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A brutally honest personal account of quitting sub after 7 and a half years

Discussion in 'Detoxing From Buprenorphine/Subutex/Suboxone' started by bini72, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. bini72

    bini72 New Member

    I was started on 32mg suboxone almost 8 yrs ago for ultram withdrawal..which makes me laugh now. I am a RN and took 4-5 ultram a day for 5 yrs and when I wanted to get off of it, my doc just got his liscence to prescribe the new cure all----suboxone. He is a physician, addictionologist. He ASSURED me that this drug would help my pain (I have 2 plates in my neck and rhuematoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematoisis) AND that I would not feel high, AND that there was little to zero wd syndrome. Well, that is the biggest bunch of crap I have been sold in my whole life.

    Lokk, I did Heroin, Demerol IV for years, I do have a significant history of opiate abuse. So when I was promised thar this was my new miracle drug, I was all in. About 4 yrs after being on 32 mg a day...I still cannot find any reason why I was dosed that high and never told to taper down, and I still dont know why my doc could have in any way thought that 32mg of suboxone a day for OVER SEVEN YEARS was a therapuetic dose.

    So here it is....I believe bupenorphrine, subutex, suboxone is great to help wds if used for under a month. I am on day 53 off subutex, after 7+yrs and it has been the most agonizing, hellish, unbelievably miserable experience of my entire life. for the first 3 weeks I could not even believe the severity of my withdrawals. I have detoxed cold turkey after injecting heroin for a yr straight and detoxing from sub made that look like a trip to disneyland.

    The 1st 3 weeks I truly thought I was going to die, even with clonidine, benadryl, immodium and flexeril. My heart was beating 130-160 beats per minute laying down, I could not catch my breath, could barely walk without pausing every few steps, could not even feed myself without concentrating on holding the fork.

    Long term bup use is the same for everyone. I have found hundreds of people that have gone through the exact same hell. But isnt it funny how all the prescribing info states it still has little to no wd syndrome? I am on day 53...I still have chills, soaked in sweat, lethargy, sneezing, insomnia, severe fatigue like i am wearing a lead suit...unlike any fatigue I have EVER felt withdrawing from opiates, even H and oxys. And it goes on forever.

    This has been worse than spine surgery, abdominal surgery and every other illness I have ever experienced, even if they were all at the same time. this has been a hell that I struggle to find the words to get my point across. This drug does NOT save lives if used longer than a month, maybe 2 max. It is ridiculous that it is still being prescribed as maintenance.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  2. freakedout

    freakedout Moderator

    Thanks for sharing your story. These two sentences are the truth as I know it about Sub. These type of experiences didn't exist or weren't very visible 8 years ago. Hopefully some will learn from your experience. Sub is an insidious addiction where "just a few weeks" easily turns into years, especially when you have a physician promoting and providing it. If they do this type of thing so easily with Sub it makes me wonder what else?

    Good news is that you WILL start feel better. It is kind of up and down as you probably already know. Two of the things that helped me were/are exercise and sticking to a routine. Exercise really sucks at first but it will speed up the healing with some natural endorphins. The healthier your lifestyle the better. Caffeine and alcohol may prolong the agony. I couldn't handle caffeine for the first 6 months or so. (Sub free just shy of 6 years.)

    Welcome to the forum!
  3. ShockingIyInsane

    ShockingIyInsane Well-Known Member

    I was on sub for 4 years and have been off for a little over 8 months now. I was lucky and didn't have it too bad getting off, the long term depression/anxiety/no energy has hit hard though. I am getting better it's just been a slow process, not being able to find work has made it worse because I have nothing to do.

    Being physically active does make me feel pretty good now, it had no effect for the first few months though.

    I used sub short term (2 weeks max) 4-5 times to get off oxy's in the past, it helped me get clean with little to no discomfort. Unfortunately I didn't know about PAWS back then and I'd end up relapsing after a few months because I didn't feel good. My first sub doc said a year on sub would help with the chronic relapsing, my main problem was always staying clean. That year turned into 4 years pretty quick and I feel like it just prolonged my addiction in the end.

