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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 5:51 pm 
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Hi everyone. New to posting on this forum through I have been reading posts for years. I have been sober for 7 years now. I am a 36 year old male and my addiction started after back injury, a number of procedures, therapy, and a failed surgery. I was prescribed vicodine but those quickly became not enough so I was put on oxy 40's. The oxy's lead to fentenal (spelling) patches. After 8 long months of pain meds and feeling I had to take more and more just to be able to go to work, I started realizing that I might have a problem.

I am an art teacher and half way through one day at work during my free period, I broke down and was overwhelmed. I started thinking that I am failing my students because I just couldn't perform to the best of my ability. How could I continue on when I was like a zombie all doped up on pain meds. A few days later I went to the administration, discussed my issue, and the next day checked into a clinic for help.

As for what I was taking: mostly oxy 40's and 80's sometimes twice a day either snorting or oral. When ever it was time for my script I was eating 100mcg patches no more than 1 a day unless I snorted an oxy with it. Out of the 8 months using, the patches and oxy's took up most of the last 4 months at that time.

after an impatient stay at a clinic I was put on 16mg of suboxone. Now hear it is 7 years later and I am still on it.

Yes suboxone has helped me get away from using pain meds but [(edited to say): "Ive had difficulties with the drug." (by Amy)] Not to mention it has caused server debilitating migraine headaches over the years. Sometime as many as once a week. i guess I got stuck in the mind set that if it isn't broke then don't fix it. A year ago I decided that enough is enough and started reducing my dose.

I was able to get myself down to 4mg a day 3 months ago. From there I tapered to 2mg then 1mg then .75mg then .5mg and finally down to .25mg a day where I am now. I have been on .25mg for about 3 weeks now taking 1/8 in the morning and 1/8 at night. For the past few days I have been trying to take .25 all at once so I can get on a once a day plan. It has been hell to get to this point. Getting sick for 3-4 days with each drop.

My problem is that I can barely make it 24 hours without already getting sick. I have a high metabolism and I feel like my body eats through 1/8 or 1/4mg in a matter of 8 hours. It seems that after 8-10 hours the hot and cold flashes start along with anxiety, deep bone pain, and my skin feels like it is burning. I don't think I need to list the rest of the symptoms because most of you are well aware. But is it normal to have withdrawal start so early and so sudden?

Please help!!! I need encouragement. I need words of wisdom. Can anyone offer advice as to how I can finally get through the rest of this taper and minimize the withdrawal?

(I had to edit what you wrote because you were anthropomorphizing a drug which is a tool, not a savior. There can be a side effect that some people complain of, that they don't feel as emotional or themselves while they're on buprenorphine. However, the drug does not steal things. The drug does not manipulate you. Your mind is the only thing capable of doing those things. Your problem is that you are an opiate addict, not that suboxone is impossible to get off of. Plenty of people have done it without so much drama. I understand that I'm probably not going to be really helpful to you because your post sounds like a soap opera and to me it lacks authenticity because it is so exaggerated. However! Don't go away! Because there are many people here that aren't as cynical as I am sometimes and they will be happy to step up and help you. MIchelle will probably respond to you and she is just a doll! So stay put! Help is coming soon! Just probably not from me. Sorry. Amy) I see that you went back in and edited your post after my comments. You are getting plenty of great responses and help, which is good.


Last edited by Beats79 on Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:49 pm 
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I wish that I had sound advice for you I'll leave that to some people who have managed to make it through to the other side. I'd just like to offer a little encouragement and remind you that you aren't alone. I am also starting a taper plan. If you'd like I'm happy to share what method I've chosen but I'm not sure you want it. I'm on day 5 after reducing from 4mg to 2mg and I'm not exactly feeling peachy. It has gotten noticeably better though and I've not had to miss work or even my daughter's after school activities.

I am heavily reliant on my spouse. I talk with her constantly about how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. She's been instrumental. I also read these forums passionately. For one reason or another they help me feel better about my situation.

