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45 Days Suboxone free after 11 years on it........

Discussion in 'Detoxing From Buprenorphine/Subutex/Suboxone' started by subzero, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. subzero

    subzero Member

    I’m not here to give a day by day or week by week breakdown of my experience jumping off of Suboxone after nearly 11 years on it. I’m male, 58 years old, and quite healthy now. I’m here to say that it wasn’t that bad of an experience, both being on Suboxone and getting off. There’s just too much negative talk here and I thought it might be helpful to offer a more positive story.

    I was predominately addicted to Oxycontin (240mg/day...3 80’s a day) for 12 years before shifting to Suboxone. I was a maintenance user for the most part, but would occasionally dabble in Fentanyl patches, liquid morphine, what have you when I wanted to get high. I became addicted to opiates more than likely because my mother, an Eastern European Jew, would give me Lomotil with rum and warm milk when she thought I needed to be ‘calmed down’. That turned into discovering that if I had a stomach ache I’d be given this combination. I won’t go into all my experiences with drugs. I’ll just say that I loved the opiates, opium in Asia, pharmaceuticals in the states.

    I was one of the earliest to begin using Suboxone. My doctor said that I would probably have to be on it for 5 years before even thinking of getting off. She thought it best if I forget what it’s like to get high, live the straight life a la Suboxone, then jump. I found that I didn’t respect or understand how effective Suboxone really was until I was taking 2mg, and eventually less, per day. It gave me everything I had really looked for in the opiates and then some, but not until I had lowered the daily dosage. The only issues I had, and the reason I stopped using, was significant weight gain (35 lbs), swelling in my legs, reduced libido, and hot flashes.

    Reading the accounts here and at other forums was really just an extended excuse to not get off Suboxone. Like many others, I became afraid of the idea. Was I too old? Could my heart take it? Memories of getting off opiates in the past didn’t help much either. So I went about it very methodically, took my time as it were.

    I don’t believe you need to spend too much time tapering if you’re already stable at 2mg. Anyone who is taking more than that is kidding themselves. The negative affects are just too pronounced at higher doses, even if you’re using it for pain management. In fact, the lower the dose, the higher I got from it; the more effective it was. Even tapering is a high if done properly. What I mean by high is that, if done right, your own endorphins will kick in. Six months before I began tapering, I began a strict regimen of eating well. Everyone needs to find what diet works for them. I also began walking up steep hills everyday. I eventually worked up to 6 miles a day. Walking may be the most important thing you can do for yourself. I can’t over emphasize this. If you haven’t exercised much your legs may hurt for quite some time. I had pain that went straight through the bones. It took about three months for this to go away. Even still, while on Suboxone, the swelling never went away.

    On the day I lowered my dose from 2mg to 1.5mg, I induced a mild withdrawal by not taking anything in the morning and afternoon, as I usually dosed in the morning. In the evening I took only .75mg. Then next day I began taking .75mg in the morning, then .75mg again in the evening. The longer you can go without taking anything the more readily will the body accept a lower dose. It can take up to a week or more of feeling uncomfortable tapering even half a milligram if you don’t induce a withdrawal first. Two weeks later I followed the same procedure, but shifted from .75mg, twice a day to .5mg twice a day. Two weeks later I went from .5mg twice a day to .5mg once a day. The goal was to wait till between noon and 2pm before dosing. That was late enough to get me through the night without needing it. If at anytime you find that it’s just too difficult getting through the night take one quarter of what your daily dose is during the night that you can’t sleep. Don’t be too rough on yourself.

    I had the luxury of taking a trip to Hawaii for two weeks when I jumped, exactly two weeks after dropping to half a milligram. By this time I was strong from walking for at least 6 months. I was used to going in and out of mild withdrawal; in essence, I had trained for jumping off. I had talked with my doctor about what drugs I should have on hand for this much like many of you here. The fact was, anything I took hampered the process. Trazedone, Seroquel, Chlonodine, not only didn’t help, but worsened the effects. I didn’t try Benzos because I had had a problem with them at one time years before. After two days of trying to sleep at night with these things, I decided it was just better to stay up all night and sleep during the day when I could. I ate three meals a day. In fact my appetite was very good through the entire process. Not sleeping at night is no picnic, and I’ve gotta say the first 4 days were fairly agonizing but after that it was just status quo. The first few weeks also included some RLS and a feeling like my bones hurt down deep.