    Keep your head up.
  4. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member


    The symptoms you describe are precisely what I went through during the first few months being off Sube.
    One symptom missing from your list is Depression. I did not have much of a depression. Are you experiencing any depression ?
  5. rugby

    rugby Well-Known Member

    I was on 32 mg a day for several years myself and the symtoms you describe are spot on for sure. Have you tried exercise to get the endorphins flowing naturally again? When I was in your spot exercise was the only thing that helped. Have you ever entertained the idead of organized recovery like aa, na, smart recovery, or cognitive behavorial therapy (cbt)? Keep pushing and don't pick up it will get better pretty soon. Good Job!
  6. bini72

    bini72 New Member

    Thank you everyone for your support. About depression? My first 3 weeks off sub were awful emotionally too. I cried at everything. Unusual for me...but then how do I even know that after feeling like a hollow emotionless shell on sub for 7+ years.. I lost interest in absolutely every hobby I have ever had while on sub, did not answer the phone didnt see friends, just wanted to be left alone. I was very depressed on it, but not until about 2-3yrs of 32mg/day. The best gift I have recieved from my brain being off subs is that just recently in the last week or two..(today is day 54 off)_ I have this renewed interest in things I love. I dont necessarily have the energy yet, but my desire to do anything other than smoke cigarettes and sit around is back. I am shocked at how emotionally dead I was. So I might still be in wds or paws or who is to say, but I am sooo GRATEFUL that I feel my head starting to return to normal, little bit at a time. Actually went for a walk in hills last night and felt happier and more at peace than I felt in 10yrs, despite still having physical symptoms. Wondering others experience with losing all motivation on long term sub.....
  7. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member

    It is interesting that the urge for cigarettes goes away when opiates are not used !!

    Your first three weeks were emotional, that is expected from discontinuing any opiate. That is different though than depression. I am just curious as some report no depression coming off Sube (just a severe fatigue and some anxiety) yet there is no medical explanation as to why this is the case (some suggest it is because Sube is an antagonist as to the Kappa Opiate receptors). You are now two months off Sube, well into the PAWS, is depression part of your PAWS ?
  8. Bonita

    Bonita Well-Known Member

    Yeah, with you on the sub. My quack put me on 40 but I didn't stay more then 6 mo. I lucked out came here and began weaning pretty quick. The recovery is slow from sub but it does happen. Hang tight.
  9. tukatookybirdy

    tukatookybirdy Well-Known Member

    Bini, my methadone detox and PAWS was quite long as I was on it for 10 years. I can relate to EVERYTHING you say....it took me ten months to feel about 80%. My memory suffered terribly....but almost four years later, I feel pretty good. I have constant lower back pain but what the heck.

    Remember that everyday without sub is a Great Day......no matter how dragged out you feel. It will get better.:cool:
  10. detoxnagain

    detoxnagain Active Member

    I totally agree with you.I empathize with what you're experiencing and I applaud you for making it this long.I believe that this drug is over prescribed as "maintenence" as well.I'm sorry that your doctor whom you trusted put you on such a high dose for so long.I am detoxing off suboxone for the second time(16mg daily for about a year.I went though it before after being on about the same dose for about a year as well.I have no excuse for why I let myself relapse back to heroin after enduring the hell that sub detox is.Only good that I can find is the weight loss that came from the w/d.I am only in day 3 and am afraid because I know what I have coming.The first time I detoxed off the subs, it was a good month before i felt better.Then the devil came knocking at my door and I was too weak and run down to say no to his 60.00 bundles.so here I go again.Hopefully for the last time. Good luck to you. -Michelle
  11. mike1979

    mike1979 Member

    I am new to this forum and wanted to share my story real quick. I also was using oxys off and on for maybe 2 years back in 2005-2006 and i quit them before after maybe 10 days wd's and when i relapsed i heard about suboxone and got into a program. I didnt do any research like i should have before going to my induction but thats my fault.

