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Message Board > Pain Pills > Your Brain On Opiates

Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 6:59 AM

I copied this,I thought it was insightful and could be very helpful in explaining why we go through PAWS.It was not written by a Doctor but obviously uses facts and a language easily understood.

Ok, get comfortable, this is going to be long. Please be patient as this may be hard to explain via this medium but I will do my best.
First and formost, most people, addicts included, either don't know or don't believe that addiction is a very real, very physcial disease. We are not addicts because we are weak and we don't have trouble quitting for that reason either. I'm going to attempt to explain what addiction truly is and why it is so hard to overcome so put your feet up and bear with me for a bit, k?
There is a natural chemical that our brain produces that is called Dopamine. This chemical is what stimulates our pleasure center and also what lets our brain inturperate what measures it needs to take for survival. So, picture if you will, the following. On one side of your brain you have a "sac" that contains the Dopamine, on the other side of your brain you have a receptor (For the rest of this post I'm going to refer to this receptor as a gate for easier explaination). Now, in a normal, non addicted brain, Dopamine is released naturally after say a good meal or sex. In the normal course of things for instance, if we eat a steak dinner, the sac will release the normal amount of Dopamine, let's say one squirt. The gate opens, receives the Dopamine, we feel good and everything is as it should be. Now, drugs also release Dopamine only at a much higher level, so while a candy bar might release one "squirt" of Dopamine, drugs release up to 100 times the normal amount of Dopamine. So, when we first begin to use, we swallow a pill or shoot some Heroin, 100 squirts of Dopamine gets released causing the Euphoric feeling that leads us to use again. The problem now though is that after a while, that one gate cannot open fast enough to accept the unusually high amount of Dopamine that is being supplied, so being the amazing organ that the human brain is, it simply grows another gate to help it accomodate. So, now we have 2 gates that are open and want to be fed. So instead of needing to only take 1 or 2 pills a day, suddenly we find that we need 3 or 4. Now 200 times the normal amount of Dopamine is being released and the process continues, these 2 gates need help so the brain grows another, and another and another........Now we find ourselves needing 6 or 7 pills a day. While this is happening our brain is led to believe that it now HAS to have this chemical to survive, just as it knows that it needs food and sex to live and to reproduce. It know thinks that without drugs it will die, for you see the brain doesn't know what we are giving it, just that it MUST have it or die. So, with continued use, our tolerance grows due to the extra gates that we have open, that need to be fed and fed on a consistant basis. So, as opposed to the normal brain that has it's one normal gate, an addict may have 20 or 30 gates now. This is why we can take drugs in a high enough dosage that it would kill a normal person but for us it is the amount that we need just to feed all those gates and keep ourselves normal.
So now, we deciede to quit. Easy enough, right?, I mean, just stop swallowing the pills and all will be well (ever been told that?). Well, as you know, it's not tht easy and the reason why is when we suddenly take that drug away,stop feeding those gates, our brain goes into panic mode, it thinks it is dying. So, what follows? 7 to 10 days of extreme sickness (WD). Our brain is sending out distress signals just like it would if we quit eating (think for a minute what a human will do if they get hungry enough and then you can see why addicts will do things they never thought themselves capable of to get what they need.) Now, after the first few days, the brain begins to realize that it is not going to die and we start to physcially feel better. But that is by no means the end of the problem. Think of those gates for a minute, wouldn't it be nice if when we quit they disappeared and everything went back to normal? Unfortunately, that is not the case, the addicts brain is forever altered. Those gates NEVER go away, we will always have all those extras. Now, this is where it is so difficult in early recovery. Ok, so we have quit taking drugs, we feel a little better, BUT now we eat a candy bar, the normal amount (that one squirt) of Doapmine is released, BUT ALL of those extra gates open to receive it and our brain starts to scream "IT'S NOT ENOUGH", which of course it is not, we have 30 gates opening, expecting to be fed and they get one little blast instead of what it is used to. This is why in early recovery anything that releases Dopamine needs to be reduced or eliminated if possible. Of course we have to eat, we can't eliminate that of course but have you ever noticed when you first got clean that you found yourself overeating or craving right after a good meal? We crave after we eat because those gates are open and we may overeat trying to satisfy the need for excess Dopamine. That is why it is a good idea to avoid sweets or products like NyQuil, because they contain sugar and alcohol, which "teases' those gates unnecessarily. Now, while those gates never go away, the good news is that after we are clean for awhile, they do become less sensitive. Eventually even though they are still there, fewer will open and things return to as close to normal as we will ever be able to get to. So, basically we have them, they are laying dormant and if we get say a good 6 months to a year clean time, they pretty much leave us alone. BUT, how many times have you heard an addict say that they were clean for a while and thought they could just use recreationally now and control it? Of course we can't control it, once we take that first pill (or whatever) again, the HUGE amount of Doapmine is released and ALL of those dormant gates are wakened and our tolerance is just as high as it always was. We don't have to build it back up, we pick right back up at the amounts that we are accustomed to. Or how many times have you seen someone who never had a drinking problem get clean from pills and then become an alcoholic? They think that if they are not taking their DOC they will be ok. But remember, our brain doesn't know if we are feeding it Vicodin, Heroin or whiskey. All it knows or cares about it is the end result that the substance produces.
Now, we are getting clean, the WD's are over, we are not using any other substance but yet we are miserable, can't sleep, are depressed, anxious, etc, etc....Now, why is this, it's not fair, right?, I mean, we did what we were supposed to and yet we feel so ABNORMAL and it seems to last forever. Well, the reason for this is simple, when we were growing all those extra gates and training our brain to rely on a unnatural chemical, we ACTUALLY, PHYSCIALLY altered the chemical makeup in the brain. So, now we may be clean but we are left with a bunch of synopsis (sic),and receptors that are in essence "misfiring". We feel the way we do because our brain in no longer functioning normally. This does eventually heal but it is not a quick process by any means. Our brains have to repair all the damage we did when we went in and rearranged it's furniture so to speak. Usually this takes anywhere from several months to a year. The longest time belonging to those whose DOC is opiated based, such as Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin and Heroin. This is why such extreme caution has to be use in early recovery and also why so many addicts relapse. It take so long to feel normal again that most of us give up and return to the drug induced normality that they are used to. The sad truth is that only 2 out of 10 addicts recover. And it again is not because they are weak people, but rather because it is such an enormous battle mentally that most lose. I mean, how long can you go through living everyday just not caring about anything? Most can't get through that. BUT, if your stay strong, have a support system and be patient, one day you discover that you can smile again and while it may only last a few seconds, it is a real feeling and you can being to hope. There is life after drugs, and I won't lie, it is NEVER the same as it was before the addiction takes us but it can be rewarding and meaningful.
So, as far as what to do to continue succesful recovery, A support system is key as is proper diet and Vitamins. Especially Zinc and Magnesium as these are two that we deplete with use and also the ones necessary to provide the quickest MENTAL recovery.

Posted by: intoodeep July 17, 2005, 7:06 AM
Very informative Tim. I've heard it all before, but not put in terms so easy to understand. Good news and bad news, eh? Beck

Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 7:31 AM

Good post. It's always helpful to be reminded that there is a real physical component to this disease. Thank you for explaining it.

At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, no, life's never going to be the same as it was before we started using, but with a comprehensive program of recovery, it can be better. As I've addressed the issues that led me to use in the first place, I find I've become "whole" in a way I never was before. Could I have come to this knowledge other than through addiction? I don't know. Who cares? I can't change the past.

I need a dopamine hit. Where's that swimsuit photo?


Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 7:41 AM
Gina,I totally agree.My addiction was the catalyst for my finding some peace.It sounds ironic but If I wasnt an addict,I might still be in some black hole looking for life to happen.As a result of finding recovery,it opened the door for so many great opportunites.Being able to come on a forum like this and immediately connect with a bunch of guys I dont even know?? Thats pretty awesome................Ive never owned a pair of speedos.I wasnt very cool in the 80's,I still wore a pair of cut off jeans.LOL

Posted by: Gabbi July 17, 2005, 7:43 AM
Great post Tim, and put into words that I can understand!! Thanxx

Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 7:55 AM

You are right on the mark. I work in research, in this specific area. The dopamine receptors can be destroyed. Either chemically, or by "lesioning" that area of the brain. Unfortunatly, it is not selective, and destroys all of the receptors, which do not regenerate. However, studies have shown that certain cells ( I won't go into what type of cells, because even for me in is very controversial), when transplanted to that area of the brain, have shown an ability to re-pair the destroyed area, to restore normal dopamine production, and reception. This research of course is in its infancy, but it has so much potential to help addicts regain a normal life, with a normal brain. More research needs to be done, its time to government wakes up and realizes that for every person who is suffering from aids....there are 5 who suffer from addiction. Funding for programs like this are vital. I salute people like my boss, who cares so much for people like us, that he has devoted his life to finding a cure.
He sees us as people who suffering from a disease, not some freaks on a street corner begging for drugs.

Oh and when I saw this thread....I thought for sure I was going to see an egg or something in a frying pan...LOL


Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 7:56 AM
Eric Cartman is my hero,Gabbi.I never miss South Park.Thanks

Posted by: ruprect July 17, 2005, 7:58 AM
great post tim,made it very easy to explain to my girlfriend,thanks.ruprect

Posted by: Gabbi July 17, 2005, 7:59 AM
thats why I changed him LOL cos I know you think he rocks Tim (as do I )

great info everyone!!

have a TOP day x x x

Yeah I'm gonna show this post to my mum and maybe she'll get a better understanding of why I can be mental!!!

Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 8:09 AM

Explain something to me. I'm trying to look for the upside to this. If we have say 30 dopamine receptors starved for a hit so it's harder to feel pleasure, doesn't it follow that when we do find pleasure in something, we feel it more than the average person with only the normal five dopamine receptors? Does this make sense? I know it's overly simplistic but I don't have coffee (I'm on this detox diet, LOX!!! goddammit).


Cut offs, lose the tie, jacket and shirt. Works for me. Okay, you can wear the Vans, too.


Hey Gabbi!

How are you today?

Posted by: ThePatriarch July 17, 2005, 8:10 AM
Tim wrote:
My addiction was the catalyst for my finding some peace.It sounds ironic but If I wasnt an addict,I might still be in some black hole looking for life to happen.

If that isn't the truth! I went looking for the cause of my addiction and found it, now I'm dealing with that and I see that my addiction is just part and parcel of a wider problem. I'm taking steps to find out what to do about it, and I feel like I'm truly on my way to a new life. My biggest fear was going into orbit around my addiction without ever reaching escape velocity.

There IS life after drugs. A better one.

Posted by: majictiger July 17, 2005, 8:21 AM
Dear Patriarch........Great response to Tim's post........and Tim thank you for posting this.......Before using drugs I knew I had issues to deal with........My recovery from those drugs is allowing me to deal with those issues....Things I may never have resolved if it was not for this addiction........Working the steps has provided the ground work for me to understand, accept, and resolve problems I kept buried deep inside.......For this I am grateful I became that messed up to begin with.......Who would have known!

God Bless, Rus

Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 8:24 AM

It would seem logical that we would get happier about something more so than the average joe, because we have more receptors. But unfortunatly, once we come off the opiates are brains are producing the normal amount of Dopamine, that the average joe is, its all the receptors that are like not getting what they want. So it is possible the opposite happens. The happy news is that these extra receptors do become dormant....which leaves us alway at risk of relasping and spiraling back to where we were in prior to coming clean. That is why taking opiates again is so very dangerous. It does not take much to re-awaken these receptors, and once their awake and needing a hit, the s*** starts all over. Did I make any sense? My coffee receptors are not firing very good this morning.


Posted by: bellabeans July 17, 2005, 8:30 AM
Great post Tim, Thanks.

Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 8:45 AM
Micelle-Exactly.That is what happens.Your body doesnt know the difference if you are taking opiates to get high or for legitimate medical reasons once you cross that line.Thats why its stressed over and over again to find alternate sources to deal with your pain.Even under medical supervision in a hospital, if you have surgery and they give you IV morphine you have those receptors all opening up wanting to be fed again.It only takes one time.There is an erroneous belief with addicts that"Oh,I will use a couple of days,stop and be fine"...once the chemicals activate,it may be 2 days or a week but you will find yourself in a state where you have to use at any cost.Ive been there a thousand times and couldnt understand what happened.I had every intention of staying clean.
I guess the bottom line is.....avoid using any mind altering drugs because your life depends upon it.If you are having real and legitimate pain,you better exhaust every possible way to deal with it before you even consider opiates........Jesus,I sound like somebodys mother.I better not have another cappucino,speaking of dopamine.LOL

Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 9:08 AM
right on the money Tim

There is no such thing as a casual opiate user post addiction. It is both physically and mentally impossible. Glad I caught on the first go around. Now don't ge me wrong, my addictive brain does romance the idea from time to time, but the logical reasoning area of my brain knows. Knowing that I am at risk, is the biggest step forward that I could have made. It never goes away. Never. Those receptors will always be there....waiting. That is why we must be on guard, and one step ahead of our addiction at all times.


Posted by: dsam July 17, 2005, 9:50 AM
this piece explains addiction so well, tim. thanks for sharing this.

would you please email me at

i have something i want to ask you offlist.

hugs -


Posted by: new beginning July 17, 2005, 10:03 AM
Yes that was a great post........Jessica

Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 10:14 AM
Sammy-Just e-mailed you.Im leaving in about an hour so if I dont get back with you sooner,thats why.
Have a good one.

Posted by: sharonn July 17, 2005, 10:33 AM
So...if you take an antidepressant after getting off the opiates doesn't it help with putting your dopamine, serotonin, normal patterns..can you fix it..or just wait it out and feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing..I want to enjoy life, but I do not have the same ability to experience pleasure as before..I realize also that the "pursuit of pleasure" is also dangerous..the pusuit of peace would be healthier and longer lasting as pleasure is a passing ,fleeting experience. I do want to feel and experience the reality of life, but the depressed thing..such a drag when you've struggled to get clean..never mind the physical pain some of us have to endure.Great post.Thanks, S.

Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 11:26 AM
Sharon-Im not an expert on anti-depressents but I think they work on different chemicals in the brain that opiates target? The bad thing about opiates is that they actually alter the chemical make-up in your brain.That is scary.I think anti-depressents may just help whats already there function better.
I have been clean for over a year and although I definitely get some euphoric things happening naturally,its never that intensity that chemicals first gave me.I finnaly figured out that its not supposed to be.Like you said, are we expecting too much? Hell,yes.we are addicts.We want to feel good x100.Normal people are o.k. with having a pleasant experience and then moving on.I want to have pleasant experiences with every cell in my body vibrating and my eyeballs popping out and then I want more,more,more.
Thats usually with everything.Sex,food,surfing,working out,posting on this BB, seems the only thing I do in moderation is work.LOL

Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 11:41 AM
LMAO tim.


I am not sure exactly how anti-depressants work on a clinically depressed person. Many chemical imbalances cause depression.

However, in an opiate addicted person, we have an imbalance because the opiates replace what I brains would normally make. When we stop, the brain speeds up, trying to correct this problem. Makes a mess of things, but given time the brain does resort to its correct chemical production. Anti-depressants used to treat a person suffering from withdraw related depression, will most likely make things worse in the long run. However I am no PhD, far from it, but I do pay attention at work, I read the protocols, take an active part on whats going on. The brain will return to normal chemical production, with dopamine, cortisol, and serotoin being the three biggies. However, that re-wiring that was done won't go away.
We all want to experience pleasure, but we have to understand that pleasure is related to happiness.......not euphoria. Anyway thats my two cents worth.


Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 12:01 PM

Is there data to show that we weren't born this way?


Posted by: sharonn July 17, 2005, 12:14 PM
I know that I have a genetic pedisposition to depression..father was an alcoholic,died at 49, maternal grandfather committed suicide, mom attempted suicide,sister is a dying alcoholic(towards the end) and personally, I have been hospitalized for depression, so for me taking a low dose of elavil is like a diabetic taking insulin..I've been off it, and on.....and I hate the side effects, but I am clearly a happier person on it. It's a crapshoot...good sex or depression...AD's mess with that, and although I'm is still a priority.Anyway, I do think(Gina) that some of us are born that way.All we can do is the best we can.S.

Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 12:17 PM

Yes there actually is. I have to go visit my parents for a bit...oh joy. So when I get back I will respond. But mostly definitely we are predisposed.


Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 12:28 PM

Sorry, lost the plot. You're saying we ARE born this way, so in fact, do we know what, if any, changes opiates make permanently to our brains? Are the differences Tim described above the differences found between "normal" brains and addict brains? I'm just wondering if there is really before and after data from the same group of subjects, and how you'd get that past the ethics committee. Or are we talking mice here?

I'm sorry you have to see your folks. I never see mine anymore and I'm a much healthier person for it.


Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 1:37 PM
I have a friend who is neither an alcoholic or addict.I know,I know...that does seem rather odd.Anyway, when he took a vicodin for a knee surgery it knocked him out.He hated the effect.I thought, how weird.So I told him to give them to me and he should just stick with Advil.What a friend.
When I remeber taking my first Percodan many years ago my first thought was "Holy sh*t, where has this been all my life?",I wanted more immediately.It made me hyper,energetic,outgoing and one of the best looking,most charming guys around.LOL
How could their not be some chemical difference in my brain to illicit such a response?
I have always believed there is some chemical difference in our brains than non-addicts.I also think its genetic.
I have no scientific evidence but I do know the effect any substance has on me and its not right.

Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 1:41 PM
My shrink says there's a genetic predisposition, but that early childhood experiences can alter the brain permanently as well -- stress, child abuse, etc.

I know people are sick of me asking this question, but I've met very, very few addicts from functional families. What was your childhood like, Tim? You said you felt like you were living in a black hole. I've used that phrase myself, often.


Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 2:01 PM
Thats a loaded was beyond pathetic.My dad was a fundamental Baptist minister who beat the sh*t out of me until at the ripe age of 15 when I was taller and broader and told him to back the f*ck off or I would kill him.He told me he was going to call the cops and have me sent away.I told him to take his best shot, anything was better than here.I ran away multiple times until I could start supporting myself at 17.I starting selling my body on the streets of Houston, with other part time work.
He was very abusive to my mom and sister verbaly.He would make sure her skirts were at knee level before she left the house.No make-up.When she got to school she took her little mini skirt out of her purse,threw on some blue eyeshadow and black eyeliner and made herself trampy as possible.I thought it was so cool.
My brother was so messed up he robbed a bank in Tulsa to pay off bad gambling debts and was caught 1 hour afterwards.
My oldest brother became a minister himself and got married.Three years later he decides the piano player is a much hotter deal and his wife walks in on him in the church office with her spread eagle and him offering her salvation
Get the picture????? It was not "Leave It To Beaver".LOL

Posted by: soccermom1 July 17, 2005, 2:28 PM

My therapist tells that I never developed a primary emotional attachment with my parents and that the “black hole” feeling is the result. My husband’s family was not perfect, but they were loving and Allan doesn’t addict to anything. I believe that’s because when he takes a pill or a drink, he knows "that feeling" is counterfeit. He knows what true contentment is, whereas I, having nothing to compare it to, had that “where have you been all my life" feeling you describe when I took my first percocet. I was molested at a young age. When I confronted my parents last year, they stopped speaking to me. However, they’ve never been anything but critical, so I haven’t lost anything.

I’m sorry that your childhood was so traumatic. I expect that would set you up both physically and emotionally for addiction. But I’m not sorry I asked. Are you sorry you answered?


Posted by: Tim July 17, 2005, 2:47 PM
Gina,No Im not sorry I answered.Its a little unnerving to go back and read it.I attempt humour where there is pain.It does still hurt as Im sure the sexual abuse does with you.Ive done my share of therapy and I just want to live the rest of my life happy.I really quit trying to fix that mess a long time ago.It happened.I grew up fast and hard and yes,became a drug addict.
Ive had a glimpse of real freedom and happiness this past year being clean.I didnt think I was ever going to be worthy it.I am and so are you.I love that saying in the program"We will not regret the past nor wish to close the door on it".I really believe that today.
We both deserve all the happiness today that maybe we didnt have at that age.
You are an inspiration to me everyday I read your post.They show a fellow soul who is no different than me.
Have a great day,Gina.Im playing cards at gambling,God I cant take another 12th step program.LOL

Posted by: jackofharts July 17, 2005, 3:22 PM
Heard it all before, but it never hurts to hear it all again. Especially,a version that is more or less put in laymans terms.
Messing with the natural chemicals that the brain produces is a dangerous game. You,re right it takes a long time for the pleasure centers to reproduce the natural dopimine that we,ve been supplimenting all this time.

Education is power
lots of respect

Posted by: littlebeach July 17, 2005, 4:13 PM
That makes alot of sense...
Thanks, Tim. After I got cleanthe first time, I was running from compulsion to, sweets (I am not a sweet eater), exersize...and it was like I had no control...that is why.

My oldest brother became a minister himself and got married.Three years later he decides the piano player is a much hotter deal and his wife walks in on him in the church office with her spread eagle and him offering her salvation

Sorry....that is why I have a hard time with "church"

Thanks for sharing your story...Tim.

Posted by: loliverny July 17, 2005, 4:25 PM
Great post..thanks..very educational and gave me alot to think about. I hate the fact that I still want to take pills though I dont take them anymore. I wish the craving to escape would go least now I can see why it is still lingering.Also that feeling of being "blah" about life..

I am so glad you wrote this today.It gives me hope that if I stay on track, I should feel better by the holidays. That may seem like a long way away but it sure beats where I was physically and emotionally last year at this time...Laurie

Posted by: jendenlen July 17, 2005, 4:48 PM
Tim.. That was an incredibly informative post! I'm sitting here now, picturing my brain. It probably looks like a 40 acre cow pasture, with nothing but gates surrounding it.

Posted by: littlebeach July 17, 2005, 5:13 PM
Okay, I have a question.....
On sub, are the receptors closing, or am I making more gates?
Extremely worried about this...

Posted by: Dogfodnah July 17, 2005, 5:25 PM
Thank you thank you thank you. This has been the most informative and comforting post i have ever read.


Posted by: paleogal July 17, 2005, 6:05 PM

I'm back.

There is a substantial amount of data, showing that addiction is more likely to occur in children when parents have exhibited addiction. I will get some web sites from work tomorrow that have research papers showing this.

There is a difference between a normal brain, and the brain of someone who has become addicted to narcotics. You can't see by a gross examination of the brain, but histologically there are differences at the cellular level (don't know if it is the case, with humans, but with rodents and primates it is). Not many people donate the organs for research, and fewer yet who are actual addicts, so the verdicts out on that. Is there a difference in two peoples brain one who is normal, and one that is pre-disposed, I don't know. I would guess not,but it's the chemistry of ones brain that makes us more likely to become addicted, as opposed to just the physical make-up.

Monkeys who have low-serotonin are more likely to abuse alcohol, and act agressive. Monkeys who have low-serotoin pass this on to their offspring about 50 percent of the time. Monkeys with normal serotonin levels will drink alcohol, but generally stop before becoming intoxicated, or lay around and be goofy. The others get t-totaled, start fights and just get crazy. Putting them on anti-depressants that regulate serotoin did not make a difference, in my opinion. Although the study I participated in was a blind study (which means I did not know who was getting the meds and who getting a placebo). I had to take out just about everyones canines, finger amputations..the whole nine yards.

I know its only animals, and there is a huge difference between them and us. Unless a group addicts participates in a long term study, that culminates with a histological exam of their brain...I think human data will have to take a back seat for now.


Posted by: Tim July 18, 2005, 6:36 AM
The scariest part of this disease is even though we stop,the receptor doors are permanently a fixture in our brains.Once we take an opiate,they all open again starting that whole maddening cycle over again.

Posted by: soccermom1 July 18, 2005, 7:44 AM

Thank you for your thorough reply. Oh well, always looking for the perfect world, I had hoped there was Swedish longitudinal identical twin data, one an addict, one not, both of whom donated their brains to science.

It's too bad more people don't donate their bodies for research and organ donation -- when I go, it's all up for grabs. Have you read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach?

Hey Tim,

Were you lucky at cards?


Posted by: Tim July 18, 2005, 8:10 AM
Gina-I won last night.You must have given me some good karma.

I just hope I learn enough lessons in this life so I dont have to return.This mornings lesson is to put a smile on my face,greet these entitled, demanding,spoiled yuppies in my most upbeat voice while they insult and try and punish me with guilt."What an order"......
Well, it looks like I am returning.Maybe as a Rottweiler.LOL

Posted by: soccermom1 July 18, 2005, 8:19 AM

I hope I do return. I think I'd find nirvana boring. My younger son told me that next time, he's coming back as an ocelot -- sounds good to me.

put a smile on my face,greet these entitled, demanding,spoiled yuppies in my most upbeat voice while they insult and try and punish me with guilt Geez, sounds like my last teaching job. What do you do?

I'm glad you won at cards. I'm sure it was your own good karma.


Posted by: Tim July 18, 2005, 8:30 AM
Im a Landscape designer.Most of my clients are pretty cool but Im just dealing with some real difficult people right now.Remember that Seinfeldt episode where Elaine keeps going to all these Doctors for a rash? They start stamping "Difficult" on her chart and then she cant find any Doctor that will see her?.......LOL
Im thinking of getting one of those stamps.
Usually if I can get in a quite meditation before I actually have to talk to them I do o.k.
One of my prayers is"God, please help me keep my mouth shut and just listen"
I always want to trade barb for barb.It never works.You always come out looking like the bigger "a******".

Posted by: soccermom1 July 18, 2005, 9:03 AM

Gosh, I could use a landscape designer. I'll bet you don't live anywhere near NC though. Sorry about those clients (BTW, that's one of my two favorite Seinfeld episodes).

Someday you'll be so successful, you'll be able to turn the difficult people away. If you'd ever like to vent offboard about them or anything else, my email is Would you drop me a line in any case? There's something I'd like to send you.

Have a good day. Just breathe.


Posted by: Tim July 18, 2005, 9:10 AM
Gina-Its on its way.Im leaving the house.I hope you have a great day.Later

Posted by: Liz04 July 21, 2005, 5:46 PM

Posted by: soccermom1 July 21, 2005, 9:27 PM

I was rereading this thread. I realize that I became an addict because I'm a sexual abuse survivor. I'll always be both. It's a life sentence. But it's not a death sentence. Not anymore. I can live with that.


Posted by: Jean July 21, 2005, 11:02 PM
Tim, thank you so much for this informative post - tried to copy but would have cut off the last 4-5 letters so I copied and pasted to M'Word Word and have saved it there.
I have to tell you it kind of dissapointed me when the article read "always require"more sensation for the Dopamine." I thought, well, I never will be the same but I don't care. I feel really good now, better, much better than when I was on Lortabs. I know I'm fairly new in recovery (clean since 6/1 except for a 3 day relapse after being 12 days clean) so even with what's going on in my life right now, I am clear and I'm feeling it (thought I was feeling it too much b/c I cried so hard and couldn't stop)
I now think all of those emotions had been supressed for so long, they had to come out and thy did. I would try and make a joke around my sick brother and call myself the "town crier" He was worried about me worringing - CRAZY
That was the last thing I wanted, one of many reasons I didn't stay very long,
a heart attack patient doesn't need people camping out in his room and then I was doing that crying that I couldn't stop. I got to see him and that made me feel better - Men pls beware - my brother looks like he would be chosen from a top ten line -up of healthy men - he's nice looking, too but I'm his sister - but he really is.

MEN: Go get a little b'work done, maybe a physical. He's only 58.