I really wish that I could be more help. I am happy to bounce ideas back and forth or talk about what I've been doing. Good luck. We can do this.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:02 pm 
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Regarding your quick onset of WD symptoms, I can totally relate. I dosed this morning and only had partial relief for about 2 hours. I'd say I felt about 50% when compared to my previous dosing level. Try to stay focused. Although it's cliche, it's really helps me to focus on today and don't even think about tomorrow. It's truly overwhelming when I start imagining days upon days of feeling so crappy.

Stay focused and take baby steps. Go at your own pace. As an addict I've finally learned that I don't have control when it comes to any sort of narcotic. Drugs tend to do me and not the other way around. With that in mind I am trying to be very realistic about the extent of my dependency and not only what it took to get me to that point but also what it'll take to get me to where I want to be. I remind myself that it took hard work and dedication to become an addict. It's not fair to expect anything less while un-fucking myself. You can totally do this. Excuse me. We can. Each and every one of us.

Most importantly, don't be ashamed. You're actively seeking help. Your looking for a solution. That's a major step in itself. It is overwhelming. No doubt.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:29 pm 
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First, thank you for your response.

Like your spouse, my mom is my best friend. I'm lucky to have her so close and to be as close with her as I am. I guess it is a bit different having someone right there all the time like a spouse, but non the less still a support system.

I have read many different taper plans to get down to .25mg. Then most say to start skipping days then 2 day then 3 days then 4 and off. It all sounds great but I can barely make it 24 hours.

In your case, I would suggest slow and steady. I know that I want off this as fast as possible but I have found that the faster you taper the worse you feel. With each drop I was ok for the first 2 days other than minor aches. Day 3 and 4 I could hardly get out of bed and I would have bad sweats, upset stomach, heavy chest, deep bone pain, restless arms and legs, server fatigue to where my arms and legs felt like they weighed 100lbs. Day 5 I would feel slightly better. Day 6 and 7 I would feel great and it would give me hope that there is something far better on the other side. Day 8-9 I would feel sluggish again with minor withdrawal symptoms. By day 10 I could tell my body was starting to adjust and I would give myself another day to recharge mentally and physically before dropping again. Like clock work this would happen with each drop. Everyone is different, but I suggest taking your time and giving yourself time to recharge between each drop. It is what helped me to get down to .25.

I just feel stuck where I am at. I am scared shitless of withdrawal and am planning for the worst but hoping for the best. I don't understand why I start to withdrawal so quickly off a medication that is supposed to last 24 to 72 hours.

I have hobbies but no matter how much I push myself I can't focus long enough to take my mind off of feeling like crap. Long walks and exercise seem to help some but finding the energy to do that is even a struggle. I am lucky enough to where my job gave me the time I need to get through this personal struggle but I didn't plan on it being this long of a process and also be this much of a struggle.

I just need to find answers or a way to get through this final step. I am so close but still feel like I am miles away.

Thank you for responding and reminding me that I am not alone in this fight. I want so badly to be a positive statistic in the battle to beat suboxone and I hope you are able to as well.


Last edited by Beats79 on Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:58 pm 
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I made it 24 hours since my last dose yesterday. It was a struggle and had a lot of down time today so I tried to rest as much as I could. As soon as 24 hours hit i took my daily .25mg and have enough relief to take a warm bath and enjoy part of the evening. Hoping that tomorrow will be a little better and this 24 hour struggle will get a bit easier.

I am eating as much as I can and staying hydrated but I have still lost 10lbs in the past 3 months of tapering down to .25mg. I don't have the weight to lose either.

You said it. We all put a lot of work into being an addict and need to put in double the amount to get better. I guess after 7 years of being sober I feel like I did just that but in reality during those 7 years my body has become so dependent on suboxone. My anxiety kicks in and I start getting impatient and tired of feeling like I have an on again off again never ending bad flu.