    When i asked the doctor about the medication he assured me the wd's were not bad at all compared to oxys and i would have no problem getting off whenever i wanted. He put me on 24mg daily for some reason even though i told him i was only using oxy 2 or 3 days a week and needless to say 2mg was more than i really needed but he was a doctor so i eventually over the years i was using the 24mg daily.
    I did try to quit myself after 6 months on 2mg daily and this doctor refused to give me and meds to help the wd's and was not supportive at all! After 21 days of hell i gave up and had to go back to work so i went back on and the doctor seemed like he got a kick out of it... I would always go to him with side effects i was having from the suboxone and was told it's not the subs... but im not a moron and i know my body very well after being a body builder for years,

    I knew it was the subs! I went up and down over the next 4 years with mu dose and eventually got a doctor to switch my to subutex as i just didnt want the extra med in my body for no good reason and i felt it was causing alot of the side effects. For a month after switching to subutex i went through mild depression and my head fog cleared quite a bit and some of the sides went away.

    The name brand subutex was much better than the generics im forced to use no that RB pull subutex off the market( dont get me started with those scum) well ive been on bupe for almost 7 years and right now i take 12mg a day and i am lowering my dose whenever i can in order to get start to taper. my wife is really on my back about getting off completely and its causing alot of stress to an already stressful stage im in now being unemployed and just having everything seeming to being going wrong all at once in my life.

    Its crazy the doses people are being put on and something needs to be done about this.. The wd's are far worse than people can imagine and to tell a patient there are none then put them on a huge dose for years if negligent imo! RB is getting away with murder and they should be held accountable.. Also Im a advocate of subutex use whenever possible. Not putting extra drugs that i think are hurting alot of people causing side effects is not right just because RB says that their drug is safer and just taking their words for it.
  12. Bonita

    Bonita Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum,

    You sound like I did when I introduced myself here. That anger at myself and doctor carried me for a long way thru my wean. May as well put the anger to good use.

    May want to start your own thread. I found it help me keep track of schedule and assisted me in keeping pace. Also would point out if I was malingering on a dose when really should be dropping. Much knowledge here, many success stories. Not easy. I found the compassion and support here carried me when I couldn't Carry myself. Congrats on desire to get free. Takes commitment but very doable.

    Again welcome.
  13. reedbonkers

    reedbonkers Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bini for reminding me of the agonizing, hellish, miserable experience. You know when you are going through it, one says to themselves I will never touch that sh...... again, but when the nightmare is over well and you have some time clean time, well sometimes we think just one more time. But I have to say reading this has made me think that one more time is not fu......... worth it. Thanks for your encouragement. Those words will ring in my ear all day. Thanks for helping me see the light. Peace..... I am so lucky and blessed to have peeps like you to give encouragement. We all need it.
  14. Larsy1566

    Larsy1566 Member

    I had almost 2 months off of suboxone but also was detoxed off of a 15 year addiction to klonopin. After reading all your posts I wish I stuck it out. I thought I was going crazy so here I am back on the suboxone (I've been on it now for 4 months).

    I just don't know how I'm going to do this again. I really do not think I can but the thought of being on this crap for the rest of my life scares me too. I need help but I don't know where to go. Everywhere I look for help seems to know how to deal with opiate withdrawal but not suboxone withdrawal.

    I went to Fl. For my 10 day detox off of the klonopin and suboxone and ended up in 2 psychiatric hospitals. I ended up in a nice inpatient rehab but could hardly keep up with everyone. They took us to meeting after meeting, grocery shopping, etc. I really did not think I would make it home alive but I did after achieving a 30 day rehab program.
    When I finally arrived home I thought I was going to be able to rest. I thought they understood what I had gone through and would let me rest but they forced me to go to a day program and to more meetings.
    My anxiety was too high. Just like someone's above post I had a very rapid heart beat that I felt all the time. I could feel it pounding in my chest and thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was sent home with medications that were not addicting (clonidine, flexerall, gabapentin, colace, paxil, hydroxide and levothyroxine for my newly diagnosed hypothyroidism.

