with the steps and laugh.

    Remember that part at the opening of each AA meetings from "how it works" doesn't say "god could and would if he were found" it says "god could and would if he were sought" big difference.

    I love that your doing all this stuff for your recovery. Perhaps you could pick up a commitment at one of the few weekly meetings that you attend regularly. Why don't you also start extending yourself to newcomers, sharing at meetings and offer to do some sort of service. For me it was when I stopped asking what I could get out of each meeting, or take from it....and started asking what I could bring to the meeting or offer to others that I had a spiritual experience.


    1. We admitted our addictive craving over alcohol, and recognised its consequences in our lives.
    2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
    3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5. Admitted to ourselves and another human being the exact moral nature of our past.
    6. Became entirely ready to work at transforming ourselves.
    7. With the assistance of others and our own firm resolve, we transformed unskilful aspects of ourselves and cultivated positive ones.
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed.
    9. Made direct amends to such people where possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. In addition, made a conscientious effort to forgive all those who harmed us.
    10. Continue to maintain awareness of our actions and motives, and when we acted unskilfuly promptly admitted it.
    11. Engaged through the practise of meditation to improve our conscious contact with our true selves, and seeking that beyond self. Also used prayer as a means to cultivate postive attitudes and states of mind.
    12. Having gained spiritual insight as a result of these steps, we practise these principles in all areas of our lives, and make this message available to others in need of recovery.

    As an agonostic coming into recovery and 12 Step programs, this is what I finally recognized.

    My power had me standing on a MMT line drinking out of a paper cup. My abilities had me damn near homeless. My sensitivity had driven my family out of my life.

    Someone....something....other than I was responsible for the sun coming up in the morning, the sunsets at night, the tides going in and out, the earth revolving, the beauty of birth.

    Seemed to me like a power greater than myself had it going on. I didn't. I chose not to drive anymore. I'm a virtual trainwreck when I think I'm in charge.

    Its a pleasure not to be exhausted anymore knowing that planets will keep spinning without me. Leaves a lot of time to be of service to others.

    2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
    3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
    This is the only part I can't get behind.

    Boag, I had the same problem,Its no bid deal, dont think so much about it now,, infact after finishing the steps I had to go back and do this again. I was agnostic or athiest (cant remember) i was the one who wanted to believe but couldnt, not the one who wouldnt believe. Some BB savy people can tell me which, it explains it there.

    You are not alone. Several people have had to work with this. Obviously you really want to try it. You are going to meetings and you have a sponsor.

    As far as my statistic statement, It is true. Most people who do not attend a 12 step program after treatment will relaspe. Few find what they need in thereapy. Few in religion. Few just realize that its time to quit. But the majority have tried medicine religion and psychiatry none of these methods were sufficient.

    My parents sent me to "the best" addiction specialist on the East Coast when I was younger, we had to drive 8 hours to Baltimore. The end result was this, she told me that I needed to get and stay on methadone for the rest of my life. My parents and I believed her, after all she was the best. We drove back home, the next morning we got back in the car and drove almost 2 hrs to the closest methodone clinic,
    One time, I went to this non 12step religious program in the Blue Ridge Mountains, called Grace Home/Hebron Colony, they told me all I had to do was accept Jesus and I would be free from drugs,, ummmmm it did work for a while, then one day I was at a womens bible study and the cravings to use became overwhelming. I stopped the study and begged for help. They all thought I was insane. I eventually went back out. I needed other addicts to tell me what to do.
    I also tried another approach like this when I was 17, I tried to use wicken practices to cure my addiction, yeah NOT happening.

    People who get to NA and AA have been through all this sh*t. It didnt work for them, they needed something different they thought they had found it in drugs, then later found the 12 steps to be their solution.
    If you have found help in a different way that is great, there are other ways to get help.

    2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
    3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
    BOAG -
    but you already practice this. you attend AA. you got a sponsor. you have a therapist....all things outside of yourself that you believe can help you stay clean and live free.

    Why do you go to AA? why not the Salvation Army? I'm guessing you go to AA cause you believe it/they can do for you what you cannot do by yourself. you're already practicing belief in a power/powers outside yourself. In my opinion, it really ain't more complex than that.

