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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:14 am 
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Hi gang - Yup, I'm back after a couple years AWOL. I want to let you all know how I got off suboxone, how I did it, and how it's been going for me. My intent is to keep this short and sweet, but I don't know if that I'll succeed with that effort.

I was on suboxone from Dec 2008 thru June 2014 - 5.5 years. I was on it for both addiction as well as the chronic pain through which I got addicted in the first place. I started at 24 mg and stayed there for about a year or maybe even two. I then went down to 16 and again stayed there for awhile. I even told my doc but he kept writing me for 24 mg, so I kept stocking up. About in late 2013 or so (I don't recall all the dates exactly) I decided to see how it would be to further cut my dose. This was mostly because I'd heard all the horror stories and frankly half didn't believe them. My belief was that a big chunk of the difficulty coming off suboxone is mental due to negative expectations.

Around that same time I stopped taking my dose at the same time every day. I didn't want to have that "OH! I need to dose NOW!" feeling. I wanted to break that cycle. So I started taking it when I felt I needed it - almost PRN. Let me state now that is NOT the way to take it ON MAINTENANCE - I was only doing it because I was weaning down. Again, I was only doing this as almost an experiment.

I kept halving my doses, directly from 8 to 4 mg. I'd stay there for a couple or a few weeks. Oh and I had zero withdrawals. Then I halved my dose to 2 mg. At this point I was only taking it when I felt withdrawals or had pain. After a bit I started taking a bit less, but never obsessed over measuring them out perfectly. I would just cut up my 8 mg tablet into small pieces and take little chunks. What this means is I have no idea what dose I was on when I quit.

My main point here is that I did NOT plan this out nor did I really take this unplanned taper seriously. During all this we moved from Michigan to Florida. Since I had quite a stash of extra suboxone, I didn't look seriously for a sub doc right away, but when I did, it was next to impossible for me to find one. (Getting pain meds or even sub is a dreadful pain in the ass here.) Finally I said "to hell with this", and just stopped taking it one day, somewhere between 1-2 mg.

When my withdrawals did kick in, I experienced very little of them. I had some leg pain, but Clonidine knocked that out in about 15 minutes and after a few days it was totally gone. I was also pretty emotional those first few days or week, then my emotions returned to normal (the same normal they were before, during, and after suboxone).

I've now been about 6 months without suboxone and without doing it in a treatment facility. I've had zero cravings (except to get rid of my pain!), no slips, and no relapses. I don't even think about suboxone or pain meds anymore. It's part of my past life.

I'm sorry I couldn't keep this shorter, but I wanted people to know that it IS completely within the realm of possibility to go off suboxone without obsessing about dosing and taper plans and can do it with little withdrawals. That said, I acknowledge the fact that it won't be this easy for everyone. We all have different bodily/physical needs.

I hope this helps even one or two people. For those on maintenance, don't let ANYONE push you off too soon. You need that time to break all your addictive behavioral habits. I needed my 5.5 years and because I had them, being off it now is practically super easy.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my story. And for all of you, good luck in your suboxone treatment/maintenance or on your taper if you're doing one. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:51 am 
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Congrats and good for you.

I'm coming up on 6-months Subs- and drugs-free myself, and I had a similar experience getting off Subs.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:35 pm 
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Thanks for posting this Hatmaker,

When you posted the other day saying you had tapered off I wondered how in the heck I had missed that fact! Now it makes sense.

I'm always so happy to hear that it actually is possible for it to be a not so terrible experience. I fully believe it has more to do with you really being ready for it than anything else. Being pushed into it by any outside sources is a big no bueno!

I'm happy that you are doing so well.

Q

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:57 pm 
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Congrats!! It's very cool to see a post saying that ur experience getting off sub wasn't a horrible withdrawal. It leaves some hope to ppl who aren't ready but someday will want to taper off eventually but are so discouraged thinking it's gonna be a bad bad experience no matter what. I know everyone is different and will have their own story, but I'd love to think if I ever do mine will be like urs :) thanks for sharing and again congrats.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 2:22 pm 
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What a great story!

I wonder if doing the taper without really caring about it is the biggest sign that a person is ready to taper. So many times I read that someone is terrified about stepping off and I think that part of the problem may be that they are not ready to go off.

It's definitely nice to read that if someone is truly ready to get off sub it can be a relatively easy experience. I do wonder if that might only be true for someone who became addicted as an adult, as you did, versus being an addict during those formative teenage years.

You hit the nail on the head when you said that everyone is different. Not everyone will have an easy time of it. There are so many variables to consider. And I would guess that at least 75% of the people who do make it off sub will experience cravings. I hope that everyone in both situations will keep their guard up so that addiction doesn't knock you off your feet when you least expect it.