Let you go. Thanks again.
Love, Jean

Anyway, I'm making extra copies for my sons b/c I have heard all of my life people who's parents are alcoholics saying "I will never drink a drop of anything"
Then turn out to be an alcoholic. My brother's friend since HS shot himself in the head and died and left a wife and 3 children. He couldn't stop the drinking and it consumed him.

Love again, Jean

Posted by: KneeDeep July 23, 2005, 12:20 PM
Bumping this to the top for the mom....

Posted by: sharonn July 23, 2005, 1:31 PM
Gina...we have something in common..don't speak on it much..for me it was an Uncle...every summer on L.I. and in between(age8-15) So, so sorry for your have emerged alovely and very smart and funny lady..I guess what doesn't kill us really does make us stronger.Never told anyone til I was 30...started therapy after first bad bout of addiction/depression Bles your soul...S.P.S. Last year I went to his funeral...I felt nothing...nothing at all...just sad.

Posted by: sharonn July 23, 2005, 1:35 PM
Tim....I don'treally have a lot of property...but after seeing your pic...well..I need help mulching(sad,sad, sad...the desperate hor*y middle-aged woman) You are very attractive,my dear.You can trim my bushes (note:plural) anytime. Have a great day.S

Posted by: Redd July 23, 2005, 1:44 PM


Thanks for explaining that in laymans terms, it makes so much sense.

So now I know I have 18 million kajillion gates in my wonder I can't remember anything, theres no room.


Posted by: oneill102164 July 24, 2005, 8:32 PM
I just read your post, and must say that it really explained to me what I haev done to myself over the years of abusing Vicoden. Today I am clean, but stay very close to my program, my friends and the moment.

Thanks for your post...


Posted by: Stardust865 July 27, 2005, 7:03 PM
Bump for tired of using

Posted by: elvis July 28, 2005, 9:08 AM
hey tim thankyou so much for that information! it really helped me know more about whats going on when u take pills and have an addiction! the information was great! about the dopamine in ur brain and stuff, i never knew that info!
take care

Posted by: Raven August 4, 2005, 3:47 PM

Posted by: soccermom1 August 19, 2005, 9:25 AM
bump for leecee

Posted by: JR1954 August 19, 2005, 10:25 AM
Great info...thanks!

Mods: can we get a "printer friendly" option? Maybe that was already discussed several weeks ago when your were soliciting feedback for changes/enhancements to the site...sorry, but for the past 7 weeks or so my mind has been actively testing all this brain stuff Tim writes about here. I'm not too sharp just yet.


Posted by: Stardust865 August 20, 2005, 7:30 PM
Bump for Jrewing

Posted by: littlebeach August 21, 2005, 7:14 AM
I think I know the answer to this, but does sub close the receptors? I think I remember reading that it gives the receptors time to heal....

I am so tired of knowing this informaiton first brain feels like it isn't my own.

Posted by: flipperbaby September 28, 2005, 10:03 AM

Posted by: Rae73 October 10, 2005, 8:39 AM

Posted by: LostinIndy October 10, 2005, 1:36 PM
Thank you Tim for helping me to understand the process that the brain goes through as a part of addiction. I've been trying to find additional information on how opiates affect your body with long term use. Do you know of a website, book, or publication that I could read that will shed light on this subject? If it wasn't for the communication and experiences that I've stumbled accross on this site I would still feel hopeless in my journey to recovery. I don't even know how to begin. Opiates have a hold of me currently and its not, as mentioned, because this is what I want. I want out of this hell. I've been feeling so lonely and depressed that I haven't left my house for three days. I don't have many friends these days, and the ones that I have for the most part are users. I need help and I know it. Do you know of any resources available for people without medical insurance? I would like to thank you again for shedding light on such an important topic. I'm sure that I'm not the only one thats been helped some by reading it.

Posted by: Tim October 10, 2005, 2:39 PM
Lost-Addiction is also a disease of isolation.

NA/AA do not cost anything and they are available in most towns and cities.
Its an excellent place to start and you can go to a meeting even if you are not clean.
Look in the phone directory and look for a listing and call them.They will be more than glad to help you.
Information from books and websites are great way for you to start looking for information but will not replace human contact.
Two books that are quite informative..."Addictive Thinking" by Abraham J.Twerski,M.D. and "When Painkillers Become Dangerous" by Drew Pinski,M.D.

Narcotics Anonymous 24 hour Help Line....713-661-4200

Knowing is not enough.Recovery only comes through action.Staying isolated only will fuel the addiction.Good Luck

Posted by: cidd89 October 12, 2005, 4:54 PM
I want your honest opinion, If a person stops using for good after using for 3 years and w/ in those three years he has used every opiate known to man, from percs to vics to oxi's to heroin and now on Methadone for the last year. Is it possible and how long before you can feel normal or is the word normal as what we know it to mean gone for ever. What is the amount of time of a user for that long need to feel sane again. Very curiose to these answers. I know after extended use that our brains have rearanged them selves but if we are off the drugs and they do become dormant will the appropriat amount of receptors remain open and will the brain start produceing the correct amount the body needs to live a life in which we smile laugh from the heart not because throogh the years we have learned something was funny and that is just what you do. In all reallity if this is not possible then the remaining part of my life will be spent going throught the motions of life w/ out living and I have to question is it worthed going through what we have to to get clean when the final result is chasing that happiness of normality for life and never feeling the same again. Answer this at best. I think your article was great and motivating at the same. And I do believe like you that I to had to go through this to get a new respedt on life and to appreciate it for what it is and not what I used to try to make it out to be. Tell me all and all is it possible to get clean and picked up to where you where before ever taking that first pill. I can execept almost being normal as long as alomost means smiling from the heart as I had mentioned earlier. Thanks for your insight and inteligence. Dont mind my spelling there is not a spell check on this thing and at this point in my life I am to lazy to do it my self, too many ohter things in life that need effort. I have to go get washed now so I can go be a slave to humanity, work! LOL.

Much Love,

Posted by: Tim October 12, 2005, 5:15 PM
The bad news-Once you have crossed that line into opiate addiction,your brain will never be the same.It becomes a life long challenge to stay clean.Its not easy.The first year is really tough because these receptors in our brains are not dormant.They are screaming to be fed with something so dopamine can be released.This is commonly refered to as acute withdrawl symptoms.

The good news-Yes, you will smile again,love again,fear again,be angry and every other emotion you have clouded with a blanket of anesthesia.Its just not going to happen in your time.The days of quick fixes are over.Getting clean is going to take some real work on your part.12 step programs are free and allow you to develop a network of support.Physical exercise is the only way I know to start the endorphin machine that regulates mood.This will speed up the process of "feeling good" again.

Will you ever feel as good as a good shot of heroin? Probably not.Life isnt like that.I can honestly tell you that I have had some moments of elation I thought I would never have again.Im a surfer and a lot of those times were on my board.I dont walk around feeling like Mister Rogers.I have some real s***ty things happen,I get depressed,I get angry etc.Again, this is life.

Drugs are a lie.They promise and give you that illusory buzz but then they turn on you.You even stop getting high off them.They eventually will only keep you from getting sick.

There is hope Frank.I was snorting,shooting and eating a lot of oxys not to mention other drugs.Ive been clean since July 4th of 04.I went cold turkey.I wanted instant gratification too.I was really pissed that I wasnt feeling better right away.I finnaly said "F*ck It" and was going to give up and just kill myself.After I made that decison, the next day I started feeling better.

Hang in there dude,get off the sh*t and let your body heal.Dont have expectations.Trust the process.It will get better.

Posted by: Tim November 25, 2005, 11:24 AM
Bump for Red or any other wondering what the hell is going on

Posted by: wiversen November 25, 2005, 11:27 AM
I missed the Mr. Rogers comment..LMAO You crack me up!

Posted by: Tim November 25, 2005, 4:15 PM
I want Brab to read this,Dude,just read the first page.

Posted by: alicap November 25, 2005, 11:56 PM
Hey ,
WOW what a GREAT post, just read the book called "The craving brain"...if you all liked this description, get the book ( NO IM NOT SELLING THEM MYSELF LOLOL) but anyay it is fascinating stuff, I dont dare getinto the other things in the book but it is all along the same lines, and explains WHY we crave, messages that the brain sends us for immediate gratification even since childbirth......and how to satisfy and fill those gates without your DOC.
Anyway great great post...where is Dante when you need him??Hed love it too....LOLOL

Great work, hope this thread can stick around for newcomers to read..


Posted by: soccermom1 November 29, 2005, 4:41 PM
bump for valley

Posted by: mecaniksgrl36 November 30, 2005, 3:46 AM
this is by far the most informative information that I have found worthy of sending to my loved ones to give them a better insight as to what we are dealing with. thank you so much for taking the time to type that out in a way we all can understand. hope everyone is doing well, and better than yesterday. I got all my vitamins today and i'am so excited about starting my healthy new regimen . anyway goodnight to all, sleep well. sincerely, dana jo-

Posted by: alicap December 1, 2005, 2:49 AM
I have re read your thread agian, which i love and am starting to realoly understand alot more...but..there seems to be that depressing thought about the gates always there indormancy, just waiting to be fed again...

Can you tell me this very important question: regrading TOLERANCE...if someone is on a narcotic for true severe pain but does not take for pleasure...however is on it for several years and does require more during that time due to tolerance......does that mean that the same thing is happening to their getting or making those extra sacs or gates for life?