    My family was very concerned about all these medications and didn't understand that they barely helped and that I needed them. To them I was on more pills then I left on and they were concerned and I was too sick to fight about it.

    I found some suboxone and I also told myself I would never ever touch them again but I did and I'm so upset with myself and also very scared they will find out. I think about killing myself constantly but I just can't do that to my beautiful daughters, husband and family. Maybe I will go back to Fl.

    I'm just so blanking afraid I'll end up in those psychiatric hospitals again because I can't keep up with the rehab group. I was the sickest person there. I was also the strongest. The girls I was with were very sweet and understanding and one girl had been through what I was going through so she really helped me to hang on. It was a constant battle to grin and bare it but if I didn't I'd end up in another looney hospital.

    The good thing is that I am off of the klonopin (which after 15 plus years being on it, I thought I'd be on that for life). What do I do now? I still feel anxious and depressed but the worst symptom is not being able to feel my good emotions. It's like I'm dead anyway. My family sees me sitting here wasting away again. If they only knew how much I love them and miss them. I screwed up. I just don't know what to do now.
  15. StuckonSubs

    StuckonSubs Well-Known Member

    Hey there. Listen, detoxing off Suboxone alone will be nowhere near as bad as your last detox! I promise!
    I just tried to detox both Suboxone and klonopin at the same time this past summer, and it was the biggest nightmare of my life.
    So, I did the same thing - I stayed on the Suboxone. I went cold turkey off the klonopin after roughly a decade. Benzo detox is an absolute nightmare!! Just the length of time it lasts is Unreal!
    I kid you not, I was in withdrawal for a good 6 months. The first 2 months were the worst, followed by a few more real crappy months and it slowly got better.

    Now, I am back to tapering off the Suboxone and it hasn't been anywhere near as bad as before. It is VERY do-able. If you made it through the benzo detox, you can Absolutely do this!
    Suboxone withdrawal does not last anywhere near as long as the benzo withdrawal. Especially if you taper your dose down nice and low. Then you are looking at feeling semi crappy for 10 days, maybe 2 weeks max. But going off a real low dose of Suboxone, although the withdrawal may last a little bit longer than short acting opiates, it is not nearly as severe. It's like a mild nagging withdrawal, as opposed to a full blown opiate withdrawal.
    But the key is to taper your dose to like .25mg per day.

    What dose of Suboxone are you taking now? Getting down to 2mg really isn't bad at all. It is about 95% mental. There honestly really isn't even much of any physical withdrawal until you get your dose down to 2mg or less. There's quite a bit of mental stuff, but not much physical stuff (mental symptoms can be felt physically though, but you just have to push through).

    You Have To get your mind in the right place... If you think it's impossible, then it is. But if you decide that you Can do this, then you will!

    Honestly, my taper has not been bad at all. You can cut your dose by 50% until you get down to 2mg. So, say you are at 8mg - you could drop your dose right now to 4mg and not even feel any physical withdrawal.

    Once you get down to 2mg, you can take it slower. Do cuts of 10-25%. Get the 2mg strips. You can divide them into 8 even pieces that are .25mg each. Then just cut down slow if you are having difficulty.

    Another thing you can do - because of the long half life of Suboxone. You can cut your dose every other day for a week. So, for example - say you are at 2mg - day 1) 1.5mg. Day 2) 2mg. Day 3) 1.5mg. Day 4) 2mg. Day 5) 1.5mg. Day 6) 2mg. Day 7) 1.5mg. Then stay at 1.5mg every day for another week. Then repeat, dropping to 1mg & 1.5mg every other day.

    Then once you get all the way down to .25mg, you then can go to .25mg every other day. Then .25mg every third day. And by that point there really won't be much of any physical withdrawal left...

    I was stuck for quite a while, feeling that it was just impossible. But then I started trying to change my mindset. Started thinking much more positive and it has really helped.
    Don't read too much into these horror stories either. Every person is different. Not everyone goes through a nightmare detox. The people who jump off Suboxone at higher mg's are the ones who have the most trouble.

