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Methadone to Suboxone

Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:56 pm

Hi, I am new to this site but I think it is great. I was a homeless heroin adict for 12 years. I dropped out of graduate school to pursue this lifestyle and didn't think it was all that bad until I ended up in the hospital. At the time I couldn't picture quitting but continued usage was not an option either. I figured I could pursue the Methadone option. Well since I have been on Methadone I have seen the world of sobriety and am as hooked as I was to opiates. I attend many recovery groups and have become conversant with their terminology and mores. I will be one year free of illegal intoxicants in November. Without going into details the changes I have experienced in the past 10 months have been profound, dramatic, and truly inspirational. For the sake of brevity, treatment based recovery is a godsend and if I remain on treatment aids such as Methadone or Suboxone for the rest of my life I can achieve a productive life and for that reason alone I am grateful. The problem as I see it is that now I have become a recovery addict and and am planning on complete detox after switching from Methadone to Suboxone. I think that complete independance from medication from medcation will give me the maximum freedom to pursue a meaningfull life. I have gone from 60 mg. per day to 40mg. Methadone in the last two months. My clinic has the policy of ofering Suboxone treatment to patients at 30 ms. per day. My plan is to make the switch to suboxone and then get off completely according to the advice of my clinic's physician. When I get to zero what can I expect? I have experienced Heroin detox but have never stuck it out. The endless insomnia was the worst part. Relapse is not an option for me. Suboxone for life might work except the cost and inconvenience would be a problem eventually. Does anyone have advice for me? I love the drug free lifestyle, and believe that getting off all drugs will be the best option but I don't know what is truly best. I appreciate any feedback.

Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:09 am

Welcome to the site-
Congratulations on your recovery.You are truly a miracle and should be proud of your accomplishments.Now, as far as the medication. In my opinion, if something is not broken- why try fixing it? You sound like you are doing well, why rock the boat? Believe me when I tell you I completely understand wanting to be medication free because I once felt the same.I felt weak in needing medication to function normally and simply wanted to stand on my own two feet knowing I did not need chemicals to be "ME". Having that idea caused me to experience severe relapses, almost OD, and contemplate suicide. I did not understand at the time, but because I chose to not be medicated by a doctor- I self medicated in other ways. In my situation being without medication nearly destroyed me. I feel that many of us are pre-disposed to addiction because of mental disease or defect.It is not our fault, but we have to treat our condition properly. I have been on Suboxone and Cymbalta for two years now and am doing wonderful. I have finally found peace with needing medication to be productive. The other realization I have made is that when I did self medicate, I think my psyc. disorder progressed because the symptoms are more intense now. I just do not ever want to take a chance of never coming back again.
So, in closing- you need to do what you feel works for you.I just wanted to give you a perspective you may not have considered. All you can do is try.If things do not go as planned, get back on your meds and live your life.Do not view Suboxone or Methadone as crutches.They are medications for addiction, and addiction is considered a disease.There is no shame in treating your medical need.

Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:14 am

I'm not sure I have a whole lot to add Shelwoy basically shared my story :)
I'd just suggest keeping an open mind I was really uneasy with the idea of starting Suboxone as I had put together a few months of clean time without Suboxone. Each time however ended with a relapse worse than the time before. I was absolutely convinced without a shadow of a doubt at the time that I'd never use again and sure enough.....it starts all over again. I've been clean for almost 3 years now on Suboxone though and I've been able to pick up the pieces of what had been my miserable excuse for a life and start over. If you're set on making an attempt at abstinence based recovery I think that's wonderful but the best way to go about it in my opinion would be to enter a 90 day treatment facility after tapering off the Suboxone. You're going to have to learn to live with the constant obsession to use for quite sometime and you'll be giving yourself a big advantage if you opt for the 90 days inpatient treatment in that you'll at least have a better probability of staying clean. If you decide to stay on methadone or Suboxone I also think that's wonderful, I've gotten to the point in my life where I'm willing to do whatever keeps me clean, I can't afford to relapse again. If after you enter inpatient treatment and you're willing to do everything they tell you to do (no exceptions) and learn to stop making decisions based on your own thinking as well as cotinuing to be willing to go to ANY lengths to stay clean I've no doubt you'll do great :) Whatever you choose I'm glad you've come here to share and your contribution to our community :wink:
Keep us posted


Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:51 pm

I cant add much to shellroy. I think maybe if you can go from methadone to suboxone it would be a huge step in itself.
In my experience, methadone got me very buzzed. It is a full agonist. Suboxone is a different beast all together.
I know that with suboxone, if I take it properly, I do not get any effect, aside from not going into withdrawal, and if I seek out recovery, I do not want to use. But the other half- being involved in recovery has proven to be difficult, and I'm stubborn, and it has caused me to be vulnerable to slips.
Shellroy, if you don't mind, you mentioned the anti-depressant C(something). I looked it up, and it is prescribed for generalized anxiety (check) and energy issues (check). I'm on zoloft and lamictal. Would you mind PM'ing me if it would be worth me looking into?
Welcome to the site

Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I will take these options seriously. One question I have is how much does it cost to supply oneself with suboxone? I have no doubt that when compared to a Heroin habit it is a bargain but the ideal is to pursue happiness and a relatively normal lifestyle and I'm wondering if that can be prohibitive. It takes me about 1 hour daily to go to the clinic every day. I don't want to be tyed down but I also don't want to have to decide between sleep and relapse. I suppose I can always go back to suboxone if things get too hard. I feel that I can follow the advice of medical professionals rather than self medicate. So far methodone has been like wearing a gas mask. One doesn't notice the poison until removing the mask. I just feel normal. I aproach recovery like a drug addict; if one is good two is better.

Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:37 am

First off, let me say that I have not read the other replies to your original query, nor your subsequent response. I was so inspired by your original post, that I want to preserve the purity of the message as I ponder, and try to put my fervid mind onto your screen through technology.

I can appreciate your enthusiasm for recovery, as well as treatment! I share a similar excitement of my newly found freedom. I recall the breath of fresh air on that sunny/cold January morning as that was the first day that I felt "normal" after detox and suboxone tapering. I was taking NOTHING. I had ZERO prescriptions. I was so excited to be chemical free! It felt so amazing, that I felt I could fly, or at worst be a normal functioning taxpaying member of society. I had to tell them!

The group I was attending at the time looked like a clinical trial! Trazadone, seriquil, suboxone, depacoe, to name a few. I was so positive after that experience outside in the fresh air, that I announced that "pharmacological americana" had 'our' number, and subsequently our wallets! "THERE IS NOTHING THAT SUNSHINE, PROPER NUTRITION, and EXERCISE CAN'T CURE!" I gloated proudly...

Less than 2 weeks later I was nodding out in a meeting telling people I was so happy to be clean. I was so embarrassed that I had relapsed, it took me a while to own it. I would quit, and exceed treatment requirements for recovery related activities, but it was NEVER enough. I changed religions, I moved, I quit my Investment Banking job, I changed everything. But I could never quiet that voice back there. Sometimes it would come more often that not, and sometimes it was a bit more rapacious than others; regardless of its ferocity, it always EVENTUALLY won out. I could fight it for a bit, though I could not sustain.

I would USE, and QUIT, and USE, and THE FUCKING COMPULSION TO DIE beat my soul to oblivion. I had to change something else.... Suboxone fit that void for me, it quelled the compulsion, it softened the voices to virtually inaudible chaff in the wind.

**This is where I get to the point**

I demanded a taper schedule from my Doctor, I told my group that chemically induced recovery was fine, but the unbearable side effects, and the fact that I will still be taking "drugs" didn't sit with me... so guess what I did? I relapsed. AGAIN... It was not until I could commit in my mind to NOT putting an expiration date on my recovery could I truly focus on recovering and repairing my damaged life (not to mention brain). Planning my 'taper-to-freedom' was always telling my brain to mark its calendar for when it could sneak up behind me and talk me to get us some drugs. Much time has passed since I committed to not committing to a date of quitting suboxone, and I am still in therapy (individual and group), but can say that I can be honest with myself, and others around me. I am finding happiness, and finding peace with who I am, and being OK with it all. Will I stop taking suboxone (again) someday? Couldn't say. Not thinking about it. Not planning to think about it. I will deal with mañana, mañana. Today, I am happy. I can think clearly, and choose to live.

Thu Oct 01, 2009 3:52 am

shelwoy wrote:... I did not need chemicals to be "ME". Having that idea caused me to experience severe relapses, almost OD, and contemplate suicide...

Sounds strangely familiar... :?

Matt2 wrote:... I had put together a few months of clean time without Suboxone. Each time however ended with a relapse worse than the time before. I was absolutely convinced without a shadow of a doubt at the time that I'd never use again and sure enough...

I am seeing a trend here*

*results not scientific.

ndc1963 wrote: how much does it cost to supply oneself with suboxone? I have no doubt that when compared to a Heroin habit it is a bargain...

You'd be surprised. Obviously it would depend on the size of your junk habit and regional cost... but the Suboxone 8mg pills run anywhere from $5 to near $10 without insurance. Obviously insurance plans will vary, I pay $50 monthly for my supply regardless of quantity. etc

ndc1963 wrote:I aproach recovery like a drug addict; if one is good two is better.


This made me laugh, I haven't heard that it a while. Thanks and remember 2 is better, but never enough...

Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:35 pm

Just wanted to add my 2 cents worth. First, I must admit that I have never been on methadone. After saying that I have known addicts that find that they have to keep increasing their dose of methadone. This does not happen with suboxone. When I first got on this site i read "less is more" when talking about suboxone. I have experienced this first hand. I started out at 16 mg of suboxone then decreased to 12 then to eight mg. I swear that I felt the best on that dose. Now I am on 4 mg and eventually I want to get down to 2 mg. I don't care if I ever get off suboxone because I do not want to have to fight cravings, lack of energy and sleep problems that are the usual problems when tapering down to 0 or close to it.

You probably have read that the usual starting dose of suboxone is 12-16 mg. Instead of increased like with methadone in time you will have decreases in your dose. This will cost less money. Also when you are off of methadone, you don't have to go to a clinic. You can go to a regular doctor who has taken the eight hour training. I started out going weekly, then monthly and now I only see my psychiatrist/suboxone doctor once every three months. You can see the cost saving let alone not having the inconvenience of going to a clinic every day. Good luck!
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