My dr never told me this stuff, just said that the body would eventually learn to make its own endorphins again.....

Also, why then if these gates stay there waiting for drugs, do people die from being abstinent from theri DOC for say 6 months, and then relapse and take the old amount they once took, they then overdose????

Why is it that someone who quit taking pills went back on for surgery but could now only take 1 pill ( and it made her high and killed the pain ) when years before she was taking 6 at a time??????

Where does tolerance fit in??????

Im confused???? Do you know?


Posted by: flipperbaby December 2, 2005, 3:25 PM
Bumpity bump bump bump bump.

Posted by: j_d December 7, 2005, 6:48 PM
bump for the people asking about the sub

Posted by: alicap December 7, 2005, 6:51 PM

good mmove...i was going to that eralier and



Posted by: j_d December 9, 2005, 12:23 PM
bump for my friend

Posted by: Tim December 10, 2005, 4:18 AM
Hi Ali.I dont have the answers to your quesions,Sorry.Im not a Dr, or an expert on addiction.I copied and pasted that artice ffrom another site because I thought it explained PAWS in laymans terms.I thought some people might get some help from it.However,I was pretty much put in my place over it so if you want some more information on it I would ask a Dr.who specialized in addiction.Im just a drug addict and my only experience with this is is living through it.It made perfect sense to me.
I havent taken any drugs in 15 months but if I were to eat an 80 mg oxy I would get off real good .After about the second day,I would need twice that much. Sorry about my typing but Ive got insomnia again and Im getting batty. I dont think a normal user of drugs would experience this..I think Im going to have one piece of pecan pie,with one scoop of Ice Cream.I think that my[ight put me to sleep.
Ask me in the morning how much my tolerance has increased?LOL ...I may be too answer.LOL

Posted by: soccermom1 January 19, 2006, 8:53 PM
bump for new people


Posted by: alicap January 19, 2006, 9:03 PM
Just wanted to add that I spoke to a very well respected Neurologist several weeks ago

He was bemused with the idea that that our brains are irrepairably damaged..he said that street drugs can cause that, but not prescribed narcotics..not even long term..

he said the gates close and do repair them selves, which is exactly why when people abstain from doing their DOC and then return to it, theycan OD very easily...they no longer have a high tolerance because their brain HAS repaired..our bodies are amazing, and if given a chance most times can heal itself..

He also told me never believe everything you read on the internet..lolol which i guess would include this..lolo but just wanted to share the info with others
like me who got scared at the 'irepairable harm done to our brains"



Posted by: Swizzle January 19, 2006, 9:26 PM

I only agree with part of what he is saying
Yes, the brain will repair itself with time
It will stay repaired if you do not ever use opiates again
But here is the big difference: say you do not use for 6 months. Then you relapse. The first day or two, you can use a small amount and feel the "high". By day 3, you will find yourself making HUGE increases to feel something. Aftet the first week or two, you will often be right back up at the level you had left off at when you quit. Many will be taking even MORE than they were the last time. It gets worse each time you relapse
That was my personal experience - more times then I care to share .....

Posted by: S h a r o n January 19, 2006, 11:56 PM

I have to say that the information you received from your MD was right on the money.


PS: not my intention to "start" something with the person who copied and pasted the article. I don't have a horse in this race.

Posted by: atlas January 20, 2006, 10:42 AM
Bump for Julieeee...Read this and let your hubby read it also.

Posted by: tepies January 20, 2006, 12:04 PM
holy! wow, I knew opiates messed up your brain, but not that bad! No wonder I can't stop eating chocolate!

Posted by: Gabbi May 18, 2006, 8:33 AM
Bump for Brina-am really going now :0)

Posted by: mollyjean May 18, 2006, 8:42 AM
Bump for ALL

Posted by: elvis May 19, 2006, 4:54 AM
that was a great post tim!!!! im gonna print it out and show my psych!!!!! fantastic post thankyou for explaining!!!

take care

Posted by: cass1 May 19, 2006, 7:56 AM
Tim, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me understand in a way that I could. Now I can explain it to my family that way, and understand it myself. I really enjoyed that post - again thank you!

Posted by: sashab September 15, 2006, 1:39 PM
Just found this post ...

I thought it was really really helpful...having it written in simple layman terms really helps me to try and understand addiction...the cravings, withdrawels, tolerance, relapses... etc

thought it should be bumped up!!

Posted by: pineknot September 15, 2006, 6:58 PM
I have been really hard on my brain...... Thanks for the info

Posted by: littlebeach February 8, 2007, 4:23 AM

Posted by: soccermom1 April 15, 2007, 2:30 PM
bump for gracie

Posted by: Lilypad July 18, 2007, 10:51 AM

Bump for WackyJacky....

Posted by: Becky Jean July 18, 2007, 6:42 PM
Hey Sharonn:

It's Becky - email me - I have missed you.

You will feel good again. I have free long distance - we can talk on the phone and I know we can find plenty to talk and laugh about. It's been since April for me and I'm happy. I feel things - not just happy but the sad, too. bUT WE ARE MADE TO FEEL. I remember going to a funeral while on the Lortabs and not even crying.
I felt so odd and out of place. I can see a woman cry and try and comfort her but when I'm clean, I cannot see a man cry or I fall apart and have to walk away - s'thing about men crying, I just can't take it. I'm not saying they shouldn't - it just breaks my heart - maybe b/c I have sons.

Email me -

Posted by: evesladi July 22, 2007, 9:56 AM
I'm new here, just started today. I agree with this so much and it caught my eye immediatly as its's so very true. I can't go back to being happy over the food, drink or a candy bar, or even sex for that matter!!. I wish I could return to the time in my life where I was happy just to walk barefoot over the ground and feel the grass between my toes. That childlike glee for life is gone forever and it's just another day each day. It isn't easy either like when I was young to enjoy myself with normal things.Lord help me is all I think.

Posted by: dee4life July 22, 2007, 11:58 AM
Just been reaing all the posts, the things we don't know,eh? I've got a question.... I've been off herion for about nine weeks now and i'm currently taking nalterxone and so far so good. I've been having a sociable drink at the weekends n that, but reading what was said by Tim, if i keep on drinking (even moderately) is there an increased chance of me becoming an alcoholic due to all the gates i've opened over the years? Cheers, Kev

Posted by: troubledone July 22, 2007, 12:14 PM
I agree with most of it except for the part that your brain will never get back to normal. If you treat your brain with the proper things it can repair itself. The pychological part you may never recover from because unlike before you knew the pills existed you didn't care or miss them and now you will always have in the back of your head the other life, the life with pills.

Posted by: believer July 22, 2007, 12:22 PM
Thank you. I've learnt a lot today. Have printed off bits of this to show my boyfriend. He doesn't have access to a computer and I think would benefit from knowing he's not alone in his battle.

Posted by: Lilypad July 22, 2007, 12:25 PM

I don't believe that your brain is forever damaged and irreparable from the pills. The human body is an amazing thing. You WILL enjoy the beauty of nature again. It will take time, but it will happen. You will heal...never ever give up hope. There are members here who will tell you how much better their lives and relationships have become off the drugs. To live again and feel again.

Kev, my only thoughts to you would be alcohol is one of the most addicting and dangerous drugs out there. Why would you want to expose yourself to it and take the chance of ending up an alcoholic. The risks are too great and the benefits? Can't think of a one. Stay smart and healthy!


Posted by: RKT July 22, 2007, 6:38 PM
That was a great explanation. It really opened my eyes as to why after 6 months i still felt horrible and abnormal and as you said is what led me to use again. i am trying again and with support and prayer and being better informed i hope to come out the other side without relapse. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out for us.

Posted by: gracieuxx November 4, 2007, 6:54 PM

Posted by: RKT November 4, 2007, 10:23 PM
Great bump Gracie.............This is a wonderful source of info for newbies!

Posted by: soccermom1 November 5, 2007, 8:57 AM
I asked an addiction M.D. about the brain's ability to heal following opiate use. He said it will reset but it takes about a year of total abstinence to start functioning at baseline again and he wouldn't commit himself about what sub use would do to the healing time -- there's just not enough data yet. But his specialty is alcoholism and that operates on a completely different area of the brain.

Bottom line: Recovery takes time. Be patient.

BTW, this thread cracks me up, it's so old. It's got my post asking Tim for his email address. I'll bet you're sorry you gave that up, son, on the days when I bombard your inbox with trivia. Remember when that virus sent 240 copies of the same message? LOL

Posted by: concernedsister07 November 5, 2007, 1:38 PM

Posted by: concernedsister07 November 6, 2007, 4:18 PM
thanks tim, i understand what this s*** does does and why the mental wd is such a struggle. i definately will pass on this thread. i cant remember who bumped this thread for me but thanks you so much

Posted by: concernedsister07 November 6, 2007, 4:18 PM
gracie, thanks for the bump. great piece of info

Posted by: subhelp September 14, 2008, 10:20 AM

Posted by: 24Gordon October 31, 2008, 11:41 AM
~~bump for Alice~

Posted by: 24Gordon August 27, 2009, 4:24 PM
**bump for Mark**

Posted by: angelgirl August 28, 2009, 6:55 AM
Thank you tim it was very infromative. This is my first time on here and everyone is so helpful in trying to help others through their stories and what they have learned. I guess today is the first day i have come to realize I have a problem. Where do i go from here?

