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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:48 pm 
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Hello everybody.

I have been on Suboxone in various amounts for the last 4 years. I am currently on about 2mg/day and due to various reasons, I plan on attempting to wean off this drug completely.

I plan on giving a more detailed history of myself, background, current situation, reasons for quitting, etc. in a more detailed post later this week, but in the mean time, I wanted to see if anybody else wanted to wean down with me at the same time. I think it would be helpful if two or more of us could provide support for each other.

I am going to start the taper a week from today, on Monday, July 26. Instead of picking an end date for when I plan on being off, I am going to set goals based on a two week period. That way, if things don't go quite as planned, I can just adjust my next two week dosage reduction.

For the first two weeks, I plan on dropping my dose by 25% every 4-5 days with the caveat that I can take a 0.5mg dose to get me through the day should I need it. However, if I do need to take that 0.5mg dose, then I’ll wait another 4 days until I drop my dose again.

I’ve done a lot of research and finally talked with a Suboxone doctor whose goal is to get his patients off the Suboxone and the above plan is the one he’s recommended and says he has successfully weaned many patients off of the drug with very little discomfort.

So, who’s up to the challenge?

Jorono


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Hi Jorono and welcome to the forum! I'm not in a position to wean off with you, but at the very least I wanted to offer you my support. The plan you described sounds terrific. You've set goals for yourself and are allowing for flexibility. I think that's very smart of you and I predict you'll do well. I hope you find a "buddy" to join in your taper. Again, welcome to the forum and I look forward to reading more about you when you post your story. Let us know how you're doing.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Ok, a little more information about myself.

Vicodin
I started taking Vicodin recreationally about 15 years ago. I would only take about 1-2 at a time and then, only about once a week on the weekend. I stayed in this state for about 5-6 years, until I discovered online pharmacies.

Well, since the availability of the pills went up dramatically, so did my use of them. So, within a two year period I gradually increased my dose until I was taking 10 10mg pills at a time, sometimes multiple times per day. Finally, I was both physically and psychologically addicted. I could no longer go down this path. At the height of my usage, I was using five different online pharmacies and I’m sure people at work wondered why I was constantly receiving packages from FedEx.

Introduction to Suboxone
I tried numerous times to quit or taper down from the Vicodin and was never even close to being successful. After doing some research, I learned about Suboxone and within a week had an appointment with one of the few local doctors that could prescribe it.

My goal and understanding was that Suboxone couldn’t get the user “high” and that I was only going to use the Sub to simply detox from the Vicodin, maybe staying on the Sub for a week or two. The first thing I was wrong about was the ability of Sub to get you “high”. After I was “induced” on Sub by the doctor, I actually got more of a buzz than what the Vicodin would do. I attribute most of this to the amount of Sub the doctor initially had me take, 16mg. This should have been my first clue that not all would be ok.

And as for me only staying on Sub for a week or two, well, the good doctor informed me that I should stay on Sub for at least a few months before I quit so that I could give myself time to get back to “normal”, whatever that meant. Personally, I think he enjoyed the $500/month I had to give him in order to stay under his care.

Getting high
Because that initial dose got me high, I never took the drug like I was supposed to. I would wait 2-3 days since my last dose and then take 2-3 days worth at one time. Most of the time, this gave me a pretty good buzz, which just confused me, because why was I taking Sub in the first place?

Four years later
After searching, I finally found a doctor that administered Sub in the correct manner. After many visits with him, he said some people choose to stay on a low dose (around 1 to 2mg/day) as long as they need for treatment with depression and/or anxiety. However, he did say he totally supports those that choose to get off of the drug.

My plan
Because I do (and always have) suffer from mild depression (and anxiety to a lesser extent), the doctor and I thought it would be best to take Wellbutrin and Paxil for about 4-6 weeks before tapering off the Sub. It’s been about 8 weeks now so that part of the plan is in place. In addition, I am lifting weights and eating very healthy (no refined foods, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables). He also has prescribed me Klonopin to use as needed for sleep and acute anxiety if needed, but hopefully not.

