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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 6:55 pm 
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Hey guys so I haven't posted here more than a few times, mainly just lingered for the last year. I have studied suboxone and tapering religiously and it has come time for me to get off so I thought I would start my own tapering thread. After literally hundreds of hours of research I have come to the IMHO pretty obvious decision of the slow methodical taper. I totally understand people who just get frustrated and impatient and make the jump from high doses as I have felt that way at times, but the purpose of getting on/off suboxone was not only to have sobriety on it, but long term sobriety after I jump. Who knows maybe it won't minimize PAWS at all and it will be a waste of my time but I think the consensus is that it does make a difference...

A little back story. I went on Suboxone in May of 2010 so its been a year. I guess I am one of the few cases that has maintained on a small dose throughout this whole time. I started at 1.5mg, stayed there for about 6 months, dropped to 1.25 and then 1mg over about two months, stayed at 1mg for the remaining of the time up until I dropped to .75 over the last month where I am now completely stabilized. To tell you the truth the drops have not been bad at all. I usually experience 1-3 days of some moderate anxiety that last through the day and causes a little difficulty getting to sleep at night but nothing major. The main symptom is lethargy. I am pretty active as I am a surfer, and run 3-4 times a week so the lethargy is the most bothersome. It is mainly just annoying and something you can push through mentally, you just feel like you have no strength when you know its there. Some days I will have to take naps and some mornings it is a little harder to get out of bed during the drops for about 1-2 weeks. Mainly just grogginess and feeling stuck to the bed. Eventually things level off and I feel even better than I did on the higher dose. I am terrified of W/Ds so if I can do it anybody can and let me tell you it really is MINOR!! My plan is to drop to .5 over the next few weeks and stabilize there for about a month before dropping again. My plan is to get as low as I can go. Hopefully about half of .25 but if I get impatient I might just starting skipping every third day for awhile once I get down to .25 before jumping. My goal is to be off around the end of July/August-ish...

Suboxone has really been a miracle drug for me in the fact that it has significantly turned my life around as I could never maintain any long term sobriety. I made it 30 days ONCE in a 4 year span, and other than that never made it much more than a week before my head got the best of me. Despite this I do have a few MAJOR complaints about the suboxone. It has totally suppressed my emotions/passion/sex drive/ and ability to produce adrenaline. I know this is a touchy subject, it seems mainly for the people who are planning to be on it for life or not getting off anytime in the near future. I don't mean that as an insult, just stating what I see. I don't doubt there are people that feel completely normal on it and NEED to be on it for life. Just not me. I have been a musician for 9 years, and as soon as I started taking suboxone I stopped both playing/listening to music. Musicians almost seem silly to me now and I just can't feel the emotions I used to get listening to the same songs and playing the same music that have struck such a chord with me in the past. It is extremely frustrating/depressing but I have been able to see a glimmer of hope as I have gotten lower. Emotions and senses are slowly coming back to me and I know people like to attribute that to the vulnerable state we may be in when dropping in dose, but let me tell you that is not the case. These are the emotions I have been MISSING. When I surf it is like just going through the motions, don t get me wrong I still have a great time out there, but I don't get near the adrenaline or aggression going out there that I need and enjoy. I have nothing but respect for suboxone and my sobriety has been worth sacrificing these things for a year, but I could not imagine being on it for much longer. I feel like I am missing out on so much that life has to offer.

Anyways I just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone else is experiencing something similar and needs some motivation to get off. I am not advocating for people to jump off, I also agree that every addict should stay on for at least a year, and only you know when the right time is.. Ill come around once and awhile and update on my drops but probably won't get too detailed until I am about to jump


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 3:09 pm 
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Good for you.. I did the same thing when I got down to .25 I started skipping days then when my body felt ok with that I just stopped taking them... april 15th was my last dose and although I had a couple uncomfortable days all in all it wasent so bad