    And most people who do attend a 12 step program after treatment will also relapse. It's just the sad facts of addiction.

    I used to think that relapse equaled failure. When I was freshly out of detox and oh so naive.
    But now I think relapse happens (although it certainly doesn't have to), and it's what you learn from a relapse in what to do different next time that is important.

    Not true Boagie Baby, go work in a treatment center long enough to chart results.
    Sounds like you are going to be a difficult person to sponsor, I would love the challenge HEHE

    Well, no. Honestly, I am going to NA because it's a deal I made with my therapist. He is a big believer in the 12 step process. Personally, I have no doubt that I can stay clean and sober without a 12 step program. I know, I know... so shut up and go away already, right?

    But if I am going to attend NA, I can either sit there, or try to learn something from it. I do not believe I need to go through the steps to stay clean. However, I do think there are general things to be gained from working the steps just as far as "life" issues.

    I believe that internal transformation will set me free. You believe that is a result from a HP. I don't. C'est la vie. Does it really matter, as long as you get there? It doesn't matter to me.

    I know what we can do, you do it your way, I will do it the 12stpe way, then follow eachothers progress, we can do our own study, it will be fun, we can talk everyday.

    so boag, you just got a new sponsor? but you "have no doubt that you can stay sober without the steps?"

    Um, hon, why dont' you save yourself and her a whole lot of time and energy and continue with "your" method or plan. No therapist can "make" you attend meetings. If your five months out and you still think the steps are bullsh*t(even though you haven't even done the bulk of the work)then don't do the steps. I say that without judgement or criticism. Just DON'T DO THE STEPS boag. Not a big a deal. And perhaps rather than show up with the stats from the orange papers, just offer the plan that you use to be happy, joyous and free. I'm sure there are a number of people here who would like what "you have" So explain the plan. How do you actually employ the "smart techiques" and how has therapy lessened your suffering and improved your mood. I'm not being argumentive, I legitamitely would love to hear more about "your" solution.

    I will however make one suggestion to you. You should take sluggo's advice and go volunteer in a treatment center, and you should perhaps start asking yourself what you can add to the value other's experiences around you. I think it would help you a lot to start trying to be of service to other human beings. Give it a try and see what happens.

    Originally posted by BOAG...
    I do not believe I need to go through the steps to stay clean.
    G-d, I wish I had been so confident about my own ability. Or maybe not. Based on what experience have you come to this conclusion?

    BOAG...let me ask you a question. You have a problem with the G-d thing, right?

    And yet, my dear, you have now made Naltrexone a power greater than yourself and before that pills and more pills. To the point where you OD'd and needed resuscitation. Was that paramedic who so coincidentally happened to be standing around, there on your power or a power greater than yourself? Perhaps G-d's way of remaining anonymous. So why would you be unwilling to accept HP?

    I have found that when I'm that invested in saying that I don't need something that others are highly suggesting I might well be served by, that's what I need the most.
    Originally posted by Glassbottom..
    I will however make one suggestion to you. You should take sluggo's advice and go volunteer in a treatment center, and you should perhaps start asking yourself what you can add to the value of other's experiences around you. I think it would help you a lot to start trying to be of service to other human beings.
    Interesting. I receive my paycheck from a treatment center. In addition, I am of service on Saturdays by facilitating a women's group. Pro-bono. Not on the clock. I'll also sit down with any newcomer who looks lost or seeks me out. Stick out my hand...pat a shoulder...give a hug. Whatever it takes.

    I never confuse where I work with my program. I can be one self-absorbed broad unless I keep it very basic by being of service. Simple program for complicated people. Just not *bleep*ing easy.

    Arlene, its good you do things outside of your job for YOUR recovery.
    When I worked at HV, some of the more vetrined addiction care workers said to me a hundred times "Oh, I dont do meetings, I get what I need here at work"
    That place was insane!!!! Keep in mind I had 13 months clean (not the picture of mental heath myself)

    I had been helping out at RoseWood (long term womens) but Miricle Hill Ministries bought them out. Now the women stay there 6 months without going to meetings. They do not allow 12 step stuff. They called me last week to ask if I was still intersested, I told them no, I can only carry the message of 12 step recovery. I dont know another way to do it.

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