Thank you so much for sharing your story!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:35 pm 
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We really, really need more science and research for those of us on long term ie. two years or greater matntainence. There is so little. Someone just posted a new study a few days ago that showed "long term" maintainence worked better than a short taper. Thing uis, in that study, "long term" was something like three month - hardly long term like we know it. I'd love to see the relapse rate and the ability to taper off be studied in one year and greater Bup patients.

Here is my theory based on what I've seen and Hat totally fits it. While will power and a strong mindset rarely help an addict, it sure seems to me like those who stop sub only do so when they really want to. The method seems less important. It's like a switch flips. I was here during Hat's heyday and even suggesting she could take less than 24 mg was met with very strong resistance. And then one day it seems she had decided she was done and wanted off. I see that theme over and over again. Some drop from a high dose like 8 mg. some stop at 2 some taper to 0.1 or less. Hat did it yet another way. What they all have in common is the desire to stop sub. I can't prove it. I wish I could. I just see it as my hypothesis.

Even though I'm now below 1 mg, I don't have that fire to get off sub. I'm dipping my toe in the pool but my switch has not yet flipped.

Great to hear you are doing so well. I'm also willing to bet your underlying conditions didn't just go away. Yesterday someone said sub works better than 400 mg of oxy they used to be on. You have to wonder what really changed. Was the oxy doing anything? Was the sub doing anything for pain? The mind is a very powerful thing.

Either way, it's great to hear where you are at. Congrats. I'll bet you're really glad you gave it a try. Must be even better to be done!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:45 pm 
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Thanks Hatmaker for putting your story out for all to read. Now I just hope you'll stick around and post every once in a while. Congrats on getting off the meds.

Donh, I tend to agree with your line of thinking. For an addict to be successful in getting completely off opiates it has to come from within. Whether that will happen to me or not only time will tell. I can say that I was once on 1 mg like you are now. Just stick with that dose just in case you have any surgery or whatever and actually need pain meds. No guarantee that Hydro, Oxy, or any of them will work, but it's better to be at a low dose just in case. There have been members here who posted about feeling relief after stopping Sub for three days at 8 mg's., so my physic is different than others.

Nice to see some old timers here again. This place needs everyone to succeed.

Thanks again Hat,

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:56 am 
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Thanks to all of you for the support!

A couple of things: Don, yes, my pain came crashing back. I had no idea that Suboxone was helping it so much. I actually thought it wasn't! Right now for the first time since diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I really have nothing to treat it and my pain has never been this severe. (I was also on Amitriptyline/Elavil, but due to contraindications/side effects I just went off that too, thus leaving me with nothing to help my pain for the first time since diagnosed over 11 years ago. OUCH!

For me, I feel there were a couple of things that were paramount to my success. The first was that I stopped taking it at the same time every day. Personally, I had to get out of that mindset. Also, it was spreading out my doses and taking it when I needed it (again, this was NOT for maintenance, just my own way of getting off it). My goal in these efforts was to totally get my mind off of Suboxone.

The funny thing was it was just more practical for me to go off it. The serious lack of doctors down here and those that are here, 99% don't take insurance. I was also sick of the stigma (also worse here).

Finally, after all that, Don, I think it all signified, like you said, that I was indeed ready to come off it.

Amy, thus far, no cravings. My only "craving" is the desire for pain relief! But I know that always ends with the same consequences FOR ME. But I am vigilant and it's always in the back of my mind that relapse or re-addiction will always be a risk for me.

I'm happy to be back, guys. :-D And thanks again.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 11:43 am 
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This is an old thread but I'm replying anyway as I remember hatmaker from back in 2011. She was always warm, friendly and very positive.

If you read this, hatmaker, I am very, very proud for you. This story was truly inspirational and positive. I hope within 6 months or so, I can join you in Sub-freedom :)

I have actually thought about doing this before...just stop taking the subs and take a piece when I feel w/d but just didn't know if it would work or not. hatmaker's story represents to me how powerful our mind can be in tapering off.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 8:26 pm 
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Thanks CA for bringing up this thread again. Hatmaker will read it. She pops in from time to time to catch up. I mostly worry about her pain level and how she will deal with it.

And yes, I too was inspired by her story. When my time is up I know I can do it. Withdrawals were never that big of deal with me in the past. A week of cold symptoms and then feel okay. But nothing I can't deal with. Most of us are just weak minded when it comes to giving up the crutch.

AA has an old saying I like. "I knew the day would come when I had to stop. I just never wanted it to be today" Ain't that the truth!

r

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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:19 am 
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Love that saying, rule! "never wanted it to be today".....how true :)

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1.1.15 - 8 mg/day
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:19 am 
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It's almost been a year since I last posted. I'm doing well and still off opiates, including suboxone. No relapses and no cravings to speak of. Now that doesn't mean I'm not on my guard. If I had access to them, I honestly don't know what would happen.