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 10:15 pm 
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So just a little update.. I have pretty much successfully dropped to .5 without any issue. I have been taking .5 for the last 7 days and surprisingly have barely felt a thing. On day 2 I woke up about 2 hours earlier than usual with some anxiety and a slight sweat, but that went away as soon as I dosed. There was one of other morning on day 5 where I felt a little anxious/mild sweat which also went away as soon as I dosed. Today I had some nervous energy throughout the day, but I find when that occurs if I just go for a run or do something active it is gone almost like dosing. Other than that it has been a breeze. It takes me 5-10 minutes longer to fall asleep at night as I feel a little more wired, but nothing I can't handle. I pretty much just keep feeling better and better the more I drop. It almost feels like a layer is being peeled off my brain opening it to everything life has to offer. I can def relate to the people who claim emotions come back and music is soo much more meaningful. I can only imagine how great it feels to be off. The drop from 1mg to .75 was def more difficult to my surprise(not saying it was hard by any means just relative to this drop) My plan is to stay at .5 for 3 weeks-month and then drop to .25 and go from there. I am really hopefully that this could be much easier than I expected but don't want to get too cocky yet. Hopefully it will be though not only for my sake but for all you guys out there that plan to get off in the future


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:59 pm 
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So here I am on day 11 at .5. I literally feel like a MILLION bucks! No joke. I have actually been pleasantly surprised considering I have dreaded tapering this low for so long now.. I have been doing some thinking and I know this topic has prob been covered before but does anyone know if there is any legitimacy to the possibility that your brain heals while on subs? The way I have kind of been looking at it is while we were in active addiction every time we used, we created new receptor sites in our brain. While on sub, those sites stopped being produced, and on lower doses of sub weren't even filled therefore left to their own devices to heal? I feel that maybe on higher doses all of the receptors are filled hence not giving them the chance to heal until you get lower? I don't know just my hypothesis, kinda makes sense to me and why I am feeling soo good. I just wanted to hear what you guys thoughts?


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:55 pm 
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Yeah, at these lower doses of Sub you are giving your brain the opportunity to "heal" or downregulate some of the additional opiate receptors that were created when you were abusing opiates. That's why you feel some withdrawal each time you decrease your dose, and then as your brain adjusts your tolerance comes down to match the level of your dose and you stabilize. You're also giving your brain an opportunity to ramp up production of endorphins, which would have slowed down considerably during active addiction and while on higer doses of Suboxone.

That's kind of the reasoning behind doing the long, drawn out taper down to very small amounts of Suboxone. You're giving your brain a chance to adjust so when you do stop the withdrawal and PAWS won't be as severe or long-lasting. So far the anecdotal evidence points to this working.

I think some other 'healing' goes on while we're on suboxone as well - especially if we used that time to cultivate good life habits. You're not constantly going through the cycle of withdrawal, use, getting high over and over so that has to be beneficial, and when you practice other coping skills that creates new neural connections. Even just meditating for a short time each day has been shown to have a positive effect on the brain. Our brains are more plastic and able to heal than we ever thought, it's really good news!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:22 pm 
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Thanks for the response DOAQ! I sure hope thats what is going on because I can deal with cravings as long as they are mild once I jump. I don't expect to get off scotch free but am sure hoping some kind of healing has gone on because the intense cravings kill me. Common sense tells me it is very realistic..

Update: So today I believe I am on day 17 at .5 mg. I have kind of leveled off on how I feel, not like a million bucks and not horrible, just kind of blahh. The main symptom is just some low level depression and apathy. Maybe slight anxiety here and there but nothing too major. I did feel like a million bucks for a few days. I just felt really energetic, almost speedy but in a good way. I think not feeling like that everyday has been a bit of a let down which also is a cause to the depression I am experiencing. Don't let that fool you though, it has been so painless I think I just have high expectations and the process can be a bit daunting and get me down sometimes. I ve surfed the last 6 out of 8 days and been working through this whole time too without issue so that goes to show how mild any symptoms are. I sleep great at night for the most part. My question is how long would you guys recommend that I stay at .5? My initial plan was a month, but I am getting antsy to get down to .25. Its a catch 22 because I want to allow my brain to heal as much as possible and make the jump as easy as possible. I can def see the light!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:30 pm 
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Reading these posts are so encouraging for me. At least it takes a lot of the anxiety out of thinking of my taper and stopping. So Thanks for easing some of my concerns.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Here is my opinion on how long to stay at a dose, let your body decide when its ready to drop from .5.....I realized halfway thru my taper that I needed to listen to my body and not some schedule I had pre planned in my head.. I ended up jumping sooner then I had planned. Do whats comfortable for you ( I know nothing about it is comfortable but you know what I mean).