    I don’t recommend trying to work through this, at your job that is. Take the time off. Do yourself a favor. Getting off Suboxone is a full time job. I was able to get back to work part time after a month. I finally was able to get a night’s sleep after one month. I never stopped walking through the entire month. Walk, walk, and then walk again. It is by far the quickest way to get through this. You’ll sweat more, activate those endorphins, feel good for part of the day. If you’re in a warm climate drink a lot of water and if you can’t swallow water try juice. Fresh grapefruit juice was the best for me. Lots of it, mixed with water.

    So, I jumped off August 13th, 2015. Today is September 29th, a month and a half. I’m stable now. No PAWS. In fact the entire process felt more like a heavy case of PAWS. I only experienced what felt like acute withdrawal for the first 3 or so days, and I seriously believe it was because I was taking 300mg of Chlonodine and 150mg of Seroquel at night. Seroquel aggravated RLS, no doubt about it. We’re so used to taking something for what ails us. In the end, the best thing we can do is just prepare well for jumping off Suboxone, then leaving everything behind. If getting off Suboxone is what you want, you can do it. I hope this has encouraged you. The whole process, if done methodically, should be fun actually, because as you taper, you’re sure to feel better and better as long as you exercise and eat well. And hydrate. All the negative affects I mentioned while being on Suboxone are gone; the swelling is gone, I've lost close to 20 lbs, my libido is returning, etc. As long as your humor is intact you can get through this....
  2. subzero

    subzero Member

    One thing I forgot to mention that I think is very important, something many of you won't want to hear. I was a smoker for 41 years. I loved tobacco as much as I did opiates. But I knew how in the past, tobacco made getting off opiates all that much more difficult. Do yourself the favor, and stop smoking, if you can, six months before, jumping off Suboxone. When I jumped the only drug I was on was Suboxone. I had quit drinking, smoking, smoking pot, use of all other drugs, everything. Anything you're hooked on will interfere with getting of Suboxone. There's no getting around that. Plus, I found that Suboxone helped enormously in getting off all other substances. That's one of the beauties of that drug that's rarely discussed.
    Fox face likes this.
  3. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    That's Awesome News! I've been thinking about you:). Congratulations! I just quit smoking a couple weeks ago. I knew I could, but kept putting it off..
  4. subzero

    subzero Member

    Hi Fox Face - Yeah, I've been wanting to post but just kept putting it off, partly because I couldn't believe I had actually done it I guess. Great to hear you quit smoking. I can't say I even miss it anymore.
    Fox face likes this.
  5. spring

    spring Administrator

    Wow what a refreshing thread to read! Congrats on being opiate-free! And on being tobacco free to the both of you!
    I am in serious need of becoming an ex smoker and as bad as I want to stop, I find myself buying that next pack of cigarettes anyway. I think heroin is easier to stop than tobacco. I remember way back in my dark days when I was doing time for bad checks, I couldn't use of course, but couldn't smoke either.
    By then I was more than ready to stop using dope so I never gave it a second thought, but I would have dreams about cigarettes....after months of being abstinent the first thing I did when I got out was buy a pack of cigs. WTF? I had such a good start and blew it. What's it gonna take for me anyway?!
  6. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    I use to think the same thing Spring. It's crazy!! I stopped for 5 years, but started back after being called 7 weeks after ACL repair to tell me my leg was broke and we were on a 28 hr road trip and stuck in Kansas, due to ice and snow. The thing I remembered about quitting was after a week or so I couldn't believe how little I thought about smoking. I have 3 boxes of the nicotine gum, I almost chewd some on day 2, but after detoxing meds, I didn't want to start over on time without it in my system! It's the same fear that keeps us addicted, no matter what the drug is.