I have accepted being an addict and don't hide it from anyone. I use it as much as I can in hopes of helping another that might be struggling. There times I still feel ashamed and ask myself how I let this happen. I am smarter than that, but it isn't about being smart. It's about the power and control of opiates. They can get the best of anyone before ever even knowing it.

I read so many horror stories about withdrawal and addiction. I want to be one of those positive success stories that gives people hope. One more story to let people know that it is possible.

But first I have to ask for help and support. i think self loathing is part of human nature during times of need. The more support and encouragement I can get from people, the better my chances. Anything to give me that edge and set myself up for success.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:07 pm 
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Patti

One day at a time!!!! You are so right. I have based so much of my recovery on that one statement.

I was thinking since you also have fast onset withdrawal like I do, that maybe at lower doses suboxone (1mg and less) acts a bit more like a fast acting opiate. That is if the half life has caught up and you body has had time to adjust to the lower amounts. I believe I briefly read that somewhere but I am not sure if it is a fact or not.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:50 pm 
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Understand that buprenorphine is just another molecule. It happens to have properties that make it useful for treating addiction-- but it is not 'evil'. People can be evil. Molecules don't have intentions, or thoughts, or morals.

I tend to be 'protective' of buprenorphine, because there are so many ridiculous attitudes out there toward the medication.... and those attitudes have an actual chance of affecting how the medication can be used. A couple things about your posts that you may or may not care about, but that are important for visitors looking for the facts about buprenorphine: the vast majority of people who are stuck in the situation that you were in, when you entered treatment, end up right back where they started. If someone didn't start you on buprenorphine, your chance of relapse would have been well over 90% within a year of leaving treatment. That relapse may have killed you, or may have given you a felony or two. Likewise, people who use buprenorphine for a year or less have a 95% likelihood of relapse within one year--- with or without counseling.

So to this point, buprenorphine served you well.

I recommend that people taper until the taper is unbearable-- and at that point, the best thing is to 'jump'. You seem to be at that point. If you are taking 0.25 mg of buprenorphine, your tolerance is very low. Withdrawal is largely-affected by attitudes... so your experience will relate, to some extent, on your attitude going forward. If you can exercise and stay positive, you will get through this in a few weeks. If you give in to despair, there is risk that you will waiver on and off buprenorphine for months.

See if your doc will give you some clonidine to help at night-- and consider stopping at this point. Most of my patients do well if they taper as low as you have. Keep a solid fear, though, about opioids going forward-- because I've seen MANY people in your position work to stop buprenorphine, only to return on agonists again a year later. For you, opioid agonists will always be poison.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:58 pm 
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I just wanted to drop in and offer you some support. I did pretty much the same thing but in slower increments. The hard part is when you get below 2mg or at least it was for me. I stayed on 2mg for about a month, and then 1mg for about a month then .75 for a month, once you get past .75 I think that in 37 hours (the half life) the amount of the drug left in your system in insignificant and you can taper more aggressively. I would say take it slow man, it may take your body more than a week to adjust to your dose, but it will. I was getting relief from a 0.25mg dose, and when I say relief, I mean I was sleeping only like 4-5 hours, and still feeling mildly like shit.. Drop in increments of 25% and don't drop any faster than you feel you have too, There's no shame in it taking time to get off suboxone. Suboxone is a powerful drug man, your brain has to re-learn how to deal with everything without it.

Congratulations man, 0.25 is a huge step and you should be proud of yourself. Good luck man


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:08 pm 
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Thank you for your reply. I don't mean for my post to sound like a soap opera nor do I mean to put down suboxone as not being a good medication. It is my frustration coming out because of feeling so lousy. Our mind is our worst enemy and my mind has been all over the place from positive to doubts. And I haven't had the best experience with my sub dr.