Misc.
I am a male, mid thirties, married with three children, two teenagers and one almost teenager. I am a partial owner in a mid-size company, so taking off from work for an extended period of time is not really an option, especially with our current workload. The biggest reasons that I want to get off the Sub are as follows:
1. I’ve been taking opiates for so long; I don’t know what it’s like to feel normal anymore. I want to get to where my life is not centered around drugs or pills anymore.
2. I recently took a 6 day trip to go Jeep trail riding in the mountains and forgot to bring my Sub. After panicking, I luckily found two 2mg pills in my hygiene bag, but by day 6, I was feeling really bad. In a very crowded airport on my way home, I was feeling so bad that I just lay down on the ground in a fetal position, shaking, scratching my arms, etc. At least four different people came up to me and asked me if everything was ok. What could I have told them?
3. My wife and kids. Remembered when I said I mostly used the Sub to get high? Well, there have been too many occasions when I’ve made a fool out of myself by being “high” in public and in front of my children. There have been times when I was nodding off and my daughter had to bring me to bed. It makes me sick now to think about it.

Summary
So, there is no going back, there is no failing, whatever I have to do, I will be off of this drug soon. I believe I have a good plan in place and sufficient support from loved ones if/when I should need it. I’m looking forward to it, so again, if anybody wants to do this with me, I think that would be really cool. If not, just as well. I’ll make a commitment to all of you that I’ll post everyday and let you know the details of what’s going on.

Until next time,

Jorono


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Thanks for giving us more of your story, I appreciate you sharing it with us. It's a shame you never got to a place where you were using suboxone properly. Most of us take a stable dose and any "high" feeling we got disappeared after the first few days. Most of us do well and feel "normal" on suboxone as compared to full agonist opiates.

But how you got here is neither here nor there. You're here and you are ready to go forward in your recovery without the assistance of medication. I can't say whether you'll find anyone here to taper with you. There are many people at different stages of their taper and many of their stories are posted here. Yours will be a welcome addition.

Point of clarification, did your doc give you Klonopin or clonodine for your withdrawals? Clonodine is the one that is most often used for withdrawals. Just wondering. From all that I've read your exercise schedule/plan will help you in feeling at your best through any withdrawal symptoms you may have.

I hope you find someone to go through the taper with you - I think it's a good idea to have a "buddy" or partner to support each other through the various stages. Again thanks for sharing and I'll be looking forward to reading your future posts.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:22 pm 
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Hi Jorono -

I can't be your taper-buddy because I finished my taper last summer, but you can find my tapering story in the Liquid Taper thread, as well as the success stories of a few other forum members. I hope you'll find some helpful information there.

You sound like you've got most of your ducks in a row and are ready to proceed, and I wish you the best of luck. I understand the feeling of not wanting your life to be centered around pills and how that can be a motivating force for tapering off of Suboxone. It might be helpful to also think about what you want your life to be centered around once you are done with the pills as well. For some of us that centering force is recovery, or family, health, spirituality, religion, or some goal that we want to achieve. Another forum member (I can't remember who right now) pointed out recently that it is just as important to think about what we DO want as it is to realize what we don't want for ourselves.

I've been off Suboxone for nearly a year now, and I can honestly say that getting off was the easy part. It has been much harder to keep motivating myself to grow in positive ways and to continue to find healthy ways to cope with the inevitable stresses and hard times we all encounter in life. It's great that you are eating well, exercising and taking care of your health as those things will help you succeed. I'd also recommend having a plan for how you will deal with the kinds of situations that most trigger your desire to get high, whatever they might be. Knowing what you will do in advance is really important, because in the midst of a really stressful or emotional situation rational decision-making seems to fly right out the window.

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 Post subject: Thanks
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:32 am 
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Thanks for your suppost. As to answer you previous question, it is Klonopin (Clonazepan) that the doctor prescribed to me. I did inquire about the Clonodine but he said I shouldn't need it. That being said, if things get hairy, I do have access to it. Hopefully, I won't need it though.

Jorono


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 Post subject: Almost ready
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Well, it looks as if I may be doing this by myself. If that's the case, I think instead of waiting until next Monday, I might just go ahead and start tomorrow.

I'm currently taking about 2mg/day (one quarter of an 8mg pill) and plan to drop to 1.5 mg/day. I also have 2mg pills that I can use when I get down to about 0.5mg doses. However, at some point I plan on switching to the liquid method. One question I have for those with experience with liquid dosing is what point should I start using that method?

I’ve read the entire first sticky but I can’t seem to remember at what dose you started dissolving your pills. Any help would be appreciated.