Your doing great hang in there!!!! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:39 pm 
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I've had a tough time determining when to drop too. So, what I'm doing is pushing my dosing back. I'm dosing three times a day, though, and taking .25 increments. So, I'm taking .75 a day. I'm slowly but surely taking each dose later and later, and very soon, I'll have two doses at the end of the day, so I'll take one and skip the other, making that day only .5. That may mean I won't be able to fall asleep or will wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep, at which point I will take that .25 I skipped. Taking it in the middle of the night will make me not feel icky when I wake up, so I'll delay my morning dose. See what I mean? This is just how I'm doing it though.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:52 pm 
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Hey Rule62 glad I could ease some anxiety! Thats exactly why I started my own tapering journal because I know how much it has helped and motivated me just reading other peoples success stories and how they felt on a day to day basis at each drop. I know there are a lot of taper journals out there but I sure never got tired of reading them. Hopefully it continues to go smoothly but at this point I can promise that tapering is pretty much a piece of cake as long as you are patient. That is key! The lower you get the more motivating it has gets. Once you stabilize you can hang out and enjoy it for a bit and mentally prep for the next drop. Its kinda like a game... I must say that I think a lot of the depression I am experiencing is situational as I have had some really crazy traumatic things happen in my life the last few months so don't let that fool you. I think I have a tendency to blame the sub before anything else. I could prob be eating a little better too as I have quite the sweet tooth and crave carbs which def will effect energy levels.... I like your idea though Ladder of waiting as long as possible to dose. I have pondered that myself and it makes sense. The longer you wait to dose each day the less you will have in your system and eventually you will get to the point of being able to skip a day w/o much of a problem. I hope? We'll see.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:33 pm 
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Update: So today I am at day 25 since I dropped to .5 and have been taking .35-.4mg for the last 4-5 days. I usually dose between 7-9 in the morning and have done this consistently ever since I started subs over a year ago. Typically if I ever waited beyond 9 to dose I would feel some symptoms telling me that I needed to dose. Well something interesting has happened over the last week. 3 days this week I waited all the way till 3pm to dose without much of a problem at all. I honestly didn't even think about it through the day and the only thing I noticed was some slight fatigue and occasional yawning. I could have pushed it further into the night but am going at my own pace and figure the longer I wait to take it each day, the less and less Ill have in my system and eventually will be skipping days without a problem. Basically I am trying to make it as painless as possible. I think you were onto something with this tactic Ladder and I wasn't even intentionally trying to do it, it just kind of happened one day so I thought I would try it again. I guess just another way of my body letting me know how I am doing? Anyways my only real complaint is some mild depression and apathy, but I have good days and bad days, and the occasional day where I feel like a million bucks. It can be a little discouraging at times cause it seems like its never gonna end but then you see the light and get reenergized and motivated to push forward. The thing I am most thankful for in all this is I experience very little anxiety if any. That was my main concern going into this. I can deal with having to take a nap everyday and being a little down. My plan is to get down to .25 over the next week or two so I will update when I get there!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:48 pm 
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Alright.. So I have been at .3 for the last 4 days after hanging around at .4 for about 11 days. So far not too much of a change in how I feel. I did get a bit achey here and there while on .4, which I thought was the flu for a bit. I would get hot and cold with a minor but annoying headache. This happened randomly a few times, sometimes lasting through the night, and other times dissipating within an hour or so. I felt this once again yesterday, on my 3rd day of dropping to .3. I again thought I was getting sick but woke up this morning feeling fine and have had a great day. Its pretty mild and completely tolerable, its just the process of tapering that is getting really tiring and I can't wait to be off! I don't mean to scare anyone, it is totally doable and easy, it just requires lots of patience and resolve through the ups and downs. Somedays I feel like a million bucks and others I just feel kinda blah..I plan to stay on .3 for the rest of the week and then drop to .2. I can taste how close I am to being off, but am doing my best to stay the course. I have been working 6 days a week for the last few weeks, and am still pretty active, although I have been lazy the last week which I think is due to just feeling a little crappy. I am feeling good today though and will be heading to the gym after I write this. Most of the symptoms I have experienced being this low are physical, and have not had hardly any anxiety which is obviously awesome! The flu like symptoms are new for me as I didn't start experiencing that until I got to .4. I was fine on .5. Weird huh? I have been sleeping like a baby. No disturbances there. If it weren't for work I would seriously consider jumping off next week, but prob not gonna happen for a couple more weeks. Ill keep you guys posted


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:32 pm 
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Hey Rmac,

Thank you for continuing to update your taper journal. I'm sure many have and will find the information very useful.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:02 am 
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Good for you Rmac!! You are getting low, low, low. So, you are taking tabs, right? Is that how you measure out those doses (liquid taper)? I guess I should say 'you are taking an itsy bitsy piece of a tab'. :wink: I love reading your updates, because you are so positive and it is absolutely inspiring to me and to others, I'm sure. Plus, much of what you explain you've experienced with not getting as much satisfaction on your higher Sub dose and then being pleasantly surprised as you taper lower is identical to what I've noticed. It just reaffirms to me that it is not 'in my head'. There seems to be some transfer of 'good feeling chemicals' that happens as you get lower and lower. So, when something happens that should trigger an emotional reaction, there seems to be a greater transfer of 'happy chemicals' in your brain, instead of everything being quite even much of the time. I think it's that transfer that makes life enjoyable.