Posted by: mutchie November 15, 2009, 7:38 AM
Hello Tim i was quite impressed with the way you explained all of that and to me i feel that you have hit the heres the crunch i have been hooked for say 14 years now and i understand it all but when it comes to putting it all into practice i like so many others tend to fail...i am now 36 and i am on methadone and i have a really good job but i still use - i tell myself i should be happy cause at least i am stable now but it is not enough...i want more...i want to feel...i want to really smile again and most of all i want my family to see me conquer this affliction because they have always stood by me ...but how to manage it ?
im considering trying rehab again - the last time was 10 years ago - i would appreciate hearing from you as you sound like you understand . bye and thanks

my name is kev.....

Posted by: Tim November 15, 2009, 8:22 AM
Kev-I can only share my own experience.For me,simply removing intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs still left me an empty shell.I have tried to stay clean on my own with degrees of success but inside there still existed this hole.The outside was scrubbed clean and looked pretty wholesome but the inside was constantly screaming for something.Instead of drugs and alcohol,I would feed it sex,money,high risk behaviors such as extreme mountain biking,bungy jumping,maxing out on credit name it.Eventually all that proved insufficient and I would succumb to what I thought would really work.Drugs.

I had a relationship with AA and understood the principles quite well.Unfortunately,it was all cerebral.I didn't apply it to my situation.When I decided to give NA a try and get a sponsor and start working the steps,I really started to change.I even coughed up the money for therapy.With both those sources,I began to understand my character defects and started believing that my HP loved me anyway.I was not a bad person trying to get good.I was a sick person trying to get well.

I understand DRT[drug replacement therapy] and feel it's necessary in some cases.My problem with it is that it becomes too easy to rely on that.The longer you stay on it,the harder it will be to come off it and it in itself becomes the problem.

If you truly want a fufilled life you will take any steps necessary to achieve that goal.It sounds like to me you do.

Posted by: 24Gordon November 21, 2009, 1:35 PM
Bump for Mike~

Posted by: bikeman November 24, 2009, 1:04 AM
Don't forget those Amino Acids....branch chain aminos will help repair tattered neurotransmitters.

Posted by: jackofhartzz November 26, 2009, 9:43 PM
****4 star post

Posted by: cfm December 15, 2009, 11:25 PM
thank you Tim!

Posted by: 24Gordon March 5, 2010, 3:22 PM
Bump to the top for Jaz~!

Posted by: Browndog113 March 6, 2010, 1:36 PM
Wow, so many replies, I ended up reading through them all, I dont know if anyone will even get this far---a ways back someone asked why we dont receive more pleasure if we have more pleasure receptors.

That is a pretty clever question. I thought only a brain like mine could come up with something like that (LOL).

It had me thinking a while until I compared it to other things & realized it is based on a kind of backward logic.

I mean, we now have the ability to feel more pleasure because we have more receptors then other people.


If someone has 3 children to feed, they need enough food to feed 3 children.

If they have 100, they need enough to feed one hundred. They have a greater need for more food & when food comes for 100, it feeds 100. Having 100 children does increase the ability to receive more food,but only to be equally consumed.

Having more pleasure receptors can receive more pleasure, but it is equally consumed by the receptors and the more pleasure received brings the same happiness.

I dont know if I got across what I was trying to say.

ONE OTHER THING, I KNOW IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP, BUT i HAD LEARED THAT AS TIME GOES ON AND THE RECEPTORS ARE NOT FILLED, THE NEWLY CREATED ONES ACTUALLY CLOSE, NOT LIKE a gate, more like they are filled in and gone. At that time people actually have a unique, drug like physical reaction. They can experience hot flashes, or euphoria, or disphoria, and even something like a second withdrawel (i cant imagine as severe or intense.) They are supposes to start colosing up after about 6 months or so. ANYWONE EVER EXPERIENCE ANYTHING LIKE THAT?

Posted by: Tim May 30, 2010, 3:16 PM
Bump up for Momto3

Posted by: momto3 May 31, 2010, 12:08 AM
Thank you for the post. It was very helpful.

Posted by: 24Gordon September 28, 2010, 12:00 PM
Bump for Sheba~!

Posted by: pookster May 14, 2011, 5:16 AM
i waited about a year to have two hernieted discs removed from my neckand was on oxys, for alot of the time, as i was passing out from pain. i kept inquiring with my docs about the addiction and withdrawls of it,as friends haD me scared.I sure wish i was given a time frame as the 7 to 12 months stated here. As i have been investing in all kinds of therapy ,since going off them, because I@d rather be dead. I thought giving up on life was for other reasons, now I know I can give myself another 8 months to feel, rotten. THANK YOU.

Posted by: TCCME July 7, 2011, 10:49 PM
How did I forget all this...I knew it like the back of my hand!! Even still, I forgot, did not remain vigilant and now I have this uphill battle on my hands


Posted by: cowgirl July 8, 2011, 12:49 PM
Because you're human..not superman.

What's up?

Posted by: jbgoth August 22, 2011, 11:57 PM
Wow, just got answers to some of my questions. Just had 9 months clean, lightly used for about 2 months. WD were fine day 1-4 then I started to get sick on 5-7. Don't ask, have no idea. I'm happy that I don't think I screwed up my brain too bad, but I really need to take this more seriously. Thanks for bringing this up!

Posted by: faith2442 August 23, 2011, 12:12 AM
Thanks for that post it helped alot,but can i ask u a stupid quistion?I have been diabled from 2004,i have beenon lortabs 10 and 22 other meds for my medical problems i have to have surgery every mounth or 2 and yes some of my meds they have to change couse my body get amunde to them but i dont take the pain meds everyday like i am supose to,im supose to take 4 a day.I offent cry and deal with the pain doese that mean that i don't have the dopamine in my brain like others,guess what im asking now is what is wrong with me that im not addicted to them could it be couse of other meds i take.Sorry to ask u this but that just makes me wont to now why im not wonting more tabs then what i take.can u explain that to me couse u really helped with the other i didm't understand.Thanks so mucc

Posted by: 24Gordon September 14, 2011, 5:48 PM
Bump for Heather~!

Posted by: jax33 September 16, 2011, 6:55 PM
Bump for Heather2 again....just in case she didn't get it the first time! Thought it was jackofhearts...sorry Tim and thanks again!! My fav all=time post so far! Read this over and over. read it to your husband Heather! Good luck! Jax

Posted by: Blaire82 September 16, 2011, 7:01 PM
Yes, I saw this, forgot to tell y'all earlier. It makes perfect sense. I also sent it via email to hubby. Neither of us had ever read anything like that before. It took me by surprise for sure


Posted by: Sea Shells November 1, 2011, 10:49 PM
Dear Heavens, this is becoming a nightmare of it's own.

I am notified of a new post, so I click on the link, and I'm taken to the topic, but no new post. Clicking on last took me back to 07.

Yikes......and I don't take anything!

PS - just viewing my post, the one above it is September 16, 2011. So........where is the one I was notified about???

Here is what your email said regarding the reply:

"moeepevm has just posted a reply to a topic that you have subscribed to titled "Your Brain On Opiates".

The topic can be found here:"

What on earth am I doing wrong?

Posted by: 12 stepper November 2, 2011, 6:30 AM
Sometimes some jerks come on here and post some spam and the mods remove them. (thank you, mods). They go to very old posts and bump them up so we get confused. Well, I do anyway. You're not doing anything wrong. Its the spammers.

Posted by: Sea Shells November 2, 2011, 12:46 PM
Good heavens, never even crossed my mind, so thanks for telling me.

There are some nasty folk in the world it seems.

Posted by: mairh January 14, 2012, 9:44 AM
Hi guys, An addicts brain is forever altered. Those gates never go away. we will always have all those extras. The receptors will always be there,WAITING.

Posted by: 24Gordon March 29, 2012, 4:08 PM
I love this post. I always go looking for it when I start working with a sponsee who also has a pill addiction along with the alcohol so I can print it out for them to read, it explains things in an easy read.

Again, thank you, Tim.


Posted by: 24Gordon June 20, 2012, 1:04 PM
Bump for Foster.................

Posted by: Suboxman June 20, 2012, 8:15 PM
Stac hope your having a good evening--This thread is top 10- great bump to a great thread--


Posted by: Tim L July 18, 2012, 6:37 PM
Read this.

Posted by: Sea Shells July 18, 2012, 11:46 PM
To Tim,

Read what?

This, by far, is the strangest forum I've ever belonged to.

(That comment not directed at Tim at all, just seems nuts. I came here looking for understanding and help).

Posted by: DNester71 July 19, 2012, 3:36 AM
I'm in need for some really positive prayers right now. I want off these evil things because I know they are killing me and killing my marriage, but I just can't seem to do it on my own. I can barely go one day now and I just say "tomorrow is another day," but I know that one of these days there isn't going to be another tomorrow.

Posted by: cowgirl July 19, 2012, 12:14 PM
Read the beginning of this thread SeaShells...

What is it that you find so strange about this forum? Are you having trouble posting?

It's a pretty simple webpage..?

Or is it us that you find so strange? lol Yes, we all are, very strange. At least Tim is. <eg>

Posted by: cowgirl July 20, 2012, 11:42 AM
Bump for galedaek

Posted by: cowgirl August 14, 2012, 11:50 AM
Bump for Sam..and all the newbies.