Jorono


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:09 pm 
Hey Jorono....I just wanted to offer my support! I am tapering, but I can't commit to tapering right along with you as my taper is quite flexible and unstructured at this point. It's just the way it seems to need to be for me. I am down to about one milligram a day, but I have been for over a month. I kind of hit a rough patch at that point. Prior to that, I did my taper just kind of as tolerated too. The drops from the doses over 4mg/day were really not problematic. Getting under 4mg was sometimes a little challenging, more in terms of increased cravings rather than outright w/d symptoms. And then getting under 2mg was similar. Now at 1mg, I can definitely see why someone who is methodically, time-consciously tapering would need to switch to liquid. It gets a lot harder to control your dose when you're dealing with using 'crumbs' of 8mg tablets!
In any case, I do understand your desire to get off the medication. It is a wonderful tool for recovery from opiate addiction, especially when used as directed along with other methods of recovery. I'm sorry I can't relate well to the misuse of it as it just never has given me anything resembling an opiate 'high.' But I've certainly seen where others have experienced what you did with it. I would just encourage you as the others have, to make sure you've got a plan to get you through once you're off Suboxone. Getting off any of this type of drug is hard, but staying off is certainly the harder part. It sounds like you have a good plan and I sure wish you good luck and am grateful to you for posting your experiences along the way. It's so helpful to so many who are planning a taper too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:29 pm 
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I started the liquid taper when I got below 1mg. I found the drop from 1mg to .5mg was too difficult, so I went from 1mg to .8mg and was successful.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:05 pm 
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Ok, I’ve now started. Remember, my dose was 2mg/day, so to kick-start things, I didn’t take any on Saturday or Sunday. So, today, I was feeling a little tired and took 2mg. For the next four days, I’m going to take 1.5mg. Based on how I felt today after not having any for more than 48 hours, I don’t think this is going to be bad at all.

I’ll keep posting any relevant information or questions I may have. It’s kind of funny, posting here keeps me from cheating on my doses. Thanks to all you anonymous people out there.

Jorono


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:04 pm 
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I would love to have a tapper buddy, so if it's ok, I'll keep posting with you and hopefully we will all make it through this together.

I'll provide a little information about myself. (stealing your format :)

Percocet/oxycontin
I was prescribed percocet after the birth of my son in August/05. He has cerebral palsy from birth injury. Long story there, but I was prescribed the drug initially because a c-section was required to deliver him and because he was flown to a children's hospital I had to get an early release so I could track up and down the hallways of the HUGE children's hospital. It was difficult, I experienced a lot of pain from the surgery and soon I began to realize it was also helping with the emotional pain that I was going through and thus began a downhill adventure with drug addiction, just like that.

Quitting the pain meds
I quit taking pain meds, prior to this quit I had gradually increased to taking 80-90mgs oxycodone a day, I decided I was done! I went on vacation, cold turkey I was done, very little w/d's, within a week I was doing great. I was noticing emotions I hadn't felt in years. Sad, was sad and I felt sad, same for all emotions it was as if they had been dormant for so long I had forgotten what it felt like to feel normal. I really enjoyed it and I wish I would have taken it more seriously. I relapsed after just a few weeks. Very disappointing.

Introduction to Suboxone
I decided to contact the clinic, which is 45 minutes away and very VERY expensive so after about three months of tracking back and forth twice a week and about 3 thousand dollars later I quit that too. I had done my research here before starting, I read many posts of people warning not too start out on such a high dose, that it wasn't needed so even though the dr was giving me a script for 2 8mgs a day I was only taking a quarter of a tablet, so after three months in clinic I figured I had enough pills to last forever. I thought I would be able to stop taking them and deal with the w/d's, not so easy I found out.


Suboxone withdrawal
the w/d's from this drug are the worst I personally have ever been through, when I initially quit the percocet it wasn't that bad, it wasn't bad at all really so I thought suboxone would be similar to that, that's what I had heard and read so I figured I would stay on it a few months long enough that I could learn how to live without "getting high" and then I could quit the suboxone and live a normal life. NOPE. I never knew that not only is it highly addictive but along with the w/d's you get major depression, or at least I do. Once when I tried to quit taking suboxone I became so depressed I could not get up, I stayed in the bathtub and cried and cried until my husband finally said, "I'm going to find it" and for a long time I had to get it off the street. Terrible thing to do, but much cheaper.
I've been on suboxone 18 months, I've tapered down to 4 mgs every other day but I'm ready to get the show on the road. For me, it's very scary, it's hard to be useless when you have four kids, two with chronic illness. But the truth is, I want ME BACK!! So bad that I'm willing to suffer for as long as I need to. Over the past six months my depression has become significantly worse, I have a hard time getting out of bed, I am completely lacking enthusiasm for life and this is not like me at all, I've tried and tried to figure out what has happened to me and this drug is the only thing I see, I have to stop it. Plus, one other really bad side effect for me is suboxone causes my face to break out so bad! I've never had acne, only mildly in highschool, I'm 35 years old so I haven't seen acne in a long time, not up until I started suboxone, now I have acne all over my face and I hate it, it's so embarassing. Nothing under the sun will clear it up either, I've tried everything. So, I really have to get off this stuff.