    You have to want it and have your mind made up. I had to quit in the morning. Finish the pack at night, so there wouldn't be any at the house. It was easier for me to wake up being at 7 hrs ahead.
    You can do it SPRING!
  7. subzero

    subzero Member

    I was one of those addicted to smoking after the first cigarette at the age of 14. I had just been handed a beautiful dark Egyptian oval without a filter. I took a huge first draw, exhaled a plume of smoke and immediately thought maybe there is something to the notion of reincarnation because I had definitely experienced this before and remembered having loved it. I was hooked from that moment on. I've quit a number of times but always knew I'd be back at it again. Nothing regulates like tobacco, gets you up when you're down, down when you're up, plus it's just so pleasurable. I once quit quite easily thinking that I had just lost my best friend for good. Thinking my friend had died and there was no way of getting in touch again seemed to do the trick. Sure, others had their friends but mine was gone. The story seemed to do the job. I mourned for a while, allowed myself to feel the loss, to express my grief.

    But I eventually found a way to start again years later. One thing I've always lived by is just enjoy it while you are doing it, unless it's really making you feel bad, and if that's the case it shouldn't be that hard to at least try to quit. The fact is, the feedback from quitting cigarettes is positive for the most part. The thing we have a hard time dealing with is feeling good. It's suddenly so much easier to breath, your nose awakens again, you don't stink to others (as much), your appetite improves, and if you realize that if you just stop reacting to every little thing, it's not that bad 'feeling better'. These days, if the thought of smoking comes up I just take a deep breath and that seems to be enough.

    By the way, it's now over 2 months Suboxone free. I seem to be walking more than ever (up to 7-8 miles a day now). I still believe there's no better way to get through this, to kick-start those endorphins, work that breathing pump. It also seems there's no end to how much we're capable of relaxing and how used to we've become to looking to a substance for that. I don't think the body would have made the transition from dependency to a kind of automated relaxation had I not quit cigarettes as well. You're still in 'chase mode' on cigarettes. And as long as you're featured chasing, real relaxation will always be at arms length. And there's just no 'getting around that'.

    And I agree with Fox Face. Quitting first thing in the morning, fresh as it were, seems to be the way to go. I've never been able to quit on a day I've already smoked.
  8. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

    Two months is Awesome!! You are totally right about getting your endorphins up and going, that's huge. How's your emotions, calming down a little?
    I remember being so sensitive to everything in the beginning. Congratulations! What an accomplishment!!
  9. subzero

    subzero Member

    I still feel like I have to manufacture endorphins by moving a lot. I've gotta say I loved Suboxone at the 2mg level because it made life livable for me. I suppose I used it for as long as I did because it gave me what I needed, which was a bit of sanity. By the time I jumped off I began to think I'd turn into Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde again. Life before Suboxone was pretty reactive to say the least. But all I notice is more clarity, more calmness, and pretty relaxed for the most part. I don't miss the Suboxone at all, and the side effects I had gotten used to on it are gone. It doesn't feel like an accomplishment though maybe it is. It feels like it all just run its course, that the desire to get off it came at the time I no longer needed the Sub. And that when I finally came around to it, the help was there; my son who had gone through an awful time getting off Methadone had succeeded, my sister and wife were challenging me, but in a good way. It was like a Gestalt that included me getting off Subs at this time. I ran into you here, Fox face. All of it was just pointing to 'Now is the right time'. And the fear of getting off turned into excitement instead. That was key. I knew it would happen then.
  10. subzero

    subzero Member

    Well, It's been just over a year now since jumping off Suboxone. Can't believe it. I feel symptom free, have no cravings for opiates, and as long as I keep exercising, in my case walking up hills for at least 1.5 hours a day, I feel fine. Best wishes to everyone here.....
    Fox face likes this.
  11. Fox face

    Fox face Moderator

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