Posted by: SAMurai661 August 14, 2012, 4:13 PM
Cowgirl, thank you for bumping this. Tim, thank you for sharing and all the knowledge you provide us newbies getting through this. It helps me understand more and more why my brain works the way it doesn when it come to opiates.

Posted by: vnvjames September 17, 2012, 9:41 AM
I am new to this board, I have been taking loritab for 12 years. I lost my leg in an accident, my wife jumped off the bridge to keep from getting hit by the same out of control car that cut my leg off, she fell 48feet landing on solid ground, not water. We had seperate physical theropy doctors, mine only gave me a few loritab and let me know that he would not refill my tabs once I went into physical theropy, my wife on the other hand had a woman Dr who would give her 180 pills a month! So thinking I needed them I switched to her Dr. After about 5 years I told her nurse that I would like help getting off the tabs, her answer was " well Mr James we turned you into a legal addict so we will decide when and if you can quit, that's when they increased my script. I have decided I need to not only beat the addiction but beat my medicare sucking Dr. Help me please!

Posted by: cowgirl September 19, 2012, 10:52 AM
I think your post got lost in this thread vinv..otherwise people would have responded by now.

This blows my mind. You are one of the very few who has the courage to ask your dr for help, admits that you have a problem and want off the pills, and they not only turn you down, but give you more. Something really stinks here.

Find another dr. Pronto. Do some research in your area and find an addiction specialist and switch drs. Ask the new dr for help. You have the willingness..

I hope you keep posting.

Posted by: 24Gordon October 10, 2012, 12:59 PM
Bump for the new people.....

Posted by: 24Gordon November 16, 2012, 11:20 AM
Bump for Kerry~~~

Posted by: Tim L December 12, 2012, 2:46 PM
Bump for In4cash

Posted by: Kerrysqueaky December 12, 2012, 11:10 PM
Can I just say that although I found this read to be interesting, it rather made me wish I hadn't read it?

I guess it made me feel more helpless thinking things wouldn't ever get better because of what i had done to my brain and I don't find that to be helpful to an already depressed newcomer. It sent me in a tailspin for a few days I didn't need to go into. Sorry just being honest.

I have to believe I WILL get better and that I will find freedom and joy again one day so for me, I choose to disregard this. I just refuse to believe my brain won't heal through action, my HP and steps. it's just the way I took it with an already mixed up and messed up emotional being.

Because I do have days and moments of joy I had before the pills and if I believed this to be fact then I maybe wouldn't believe in them and maybe it would take my hope away.

Just clarifying in case someone else in the future reading this had the same reaction of panic and despair that I did.


Posted by: 24Gordon December 13, 2012, 12:36 PM
I've got 6+ years clean & sober and it took awhile for my brain to heal. I'm not cured, my brain isn't the same brain pre-pill popping years ago but I am happy, joyous & free.

What this article did for me when I first stumbled across this site was explain a lot of the physical aspect of taking opiates. It explained P.A.W.S. (post acute withdrawal symptoms) and why I would relapse on my milestones, 30 days, 100 days. I never realized how much my brain had been rewired, I just thought I wasn't worthy enough of God's grace and that my willpower wasn't sufficient enough to stay clean. I had no idea about the chemical make up and all the damage I had done to my brain. Yes, time and abstinance healed me but I do have a thyroid issue that was probably caused by all the narcotic use.

Thanks for sharing your perspective, Kerry, and I bet after you get a year or two under your belt, and walk through the PAWS, you'll read this article with a whole different perspective.

God is bigger than ALL of this but we have to do our part & take care of our bodies that we damaged along the way with the drugs & alcohol. My BFF always used to tell me, once you're a pickle, you can't go back and be a cucumber again.

Posted by: denimblue_82 January 3, 2013, 8:45 AM
Thank U for this post. U have explained and answered alot of questions I had (as a mother). My daughter is trying to recover for taking pill and I didnt understand what she was going though. I felt in order for me to help her I needed to understand.
My question is, does she need medical help r can she do this with the help of her family?

Posted by: supersix January 3, 2013, 10:18 AM
That explains my Potato chip and dip binge last night right after my healthy Salmon dinner.

Posted by: ThatGirl January 3, 2013, 1:58 PM
I thought the same as you, Kerry, when I first read this 3 weeks ago. I almost wished I hadn't. Maybe if I would have never known there was real damage done to the brain, I wouldn't feel so helpless. I thought it made it worse and made me even more depressed. Although its very interesting and probably good to know.

On the plus side, now I feel even MORE so that I can never use again because it opens up all the receptors all over again and what a waste of clean time that would have been! My friends who still use have said to me, "I think in time you will be able to do a pill here and there for fun." And I tell them NO, I really can't. And then I inform them of what really happens when doing so. Maybe the information could help them in some ways also. A lot of the drug addicts around here really have no idea about addiction and what they're doing to themselves. If I hadn't researched it and found this site, I would still be right there with them.

Posted by: Kerrysqueaky January 3, 2013, 2:11 PM
That's a great way to see it thatgirl and I feel the same way. I was horrified at what I potentially did it my brain but now 73 days I feel better than I have Ina very long time. So glad you are sticking with this!!!

Posted by: hsan22 March 25, 2013, 11:07 AM
Thank you for this post. My husband just confided in me regarding his opiate addiction. As someone who hasn't been down this road it is hard to understand why he just doesn't quit but this post really opened my eyes and let me see how difficult this has to be for him. I am starting to see that it is not going to be an easy fix or road. thanks again.

Posted by: 24Gordon April 4, 2013, 11:50 AM

Posted by: Browndog113 April 6, 2013, 11:11 PM
Good post. I had learned something a little different-that after a period of non use, these extra receptors actually close. It gets a little confusing, but from what I remember, when these do close, we can have a physical reaction such as hot flashes, euphoria, dysphonia, or other odd symptoms that I don't think last too long. I never remember it happening to me, but I am on suboxone, so maybe that keeps them open.

Posted by: plisa502 May 6, 2013, 2:40 PM
About the brain chemistry being altered...I have had about 15 brain surgeries. I spoke with a nuerosurgeon after about the 10th one. He finally explained that once you open the brain, that chemistry is altered. That finally helped me understand why so much medicine doesn't work that did before. Now with my addiction added to that, things seem even more difficult.

Posted by: girltoday May 13, 2013, 7:32 AM

Posted by: SurrenderZ November 23, 2013, 4:34 AM
I have a feeling that you are still in your first few years if clean time in recovery? Only because you made the statement if saying life is NEVER as it was before addiction took hold.. I'm sure you know this, but to remind the readers, addiction takes hold of us way before we ever abuse drugs or become reliant in them. Just as relapses happen long before we pick up and use . And relapse can't happen without a valiant period of for your comment regarding reasons for relapse being " how long can we go on not feeling anything ?" - as a substance abuse counselor and recovering addict myself, and I can only speak for myself here , but I had nothing but an explosion of feelings during those times of active addiction or relapse warning signs. Feelings of restlessness, fear,anger, guilt, shame, boredom, laziness , confusion and irritability due to lack if sleep. These are ALL feelings- we use drugs to take our feelings away , and we enter recovery because the drugs just don't work anymore.
Wherever we go, there we are.
I agree life is never the same after we enter recovery - it's awesome. It's a REAL life, filled with surprises that make our days clean worth living for just today one more time. Active addiction is the most predictable , boring, sad and lonely state we imprison ourselves in.
But there is a solution. Learn about this insidious disease and learn how to live clean. Quitting us not the problem. Anyone can quit. It's stating quit and finding a new way to live that is integral.
Just for today...

Posted by: SurrenderZ November 23, 2013, 5:13 AM
I'd be remiss in not mentioning the " surrender to win" attitude a recovering addict MUST understand, accept and practice. A losing mental battle does not have any place in a recovering addicts vocabulary. We surrender to win. Because just like finding a power greater than ourselves is paramount in recovery , we MUST remember that our disease of addiction is a power greater than ya, too. Obviously it's powerful or we wouldn't be chatting on this forum.
I really like the info you shared, but as you know, addiction is a mental, spiritual and physical disease that rips lives away. But we do NOT recover by knowing simple science if synoptic misfirings, etc. the disease of addiction has to be addressed in a spiritual manner. Because airs a program of unity, willingness, open mindedness and spiritual vision and change that keep us coming back.
All addicts are different. Though we have the same cunning disease, we recover at different paces, our synapses and chemicals vary in repair time from one addict to the next. There is no set time frame to go by... All I know as a professional in addiction and counseling is that WE DO RECOVER. Don't compare yourself to others. As long as you don't pick up , just for today- it's a successful day.
Many addicts have trouble distinguishing between boredom and serenity. Why? Because not only are we addicts that are addicted to substances, we are addicts addicted to DRAMA AND ALL THAT COMES WITH IT.
This really is a simple program for complicated people . But I can attest from my own recovery and experience , UNITY IS A MUST, and we cannot recover in sheer will power. Ever.
When addicts refuse SSRI meds early in recovery, for the sake if " being totally clean@.. Nonsense! If an M.D. rx's an antidepressant it's for a reason. So newcomers, give yourselves a break and remember that unless you are an M.D. That specializes in addiction medicine- you can't have all the answers . Your best thinking got you into recovery- so let that good thinking put the ego down and let the pros do their jobs. And newcomers, do your jobs. Stay clean one day at a time. Don't use NO MATTER WHAT. And always remember- our disease LIES to us.. Stick to the truths you know and can prove. And let your higher power take care of the rest!
Buckle your seatbelts- and hold on for the ride of your lives. Recovery.
Enjoy the surprises, and keep an open mind.
In living service , an addict named z