    I promise you, tapering off is very possible and again it's not really That bad. It's more of a mental test than anything else.
    I am tapering off Suboxone as we speak. After over 9 years on it. So if I can do it, you can too!
    Kicking benzos is the real nightmare, and you already did that!
  16. Larsy1566

    Larsy1566 Member

    Thank you so very much for your response! I have been hoping and praying to find someone who has been through this and understands. You have given me hope and since going back on the suboxone I lost all my hope.

    I only take 2 mgs. per day but I believe this stuff is so strong that it's all I need. I was detoxed off of 4 mgs. And sometimes more of klonopin per day and 4 mgs. of suboxone a day in a matter of 10 days.
    I don't know how they did it because when I left the detox facility and went to an inpatient rehab home I was feeling emotions that I haven't felt in 6 years and I thought my detox was finished.

    I was so happy and I couldn't wait to get home and start living again. I felt good for about 2 or 3 days and then the nightmare began. I ended up in a county psychiatric hospital where I suffered like I couldn't believe. I was far away from home and so sick and afraid. When I got out of there I went to another inpatient rehab and I couldn't even talk. I was afraid of everyone and I'm not like that at all. I love people but I was so freaked out and not sure what to do.

    The first night there I woke up in the middle of the night and I remember going out on the balcony for a cigarette. I still can not remember most of it like trying to jump from the balcony. I get flash backs now and then about what really happened and it scares the heck out of me.

    I ended up back in a psychiatric hospital and then back into rehab where I never suffered so much in my life. I would try to hold my breath under the covers because I wanted to die so bad.

    I'm still having very strange symptoms even on the suboxone so it must be that I'm still experiencing withdrawal symptoms 6 months later. I lay in bed and my whole body starts jerking. It doesn't hurt. It just feels weird. I sweat like crazy and now I have to cope with anxiety.

    If I only knew what I know now I would have never touched klonopin or suboxone. I'm hoping to hear from you again! Thank you for giving me hope. I hope to hear from you again and that you are feeling better each day!
  17. StuckonSubs

    StuckonSubs Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you are still experiencing some benzo w/d symptoms.

    I have been off for a little over 8 months now and I still experience some of the same things you mentioned.

    My body jerks around like that almost every night still too. I'll just be laying there and like my whole body will start to spasm out... My arms and legs will suddenly jerk so hard.

    Also, I went through a lot of that same stuff you described while in detox etc.
    Benzo w/d can cause people to feel suicidal like you described. It is actually somewhat common.
    Not being able to talk like that is common too. I think they call is DP/DR, which is depersonalization and derealization.
    I still have trouble carrying on a conversation with people, especially when in public or when around more than one person. Benzos mess up your central nervous system and the GABA receptors in your brain so bad that when your off, your body gets very easily overloaded by noise and all sorts of different stimuli. It is very strange.

    Here, give this a read. This helped me quite a bit. It explains what is going on in your brain during benzo w/d and recovery -
    What is happening in your brain?

    You will get better though! Some time during month 7 was a real turning point for me. I still have a ways to go, but I am definitely getting better.
    Your anxiety should get better too. Mine has almost disappeared now! Some days I still have it a bit. But benzos actually Create tons of anxiety. It makes out bodies unable to cope with every day anxiety like a normal person.
    Something you may want to check out - its called EMDR therapy. It is 100% safe and all natural. It is used to treat PTSD and anxiety/panic etc. I only did one session of it months ago, but like I said my anxiety is like gone. It didnt go away right away, but it did go away. So I don't know if the EMDR therapy session played a part in that or not. I absolutely know for 100% sure that getting off the benzos played a huge part in my anxiety going away.

    Also, 2mg is plenty of Suboxone. You are right. That stuff is very strong. I was on 2mg for wuite a while as well. There's no need for more than that.
    I am currently down to .5mg per day. I had to wait a while after getting off the benzos to be able to taper. I was just experiencing too many benzo w/d symptoms at the time.

