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Return to Normal in Recovery

answered 01:10 PM EST, Mon November 14, 2011
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I was an OxContin user for a couple of months an abuser and addict for like 2 years and I used Suboxone for like 6 months and I am now 3 months opiate free (Whoo hoo!).

I feel like I keep waiting for things to normalize and for me to feel like my old self again, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Without drugs to provide me with extremes of pleasure I never seem to feel those natural highs that I used to feel before I got into the pills. Now everything is just kind of…meh.

Is this normal? I don’t know if it is just my brain needing more time to get past the almost 3 years it was pumped full of opiates or if I am depressed right now or if I did myself serious brain damage and I will never feel really happy again? I don’t want to get too panicked and go on antidepressants if I am going to start feeling better naturally soon enough, but I don’t want to keep on waiting for something that’s never going to come either.
So is this kind of bummed out feeling normal and will it pass?

Melissa Borlie Says...

Melissa Borlie M. Borlie
MHR, LPC

Congratulations on three months of freedom!

What you are describing sounds completely normal. One of the brain's functions to to provide chemicals that make us feel good. When you spend years doing the brain's job, it eventually stops or forgets how, but that doesn't matter...until you stop drugging. In early sobriety, it is almost as if normal emotions are blunted or non-existent. You may find it hard to cry when something sad happens. Happy emotions are just as hard to normalize and everything seems to feel...meh. You know you should feel happy, but no feeling is there. It can take six months to a year for normal functioning to return and everything not feel so...meh. Try to keep your mind busy and active.

On the flip side, if you have reached the six month mark and still feel this way, you may want to get an evaluation by a qualified therapist with recovery experience.

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Page last updated Nov 14, 2011

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