The main issue I'm left with, as Rule said above, is my untreated pain. That doesn't leave me craving opiates, but it does leave me desperately wanting pain relief. I get muscle relaxers and even valium, but neither of them do much, if anything, for my pain. I barely even take either. The only thing that I actually notice any pain relief from is medicinal marijuana. I know some of you will judge me for this, but please, keep those kinds of opinions to yourself, especially if you don't know what it's like to live with chronic pain.

One option I might have for the pain is low-dose Naltrexone (LDN). When used for addiction Naltrexone is prescribed at about 50 mg. For pain, about 4 mg or less. The problem is finding someone that knows anything about it and would be willing to prescribe it.

If anyone knows anything about using LDN for pain relief, please let me know.

Thanks and good luck to all of you working on getting off suboxone - you have my support. I also support those of you who wish to remain on it. You have my support as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:47 am 
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Hat, congrats getting off bupe! I had something similar click with me last summer when I went down from 16mg to 1mg in a few months with only mild symptoms. I wish I had pushed my doctor not to give me more than I was taking because it soon snowballed up to 6mg where I've stayed. I've been reading a lot, more just for inspiration. You hit the nail on the head when you stopped taking it at the same time each day. Some doctors don't even like you to take 2 daily doses and I take three (3) 2mg a day like clockwork. My first short time goal is to keep my mind busy for the the afternoon dose and go from there.

As far as LDN, I was diagnosed with Lupus in January last year. I joined a group on FB called "Sjogrens, Lupus, RA, Scleroderma & Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)" before even knowing what LDN was. There is TONS of great information about LDN including prescription resources. Check it out! My biggest motivation to get off buprenorphrine is a hope that LDN can alleviate my symptoms associated with Lupus.

Congrats and Good Luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:03 pm 
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I tried LDN for depression. My psychiatrist just gave me the lowest dose tablets available and I cut them into little pieces, which was pretty inaccurate, but I was just trying to get an idea of whether it would work. It didn't for me.

The thing with LDN is that there is absolutely no risk in trying it. High dose naltrexone has been around for years and is considered safe. So taking <4mg/day can't hurt. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work. Most doctors wouldn't be hesitant to prescribe it, especially to a recovering addict. The only challenge is if you do decide to stay on it, it's hard to find a compounding pharmacy to make up the accurate dose for you. Some people make up liquid solutions of it, like the liquid taper method for Suboxone.

Hope it works for you. A lot of people find it effective.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:48 am 
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Hey Hatmaker, it's great to see you doing so well (aside from the pain you are experiencing). You were on bupe about the same time I was (5 years). Almost 3 weeks off here. I got down to 0.25mg before jumping, and the physical withdrawals weren't that bad at all, and I took clonidine to help also.

I do hope you find some solution for the pain. I've been reading about LDN lately too, but for depression. Let us know how you go with it if you decide to look into it.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Thanks for the replies.

I looked more into LDN and what I found is that it also acts to stimulate the immune system. Unfortunately, due to other conditions I have, I take an immunosuppressant and the last thing I need is one cancelling the other out, or even coming close. I really need the suppressant. I'll have to speak with my doctor about whether or not a low dose would even affect it.

I really appreciate the information, guys. You all be well! :-)

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 2:24 pm 
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hatmaker, glad to see you back and posting! I am sorry that you have to deal with chronic pain...it, too, is the reason I became a Sub patient. And, yes, Sub works very well for me with any pain issues.

As far as medical marijuana usage, I am all for it. My daughter uses it medically and it is the only thing that really helps her. I think over the coming years, it will be more and more accepted and legalized for medical usage everywhere.

I want to tell you again how much your story inspired me. I read it every couple of days...that's how powerful it is to me! Because of it, I think that when I get to 1 mg, I am going to try and start skipping every-other day...and then lower to .75 every-other day and so on. It makes sense to me to get out of the habit of dosing every day at the same time....like I am fooling my body! If it doesn't work for me, I can always go back to everyday dosing. There is no formula for a taper...we can try and see what works for us!

My thoughts are with you as you try to manage chronic pain. Hope you find your relief somewhere, somehow.

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1.1.15 - 8 mg/day
1.24.15 - 6 mgs/day
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5.17.15 - 1.5 mg/day
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6.16.15 - .8 mg/day
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:00 pm 
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Proud of you, how long did your withdrawal symptoms last after you stopped?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Hey Hat, glad to see you active again. No one here will judge you about using medical MJ to help with pain. At least no one will publically.

I have two friends in your position who use it to stay off of opiate pain medication. How can anyone judge that? The Feds still say it's illegal but I doubt if they'll come knocking at your door.

My mind is not made up about legalization of it though. Too many people out on the road are already buzzed enough. There isn't any way to find out if it'll increase D.U.I's or not unless they legalize it. Kind of a Catch 22 per say. For me, I'll take the wait and see approach. For you, I'm glad it's working for ya.

Good luck with LDN.

r

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:33 pm 
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I guess you'll just have to watch CO and WA. I'm sure those stats are being collected.

Amy

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