The withdrawal is what I should refer to as the evil i want to beat. Suboxone has worked wonders for me in the beginning. Like crutches to a broken leg, suboxone has been that crutch to my addiction and gave me the opportunity to focus more on the steps of recovery. But after 7 years of it I don't find the need or want to be on it anymore. I did not expect my body to react the way it has to such small amounts.

I thank you for your suggestion of clonidine. I will ask my dr about prescribing some.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:38 pm 
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Thanks Rex.

My hardest drop so far was from .5 to .25. I was thinking that with each drop the percentage I was dropping was getting greater. That explains why it has taken me near 2-3 weeks to get used to .25Mg.

I am just having a rough time with the last bit of the process. I'm tired and wore out from the off and on ill feelings and it is messing with my thinking process in terms of a positive outcome/light at the end of the tunnel. I was starting to get down on myself.

After 3 weeks of .25mg I would think the half life is caught up or at least high amounts are out of my system. It just amazes me that even at such low doses that it still has such an effect. I think I put to much pressure on myself by saying I have to be off this by this date instead of just letting my body decide when it is ready. Talking it out and bouncing ideas with others going through the same process always helps me sort through my thoughts.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:03 pm 
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Hey Beats,
I am just thinking out loud here, but wouldn't absorption play a critical role when you get down to such a small amount. I mean like do you pick it up with your fingers or do you use tweezers to put in place? I don't know if the medicine would rub off on your fingers if they are moist or not.
Are you consistent with how you are taking your dose and how in the world do you make equal dose when you are that low.
Just throwing it out there for all of you that are tapering at such low amount.
To me, all that would play a big role in how you feel.
You have come a long way and you are almost there. Fantastic!
Happy


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:13 pm 
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I cut 8mg strip in half. Each half in 4's which is 8 1mg pieces. I cut each 1mg piece into 4 by cutting corner to corner each way. That makes 4 .25 pieces of darn near equal size. All this is done with tweezers and exacto knife.

When I took 1/8mg twice a day I cut the .25 in half as even as I could. Pieces are to small to pick up with fingers so I used a tweezers to place under my tongue while in front of a mirror to make sure it sticks.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:16 pm 
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Happy you're right. I've jumped from 16 mg this past summer and once before from crumbs. There was really no way to break them up into equal doses when it's that small. Plus for me jumping both times was pretty equally unpleasant.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:18 pm 
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And Beats I don't think the bupe is equally spread through the whole strip.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:22 pm 
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I don't think it is spread equal either. It is sprayed on. I have seen the strips with 1 big glob in the middle before. I would think a liquid taper would be more accurate.
I use the liquid method (Listerine 20 % alcohol for maximum absorption) myself with 4mgs a day. I have for over 6 months and never just place the strip in my mouth anymore. I would never go back to that way.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:27 pm 
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I have read that they are not equally spread. This is how I was directed to do it with strips because my insurance denies coverage for the pills.

Anyway you look at it the pieces are so small that I might not be getting a full .25 give or take a few. They have just enough effect to minimize discomfort and never more than that.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:31 pm 
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I have read about the liquid method but didn't quite understand it. Sounds like it is far more accurate.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:14 pm 
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The strips are very easy to dissolve. But I don't recommend the Listerine method for you because it will give you up to 70% more absorption( up to 30% the normal way) and I have never tried to dissolve the strips in plain water before, but I am sure someone on here has. There has got to be a thread here somewhere that explains it for you. You might want to check and see.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:43 am 
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Hi Beats79! Welcome! You are amazing and you are doing it! Your down to .25 right? And you were at 16? This is wonderful! For someone who wants off I think you are doing a great job!. I have gone from 24mgs to 6mgs and I am very proud of myself. Take the time to give yourself credit, you deserve it. Don't spend time being or feeling negative. Suboxone has been a tool for you. Keep up the good work! Move at your own pace. If it is too difficult, go back up a little, stay there a little bit longer and then try again! Remember, we are here for you and support you all the way!


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