Also, this is yet another example of how a low dose for an extended period really helps when it comes to tapering later on. I've been telling people who want to get off Sub but are on high doses and feel they cannot do it that they should forget getting off and just taper lower for the time being. That pays off in spades when one goes to tackle tapering all the way off. You've been dropping with minimal trouble. I got so stuck at 1 mg that doing 1 day at 75 would throw me into nasty high blood pressure-w/d hell. Waited a good 2+ months at 1 mg and dropped down with nearly no problem. I'm certainly not having it as easy as you. I'm taking the Clonidine, and my pressure is still higher than normal and I've never had a problem with that. Is yours normal? Have you checked it? I just do that in the grocery store or pharmacy. It's a good benchmark of how your body is handling stuff.

I'm happy to hear that the 'delaying doses' approach is working for you. I swear...this approach really does work. Now, before I drop, I always cushion it by pushing my doses back, so the next day (the drop day) I hardly feel it. If a person never takes their Sub until they truly need it, then over time, their body will let go and need less and less.

I'm wondering if you would agree, also, with the 'dosing as needed' thing that you think less about Sub and when you are going to take it. I am starting to notice that I'm 'forgetting' some days that I even take Sub. Then, it hits me when I start to feel badly. Now, on days when I'm adjusting to a drop and my legs ache, the Sub calls my name. I cannot deny it, but on days that I feel okay, I get up and start my day without a thought about Suboxone, like today! It helps me to tell myself "I don't take Suboxone." Of course, I DO, but I'm trying to get in the mentality of not taking it, not looking for that piece of film, not waiting on a med, etc.

Keep updating! I'm so excited for you, because the end of the tunnel is getting close. Getting under 1 mg is huge, and getting under .5 is even bigger!!! Congratulations. :D You're closing in on victory.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:50 pm 
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Hey thanks Romeo! I know I never get tired of reading tapering threads. All the positive ones out there have helped me immensely prepare for mine. All the horror stories had me worried for awhile but fortunately for me it has been a breeze considering how I expected it to go. I have followed your story as well and have to admit I got mad respect for you man!

Ladder, I am using the 2 mg strips actually. I use a CM ruler and a razor blade. Pretty simple really. A 2 mg strip is about 2.1 cm, so pretty much every .1 cm is .1 suboxone give or take a few points because of that extra .1.. For example, I am currently at .3, so I just place the film on the ruler, align it right, and then cut at the 3cm mark with the razor blade.. I haven't checked my blood pressure yet though. Ill have to do that. I know I def will before I hop onto the clonidine when I jump just to make sure I wont be passing out ha! Some days when I delay my dose I don't even think about it till late afternoon, and others I am craving it pretty bad by noon. Kinda weird how that works. I haven't been delaying too much just cause I have been busy at work and notice I get pretty irritable and lethargic once my body starts telling me I need it. I think it is still a lot more mental than anything. Just the fact that Im so used to taking it everyday at a certain time for the last year it is gonna take some time to get used to not taking it. I think that will be the hardest part actually, not so much the withdrawal. My advice to you would be to just slow down and hang around .5 for awhile. Listening to your body is def key in tapering. You will stabilize eventually!