Summary
I'm just ready to do this. I'll keep posting.


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 Post subject: Similiar stories
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:06 am 
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Hey Beautifullybroken,

We have a lot in common, our age for starters (I’m 36). The other big item is the depression. Two years ago, I weaned down to a very small amount of Sub and did eventually stop taking it for a short while, but the depression was much worse than any bad effects the Sub had.

I talked to my doctor and he said that I could use Sub taking at a small dose (2mg) as an anti-depressant. And so I did. However, because of different reasons (cost for one) I never resigned myself to having to take Sub forever.

After doing more research, I had my doctor put me on Wellbutrin and Paxil. The Wellbutrin has worked really well for me in the past and the Paxil is for anxiety, but I plan to get off that in the near future.

So, I guess what I’m suggesting is for you to consider getting on some sort of anti-depressant for a few weeks before you taper down too low. Or, at the very least, start one as soon as you can. Also, I know everybody is different, but I would highly recommend Wellbutrin. There are virtually no side effects, it’s cheap, and it works very well.

Anyway, I plan on taking 1.5mg for today and the next three days.

Do you have some sort of schedule in place? If so, maybe we can sync them so that we drop doses on the same days, even if it’s by different amounts.

Looking forward to this journey with you.

Jorono


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Jorono,
I was thinking the same thing regarding the anti depressants, I have been on them in the past and knowing how extremely depressed I've been and that it will only get worse with w/d's I am seriously considering talking to my dr. Unfortunately, I don't see a suboxone dr anymore, I haven't seen one the majority of the time I've been on suboxone and I consider it a big disadvantage when trying to tapper off. It would be nice to have professional guidance but honestly, I never viewed my dr as an expert on the subject anyway, if he was, I don't believe he would have started me on such a high dose. I've played with my dose a lot during the past year and half and I know that it might make a difference in the first month, but for long term use, the only difference between taking 16+ mg and taking oh say 4 mg is, um nothing except further difficulty in tapering and of course cost if you have to pay for your meds which most of us do.
Like you, I never once considered taking suboxone forever. It's not realistic for me for a number of reasons, not just the cost and the hassle but also because I don't want to be dependent, on anything except oxygen, food and water to feel well. I started it with a goal in mind that I would take it long enough to learn how to live again without being addicted to opiates. Whatever good it could have done for me has been done and I'm confident I can do this without suboxone. I hope that the tapering will lessen a lot of the w/d's I felt last time when I just jumped off at 8mgs.

What was your last experience with suboxone w/d's? I remember you mentioned having actually managed to quit it for a while, your much tougher than me.

So your taking 1.5 mgs for the next three days, I wish I was there already. How low do you plan to go before jumping?
I have been taking 4 mgs every other day for a long while. My last dose was yesterday and my plan is to drop to 2mgs every other day beginning tomorrow. I don't know how long I will need to be at a lower dose for my brain to adjust to it before I can lower it again. I also don't plan on staying at every other day, I'm just staying with it as long as I can tolerate it but by the time I get much lower I'm sure I will need to switch to every day for at least a while. I want to get as low of a dose as humanly possible to avoid as much of the pain as I can. I wish I could just quit, suffer and get over it but I know I can't.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Good luck with the taper! I think your schedule may be a bit on the aggressive side, so you may feel some discomfort, but it should be doable. I'd probably reduce the dose every 10 days, not 4 to 5 days.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:43 am 
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Hey Beautifullybroken,

I read some of your other posts. I don’t know how or what, but whatever I can do for you, let me know. I feel in the same exact position that you are in. My wife doesn’t really understand the whole addiction/depression thing and a lot of times I feel that none of my friends or family really knows what’s going on with me. So, I get it. I understand what you’re going through.

Cold turkey? Don’t do that to yourself, it’s too hard.

As far as my schedule, today is my third day on 1.5mgs and I still feel fine, absolutely nothing to complain about. So, tomorrow will be my last day at 1.5mg and then I plan to drop to 1mg for the next four days after that.