    Heres a cool little trick to help you taper the Suboxone - cut your dose down every other day at first.
    Like this - day 1) 1.5mg, day 2) 2mg, day 3) 1.5mg, day 4) 2mg, day 5) 1.5mg, day 6) 2mg, day 7) 1.5mg.
    Then stay at 1.5mg for a week of so (or you can do that every other day dosing for 2 weeks, if you feel it's necessary). Then do the same thing, going down to 1mg & 1.5mg every other day for a week or 2, then stay at 1mg every day for another week or 2. Repeat until you get all the way down to .25mg per day. Then you can go to .25mg every other day, then every 3rd day and even every 4th day if you want. By that time, most of the w/d will be gone...

    Tapering like I described above takes advantage of the very long half life of Suboxone. I don't even feel the cut in dose all that much! But, even when I have dropped my dose and just stuck to it (without doing that every other day dosing as I described above), I don't even really feel the cut in dose until like day 3.
    That is why that method I described works. Since you normally wouldn't even feel that drop in dose until day 3, by dropping your dose every other day for the first week minimizes the w/d effects as much as is possible.
    Now, you might "feel" a drop in dose right away, but that is just your mind. Those are mental w/d symptoms. You really have to learn to just push through those, and you need to try and learn the difference between mental w/d and physical w/d. Those symptoms that seem to come on quite suddenly, like when you think about taking a sub dose etc, those are mental w/d symptoms... That is just your addicted brain trying to trick you into taking sub.

    I promise you it is definitely possible to kick the sub! Stay away from reading all the Internet horror stories. Every person is different. And when those people are writing those stories, they are almost always right in the middle of the w/d, or just starting it, and they are feeling somewhat hopeless. Also, when someone is right in the middle of something like that, they tend to feel that it is the hardest thing they have ever had to do (whether it truly is or not). We all have that tendency though, whatever we are going through right now is the worst...! lol. Plus, once these people are feeling better, they normally don't come back to update their stories. And you don't know what else is playing into them feeling like they do. I talk to people all the time who are constantly b**ching about Suboxone PAWS, only to find out that they are still taking other opiates on a somewhat regular basis to try and cure their PAWS...! Or for example, when I first signed up here, I was in benzo w/d but I didn't even know it at the time. I was blaming everything on the sub... It was only when I went cold turkey off the rest of the benzos and was in full blown benzo w/d that I figured that out... So you have to take everything with a grain if salt...

    Feel free to ask any other questions you have... Tty later
  18. Larsy1566

    Larsy1566 Member

    Thank you so much for all the helpful advise and also for the support. I have so many questions that run through my head constantly. I Google a lot even though some of the information is very scary, but if I didn't I would have never found you. I've been breaking my 2 mg. pills in half so I'm only taking 1 mg. in the morning. Sometimes I feel like I have to take the other half in the early evening. This is very hard to do especially in secret. I feel like I failed and wasn't strong enough but then sometimes I feel like it was my only option at the time because I was seriously thinking about ending it all. The anxiety was just too intense constantly. There's only so much a person can take. I just wonder if the people who do think I gave in too soon would feel if they had experienced what I did. It's easy for someone to say "hang in there and you will feel better soon". It wasn't a matter of a few days or even weeks. It was over 2 months and I cracked. I am going to check out the advise you gave to me now. I would love to talk to you if you would like. I live in illinois. Where do you live? Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you! Larsy
  19. spring

    spring Administrator

    Try not to be so hard on yourself. This guilt you feel at failing...if we had control over our addictions then we wouldn't be addicts in the first place. Yes, you already had some clean time before you went back to the Sub, but that's the nature of that nasty sub beast...it lingers long after you quit. All you can do is try again and try to get more clean time this time around. And you keep on trying until it works. You only fail if you give up trying.
    Keep in mind that you're not a bad person because you went back to the beast....you are a sick person...wanting to get well.
  20. spring

    spring Administrator

    Have you done any benzos since the detox? I wanted to add that no matter what else you do...stay away from the benzos! Going back to those will take you all the way back down.

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