Posted by: girltoday May 7, 2014, 8:21 AM

Posted by: girltoday June 27, 2014, 8:51 AM

Posted by: girltoday October 13, 2014, 6:29 AM

Posted by: Zack303 October 14, 2014, 3:31 PM
All this s*** is true and dandy, but once i start to remember my withdrawals days 1-3 im happy again knowing alteast im not crawling out my skin

Posted by: CajunBliss85 October 14, 2014, 10:44 PM
I have finally gotten some help through a doctor whom hasn't filled his limit on patients that he prescribe to. I would have gotten help a long time ago if it weren't so expensive. it;'s no wonder people never get clean.
I was taking 10-30 pills a day. I'm now on Suboxone and I tell you what, i high recommend this for everyone who suffers from addiction. I would suggest calling around and find a dr nearest you, and schedule an apt ASAP. It takes away all the withdrawl symptoms. W/d is what scared me most. With the Suboxone, i have NO cravings for pills. It plays on your opiate receptors and blocks those receptors. If you take pills while on Suboxone, you feel nothing from it because of the receptors that are being blocked from it. Suboxone saved my life. Not to mention the dr i saw was not judging me and he was very sympathetic.

I would love to know more about the science part of addiction and suboxone. Anyone willing to write me back, i would much appreciate it.

Posted by: bjump8 October 16, 2014, 3:17 PM
I like the way things are explained in this post. It's very helpful and puts things into perspective...especially for people that just don't understand what we go through.

Posted by: Apple44 October 26, 2014, 2:26 PM
thank you so much its really helped

Posted by: 35andready December 13, 2014, 5:46 PM
Bump ... so true.... Read the very start of this thread....

Posted by: MannMom March 14, 2015, 1:33 PM
Thank you so much for this information. My son is in inpatient rehab for heroine addiction. His counselor tried to explain the medical part, but it was hard to understand. I have such empathy for this addiction. My son is a great person, with an illness. No one wants this problem. God bless you all that deal with this.

Posted by: girltoday June 27, 2015, 8:57 AM
bump for millie

Posted by: Milliemac June 27, 2015, 1:26 PM
Thanks girl xxx

Posted by: jank July 3, 2015, 6:03 PM
I am curious. does this happen to a person who stayed on a very low dose of a narcotic and didn't let the dr increase the dose. I swear I have been in constant withdrawal for 3 yrs. it has been rough and I am finally off. I didn't mean for this to happen as I had some pain which I ended up having 2 knee replacements in last few yrs. but I am feeling sick since it has only been a week since I been tapered off so I never took a very high dose only 20 of opana cause I wouldn't let the dr increase it. It has been a bad 3 yrs for me.

Posted by: girltoday August 28, 2015, 7:06 PM

Posted by: marykat80 August 28, 2015, 8:30 PM
I agree with majority of this. I DONT believe and I can't emphasize enough the dopamine 'teasers' EAT that candy bar, especially dark chocolate....beets, spinach, ANYTHING that naturally raises dopamine. The more you build back up, quicker the brain heals..

Posted by: uphill battle May 9, 2016, 7:10 AM
I see this thread is very old... I'm hoping I can still possibly get some feedback? Especially since this is ur studied field... I've been doing tons of research hoping to find ways to speed up the process of healing mentally I have a 3yr old I can't b unable to function 4 a yr. I have put myself thru the misery of wds a few times but can never make it thru the 4th wk cuz I'm so miserable. Neway I've looked into using Sam e, a natural antidepressant as well as 5htp both promoted for helping w dopamine and serotonin production. However after reading this thread it seems production isn't the problem it's trying to find a way to close all the doorways? Wuld it even b beneficial to take these supplements to aid w sobriety?/paws?

Posted by: marykat80 May 9, 2016, 4:55 PM
Well, as an addict I don't think you can ever 'fully close the doors ' you know? Or maybe to an extent and remain clean and sober but just remember that chance of reopening is always there and not get 'too comfortable and confident. (If I'm making sense) my point is production IS important. eating healthy is one of the biggest things you can do to get your brain healing properly/speed up process..exercise as well. I took both 5htp and sam-e though not at same time. I don't think it's recommended to take together, can cause serotonin toxicity? 5htp has immediate effect. I think either would be helpful though have heard sam-e can cause mania..and well when dealing with paws, last thing anyone needs right? Though your body will obviously know, I would recommend either. 5htp much more calming effect... good luck

Posted by: ColinH July 4, 2016, 9:52 PM
Thank you Tim and Michelle,

I find all the information you have both given me very useful. I am a recovering heroin/meth addict with eighteen months. I am hoping to find some peace soon. I find myself feeling anxious, awkward, inverted even scared around people I don't know. I over emphasize and over think every human encounter. I am always worried about being the best me and that only makes me an over worried stress case. I have had two surgeries since I first got sober. Both were extreme painful and both times I took my opioid medication is prescribed with plenty left over I didn't take. I think where I'm going with this is to a couple of questions(for anybody whom cares to answer). How did you feel at eighteen months? How much time do you have? How do you feel now?

Thank you

Posted by: Chopper83 July 31, 2016, 11:01 AM
i take 2 methadome tabs maybe once a week. When I know I have a big day at work I pop two and i smash the work out and feel good. I would never do it more than once a week. Do u think this is still a problem. I might stop it know after reading this post

Posted by: marykat80 July 31, 2016, 10:42 PM
You say you won't do it more then once a week, but chances are you eventually will. Trust me! at some point to get that jolt of energy, you might say f*** it and take one mid will just progress..stop while you are ahead...methadone is no joke, and wouldn't wish the withdrawal experience on anyone!!

Posted by: Chopper83 August 1, 2016, 7:16 AM
Thanks for your quick reply. I'll take your advise. I will stop methadone while it's still easy.

Posted by: lolleedee August 30, 2016, 12:58 PM
I know this is an old topic, but there is quite a bit of mis-information in the original post. We don't actually grow more receptors..we have a finite amount. What actually happens is receptors become less sensitive to the release of dopamine and this is why it then takes more to get the same result..not because the brain "grew" more receptors.

Here is a great, not too technical article that is a much more accurate picture of what happens when we use opioids.

Just copy and paste this link in your browser. It is a very good read!

Posted by: Chopper83 September 7, 2016, 6:15 AM
Cheers for your advise

Posted by: histojen September 27, 2016, 6:56 PM
Thank you Tim. I have been feeling so devoid of happiness and pleasure lately. Im 4 months clean from vicodin and I feel myself just going through the motions. Never happy. Don't want to clean or do anything. I feel like being alone all the time. I avoid sitting with my family at all costs. I just want to get through this. The thought of taking a pill to feel better crosses my mind constantly and the fact that I cant or won't makes me more unhappy.

Posted by: Papa Bear September 27, 2016, 7:05 PM
Are you attending NA meetings?

I was like you in 1989 - hadn't drank/used for months but feeling worse.

Please read the 12 Steps of AA/NA-
The first 1/2 of Step 1 covers the alcohol/drugs -
The other 11 1/2 Steps enable me to live clean/sober and enjoy it.

Anyone can quit using/drinking .. if you are like me the trick is staying clean and living.

All the best.
Bob R

Posted by: histojen September 27, 2016, 7:51 PM
I am not attending meetings. I guess for the embarrassment factor and the fact that I have a long term ex and his wife who are very active in AA that I don't want to deal with. I have always been a private person and I have a very hard time with people knowing my business. Does the 12 step program really work? You felt as I did? Just wanting the world to go away and leave you alone to wallow in your own self pity? I just want that feeling of happiness again.

Posted by: Papa Bear September 27, 2016, 8:45 PM

Work The Steps and good things happen.

The Promises of AA. The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it

How does that sound ?? Does that sound like what you want ?
You'll have to work for it .. work The Steps

We get to do our addiction/alcoholism our way.
We DON'T GET to do recovery our way - we need direction.


Posted by: lolleedee November 17, 2016, 5:40 AM
Histojen...Sorry you are struggling! If you aren't keen on AA/NA may I suggest either Smart Recovery, Rational Recover or Woman for Sobriety ? These are NOT 12 step programs and use scientifically backed techniques that many who don't jive with the spiritual/religious portion of 12 step programs find much more helpful.

Posted by: Questioner May 1, 2017, 10:07 AM

Can I ask please, what is the source of this information Tim ? Quite a lot of the information is contrary to my understanding of the way it all works. You say it was not written by a Doctor, what are the qualifications of the author ?

There have been a lot of posts by people who seem to have accepted this information as accurate without any further questioning.

I would like to say, it makes a massive difference what a person believes, especially when trying to do something as difficult as going through Wd's.

Therefore think it is important to realise the need for accuracy before living the rest of one's life automatically believing something just because it is written down.

It can make a world of differance between success and failure !

So in other words, what evidence do you have to back up the claims in your post please ?

Also, why is it obvious that " facts " have been used as you said ?


Respectfully: Questioner

Posted by: Chronicpain October 21, 2019, 10:04 AM
Sugar may be one of the worst things one can do for withdrawal or PAWS.