Jorono


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:23 pm 
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Jorono

Thanks for the understanding. It's good to know someone does. This is no easy task that's for sure. I am a guilt driven person, unfortunately. I think a lot of us are. My head is always full of thoughts like, "I need to spend more time with Ally- I should be doing Andy's PT more often-I should be cleaning my house-I'm watching too much tv-I shouldn't be on the laptop" That's just a few, my mind can think of a thousand guilty feelings in a sold minute. As hard as it's been I have tried extremely hard to stay positive and motivate myself through this experience. I constantly remind myself I'm a strong person, I come from a long line of strong people I can do anything, I could wrestle an alligator for six weeks,LOL No I couldn't but my Dad use to say that all the time.
I cannot explain why this has been going so well for me, my cold turkey quit, but I have a suspicion it might have something to do with the adderall I've been on. Idk. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. This is by far one of the happiest moments of my life. I feel good mentally, physically not so good but I hope I'll be getting better and better everyday from here on out. I can't believe that day 5 is coming to a close and tomorrow will be Day 6, FINALLY past that damn day 5 that worried me so. I just think it's a miracle. Honestly, I don't know how I got so lucky, I'm almost scared to say that. My last quit was a nightmare every second was like an hour it was painful, mostly mentally. I believe the adderall is helping me mentally, but that's JMO. I don't know that to be true. I speak for myself, my experience only. But the only difference between the two quits is my determination and adderall, so go figure.

How are you doing at 1mg? I can't believe how well you've done so far, thats fantastic, your very very low and you still are w/d free! That's awesome. I'm looking forward to hearing your success, those are my fav stories to read here!


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 Post subject: My six month hiatus
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Hello everybody. A day or so after my last post, I found out that my daughter's tumors had returned. So, the last six months, I've been dealing with that, surgery, radiation, more surgeries.

I'll spare you the details (unless you really want to know), but I decided to postpone my "jump". I just didn't feel like I could take on both things at the same time. The good news is that I just stayed on about the same dose this whole time (~1.5 mg). My daughter is better now, so I'm going to do this again.

I'm doing the liquid taper and my schedule is as follows:

Tonight: Nothing, I want a head start, so screw it, I'm not taking any tonight.
Days 2-5: 1 mg
Days 6-9: .75mg
Days 10-13: .5 mg

I'm not going past that for now. I've learned that even though I type down a plan, sometimes I have to adjust it, but not always to longer or more. If I feel fine, I'll skip a dose here and there.

So, its good to be back. I'll keep updating to let anybody who's interested how its going.

Jo


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 Post subject: Days 1-2
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:06 am 
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Day 1 - 1mg - I felt fine pretty much all day. No real problems.

Day 2 - 1mg - About the same as the previous day. Nothing really interesting to say.

Day 3 - Ok, now today I'm really tired but I don't know if its because I didn't get much sleep last night or if its because of the reduction. I usually does in the early evening, so I'm going to see how I feel the rest of today. Hopefully I can make it.

Jorono


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 Post subject: Day 3
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:00 am 
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Day 3 - 1 mg

Last night, I almost didn't take anything because I was feeling pretty good all day (even though I was a little tired), but right before I went to bed, I could feel the crawly's starting to nibble on the inside of my arms and I knew that if I didn't, I was going to feel like dog sh!t when I woke up. So, I went ahead and took my dose.

I slept great! Even when my youngest came in my room at 5:30 to take a shower this morning, I didn't wake up like I usually do. My alarm is what woke me up finally.

Roses and Thorns so far

Roses
One of the benefits of reducing my does (and I don't mean to be crass in any way whatsoever) is that my libido is definitely increasing. A small breeze and pop goes the weasel. Sometimes, even when I'm just sitting at my desk, the 'ol flag will stand at attention. It's like 7th grade all over.

Thorns
I notice a little bit more depression than normal. Nothing terribly bad, but when I was taking 2-4 mgs/day, I would never have any. I'm taking Wellbutrin, so hopefully that will continue to help. We'll see. My doctor told me that some people are just prone to depression without it. But I remember times before I ever took any opiates, when I was just on an anti-depressant, and I was fine. Maybe with time...

That's all for now. Tonight I'm going to try to skip a dose. If I feel I can't, then maybe I'll just take less.

Jorono


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:47 pm 
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please keep us posted, I am at .5 now and its been tolerable ...............not planning on jumping for another few weeks but thanks for the info. I have been on subs for close to 2 years.........


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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