So I have been at .3 for the last 9 days or so now. I have felt awesome all week! I never thought I could feel this good on this low of a dose. I honestly feel better now than I did on 1.5mg. Ive surfed 2 days and ran 3 days so far this week, and Ill surf in the morn and run in the afternoon tommorow to give you an idea how good I am doing. I also worked 5 days this week. I have this next week off work so Im gonna drop to .2 and maybe even try to skip a day. Im def going to fool around with delaying my dose as well so I will update when I get a feel for how skipping a day might go. At this rate I think I am just gonna get as low as I can go, but we'll see!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:40 pm 
Rmac, I just wanted to add my thanks to you for sharing your tapering experiences here. I find it quite inspirational to see how well you're doing! It certainly sounds like you've got a great attitude and are ready to make the final jump (or step, in your case) off Suboxone. I'm so happy for you that thus far, your taper has not been too painful or difficult. It's nice to read about the more positive tapers.....helps to remind me that it isn't always a super-tough process.
One thing that stands out to me about your taper, as well as many of the other more positive taper stories, is the fact that you are quite physically active. In a way, that's kind of bad news for me, as I'm not the most physically active person in the world!! However, it is just one more variable in the process that most of us can control. It just tells me that when I get to the point of making my final taper, exercise is going to be one of the keys to getting through it as comfortably as possible. That, and just staying busy in general. Would you agree that that has been a real help for you? I also wanted to ask you if you are on any type of supplements or vitamins, anything like that. And if you don't mind sharing, are you on any other medications, specifically any antidepressant/antianxiety medication, and are you using any over-the-counter or Rx medication to help you rest/sleep at this point? I don't mean to be nosey. I'm just very interested in any and all variables involved which we can utilize to make the transition off bupe as easy as possible.
Again, thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I hope that things continue to go as smoothly for you as they have so far! You are doing great!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Hey SetmeFree no worries Im all about answering questions. It was frustrating for me to read successful taper stories that were kind of vague so I def don't want to be one of those. People who were really positive through their tapers gave me doubts too cause I thought they were a bit phony, but now that I am in the same situation I can tell you this is for real!

The only thing I take is 100mg of Lamictal. Its a mood stabilizer that I have been on for a few years now. I have some stuff called Emergen-C that I take a few days a week. I think its for colds but has a bunch of vitamin C and B vitamins in it. I get mine at Trader Joes or Costco. Thats it though! I would say the exercise helps tremendously. Even if you just go for a walk, I think it is all about just getting the endorphins going. The physical aspect probably helps too though during drops/jumps. I am also pretty young, don't know if I mentioned anywhere in here, but I am 24 about to turn 25. That prob factors in as well but let me tell you I was always horrible at handling withdrawals and seemed to recover a lot slower than my friends. On top of exercising, I also always sit in the sauna for 10-15 after my runs, and on my rest days. I would highly recommend it. It gets your metabolism going, gets rid of toxins, and even gives you a little cardio. Not to mention gets the endorphins going as well. I think speeding your metabolism up pre-jump might help too. You can do this by exercise, eating first thing in the morning, and drinking lots of water, like 3 liters a day.

Update.. So something pretty crazy has happened today. It is almost 5 30pm here on the west coast and I have yet to take any suboxone today, and I feel great! I felt slightly lethargic this afternoon, but got a burst of energy and ended up going to the gym for a run and sauna session. I ran just as far and hard as usual and feel better now than I did before the run. Its really kind of tripping me out that this is going so well so I think I am going to push it through the night and see how I feel tommorow. I have the whole week off work, so although I haven't gotten as low and skipped days like I wanted, if this isn't too uncomfortable this might be it! God that would be a fucking miracle! Not getting my hopes up just yet. Ill reassess the situation tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:52 am 
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Alright so I think I might have gotten a little ahead of myself there. I made it all the way till midnight last night before dosing. If I felt like staying up all night I could have prob made it till morning without too much discomfort, but decided to go the baby step route. That is still 15 hours beyond the time I usually dose, and if you factor in that the last time I had dosed was the previous day at 8AM, so I went about 39 hours without dosing. It was fairly easy and I will be doing it again today and through this week so I will continue to update my progress. I just felt a little restless come bed time, but that was about it. I feel great and energetic this morning.. I did end up taking .5 mg of klonopin that I used to take it for sleep for about a year before weaning off last September. I never take it and stashed it for this purpose. Going to use it as little as possible as I want nothing to do with any substances.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:17 am 
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Alright so I haven't dosed in a little over 45 hours and feel fine. No effects whatsoever really. Im going to at least make it till midnight tonight which will put me at 48 hours and maybe push through the night if I can sleep ok. Is going 48 hours considering skipping one day? It feels so long since I last dosed but I guess technically speaking I have only gone a day?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:25 am 
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Alright so I haven't dosed in a little over 45 hours and feel fine. No effects whatsoever really. Im going to at least make it till midnight tonight which will put me at 48 hours and maybe push through the night if I can sleep ok. Is going 48 hours considering skipping one day? It feels so long since I last dosed but I guess technically speaking I have only gone a day?


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